5 Good questions with Dave Scaturro: Insight from a painting business owner
1.) WHAT DOES YOUR COMPANY DO TO ENSURE THE SUCCESS OF ALL EMPLOYEES?
I think it starts with our structured hiring process. We follow Jack Welch’s philosophy of ‘hire slow and fire fast’ and take a lot of time to make sure we’re bringing the right people on board. No matter what the role, it’s all about attitude and work ethic.
Once they’re hired, we outline their path to success by providing a very detailed job description and an outline of the reporting structure, as well as the roles that they can move into down the road.
And then we train. We do so much training. Field guys don’t even go out until they’ve completed a two-day safety training and have demonstrated that they can do all their duties up to our standards.
We also have apprenticeship training for our craftsman, encourage our journeymen to pursue NACE Coating Inspector training, and send our sales team and project managers to conventions (SSPC, PCA and World of Concrete) to learn best practices. In addition, we hire a variety of business coaches for our directors. As far as we’re concerned, no matter what your position, you’re never done learning.
2.) WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEANINGFUL DIFFERENTIATOR WHEN VYING FOR BUSINESS?
It’s about not being a commodity. People will judge you the same as everyone else unless you can quickly prove you’re different in a positive and meaningful way. The fact that we’ve been around for 44 years goes a long way in terms of making a great first impression, as do the testimonials we’ve amassed over time.
Another thing that helps is our marketing. Our website has over 1,000 pages because we position ourselves as specialists. If someone Googles ‘warehouse distribution waterproofing Bergen County’ we’re going to come up and they’re going to land on a page filled with pictures and case studies that demonstrate we’re exactly what they’re looking for.
3.) WHAT IS ONE OF THE BEST OR MOST WORTHWHILE INVESTMENTS YOU’VE EVER MADE?
Two investments that really stand out for me are our custom estimating program and our grit recycling equipment. Both of these investments have made us more efficient, which has benefitted our customers and allowed us to live up to our own expectations of excellent service.
4.) WHAT FAILURE, OR APPARENT FAILURE, HAVE YOU LEARNED THE MOST FROM?
The biggest lesson I learned through pain was overpromising and underdelivering. When I first went into sales, I wanted to impress everybody. I would explain how a job would unfold, acting as if we always operate at peak efficiency. Over time, I realized we weren’t getting great reviews. The problem was that I was setting the bar too high for our crews and ignoring the fact that jobs don’t always run smoothly.
Now I talk about potential problems and things that can delay a project. Basically, I’m realistic up front and then we overdeliver. It’s a much better scenario for all.
5.) IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS, WHAT NEW HABIT OR WAY OF THINKING HAS MOST IMPROVED YOUR LIFE?
The concept that time spent in the car is for learning. I can be in the car for two+ hours a day. I used to listen to music, but now I listen to books and podcasts. I like to think I’ve earned my graduate degree in painting while on the road.
This one change has really had a big impact on me as a human being, an employer and a business owner.
Dave Scaturro is a second-generation contractor and the VP of Alpine Painting & Sandblasting Contractors in Paterson, NJ. As one of the company owners, he runs the Commercial Painting division and is passionate about learning the newest technology for the industry and training Alpine’s craftsmen, sales associates and project managers to follow the company’s vision to be the best service provider.
Scaturro holds a certification as a NACE Level 1 Coating Inspector and is active in the PCA. He currently serves as the vice chair on the organization’s National Board of Directors. AlpinePainting.com