Has Anyone Seen The Keys To My Success?

The beliefs you and I hold are very powerful. Unfortunately, our experiences cannot always be trusted, because as the observer, our biases influence and form what we think we see and believe. You experienced something and it didn’t work. The results from that experience begin to form an opinion. Then, you tried it again and the results were the same.  It’s now confirmed, and you have the experiences to back it up.  You can now confidently say “been there… done that”.  Then you remind yourself of the definition of insanity ” is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. And now you have yet another reason to stop! Ha! So, you give yourself permission to stop doing whatever it was you were doing. Somehow, the brain blocks out all the other facts that are contrary to your experience and the door quietly closes.

As flawed humans, we occasionally come to wrong conclusions based on our personal experiences and this, combined with our unwillingness to keep going, leads to a closed door. Dan Pena called our unwillingness to continue our “emotional bank account”. He wisely recommends that keeping your emotional bank account full of fortitude, perseverance, resourcefulness, etc. is more important than money. Without it, the doors that allow for future opportunities to reach you are closed. Instead of continuing to push forward, we tell ourselves it’s just not possible.

A 99% True Story

I recently ran into a friend, Tim, (Tim is not his real name, it’s Bill, but he hates it when I use his real name). I have known Tim since the early 90’s. He had already been in business for 10-15
years prior to us becoming friends. He is a plumber and a darn good one.  On many occasions he would remark that he just couldn’t find good help. Occasionally Tim would hire someone and after a few months of frustration the employee would either quit or get fired. Over the years he would sporadically hire new people only to let them go for the same reasons: drugs, poor workmanship, or unreliability. His conclusion that you can’t find good help is based on personal experiences and a bankrupt emotional bank account which keeps him from continuing to search. Tim’s ego eagerly awaits his final rubber stamp. (This is a big metaphorical rubber stamp).

“It’s not you Tim. You obviously tried. The people of today suck! You just can’t find good help, and therefore it’s impossible to grow this business!”

The door closes and the latch slides across, and the ego shakes a red spray can from SW and sprays on the door: The opportunity for searching for additional plumbers is now closed. The ego then holds the spray can upside down to clean the valve, so it is ready for future signs.

Is Tim’s Conclusion Right?

Is finding good help easy? Of course not.  If it was easy, everyone would have a thriving business and the whole world would look like Chic-fil-A.

  • Chic-fil-A must have a door wedge and a hook at the top of the door that is latched to the wall preventing it from closing. I envision their big double doors read “Are you polite, energetic, cheerful?? Come one, come all and work for us today! Also, you are always off on Sundays!!

Is It Easy to Find Good Help?

No, but it is even harder to find good people if you quit looking for them.

You have every reason to feel unenthusiastic about starting the process over again. After all, who wants to go through that experience again. But at what cost is this to the income you are aiming for?

What are the results of our hero’s conclusions? First, he cannot except any job that requires 2 or more people. Ouch!His business is not sellable. OUCH!!

People don’t call him for large jobs. That hurts

Perhaps I am wrong, I often am on these things, but maybe it’s just easier for Tim to spare himself the drudgery and disappointment of trying to find good help. That, unfortunately, means his doors of opportunity are closed and locked tight. But is Tim aware of it? Does he not realize the consequences of a very subtle, but powerful decision? I’m sure if I asked Tim, “Tim, if I could snap my finger and bring you an awesome plumber would you hire him?” “Of course!” would be his reply. Companies don’t grow automatically. So here is the crucial point: Tim doesn’t know he shut the door, and so when there is an opportunity on the other side, he will never see it, hear it or get it. He’s crippled his chances to grow.

Tim no longer needs to focus on growing his business. He has consciously or unconsciously let himself off the hook. His negative experiences, plus a bankrupt emotional account and his ego, have only left one door open. It is called “The only jobs I will take are jobs I can do by myself.”

Can I ask you a question?

Question Section

Is it possible that you have unknowingly closed a door that could be opened?

Have you struggled at cold calling and networking and concluded it's not worth you’re your time and effort?

Have you procrastinated finding new customers through networking and phone calls because you just don’t have the time?

Have you said no to opportunities because you didn’t have the manpower (and you didn’t ask your neighbor franchisee’s if they had anyone?

Have you had some bad experiences when hiring a handyman? Have those experiences stopped you in the last 3 months from finding a replacement? Is it possible that door is closed?

