Contractor Q&A: Chuck Kocinski on training, turning points and video marketing

Contractor Q&A: Chuck Kocinski on training, turning points and video marketing

Based in Parma, Ohio, Paint Medics Inc. specializes in residential and commercial repaints, aluminum/vinyl siding refinishing, and deck and fence staining. We sat down with owner Chuck Kocinski to find out a little bit of what he’s learned as a professional painting contractor over the past 30 years.

How did you get started in the painting industry?

Painting has been my passion ever since I was a little kid. I was good at it and it offered me a sense of therapy and satisfaction. During my college years, I decided to give it a try on a professional level. I loved it and decided to do it for a living from then on.

What were some of the turning points in the growth of your company?

Some of our major turning points started happening when we began investing money in quality spray equipment, and setting up each work vehicle with the main airless sprayer along with a backup sprayer or two to eliminate downtime.

Now we show up with at least three to four ladders for each worker and a box truck or van full of tarps, masking guns and painting tools. For interiors, we also invested money into rolling scaffolds for high ceilings or tall walls.

Time is money, so we try to be very efficient to be competitive. We also cut out the unnecessary marketing strategies and focus on what works. The majority of our work is referrals. People love that we answer our phone and respond to them within five minutes 99 percent of the time.

You’re using videos to market your company. How is that working?

We use video and social media to let the customers get a personal view of who they are dealing with and to show how much we love and are proud of what we do. After analyzing all the feedback from past customers, we found that it eases their mind to know that the owner is not just a salesman but an actual painter offering many decades of hands-on experience.

The videos and pictures show exactly how we do things and who will be at the job sites. They take no real special effort, just a cell phone and a person who is proud of what they do and wants to give a potential customer a front-seat view.

How do you approach training?

We prefer to train those who are willing and eager to learn the trade. We do work in a matter which puts prep and set-up before the actual painting. This process yields a nice finished product with a job site that ends up cleaner than when we showed up.

When we hire seasoned painters, they usually bring their old way of doing things from their past employers which a lot of the time interferes with the quality we expect and desire. We end up having that person shadow another Paint Medics Inc. employee until we are certain they will meet our company’s strict standards. Once we see that a person will fit our mold, then we keep them busy in a comfortable, non-confrontational environment in conjunction with benefits of a production and quality-based work environment. If you take care of your workers, they love coming to work and they bring on their friends and associates.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best pieces of advice I received from an old business owner were that “the show runs only as good as its leader” and the “biggest indicator of future behavior is current behavior.”

Do you recommend painting as a career choice?

My painting career has been very fulfilling for me. It rewarded me for all the time dedicated to the art of painting from my childhood and school days to the present day. By keeping the aspect of art in the whole scheme of things it keeps my satisfaction balanced by getting rewarded for what I always loved to do. I recommend painting for anyone who loves to work with their hands and enjoys the satisfaction of making his or her surroundings beautiful. We also make a lot of friends on our painting journey.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of PPC magazine. Chuck Kocinski was interviewed by Mike Starling, PPC Editor. Read more of what pro painters have discovered on the job in the PPC What I’ve Learned archive.