From 0 To A Million Dollar Business in Under 2 Years: Andrew Tomassetti’s Journey and Growth Strategies in the Painting Industry

Ready to ignite your entrepreneurial spirit? Join me as I welcome Andrew Tomassetti, a self-made business mogul who turned his side hustle into a million-dollar painting business, Paint. Andrew’s journey from the Marine Corps to civil engineering, and finally to running a successful painting business, is filled with invaluable insights and practical advice that will inspire anyone looking to scale their operations or launch a new venture.

The conversation doesn’t stop at just his journey, though. Andrew opens up about the challenges of managing employees and subcontractors, emphasizing the importance of learning from our mistakes. He candidly shares his winning strategies for hiring the right people and how referrals have played a pivotal role in this process. As we delve deeper into Andrew’s ambitious growth plans, aiming to paint 10,000 homes by 2030, you’ll learn the significance of tracking progress for the growth of your own business. His insights, tips, and experiences make for a truly enlightening episode that extends beyond just the painting industry. So tune in and get ready to fuel your business acumen with this engrossing conversation.

Transcript

ClikWiz Mike (00:02.922)
Welcome to the Painting Profits podcast where we interview successful painting business owners and industry leaders who can help you scale your painting business to seven figures and beyond. I’m your host, Mike Williams with ClickWiz, digital marketing for painting contractors, and I’m here with our guest, Andrew Tomasetti. Andrew is with Paint, they’re out of Philadelphia, and…

He’s been one of our clients for a couple of years now, and it’s been just a real treat to be alongside of him because he was really, you’re pretty new when we started working with you, your business was pretty new. And so the rapid growth that we’ve seen in such a short amount of time with your business has been really fun to watch. So yeah, so let’s.

Before we get into it, tell us your story and tell us how you got into the painting business, what was your path in life that led you to that?

Andrew Tomasetti (01:06.819)
Yeah, well first, Mike, thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it and it’s been fun working with you as well. I definitely attribute some of our early success if you will to all the hard work that you guys have done for us. But yeah, so to answer your question, a little bit about myself. I’ve always been an entrepreneur.

Right? So growing up school was never really my thing. I had a lot of fun in high school. Wasn’t the best students, but I, you know. Right? But I always found, you know, a way to, you know, make money. I was always hustling, grinding. I think even, you know, when I was like in the third grade, I had a lemonade stand.

ClikWiz Mike (01:49.71)
I can relate.

Andrew Tomasetti (02:04.443)
set up or we were selling trading cards or whatever kids do. So fast forward, not a great students and it’s, hey, well, what’s next after you graduate high school? And I actually joined the Marine Corps. That was the next step for me. I joined the reserve. So I went away. I did, you know.

some entry level training, and then I came back here to Philly and going through all that training was really a wake up call for me. It was the most difficult thing I ever have done. And, or at least to that point in my life, it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. And I came back and I was like, wow, if I can do that, I can do anything, right? So I start going to school.

I went to Temple University, it’s a local school, and I’m like, oh wow, like what’s the hardest thing I can study, right? Because now I have all this like grit and ambition and, you know, really a different mindset from just a few years ago. Suddenly, all right, let’s pick mechanical engineering. So, turns out.

Civil engineering, when things aren’t moving, it’s just a little bit easier. So I ended up, you know, switching to that and graduating with that degree. But during my time there, I think it was maybe my freshman year, I got the bill for tuition. And I was like, whoa, this is really expensive. I need to figure out a way to pay for this, right?

ClikWiz Mike (03:56.436)
Yeah.

Andrew Tomasetti (04:01.543)
So I actually started a moving business. And quite frankly, it wasn’t that legitimate of a business. It was me and some buddies moving stuff, and it was great. It helped me pay for school. And I managed to get out without any debts. But so I started that business and…

Also, when I was in school, I was like, wow, I really missed the Marine Corps. Like I think I want to do this more full time. So I go talk to a, um, they’re calling it Oso and it’s an officer selection officer. And he, he says, yeah, like you can be a pilot or you can do some sort of ground job and my eyes light up and I’m like, wow, I can be a pilot. I thought you had to be like a boy scout and have a.

