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Spencer Packer, Owner at 360º Painting of Kennesaw
Spencer Packer is an MBA from Brigham Young University. He worked for CIA for several years out of Graduate School, transitioned to the private sector, and worked for Target and The Home Depot in leadership roles.
He purchased 360 Painting franchise and went live in February of this year (2022). He is married with 4 kids (2 boys and 2 girls) ages 12 – 21.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:07] Welcome to Franchise Marketing Radio. Brought to you by SeoSamba comprehensive high performing marketing solutions for mature and emerging franchise brands. To supercharge your franchise marketing, go to seosamba.com. That’s seosamba.com.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:32] Lee Kantor here another episode of Franchise Marketing Radio, and this is going to be a fun one. Today on the show we have Spencer Packer with 360 painting of Kennesaw. Welcome, Spencer.
Spencer Packer: [00:00:43] Hey, thank you. I appreciate you having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:45] Well, I’m excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about 360 painting. How are you serving folks?
Spencer Packer: [00:00:50] So we are a painting business. We do exterior and interior painting both for commercial and residential sectors. We also do fences, decks, garage floors, concrete staining. So anybody, whether they’re commercial or residential, they need some some painting work done. That’s where we come in.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:09] So now tell us a little bit about your story. You’re the franchisee in Kennesaw. Were you always in interested in painting?
Spencer Packer: [00:01:19] So I’ve always been interested in owning and running my own business. Just a little slow to act on it. I actually worked for the government, actually for the CIA for a number of years out of a graduate school did that, was away from the family for a long time and returned did some work for Target as well as the Home Depot. Just kind of always had that dream to want to run and own my own business. I finally decided to act on it and really look to this this type of business. I fell in love with premium service brands, which is the company that owns 360 painting, just had a great business model, easy to scale. And but I’ve always I’ve done painting. I’ve done a lot of that in my life. So look, something I was pretty good at and could feel like I could excel from a customer service perspective.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:03] So now walk me through kind of the thought process. When you decide, okay, I am want to do something else. I’ve been working with these large enterprise businesses over the years and now I want to venture out on my own. Did you ever consider, Hey, why don’t I open up my own? You know, Shingle Spencer, the consultant, I can, you know, figure out something to sell somebody. Did you ever want to do something like that?
Spencer Packer: [00:02:30] I did. I looked at a number, different franchises. I looked at doing stuff on my own. But really, since I’ve never ventured out into the entrepreneurial world, I felt like it was probably the smarter thing to do to look at established companies with good reputations that I could follow a proven system. I felt like that was probably more kind of what I would be good at, what was suitable for me at the time. And so I did a lot of investigating, looked at a number, different franchises, a number of different businesses, even those I could run myself, but just so far really happy with with 360 painting and premium service brands and the support that they that they provide and just a proven business model, I could go in and provide outstanding customer service and build on that that that brand awareness and that that reputation that they’ve built for a number of years now.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:18] How did you kind of narrow it down to them? Like you said, there’s lots and lots of choices when it comes to choosing, which once you decide to, you know, go down the path of franchise. Right. It’s not like there’s only three to pick from. Like there’s thousands.
Spencer Packer: [00:03:33] That’s right. And there were a number of good ones. I felt like with this one, it was one where I could get into. There weren’t a lot of barriers to entry. I felt like I could go in with a professional appearance, a professional presentation, and make an immediate difference, since it’s an industry that’s not really heavily regulated or dominated at this point by just a few different companies. There are a lot of painters out there, some good, some not so good. And so I felt like this was one where I could really make an immediate impact, an immediate difference and really start to scale it quite quickly. That’s really what did it did for me. There were a number of other viable good options for me as well, but I really felt like having just done a ton of painting in my life where I can really assess the quality and as well as the type of customer service and be able to feel like I could beat my competition in that respect. That’s kind of what what really did it for me in terms of helping me make my decision to go with 360 painting.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:24] Now, did you always go in with the mindset of, okay, I’m here to build an empire? I’m not just here to build one painting, you know, location here in Kennesaw.
