The lessons learned from 75 years in business

Since my father established it at the end of World War II, our business has been a consistent part of the West Australian landscape for nearly 75 years. In that time, we’ve been part of several historic community projects and have learnt much about how to keep a business sustainable and successful.

Here are the major lessons we’ve learnt over the journey at Eric Hood Painting & Maintenance Services – we hope you can put them to good use in your business as well.

  1. Good staff are invaluable, so pay them accordingly – We scrapped the award rate for painters some time ago and we pay well above the average so we can attract the best people.
  2. Establish a client-focused payment plan that suits your industry – We were one of the first painting companies in WA to establish a “painting maintenance program”, where clients pay for a program of work over several years. The program benefits everyone – the client has less upfront costs and the security of knowing the same company will be maintaining the paint job for several years, rather than risking they might do a bad job upfront and then abandon the project. Your business benefits from ongoing cash flow, the security of long-term contracts and a sustainable business model.
  3. Don’t be afraid to take a calculated risk – Despite having the same headquarters for decades, in 2008 we changed locations with a bigger warehouse that allowed us to grow. The move came with some financial risk but 10 years later the decision is paying off.
  4. Safety is of paramount importance – We now have an in-house safety officer after Melanie completed a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety – though it did require some initial time and resources, we wouldn’t have it any other way today.
  5. Establish values – Live and work by them: our two key values are trust and personal relationships. Establishing those relationships with our clients and our staff over time has been a major factor in our success.

Painting is the finishing trade, it’s the first thing people notice when they walk in a building.

You simply can’t afford to do a bad job, but unfortunately, because it’s the last part of a project, it’s often the thing people skimp on.

While anyone can paint, not anyone can paint well. That’s what we do, and we’ve worked really hard at making sure we excel at it. The same applies to whatever industry you’re in – work hard and establish credibility and excellence, and you’re ahead of the game.

Phil Hood, Director, Eric Hood Painting & Maintenance Services

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