2400 SAT and just be this incredible person, which I certainly was not at the time. So I signed this flight contract and fast forward four years, getting ready to graduate, have this moving business, and I’m waiting to commission, right? So I can go to flight school. And because I was just kind of waiting around, I had some more time on my hands and.

ClikWiz Mike (05:01.582)
I’m going to go ahead and close the video.

Andrew Tomasetti (05:29.131)
I was looking around and I was like, oh wow, like this moving thing is great, but the jobs only last for a day. I wonder, you know, maybe I could paint some rooms and those jobs will last a little bit longer, right? So my painting company is born just as a side hustle. Your classic chuck in a truck, if you will. So.

ClikWiz Mike (05:47.677)
Mm-hmm.

ClikWiz Mike (05:51.681)
Yeah.

Andrew Tomasetti (05:56.175)
I’m getting ready to commission and it turns out that my eyes were not good enough to be a part of. So yeah, that didn’t work out. They’re important. They’re also important in painting, but just not as much. Right. Exactly. So, it was basically, you know.

ClikWiz Mike (06:03.466)
Oh man, kind of need those.

ClikWiz Mike (06:14.887)
Yeah. Depends on who’s cutting in, right?

Andrew Tomasetti (06:24.955)
back and forth and did a bunch of crazy eye therapies for about two years. And then, you know, still swinging hammers, renovating kitchens, bathrooms, painting, has, you know, your prototypical chock in a truck because I thought I was going to be a pilot. Didn’t work, came back to Philly and I was like, well, I think there’s a tremendous opportunity in this industry, so.

We rebranded into paints, hired some painters, and started a more legitimate business.

ClikWiz Mike (07:05.966)
Nice, awesome. Yeah, my son is actually looking to be a pilot. I think he wants to do Coast Guard. He wants to fly helicopters. So thankfully he has good vision, but we’ll see if he can do the whole college thing. I don’t know. It’s not such a great student either, but I think he’d be a great entrepreneur. So anyway, back to you. What’s your current revenue?

Andrew Tomasetti (07:26.617)
Yeah.

Andrew Tomasetti (07:33.946)
This year we’ll produce somewhere between 1.6 and 1.7.

ClikWiz Mike (07:38.894)
OK, great. And let’s see, you started back in 2020, right?

Andrew Tomasetti (07:45.084)
Yes.

ClikWiz Mike (07:46.642)
So how long did it take you to get to that first one million a year mark?

Andrew Tomasetti (07:51.447)
Yeah, so our first year we did around 800, which was right during COVID. And it was like honestly the best time to start a painting business. Like everybody was doing projects, you know, and you really couldn’t have started during a better period in time. So I think I contribute that a lot to doing that our first year.

ClikWiz Mike (08:01.802)
Yeah.

Andrew Tomasetti (08:20.742)
And then our second year, we broke the million-dollar mark and we did around one, two.

ClikWiz Mike (08:26.658)
Yeah, it was crazy going into COVID, you know, this first, that first month, you know, everybody was freaking out. Like we didn’t know what was gonna happen. And then turned out to be one of the best things to happen for the contracting industry in general. Yeah.

But like all things, good things must come to an end, right? Bye.

Andrew Tomasetti (08:49.317)
Right. I don’t know about that. You know, the industry and the market is so large. I think that gave us like a great starting off point and kind of a good launch. But there really is so much business and so much opportunity out there. You just need to go and get it.

ClikWiz Mike (08:54.143)
Yeah.

ClikWiz Mike (09:09.655)
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, so what were the things that you did in that first year to lay the groundwork, get your name out there? It is, yeah, there was a lot of demand out there, but you still gotta get your name out there and do the marketing. So what was the first things that you did in that first year?

Andrew Tomasetti (09:25.203)
Sure. So, you know, of course we filed all the paperwork. We had someone make a logo for us. And then I think we also had to make a website and we were like, all right, we’re in business and no one called us. So we started knocking doors. So it was, you know, Hey, I noticed you had some peeling paints.