Spencer Packer: [00:04:36] Correct? Yeah. I’ve always had that mindset that I want to scale and like you said, build an empire and quickly get to $1,000,000 business and keep going from there and and purchase other territories, purchase other businesses. So this is this is sort of my first foray into it. It’s been going really well so far and excited to, like said, build an empire.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:57] So now when you kind of first said, okay, now I’ve narrowed it down to franchising, now I’ve narrowed it down to the 360 painting. So now I’m really going to I’m really considering doing this. Were you was it the only kind of choice left or had you kind of did you have a couple you were considering? And then eventually just obviously went with 360.
Spencer Packer: [00:05:23] Yeah. No, there were a number I was considering. I kept narrowing it down a little by little. I was working with a franchise consultant really for several months at least, I think four months by the time I finally. Well, probably three months, three and a half months or so. And then I whittle it down to just 360. But there were there were was a ten at first, then it was five and then it was then it was really between three and really 360. I did the discovery days at each of those. I really dove in and it really made the most sense for me to do 360 from a number of different perspectives. Just feel like my ability to to become profitable, make a difference in the community, really sell my business and establish my reputation. Early on, I feel like 360 was was the one that was going to be the best fit for me and I, having done that for a few months, I feel even stronger about that.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:16] So now when you were going through the narrowing down process, what were some of the things that after you kind of as you’re doing that process, you’re obviously educating yourself of what’s out there and how people present themselves. And and things probably started going, okay, this is a red flag or this is a must have. Can you share a little bit about what are some of the red flags for you and what are some of the must haves?
Spencer Packer: [00:06:40] Well, for me, the red flags were, if it takes a while to be profitable, if I looked at as I’m looking at KPIs, I’m looking at some of the the the documents and from from some of the franchisees and looking how long it takes for them to become profitable. Really, it was one thing to to to create a great revenue stream, revenue stream for three 1624 premium service brands. But I wanted to kind of be like, okay, how soon can I be profitable? What are my margins? So I wanted to see what is what is my ability to become profitable. That was one, I think, to just the level of support hearing from other franchisees. I didn’t get a sense that they were receiving outstanding support from the parent company or from the franchise and that they were kind of there every step of the way to kind of get them moving with the right help marketing production, just the administrative staff providing financial help, not in terms of like necessary financial assistance with loans, but with with regards to bookkeeping and just some some basic business principles that will help the franchisee become successful. So I really sensed that that was there were some red flags there when I was looking at some of the other other businesses and talking to some of the franchisees and just felt like, oh, I that’s I can tell they’re frustrated.
Spencer Packer: [00:07:51] I can tell they’ve, you know, they’re inundated and they’re not necessarily getting the support they need from from the parent company or the franchise. So I think to just just the amount of debt some people are taking on, I think also just the level of kind of feeling weighed down when they initially go into this franchise. Obviously, with 360, it’s one where it’s it’s it’s a painting business. So there’s not a buy in comparison. There’s not a ton that goes into it. In terms of the franchise fee, I mean, it’s it’s less than most that there’s there’s not as many barriers to entry. So really for me, the red flags were the things that would I felt like we’re going to preclude me from becoming profitable quickly, as well as just not providing me the level of support in terms of marketing, bookkeeping, any kind of level support that I needed to to to be successful.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:44] Now, did something happen where you were like, okay, I get this. This makes perfect sense. This is the one for me. Like, did was there something that was like an epiphany moment for you that you were like, okay, I’m in the right place. These are my people.
