5 Good questions with Anthony Kaid: Insight from a painting business owner
1.) What’s been the biggest change in how you run your business since launching six years ago?
Definitely having structure. When we first started, we didn’t even have a calendar! We learned very quickly that having systems in place for scheduling, job management, finances, etc. is a must. Right now, we are working on finetuning our job costing. I didn’t even know why job costing was an important part of structure when we first opened up. It’s been a learn-as-we-go process. There is always room for improvement but we are much better off now than we were six years ago.
2.) What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
“Just because you can do a job doesn’t mean you should.” This is especially tough when first starting out because you want to take on anything and everything just to fill a schedule. Through hard knocks, we learned that there are certain types of jobs that we just shouldn’t do. The length of a job is also a big deal. We are a small company that relies heavily on referrals. If we are tied up on a huge job for a long time, that keeps us away from the rest of our client base and their referrals. We went through a few hard times where I had to do jobs in the evenings and on weekends just to have money coming in between payouts on big jobs. Not to mention trying to keep everyone else happy.
3.) As a business owner, what are your top three priorities?
Customer service is number one. Very simply, excellent customer service equals repeat business. Without excellent customer service, we really don’t have a future.
Second is making sure employees are happy. If an employee is unhappy for any reason, that shows in their work and the service they provide our clients. Their happiness isn’t a given. You have to nurture it. We do that, first, by paying them well for the level of work they’re doing. If their work is quality and their service is top-notch, we all win and they should be compensated for their contribution. In addition, we host outings, holiday parties, dinners with spouses, etc. to show our gratitude and strengthen our relationships with them as well as the relationships between employees.
And third is keeping up with social media. Much of our business comes from potential clients being able to see our work and reviews on social media platforms.
4.) What are your main performance indicators?
Obviously, whether or not we hit our target on hours for each job. We have been working on spreadsheets to show us exactly what the numbers and percentages are each month. We also make sure employees know that they can ask for help and we work alongside them constantly to help set production standards. Although speed equals profit, we keep the focus on the quality of the jobs. Performance is always there and increases if we are doing everything right.
5.) What would it take for you to feel happy about your progress in the year 2025?
I would say being able to spend less time in the field and more time focusing on the business. That’s essential to being able to push our business forward. It’s exhausting working on the jobs and then doing the business-end in evenings and on the weekends. Also to know that we have built a culture within our business that makes you want to come to work every day. Not many people can say that they love their job. We don’t want that to be the case here. We have come a long way in the last five years. I have no doubt that if we keep working hard and pushing forward that I will look back five years from now and smile.
Anthony Kaid started out in the trades as a drywall finisher. He worked alongside his father throughout his apprenticeship, where he learned most of the skills that he currently uses. After 10 years in the painters’ union working for various painting and drywall contractors, Anthony and his wife Ashley launched Kaid Painting and Drywall in the fall of 2014. Since then, they have been building a solid foundation for their business and making clients happy in Madison County, IL.