Hiring and Training Quality House Painters
George Apap explains why it’s important to invest in current employees and how to attract new ones, and shares tips from his company’s process to provide a fulfilling career path.
Sponsored by Benjamin Moore
Finding, hiring, and retaining quality employees is probably the hardest topic for painting contractors. A commonly asked question is, “How do I get more painters?” The home-building industry in general is suffering from a lack of interest in the trades. This is compounded by an extremely tight labor market that has made it very difficult to find painters.
Don’t lose hope! It’s possible to develop a roster of quality painters, but there’s no magic wand—at least not one that gets instantaneous results. It’s a process.
Invest in the people you have
First, before you even begin looking for new employees, make sure you have solidified the people you already have. Find out if they’re happy and what they like and don’t like about your company, and make adjustments so they want to keep working for you. At George Apap Painting, we refer to this effort as “rekeeping.” We spend much more of our energy on keeping our existing employees than we do on recruiting new people. Working to retain people saves money, since we have already invested time in training them to do quality work.
Improve your hiring process
Having said that, we always need more people. Unfortunately, I don’t have any unique sources of applicants; we use traditional advertising in places like Indeed and other similar platforms. However, we have a process that differentiates us from other painting companies and allows us to attract the best talent without having to overpay.
First, we make sure to pay a competitive wage and offer a full range of benefits. In addition to that, we have a value proposition that is attractive to the potential employee. Most people are looking for a clear path of advancement and the better you can define that path, the better chance you have of attracting talent. If you’re wondering how your wages and benefits hold up to your competition, check out other advertisements and don’t shy away from forming peer groups with other industry professionals to learn from their experiences.
Develop a training program
This means you have to do some work ahead of time and actually create a very clear career path. We have a very formal training program that we call the Apap Academy. It has taken years to build and formalize this program, but it works—we are training craftsman-level painters. Today, we have more than 75 field employees and I have never had better, more motivated, or more skilled workers. I attribute this to the training program. People love to be trained and investing in people shows appreciation for their work.
If you’re looking to create a valuable training program, first start by writing out a curriculum and identify your training points. It’s easy to rush through lessons and over-teach in one sitting. Break down your lessons into digestible pieces and take it slow.
Companies looking to improve their hiring process need to give potential employees a great reason to choose their company. They then need to make sure to deliver on those promises to retain the best people and train them accordingly.