ClikWiz Mike (09:43.982)
Yeah.

ClikWiz Mike (09:51.394)
Okay.

Andrew Tomasetti (09:55.331)
I’d like to give you a free estimate. And at that time, I didn’t really know anything about anything. So we were kind of floundering along. Definitely got some leads from that, but we never sold the paint job. So they never really went anywhere. And then let’s see, we were doing some door to door.

ClikWiz Mike (10:13.867)
Oh wow.

Andrew Tomasetti (10:24.011)
And then we had this website and we, I wanna say we started running like Google ads to it, but the website wasn’t converting, meaning it wasn’t built into a click funnel. So even if people were going and landing on the sites, they wouldn’t take action. So then I think, you know, I just got tired of knocking doors

said, hey, you know, there has to be a better way. And then we did some research, talked to a couple people, and we found you.

ClikWiz Mike (11:05.043)
Oh, cool. Yeah, that was back early 2021, or was it late 2020? I forget. But yeah. Yeah, and so when you were doing the Google Ads, were you managing that yourself, or did you have another agency?

Andrew Tomasetti (11:15.22)
Yeah.

Andrew Tomasetti (11:23.383)
Yeah, I had never ran Google Ads on my own. It was another agency. And then, yeah, I think at that time, we didn’t have a whole lot of money. And we took out, so I took out a small loan because I was like, all right, we need these services. We need SEO. I was like, all right, well.

Mike, here’s my last couple thousand dollars. Let’s see how it goes. And yeah, I even remember there were times like those first few months and when we first got started, I’d wake up in the middle of the night and I’d be like, oh man, am I gonna be able to afford my mortgage this month?

it all worked out.

ClikWiz Mike (12:11.99)
Yeah. Yeah, well, I guess I’m glad you didn’t tell me that at the time, because that would have put a lot of pressure on me. But yeah, we, I mean, we always have a lot of pressure on our, with our clients anyway, you know, because we, we always want to get that return as quick as we can for them. So, but I’m.

Andrew Tomasetti (12:31.723)
Yeah, and especially, you know, at that under, you know, million dollar mark, or if you’re just starting or you’re bootstrapping and don’t have, you know, tens of thousands of dollars to play with, right? Like, yeah, there’s, you know, every last penny really counts. So I can imagine you have a lot of pressure on you.

ClikWiz Mike (12:47.732)
Mm-hmm.

ClikWiz Mike (12:51.839)
Absolutely.

ClikWiz Mike (12:57.128)
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, so what are your top lead sources now?

Andrew Tomasetti (13:03.492)
So organic Google search is the top. Repeat and referral is the top. Let’s see. Let me pull it up.

and I can actually tell you what they are.

Andrew Tomasetti (13:32.699)
Yep. So it’s like…

Organic Google search, repeat, referral, and long signs are top three.

ClikWiz Mike (13:45.975)
Okay, awesome.

Yeah, so what percentage of your revenue do you reinvest in marketing?

Andrew Tomasetti (13:56.507)
Yeah, we aim for around 10%.

ClikWiz Mike (14:01.107)
Awesome. And you guys are doing quite a bit of social media too. Do you, are you able to track how many leads come from that? Sometimes that’s hard, but are you tracking that?

Andrew Tomasetti (14:13.123)
Yeah, so I have a lot of crazy ideas. I’m sure you get my emails, like Sunday afternoon, when normal people would not be working. And that was an idea that I had this year. And I was like, all right, let’s do it. Let’s go all in on the social media thing, which has put a lot of really great content out there. And quite frankly, we haven’t seen a return from it.

ClikWiz Mike (14:19.35)
Oh yeah.

ClikWiz Mike (14:26.592)
Yeah.

Andrew Tomasetti (14:42.827)
I think that maybe once people are in your pipeline already, it would be good to start the pre-sales process. But from what I’ve seen, it takes a lot of effort, a lot of time, a lot of money to get it really dialed in and producing results. So I think next year, we’re probably going to focus our efforts elsewhere.

