Rock Solid Painting Co, LLC – Mogadore, OH
Many years ago, Eric Stalter began his journey into the painting trade in a round-about way. He grew up on a grain and livestock farm in south central Wisconsin. According to Eric, “It was a place where you were accustomed to risk, like burying money in the ground and hoping it returned as crops.” In high school Eric loved the “hands-on” classes such as shop, art and home economics courses. He earned a BA in Business Administration at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, married after graduation, moved to northeastern Ohio, and began some self-evaluation.
According to Eric, the journey continued as follows: “I worked several 'bottom tier' jobs in order to make ends meet, and one of those jobs was working part-time at a paint store. The paint company focused on numerous training courses which led to product knowledge and best practices for painting. By far, the best form of learning was watching and listening to both the good and bad painting contractors. While working another full-time job, I worked my way from part-time up to a store manager within the painting company. After I left the company I worked various sales and service jobs but had started to paint part-time as jobs and referrals arose. I started to incorporate the knowledge of products, techniques, paint, and expanding experience into a passion for serving people by offering a valued service. Until this point I ignored the subtle voice of my bride, my desire to work independently, and a passion to work with my hands. The perfect storm stirred and cast me into the direction of starting a new adventure. Thus, Rock Solid Painting Co. LLC was officially born in June of 2014. I started out alone with many accumulated tools, a minivan, 4 weeks of work, and one professional contact (a carpenter). Since that first year we have transitioned from just me to subcontracted labor to two more full time employees. We are not only building our residential clientele but have also started to incorporate turning over middle to high-end investment homes. We are building relationships with other businesses/trades/entrepreneurs in order to develop and capture more work - we like to keep the ‘good guys’ working. We are continuing to cultivate partnerships in order to expand our collective businesses.”
When asked why he joined PDCA, Eric replied: “There were several motivators behind joining the PDCA. First, we were intrigued by the contractor education that was offered through podcasts, webinars, Contractor College, and those professionals that were willing to take calls. Secondly, we thought highly of the legitimacy that this organization adds to painting contractors who join. Thirdly, this helps to set us apart from many other painting contractors. Finally, it helps give me motivation and insight into running my business like a business.”
“One of the most valuable benefits of PDCA has been listening to other contractors. It’s the men who are and have been in the industry that give the most insight.
They give great perspective and thought into the ways that make you a more exceptional tradesman and business owner.”
Eric’s insight into using the PDCA Industry Standards and PDCA’s impact on his company’s success: “We feel the PDCA Industry Standards have allowed us to define the responsibilities, criteria, and procedures in dealing with our current clientele. These items clarify responsibilities, duties, job performance, and specifically what is or is not included in a job. Guidelines like this give each party a clear and concise set of rules to play by.”
“We believe that the membership has allowed us to be more confident in our approach to differentiating ourselves and how we operate; specifically, knowing our numbers, the bottom line, and keeping our profit margin at an acceptable level.
Knowing these items will keep you headed in the right direction and will keep your company profitable. A growing business = profit.”
Eric feels two of the top concerns of today’s contractors are: finding and keeping quality employees and knowing your business (specifically clientele and finances). To solve these problems he feels it is a matter of coming up with a game plan to attract potential employees to a career in the trades and adapting to a different mindset and/or offering different compensation methods.
Words of wisdom from a successful business man to fellow PDCA members: “Listen, think, and adapt. Focus on setting yourself apart with ideas, habits, service, quality, and a keen sense of your business. Understand that your learning will continue as you grow your company and meet other successful tradesmen.” Eric Stalter