Spencer Packer: [00:08:57] I don’t know if there was necessarily one. I think it was just talking to the franchisees one, one on one and even going out and having had lunch with with a couple of them and just really getting a sense of their day to day activities. I mean, like, okay, can I can I do this is something that do you have to really just sort of just get lucky? Do you have to just sort of be just the exact right personality? Is there something super unique to to a successful franchisee, or is it something that I feel like not only I, but a lot of people can do just by putting in a lot of hard work and following the system? And so I think after probably talking to my third franchisee and and this was this was in the midst of going to the discovery days, too, and getting to know the team up there in Charlottesville, Virginia, that would be supporting me. And so I think all those kind of combined, I guess really once I took my wife up to Discovery days and also had her meet with a couple of the franchisees once she was on board because she’s a little harder to convince, more conservative in terms not wanting to take chances. She was really once she was kind of convinced like, yeah, this is this is going to be a good deal for you. That’s I guess that even though I was convinced that was that really is what I guess was the the biggest aha decision maker for me is like, okay if she’s, she’s really excited about it, she’s into it, then this is a no brainer. We got to do it.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:14] So now you go through the process, you sign on the dotted line and then you’re off and running. So you went live, what, the early this year. Right?
Spencer Packer: [00:10:23] Yes. In mid mid-February. Correct.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:25] So now it’s day one or day zero. What are you doing to ensure a successful launch? And what are they doing for you to ensure a successful launch?
Spencer Packer: [00:10:36] So I have weekly calls with my coach. We have a coach there that really looks at all of our KPIs. They’re looking at all of our performance indicators or metrics. You know, how many estimates are we doing each week? How many leads are we getting each week? How many? How many jobs are we getting each week? What’s our average job size? What are the cogs? The cost of goods sold? What what what kind of customer feedback are you getting? So they we have a number of different systems. One of them is, is listen 360 and we get feedback from every person we do a painting job for and they provide detailed feedback on what kind of job we’re doing. So also, too, I have a call periodically with my with our marketing director to kind of go over just the cost per lead, the cost per estimate, the cost per job, how much I’m spending versus how much I’m getting back in it. So there’s a lot of support and they have a number of different programs. Right now. I’m using Scorpion for my website and Google Marketing. I’m using a bunch of different lead aggregators, a company called Clarity. I’m also using a company called Pro Leo to really just do a lot of social media ads for me to get the word out.
Spencer Packer: [00:11:45] I’ve also joined a BNI network. Also, I’ve been in with the Kennesaw Business Association. I’ve been out there to get my name and our business profile out doing some events there. So really a lot. I mean, I’ve spent probably even more than the recommended amount of marketing. We are asked to spend a certain amount in the first three months. I’ve gone even above and beyond that, just to really kind of push hard at first, to get to get our to get our name out what we do or our reputation. And then we, we have a referral program to that we use with the customers. And so we certainly use that extensively. But it starts with the coaching call that we get each week and really going over all everything that’s working for us, how much money is being allotted to it to make sure we’re on on target, not only to to generate revenue and generate sales, but more importantly, to make sure we’re profitable. And we’re not just not just earning money, but but going bankrupt in the process by by doing some foolish things.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:48] Now, you mentioned that kind of that level of support was important to you and that level of, you know, kind of watching your back as you progress. Right. Are you it sounds like the coaching is helpful as an accountability partner. Are there are they giving you kind of levers that you can consistently pull that are going to bubble up the leads you need in order to make the sales you need? Like, do you have do you feel confident that if I do these three things every day, then success, eventually it has to happen?
Spencer Packer: [00:13:22] Well, they are. And I’ve already I’ve already seen that. I’ve been like I’ve been pretty successful. We’re starting up in this area, brand new. We’ve done quite well. Obviously, we want to keep pushing. But as far as the levers go, yes, that’s one thing we talk about extensively during our coaching calls, just putting certain amount of money into at least initially certain lead aggregators, which we’ve always kind of monitored, which lead aggregators are working because not all the aggregators work the same in each areas. I talked to some of my 360 colleagues in Texas. I use a little bit more of one. They use a little bit more of other because they haven’t had as much success with one I’ve had success with. So that is a little bit region specific and then also varying success with related to some of the business networking groups that you associate with. So we do kind of look at that and we have reports that we kind of dove into extensively to see what how many jobs have come from certain marketing campaigns. What’s our is it so really, I’m kind of looking at what’s the cost per lead and what is the cost per estimate and does that making sense to keep using? And so I found in just the first few months I’ve done this, I don’t even know if I’ve quite been.