ClikWiz Mike (15:13.735)
OK. Well, to balance that out, though, social media is one of those things that you often don’t see an immediate or a direct return on. But it does help with your branding. And it also has a great effect on your SEO. So all of the activity on your social profiles does help that. So that could be part of the reason why.

your organic rankings, we were able to get top rankings so quickly for you. It was because you’re very active on social media. Even though you’re not seeing a direct lead from that source, it is helping you. Do you at least track your engagement on your social media channels?

Andrew Tomasetti (16:07.523)
Hmm, meaning views, clicks.

ClikWiz Mike (16:10.208)
Yeah, views and clicks, comments, things like that, shares.

Andrew Tomasetti (16:15.072)
Yeah, we do a much better job tracking our lead sources and tracking all of our revenues and everywhere everything’s going. We don’t do a great job tracking engagements on social media.

ClikWiz Mike (16:34.99)
Yeah, it’s one of those things that doesn’t give you, like I said, it doesn’t get direct leads from it, but yeah, I’d be curious. I’m gonna have to pull up your social media channels and see how your engagement is, because I see a lot of really great content on your social media channel. So anybody that’s listening, I highly recommend you go check out their Facebook and Instagram. Andrew really posts a lot of great content on there. So.

If you need some ideas, check them out.

Andrew Tomasetti (18:09.535)
Yeah, I have it. Go ahead.

Andrew Tomasetti (18:25.847)
Yeah, I think it may be something where it’s, based on the geographical location. And I’m of the mindset, let’s just do more better, right? So let’s do more of what we’re doing right now that’s working, let’s do it better.

ClikWiz Mike (18:41.176)
Hmm.

ClikWiz Mike (18:47.81)
Yeah, focus on the 20% that brings the 80% results, right? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s a great mindset. So let’s switch more into operations. You use subcontractors for your production, right?

Andrew Tomasetti (18:51.827)
Thanks.

Andrew Tomasetti (19:07.623)
We do.

ClikWiz Mike (19:08.778)
You have no full-time painters that work for you. So what are some of the problems that you’ve solved using subs that maybe you can help others avoid?

Andrew Tomasetti (19:13.011)
Correct.

Andrew Tomasetti (19:23.763)
Sure. So I think that whether you use subcontractors or W2s, you’re going to run into the same issues. All it is how you pay someone. That’s been my experience even like when I was painting and I would hire people, right? More that W2 model. I would have the same…

issues and I found that I even had more issues with W2 employees than, you know, a subcontractor, if you will. And I think that is because your subcontractor, he’s an owner and he feels responsibility and pride in the job because he also puts his name on it.

It’s humane, maybe the wrong word for it, but more humane, right? Because I can give Jamie a job. He can work really hard. He can make great money. And then he can do another one and another one and another one. And he can provide way more and at the end of the day, make more money and he has more opportunities being a subcontractor than a W-2.

Andrew Tomasetti (20:55.779)
And with a sub, you only have one person that you’re corresponding with, whereas with W2s, you have, if you have one crew, that could be up to three people. So I find at the end of the day, as long as you treat people right, it’s the right fit for the job.

then it works great. And just like you would with a W-2, probably in the first week of them painting for you, you’re going to know if it’s a good fit or not. Same thing with the subcontractor. And the ones that it’s a good fit, they love working for us. They stick around, we take care of them, they take care of us.

And the ones who aren’t a good fit, it’s very evident. And then we just go our separate ways.

ClikWiz Mike (22:02.717)
Sure. What’s your process for finding and hiring good subs?

Andrew Tomasetti (22:07.511)
Yeah, good question. So our process for finding and hiring good team members is that we like to start with referrals. And there’s a really good book, it’s called, Who, The A Method of Hiring. And what, I forget the gentleman’s name. Anyways, whatever his name is, what he recommends is, you know,

before you go to any job boards or, like online listings is to contact your current sphere. So a lot of our painters came from referrals. So it can be referrals of other contractors that we know or people that we’ve met at the paint store or another great.

source for finding painters is asking our current painters.