Filling up your emotional bank account is first and foremost. How might this be done?

You could start with these questions:  How much money do you make from one painter per day? How much money do you make from one handyman per day? What combinations of workers would be best to reach your desired level of income? Once you figure this out, you can create a plan a strategy.

If your desired income would require you to have 5 decent handyman and 20 decent painters for example, does that sound impossible? If it sounds obtainable, great! If not, re-read the Question Section. Look at any object you can from where you are sitting. Look at the table, the chair, the electronic device you are reading this from, the house, whatever. How many people were in the design phase, management phase, cost analysis, and in the manufacturing and shipping of it? Is it possible that whatever object you choose, the staff to construct that is larger and more complicated than the staff and systems you need for you to reach your desired income? My point is, millions of people have faced the same challenges you have on the way to creating businesses much bigger than ours.

How to Avoid Emotional Bankruptcy?

Having a plan and sticking to it regardless of how difficult or hectic your day is, will keep you focused and keep your doors open.  The goals and desires you have are attainable. You are running a business in the greatest country and hottest economy in the world! But to reach your desired income, it will require some small but continuous changes from you! The “Daily Activity Sheet” in the “Increase Profit Folder” I’ve found to be very helpful for me personally. It forces me to be honest and ask questions about how I spent my day, and did it help me get closer to my goals. Perhaps you don’t need a tool like this, but if you could use a little bit of daily self-evaluation, you might want to give it a try.

Stay away from excuses because they will drain your emotional bank account. And besides people can see through an excuse before the sentence is even completed. Excuses are for adolescents and low achievers, not professionals like you. It’s not always easy to recognize your own closed doors. They are not obvious to the one who shut them. It is camouflaged with our own experiences and ego that is quick to make an excuse. So keep your eyes open, hold yourself accountable, and make something good happen!

10 Good Customers – Franchise Success

Here’s a question for you:  How many companies could survive with just 10 good customers?   Not many, right?  In fact, a lot of businesses must be constantly attracting new customers because their previous ones move from one option to the next based on convenience, price, or whim.  As a result, these companies spend a lot of money on marketing and advertising in order to attract a sufficient number of customers to maintain their current level of sales and continue to grow.  But what if you had 10 big customers who you did work for year after year, and who provided you with $100,000 worth of work each year?  That gets you to $1 Million in annual sales in a franchise business where your initial investment was less than $80,000.

So, who are these 10 customers and how do we find them?  Well, at Klappenberger Painting & Handyman, there are a few companies like this that all my franchises are doing work for which spreads the wealth, provides better coverage for the customer if they have multiple locations, and creates more opportunities for work in the future.

Example Customer

For example, we do work for Medstar which is a medical facility with two dozen major hospitals and 380 walk-in clinics.  All of our franchisees are averaging $123,000 per year from this one account.  The work we do includes painting, carpentry, small remodels and handyman services.

We also have developed great relationships with retail chains like Crate and Barrel, Verizon, Bass Pro, J Crew, PJ Welinhans and Cracker Barrel restaurants where we do all their painting on a semi-annual basis. We are averaging $57,000 in 2018 and that is expected to increase significantly in 2019.   We currently have the opportunity with PJ Wilinhans in the Philadelphia and New Jersey markets to do approximately $900,000 worth of work over the next year or so.

In addition, we are expanding our relationships with some major property management companies such as Long & Foster.  They provide us with a steady flow of work that includes, painting, handyman, and power washing. We are looking to start our ideal franchise owners off on the right foot.

Franchise Success

Developing these kinds of relationships for and with our franchisees allows them to build significant businesses that continue to grow because they have customers like this who will give them repeat work.  Some of these are large projects that can rapidly increase our revenue and demonstrate our capabilities and expertise to other companies we want to attract.  This is another example of how, at Klappenberger Painting & Handyman, we work hard and smart to help our franchisees succeed. Contact us to start a franchise with us!

What Separates Klappenberger From the Rest?

The Klappenberger Franchise Advantage

A fundamental question I asked myself when I decided to franchise my painting and handyman business of thirty years is “What are the key advantages I can offer in my franchise that will set me apart from the other franchise companies in this segment?”  It is a question that I thought long and hard about.  Because my painting and handyman business was going to be the model that I would be using, I wanted to make sure I included in the franchise model the same elements that made my own business a success.  And using the decades of learning and experience I had accumulated along the way, what could I then provide, reward, and teach that other companies do not?”