Spencer Packer: [00:14:33] Well, I guess I’ve just barely passed my three month mark that I have even already. I get that we’re going to see much more of this going forward. But when I have done certain things, put more money into certain programs that I’m seeing, more and more jobs come from it. I think I’ll see more results from like a direct mail campaign. I haven’t seen the results from that specifically yet, but I’m starting to put more money into that and I’m already getting a lot of leads and a lot of estimates from that. But I don’t know. It’ll be interesting to see what the average job size from those from that campaign, from the direct mail, what that results in. And we’ll kind of have to see. But so far as I’ve done certain things with Google as well as with them with some of my social media campaigns, as well as the lead aggregators I’ve seen, I’ve already seen, okay, this pull this lever, this is what I’m getting from it. And so it’s been kind of fun to be able to test out certain things and see what works and what doesn’t.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:30] Now, as you kind of progress in the business, is it primarily a B to C play? Is it like you’re doing residential homes or is it B to B play as well where you’re going into businesses and doing work there.
Spencer Packer: [00:15:45] It is a B to B play. I’ve done a little bit of that, but it’s mostly for to start out and this is kind of the advice for my coach as well as some of the others there at 360 up in Charlottesville is to start out mainly with with residential and with just the customer. So I’ve been then primarily targeting a marketing to new homeowners or people moving as obviously. But I have been working a lot too with, with real estate agents, some interior designers, some. People are more in other home services and construction people just to get more get my foot in the door. And that’s and that’s work. We’ve received a few jobs from from some real estate agents. And and so I’m going to start pushing that more and more as I get a little more seasoned a little I guess a little better at this. But it’s been kind of fun to to tap into the commercial market just a little bit.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:35] Now when you’re starting a venture like this or any kind of venture really is getting those first wins. How was that to your family, to your team, like when you first got that first estimate or the first person that’s, you know, was a sale or the first person that referred you to another sale. Like how has that been in terms of in your career, you’ve had wins. How has that feeling differed from maybe some of the previous things you’ve experienced so much more?
Spencer Packer: [00:17:05] I just I’ve just enjoyed it so much more. I mean, there were so many things I did in my previous work experience. I really it was nice to receive some accolades from recognition based on, you know, getting a cost out for your company or certain things that were, that were certainly satisfying. But, but when you’re building this on your own and you actually see the profits and you see the checks coming, that, oh, I just I’m building up my business bank account. It was just so satisfying. I told my dad the other day, I’m like, I don’t I just kind of left my other job, but I don’t know how I can ever go back to something like this. This is so much more enjoyable and so much more thrilling when you’re able to to make the sale. It really what does it for me is when you really create that customer satisfaction, they really feel like, wow, you you said you have integrity. You said you did what you said you were going to do. You were really professional. And you get that referral, that recommendation to others, and they’re really satisfied with your performance. I think that’s that’s the biggest intrinsic reward or intrinsic value for me is as a business owner is just to know that, hey, we’re we’re on the right track, we’re doing the right thing. And this is we can we can go places with this. Now, we’ve got the team in place. We’ve got the crews, we’ve got the painters. We we’re we’re living up to the 360 values to 60 painting values. And and everybody always needs something painted. There’s always painting that needs to be done. So we really want them to kind of look to us and know that if they go with us, they’re they’re going to be satisfied and we’re going to make sure we’re not going to stop until they are satisfied with with the work we do.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:41] And it’s that feeling of this is something I created. You know, this wasn’t here before and now it is. And now these people are happy customers and they benefited from my efforts. And it’s you’re not a cog in the machine. You’re the machine.
