addressed those challenges. "We explain our whole program –
how we'll standardize the home buyers' selection process,
eliminate the need for the painting contractor to be present,
and even head off callbacks by giving the home buyers a free
touch-up kit. We make up a book that shows how we ‘systematize'
the paint upgrade selection process," he explains. "The
presentation book contains digital images of the builder's
model houses, some popular upgrade ideas, and our prices
to the builder."
"If we get the business, it's easy to modify the book and use
it as a sales piece for the home buyer."
Defining the Market
O'Meara targets home builders who share his own high standards
for quality work. "We don't compete on price…that's not where
the margins are," he explains. "We look for builders who produce
a good product that is reflected in the price – individuals who
understand that it takes a certain amount of time to deliver a
high degree of quality and perfection on a job. Those are the
builders who are catering to the home buyer market we want to reach."
To find these builders, O'Meara maintains a database of the best prospects
in his area. Once a year, he sends them photos of DOMCO's recent
jobs, accompanied by a post card with his business card attached.
"Every time I do a mailer I'll pick up at least two RFPs" [requests
for proposal], he says. "The expense is low, and the approach is
A long-standing member of his local home builders association, O'Meara
buys booth space at the group's annual show. Two years ago, one
builder came by to look at photos of his work. Today, O'Meara does
all of the painting at three of the builder's developments,
including a subdivision with 117 homes. Other sources of leads
include dodge Reports and, of course, word-of-mouth.
|DOMCO turns its
profit by providing superior quality at premium prices to new home builders -
Building a Base
One by one, O'Meara has closed upgrade deals with some of the
better builders in his area. They buy into his approach and
his uncompromising standards on products and workmanship.
"Our letterhead stresses that ‘quality and investment
count,'" says O'Meara. "DOMCO was founded on that premise."
"I've gone to the paint manufacturers, visited their plants, found
out how their products are made, picked their brains. In doing
so, I've learned that in general, the more money you spend on
a can of paint, the better quality, and the less you'll
spend on labor," he says. "If we go in to paint a room and get
100 percent accurate color coverage with two coats of paint,
we're ahead of the game, as opposed to using a less expensive
paint that might take three or four coats before the coverage
is satisfactory," O'Meara explains.
"From an investment standpoint, the client gets better value
from a higher priced, higher quality paint
because he or she might get 12 years instead of 7 years or less
out of a job. That's another angle in our sales approach:
Quality paint may cost more initially, but it's an investment
that pays off in a longer-lasting paint job."
Quality workmanship is the other part of O'Meara's value equation.
At DOMCO, it starts by training new employees in all aspects of
painting. "We assign our new people to master painters and bring
them up the ladder, so to speak," says O'Meara.
Apprentices start by carrying items to the job site and doing
cleanup. Next, they perform surface preparation. "We take them
aside, show them what they're doing right and critique what
doesn't meet our standards," says O'Meara. "It's only when they
have the surface preparation down that we have them pushing a
brush and painting."
Eventually, most DOMCO employees become specialized.