ClikWiz Mike (23:10.978)
Yeah, OK. Do your subs, do they wear branded t-shirts? How do you manage that with the customer that this crew is with your company?

Andrew Tomasetti (23:28.687)
Yep. So they’ll either wear our t-shirts or just like plain light Sherwin Williams t-shirts.

ClikWiz Mike (23:36.898)
Okay, all right. Cool.

Do you ever plan on bringing any crews in house or are you gonna stick with subs?

Andrew Tomasetti (23:45.839)
Yeah, in the short term, no. Long term, maybe.

ClikWiz Mike (23:55.822)
All right, so if, let’s say, we had to drop you off in a brand new city, having, you know, starting a brand new painting company, you know, you’ve had a lot of success with this one, what would you do differently if you had to start all over again?

Andrew Tomasetti (24:15.151)
Yeah, everything. Yeah. No, I would say I’d probably do everything differently. You know, I probably made every mistake that you can, every mistake in the book I’ve made, and it’s just a giant learning experience, right? So, yeah, I would do a lot of things differently.

ClikWiz Mike (24:18.646)
But you have to have a painting business. Don’t say I wouldn’t do painting.

ClikWiz Mike (24:46.175)
Yeah, the mistakes are part of the process though. Some of those things you have to learn on your own. You try to learn and read and learn from others as much as you can, but some mistakes you just gotta make and learn from them.

Andrew Tomasetti (25:02.959)
Right, and that’s the best way to learn. You just have to, you know, you wanna set yourself up for success, right? So you wanna read and educate yourself and take as many courses as possible, but you can only do that for so long until you actually have to execute. And then if you make a mistake, you just adjust accordingly, right?

ClikWiz Mike (25:05.26)
Yeah.

ClikWiz Mike (25:25.898)
Yeah, yeah. Yep, and the most important thing is to just keep going. Don’t let those mistakes and hiccups stop your progress. You just gotta get right back on the horse, right?

Andrew Tomasetti (25:41.803)
Right, it’s The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham. It’s the dumb packs.

ClikWiz Mike (25:49.958)
I love that book. I just finished that about a month ago. And man, so many golden nuggets in that book. I wish I would have read it 10 years ago.

Andrew Tomasetti (25:51.507)
Yeah.

Andrew Tomasetti (25:57.819)
Yeah.

Andrew Tomasetti (26:02.963)
Yeah, we’ve paid the dreaded dumb tax many, many times. And it’s pretty incredible that you can make all of these mistakes. You can pay such a high dumb tax. And at the end of the day, what is so great about the painting industry is that you can still be profitable and make money.

ClikWiz Mike (26:24.798)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And there’s always room for growth. So what are your plans, speaking of growth, what are your plans for the company moving forward?

Andrew Tomasetti (26:36.567)
Yeah, so our goal, we want to paint 10,000 homes by 2030.

ClikWiz Mike (26:43.242)
I was in by 2030. And how far are you now?

Andrew Tomasetti (26:47.323)
Let’s see, that’s a really good question. Let’s do some, yeah, I would say.

ClikWiz Mike (26:51.39)
Eh, just a rough estimate.

ClikWiz Mike (27:10.894)
We need some Jeopardy music.

Andrew Tomasetti (27:13.571)
Maybe 700 homes into that.

ClikWiz Mike (27:15.838)
Okay, alright, so you got a ways to go, but…

Andrew Tomasetti (27:18.665)
We certainly have a ways to go.

ClikWiz Mike (27:20.791)
You can make it.

All right, well, I think that’s all the questions I have for now. I really appreciate you coming on the show with me here and sharing some of your story. And like I said, it’s been really neat to watch how quickly you’ve hit the ground running with this company and just watching how dedicated you are to growth and tracking. And so it’s just really neat to watch.

So yeah, thanks for coming on.

Andrew Tomasetti (27:55.759)
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me, Mike.

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