Spencer Packer: [00:18:55] Exactly right. And I think I mentioned this before. Now it’s kind of limitless. We can keep going. Whereas when I was of my former job, it was it was sort of just, hey, good job, Pat on the back. Or here’s a sort of minor monetary reward, but there was nothing really. I was like, so I was in some big organizations. So it was really kind of hard to to move upward as fast as you want it to. So here it’s nice because it’s limitless now that we can keep building this building this and and the the extrinsic the money is going to keep growing as well as the the business, the the sense of being involved in the community and getting our word out. And it’s just limitless. And that’s that’s kind of what I like. Is there just so much potential and and it’s not like, hey, good job, you know, here’s your limited bonus check or here’s here’s your here’s your plaque or whatever it is, it’s, it’s we can really grow this and make make a lot more money and then establish a greater and greater reputation.
Lee Kantor: [00:19:53] Now, what about from the hiring standpoint? It’s a tough hiring market now, or is that a challenge for you?
Spencer Packer: [00:19:59] It is, yes, it is. And so it’s that’s been where I have I’m going to keep pushing because is is I keep recruiting crews and recruiting people. It’s I want to make sure the quality is always top notch. And there have been times where I’ve had to kind of move on from different crews because the quality wasn’t exactly where I needed to be. And so I’m growing fast enough now where I’m going to be needing some production managers. So I’m actually interviewing the process of interviewing some people as well, some administrative people. And it’s I’m already. You know, I’m very much understanding. I mean, I understood before trying to find the right crews, the right painters to actually go in and do the jobs. But I’m finding out now it is to get some some quality production managers. I’ve got a few who I’m looking at that I think I want to keep progressing with. But but it is tight out there. That’s that’s certainly that’s certainly the biggest challenge for me right now. And I’ve noticed I knew it would be I mean, I remember going into my wife and I talked about it and said, yeah, this is this is what we’re going to really have to to be smart and to work hard and to persist because there’s great workers out there. There are people who are going to really make a lot of be a great asset to my business. That’s just up to me to make sure I do the due diligence and and the work to find these people. And so I’ve been doing that for the last few weeks and really narrowed it down. But but I could already sense that some of the people I was interviewing and. Little uncertain with the reliability issues as well as just how committed they would be to. To to my. To our business.
Lee Kantor: [00:21:35] Yeah. It’s it’s going full circle. Right. When you were going to those other potential franchisees at the beginning, you were vetting them. And that’s and now it’s here we go again. It’s a never ending process. You know, that activity is forever.
Spencer Packer: [00:21:49] Right. That’s right.
Lee Kantor: [00:21:50] Especially if you want to be that high quality provider. You know, you’re not trying to do any job for any money. You’re you’re trying to do good work every time. So it takes.
Spencer Packer: [00:22:01] A special.
Lee Kantor: [00:22:01] Person to deliver.
Spencer Packer: [00:22:03] Yep, correct. And that’s where we feel the feel some pressure is to make sure we have people that are always going to deliver for us and kind of what we promise and what our reputation is. We want to make sure that every single person is associated with this. This business with my business has that vision and will some customers are going to be a little harder to satisfy than others. But we’re that’s our goal. We’re always going to still make sure we satisfy them with the high the highest quality work possible. And and want to make sure whoever we have on board is is committed to that.
Lee Kantor: [00:22:34] Well, congratulations on all the success. If somebody wants to learn more, what is the website?
Spencer Packer: [00:22:40] Yeah, it’s is 360 painting of Kennesaw. Anyway, they they can find me. My name is Spencer Packer. We’re. We’re kind of everywhere on the Internet now. Yeah, just 360 painting. Exactly. I’m sorry. 360 painting forward slash Kennesaw.
Lee Kantor: [00:22:57] Yeah, I’m sure if they get to 360 painting. That’s right. They’ll be able to find you. Well, thank you again for sharing your story. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Spencer Packer: [00:23:07] Hey, thank you so much. Sure. Appreciate you having me. Thank you so.
Lee Kantor: [00:23:09] Much. All right. This is Lee Kantor crucial next time on Franchise Marketing Radio.