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Feast or famine in 2023?

15 December, 2022

We’ve been through a lot over the last three years; but will next year be better, the same, or worse? All told, it may take some hard work but things seem to be looking up. In this news article we share the responses we got from contractors on their outlook for 2023.

Ryan Amato, Amato Painting, Easton, Pennsylvania
We believe work may become a bit tighter, so we have doubled down on our marketing and have actually tripled our marketing budget to make sure we are ahead of the game. We anticipate a slowdown but are in a good spot to be able to stay ahead of the local competition by targeting our previous clients, asking for referrals — and as mentioned, increasing our marketing budget.

Chris Bott, Chris The Painter Inc., Slave Lake, Alberta
I already have lots of work lined up for 2023. Feeling optimistic. Have some new systems to implement and some goals for the end of next year. I’m just hoping paint prices can stay where they are.

Ben Campbell, Campbell Painting, Anchorage, Alaska
No matter the state of the economy, I’m excited about this upcoming year. We are in control of our own destiny, and I have complete trust in my employees to deliver on every job. 

Rawley Filbin, Filbin Painting, Johnson City, New York
My perspective for what I feel the new year will bring is a blend of 20+ years as COO at our family business Filbin Painting and the last 3 years as Founder at USEFUZE:
1. For medium and smaller-sized companies I feel that finding employees will be more difficult than ever. Today’s painter [worker] doesn’t want to be a “Filbin painter” for example, they want to be a “painter that works at Filbin Painting.” I know that the difference is subtle, but it speaks to the rise of independent/solopreneur contractors that are out there working. Medium and small businesses, already doing more with less [manpower-wise] will continue to struggle; however, customers will wait for a quality job performed by a quality contractor.

2. Job pricing and scope will continue to grow. With a high level of economic uncertainty, homeowners will invest in larger projects in their current homes. Additionally, homeowners are becoming accustomed to higher pricing, and as the business owner, pushing the envelope on price will not hurt their estimate/job conversion rate. 

3. Small one- or two-person operations will continue to increase and will be the biggest “headache” for existing competitors. These smaller “dynamic duos” will ultimately produce high-quality work at reasonable prices. They will be efficient, personable, and work on their terms. 

Gina Koert, SPI Shamrock Painting, Denver, Colorado
Pending the economic outlook for 2023 of rising inflation and growth challenges seen in 2022, SPI is looking forward to 2023. We have a strong backlog of secured work, we continue to navigate changes, and we added new team members and partnerships. We are excited to take on 2023!

Chris Moore, Elite Business Advisors, O’Fallon, Illinois
There is a lot of unknown surrounding what the next year looks like in the economy. I think it’s important to recognize the uncertainty for planning purposes; however, don’t take too much of the media to heart and lose sleep over it. The best position painting companies can put themselves in is to run as lean as possible — don’t take on massive risks of loans, upgrading office/shop space, and any other financial decisions that may not pay off and be covered immediately. 

At the end of the day, make sure you know your target market and the demographics of your ideal clients, then evaluate — will they be the ones affected if a pullback in the economy happens, or will it be a different subset of people?

Rob Riemer, Distinctive Painting LLC, Bayfield, Wisconsin
We’re booked solid through 2023. Calls come nearly every week, but I decline all work and appointments for now. Everything would be different if I could just find some decent help.

Nick Slavik, Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co., New Prague, Minnesota
Through COVID, paint shortages and now talk of inflation, I’ve learned that focusing on externalities at the sake of business fundamentals (job costing, SOP’s, people development) is not a productive strategy in our industry at this time. 

The average paint business is 1.5 people, takes home $43k per year and goes out of business in about 2 years. This is not caused by externalities — it is caused by the owner’s lack of ability to execute their own business plan. If we win, if we fail, it’s all our fault — at least in this industry at this time in history.  

Anthony Sumait, Sumait & Sons Painting LLC, Ocean Shores, Washington
I want to find a good app to do my painting bids on, then keep lining the jobs up for next season, set a new year’s goal and conquer it. Good luck painters, you got this — dream big and don’t settle for less!

Finally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a static market through the end of the decade, reporting: Employment of painters, construction and maintenance is projected to show little or no change to 2031. Despite limited employment growth, about 31,600 openings for painters, construction and maintenance are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

What are your predictions? Tell us in the comments below!


 

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