In 1986, Iverson Painting was started by Mark Sr. and Barb Iverson in their hometown of Rockford, Illinois. Known for their quality of work and the individualized customer service you’d expect from a family-run business, Iverson Painting began to grow a regional customer base.

A little over a year after founding the company, the Iverson’s welcomed their sons, Paul and Mark II, to the family business. Today, Paul successfully manages a growing team of full-time, professional painters while maintaining the three pillars of the family business’ philosophy: quality painting, customer service and fair pricing.

Positioned to Reach Today’s Customers

At the end of 2014, Paul reached out to our team at Thinker Ventures knowing Iverson Painting was in need of a new website. Iverson Painting had grown so rapidly in the last decade that not only their website but also their approach to future business planning, strategic analysis and job estimation could be optimized to increase profitability.

We worked with Paul to begin a two-year process to boost profitability that included the following activities:

  • Completed a comprehensive strategic business analysis
  • Developed an overhead cost estimation model & calculator
  • Defined demographic and geographic targeting
  • Created a new brand identity and website redesign
  • Refocused marketing ad spend away from traditional towards digital
  • Developed performance pay program for employees

As we began working with Paul to understand the unique business challenges facing Iverson Painting due to rapid growth over the last three decades, we identified there were certain jobs that the company should not be accepting in order to remain profitable. Using years of financial and existing customer data, we completed an extensive audit that showed a database-proven formula for which clients contributed to Iverson Painting’s highest profit margin on a job.

Of the clients that Iverson Painting was accepting, only around 60% of them were contributing to profitability. The data showed that interior and exterior paint jobs were significantly more profitable than exterior deck staining. Iverson Painting had grown beyond the early days as a new company that needed to take any and every job. They could now be more selective when accepting new clients, and this also meant they could increase prices for jobs that fell outside of their ideal job type and customer profile.

But that’s not all – in addition to establishing the ideal job and client type for profitability, we also worked with Paul to develop a pricing model that could be used when estimating jobs. By ensuring overhead costs were always covered in every job, Iverson Painting was guaranteeing profitability on every job and setting the price accordingly.

By honing in on the job types that would make Iverson Painting most profitable and doing fewer of the jobs that were hurting the bottom line, Paul was able to spend time with us scouring the market for new and existing customer relationships that were worth continuing to pursue. The result of this exercise was a fully-defined demographic and geographic targeting method that could be used for future job prospecting in and around the Rockford area.

Refreshing the Brand Identity

Once we had successfully helped refocus Iverson Painting’s business objectives around the future growth of the company, we came to the fun part – a new brand identity and website! While the original paint can with the dripping red paint was an anecdotal piece of company history, it was time for an upgrade. At the core of the company is a desire to complete quality painting projects for their clients. So, we kept the original red but reframed it around a new aesthetic that communicated their professionalism to an upscale clientele. We did this while emphasizing the familiar family name of “Iverson Painting” in a new, bold typeface.

Several additional projects we have supported at Iverson Painting have been the development of a performance pay program for employees. This stemmed from Paul’s desire to foster an incentive-based culture among his team of hard-working professionals. We also worked with him to refocus marketing ad spend away from the dated, traditional print outlets that yielded little-to-no conversions towards digital ad spend and strategic brand placements.

A Profit-Focused Approach

Over the course of our years-long partnership with Iverson Painting, Paul has put into practice the new approach to estimating and accepting new jobs. As a result, Iverson Painting has been able to even further hone in on which clients are most profitable using our original cost model. The focus on profitability has helped position Iverson Painting as the premier painter in their region, and their approach to new growth is proving to be incredibly effective.

As a part of an ongoing desire to improve upon the models that helped Iverson Painting get to where they are today, Thinker Ventures has done periodic audits to ensure the current client database is contributing to optimal profitability. This is where an ongoing profit-focused mentality is helping Iverson Painting keep their eyes on the prize.