What Klappenberger & Son Provides To Franchises

I can provide 6 weeks of training instead of the standard 2 weeks.  For the life of me, I don’t know how someone can be trained in two weeks to run any business!  During training we help our franchisees find customers, give estimates, identify and hire their staff, and start doing actual jobs in their territory.  I am not aware of any other painting/handyman franchise that does this.  Truth told – this can’t be done in two weeks.

I can provide the largest territories of any painting and handyman franchise in the country.  My territories are between 400,000 and 500,000 people.  If a franchise is to prosper, they need a large enough territory to build a significant business.

I can reward my franchisee’s with lower royalties as their business grows.  Our royalty fees drop as their gross revenues increase.  Why?  Because I believe in rewarding hard work that produces tangible results.

I personally teach my franchisees how to close the sale.  You can do a lot to generate customer leads and write estimates for prospective jobs, but if you can’t turn those estimates into actual jobs, that’s a lot of time and money wasted.  The close rates on job estimates by Klappenberger franchisees is almost double the national average, and we are not the cheapest guys in town by any means!

My goal is to have the most satisfied and successful franchisees in our industry.   My commitment is to provide the tools, mentoring, and support they need to achieve that goal.  We have a support staff that has been in the industry for decades and knows the obstacles and challenges that franchisees face.   With a commitment from the franchisee to follow the system and work the business, I know we can do great things together.

6 Reasons to Franchise

Have you ever thought about owning your own business? Of course. The question naturally turns to what business should I get into it? Should I franchise or start my own? Can afford to buy a franchise? Here are some real benefits I’ve found to franchising. In full disclosure, I started my own professional painting business 26 years ago and am now franchising it. Having a painting franchise is great because I get to experience, work with and advise on how to build a painting business.


A common question I hear is “Why should I buy a franchise when I could start my own business for less?” It’s a good question and in my industry, professional painting, but there are a lot of reasons to join a franchise.

Reasons to Start a Franchise

Avoid Costly Mistakes

There are hundreds of mistakes you would make starting on your own business and each mistake will cost between $125.00 and $1,000’s. Trust me I have had some whoppers. I believe there are about 800 mistakes I’ve made and if each mistake cost an average of $250.00 x 800 mistakes I gave $200,000 to the school of hard knocks. Hey Bernie, do you cover tuition at the school of Hard Knocks? When you buy a franchise, they teach you how to avoid these mistakes. We have put together videos called “What Went Wrong” where we cover tons of mistakes and how to avoid them. We also have a franchise training process.

Franchises are Sellable

You buy a franchise for say $30,000 and build it up for 5-10 years you can sell it for about 2.5 -3 times your gross owners’ compensation! Having your own small business is harder to sell than one with brand recognition. Many times small businesses will just sell their assets and close their doors.

Franchises are More Successful Than New Businesses

Over a seven-year period, a franchise will fail 20% of the time as opposed to 70% of all startups fail. The learning curve has been figured out and the franchisee will the benefactor if they follow the system.

A Built-In Mentor

The continued support you get when buying a franchise helps you steer the ship with a team of experienced players. You don’t have to wing it or hire a consultant team. If you have a question your franchisor will have the experience to answer it.

Pre-Existing & Managed Marketing

I don’t know of a single franchise that won’t handle the website, social media. They have plenty of marketing info at your fingertips. It’s a great relief to have these things handled for you. So now your time is freed up to grow your business –or play golf (with an important client).

Business Growth Expertise

Business growth expert Dan Pena recommends growing a business as fast as possible and then selling it. He recommends surrounding yourself with whatever investors, experts (franchisor) you need and sell the mess in 5 years for a boatload of money and start something else. A franchise fits well because a franchisor has everything in place for you to:

  • Get the best RIO for your marketing dollars
  • Grow your customer base most effectively
  • Improve margins
  • Sell your business

Start Your Painting Franchise

If you are self-motivated and are willing to follow a proven process, start a painting franchise at Klappenberger & Son. Franchising will save you money, and allow you to build a business faster than starting one on your own.

For questions or comments please contact David Klappenberger at dklappenberger@klappenbergerandson.com or call 410-647-5700.