I had the opportunity to sit down with Don Johanson, the CEO and founder of Johanson Painting and Handyman Services in Mount Prospect Illinois. Not only has his company won the prestigious Best Picks Award eight years in a row with over 35 years of experience, Don is a true champion of small business with a unique and spectacular philosophy. He’s also an expert in commercial and residential painting and all the integral trades that coincide with painting projects, creating a seamless experience with his clients.
As long standing members of the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America who provide us up-to-date standards in paint application, techniques, and materials, Don’s team has the most informed and skilled painters in the marketplace working in the field.
Located in Mt. Prospect, IL some of his major accounts include National Geographic, The Blues Bar, and Lewis Carpet Floor and Home to name a few. These references can attest to Don’s unique business philosophy… “We can make you happy!”
Don shares with us today his unique philosophy to happy clients, happy workers which leads to happy business.
Markus: Hi Don, thanks for sitting down with me today.
Don: Good morning Markus.
Markus: Awesome, thank you. I appreciate you to spend the time with our readers today. So let’s jump right into it. Tell us a little bit about your business, the types of clients you’re helping.
Don: Typically, we deal with clients that are looking for an honest experience that fits the best project for their needs. And part of our business style is, not necessarily trying to sell particular projects or services, but to do best to inform the client what will and won’t work, as far as their needs, and the end result they’re looking for.
Markus: That’s fantastic. So you’re really about listening to the client and finding out really what they need, versus just out there selling painting services.
Don: Exactly right. And sometimes, some of the folks say they think that they need something, and typically that’s because they’ve been told by another contractor that this is what they need. And sometimes that’s not the right choice to fit with what they’re really looking for or for longevity in the project, or whatever, you know a time constraint, with whatever the need may be. So it’s more about trying to find a way to solve the current problem and fit exactly the type of project that will work for their needs.
Markus: I bet they really appreciate that. And they’ll probably be back with more business and referrals because they probably like the honest approach, which unfortunately in this day and age isn’t always that common.
Don: Yeah, I find that being honest with folks creates a lot of confidence between us and our clients. And sometimes, I even wind up telling clients, things that they don’t necessarily want to hear, but ultimately what would be best for those needs. And so it seems the connections that we do make are extremely good connections and typically our clients stay with us for a long time.
Markus: Got it. So Don, what led you into the field what got you started doing this?
Don: Right out of high school, I went to college and I started doing painting. And what I like really liked about it was there was always the end result; you start off with something and at the end you had an end result and typically it was a client that was extremely happy with how the project turned out or how it had changed their environment whether it be the office or their home. And it made it feel like theirs, whether the color you know touched their style whatever it may be it was an end result. And it always made me feel good coming home from working, and not only I was happy because I improved and made somebody happy, but that the client was happy. It’s just like a person that goes to work at their job and if their bosses are ecstatic with the work that they’ve done they feel great about themselves. And so really that’s what got me into the field.
Markus: So you’ve been doing this for a long time. That’s a type of experience and know how you can’t get that anywhere else. It’s being in the field, since you were in college and doing these things and helping clients get these end results and feeling good about it. That brings us to what you bring to the table.
Don: Yeah and that’s kind of a nice thing for me because I can understand the craftsman in the field and the clients as well, because I have been in the field and may have that experience. There’s a lot of the business owners nowadays in the small types of businesses, particularly trade, don’t necessarily understand the problems that may arise on the job site and point fingers in the wrong directions and then that creates a bad attitude with workers or clients. Instead of doing it like that, we just try and problem solve it. And beyond that, I have the experience because I did work in the field for so many years. I have seen a lot of things that can happen to a job and I can change things. And, I’m able to rectify it, because I was there, done that.
Markus: That’s excellent. So along the way I talk to a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs and there’s always something or someone who inspires them along the way. Can you think of anyone or anything that actually inspired you, that helped you get to where you are today?
Don: My grandfather. He was actually in the trades years ago; when I was a kid I used to go on jobs with him. And it was always about working with my hands and it was always about being busy and a hands-on type of experience. And I remember that as a kid; he was always happy you know when he puts on the tools — he was an old school guy. He put down the tools and he’d go fish and forget about it and he just seemed like a happy guy. I feel I see a lot of folks need to go to work or they go to their jobs or their businesses in these environments that run them into the ground. I saw that he was always a happy-go-lucky guy. And so I’m also a hands-on guy and that’s what kind of inspired me to get into the field.