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Originally published in PPC Magazine.

Portland, Oregon painting contractor Torrey Richards offers advice for contractors who want to get into commercial painting:

1.Specialize

The products, application techniques and scheduling that I use are all specific to the needs of an athletic club. If I was to bid a restaurant or grocery store, I would be out of my element and unlikely to be competitive with my pricing. Also the experience I have with the first club that I painted makes my company more valuable to the next club I approach.

2. Bid Time and Materials

Even if you quote a price a little lower than you feel your time is worth, the ability to just go ahead and paint when the owner or facility manager adds something to the list (which they often do) will create additional revenue without the hassle of getting a contract or change order signed. This way you also avoid the price-shock of a large bid.

3. Be Visible

Because of the highly visible nature of our work at the Sunset Athletic Club, we get more new leads from there than every other source combined. My guys and I always wear clean whites, with the company logo, when working at the club. Otherwise, the public may think you are an employee.