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Mike Stone – Growing a $1B+ Painting Company – Ep.217

My guest today is Mike Stone, CEO of CertaPro Painters, the largest painting company in North America structured as a franchise with 370 owners across 500 territories and over $700m in revenue.

Episode Description

Ep.217: Alex (@aebridgeman) is joined by Mike Stone (@michael-stone).

My guest today is Mike Stone, CEO of CertaPro Painters, the largest painting company in North America structured as a franchise with 370 owners across 500 territories and over $700m in revenue. Their goal is to become a $1B company shortly and a $2.5B revenue company by 2032. The painting industry is a $60B industry growing modestly and is highly fragmented, making this an interesting industry to explore given the lack of similarly-sized national competitors.

Mike and I talk about why the industry is so fragmented, the tailwinds behind the industry, what needs to evolve and grow to hit their growth goals, and how CertaPro builds a differentiated playbook within home services.

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Clips From This Episode

The Lack of Competitive Scale

Challenges from Scaling

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(00:00:00) – Intro

(00:04:26) – Mike’s path to the CEO of CertaPro

(00:09:16) – Meeting Herb Kelleher

(00:11:25) – Where does your company stand today among competition?

(00:13:14) – What is holding back your competition from scaling like you?

(00:14:54) – Is it faster growing under a franchise model?

(00:19:52) – Are there other consolidators chasing talent?

(00:22:37) – What has become harder as you’ve grown?

(00:26:59) – Successful meeting structures

(00:29:24) – What data do you value for marketing?

(00:32:22) – How does seasonality affect business?

(00:33:43) – What else do you need to build to scale to your goals?

Alex Bridgeman: I hear all kinds of stuff about Eagles fans going crazy or being crazy in stadiums. Is that kind of overblown, or does it mostly hold up?

Michael Stone: Eagles fans are super passionate. If you’re in the upper decks where I am 10 rows from the field, the whole the whole circle of people around us, it’s like our Eagles family for the last 15 years, season ticket holders, same group of people. Do we not like our opponents? Yes. If a Dallas Cowboy fan walks in there with their jersey and is a jerk, they’re going to hear it. Mostly when we go, and I travel, I’m going on the road and watch a lot of Eagles games on the road. Usually, the local team’s afraid of me, and I’m not a bad guy. We have a reputation that is much worse than our bite, actually. But there’s enough cases where you could say that it’s gone beyond just a passionate sports fan. But the same thing happens in Cleveland and in Buffalo and in New York, Chicago, some of these longstanding historic franchises that have been around 60, 70 years, where generations of hate have formed in their bloodstreams for the opponent. It makes it more entertaining, I’ll give you that.

Alex Bridgeman: Certainly, certainly. It looks like the Steelers are playing at Philly this coming season, so you’ll get to see them.

Michael Stone: Yeah. And I’ve got a couple of staff members that live in Pittsburgh and are diehard Steelers fans. And I’ll probably either invite them to go to the game with me or give them my tickets because I think it’ll be a neat experience for them. And we don’t have this hatred towards Pittsburgh. More jealousy with Super Bowl rings versus our one.

Alex Bridgeman: Your one was more recent, but yeah, I’ll give you that. That’s a good point. Well, Mike, thank you for coming on the podcast. It’s good to chat with you. I’m excited to learn a little bit more about CertaPro and how you got to the business. What’s been your path to CEO like? What were kind of the prior roles you had that led up to this?

Michael Stone: Yeah. First off, the fact that I am lucky enough to be the president and CEO of CertaPro Painters. My journey started out working in a franchise 25 years ago. I was a sales rep for one of our franchises in San Diego. And prior to that, I was in custom home building, and I sold custom homes. And the last contractor in the house was always the painter. So, I kind of cut my teeth learning a little bit about the trades working for this builder. And so, one of my best friends in college, he started his own franchise out in San Diego. And he said, hey, you’re really good sales. Do you want to come work in my business? And so, I worked in residential sales, commercial sales. Really, we were one of the very early franchises to get over a million dollars in painting, which back in the late 90s was just a humongous painting franchise back then. And then I met my wife out in San Diego. She was born and raised in Philly, and we had just got married and had a new baby. She said I really want to raise our kids near family. And her whole family was from the Philadelphia region. That’s where the corporate headquarters were for CertaPro, in the suburbs of Philadelphia. And I got to get a job working in the franchise or training new franchises and helping them. And then I became a general manager, and then I worked my way up to be a regional vice president, and then I took over all of operations. And then about six years ago, I guess seven years ago now, we were just around a $300 million painting company and the founder and CEO at the time said, Mike, I want you to take us to a billion dollars. And so, in the next two years, we are hoping to cross over a billion dollars in painting with these amazing franchise owners, staff and painters. So that’s my story. I’ve had about every role in the franchise and on the franchise.

Alex Bridgeman: That makes you well-suited. I love that it started with a sales role too. What do you feel like are some lessons you’ve taken away about housing generally, given your home building experience and then all the different roles you’ve had at Certa?

Michael Stone: Well, probably the biggest lessons that I’ve learned is if you work for a company that wants to invest in you and you have an appetite for growth and personal development and want to practice continuous improvement and really can see and have clarity of vision for yourself and what the company is capable of, CertaPro is an amazing opportunity, and that’s really what they did. That franchise owner back in San Diego, Dan Hutchins, he invested in my leadership development, even though I was just a sales guy there, and saw that I had maybe potential beyond what even I thought I had at the time. So that’s what this brand has done. CertaPro always invested in their people, both on the franchisee side and the franchisor side. We do painting and there’s 60 billion dollars worth of painting going on in the United States. But that is just our widget. This is a people development business, Alex. It’s the most fragmented space. We only own 2% of the market. So, our growth and the appetite to be able to scale to multi-billions is there for the taking. It’s really just a product of does the franchise owner want to invest and develop themselves and their people to take on more responsibility and leverage what they’ve created there locally in their market.

Alex Bridgeman: Yeah, to your point about being a service business and painting being your widget, there’s a great Herb Kelleher quote about Southwest Airlines being a service business, and we just happened to have airplanes and do it that way.

Michael Stone: Herb Kelleher, I got to meet him. He’s an amazing guy. Yeah, his story is absolutely inspirational, and they changed the game in the flying space. And it was always about people and culture, and probably, we took a lot from that meeting with Herb Kelleher. And that was, gosh, that was probably back in 2001 or 2002, I got to meet him. And really, that’s the secret sauce. It’s our culture and it’s our core values at CertaPro that really resonate with our people, delivering what you promise, having pride in what you do, respecting the individual, practicing continuous improvement, and embracing the possibilities of where you can go individually and where the brand can go as a whole.

Alex Bridgeman: So, I’m an aviation geek, so I love studying Southwest Airlines and JetBlue. Those are probably my two favorite, with David Neeleman and Herb Kelleher. So, they’re kind of like the dream guest or person I’d love to meet one day. How did you get to meet Herb Kelleher? What was the meeting about? What was it like?

Michael Stone: So I met Herb at, there was a networking event at the Union League and it’s a robust, very hoity-toity club in downtown Philadelphia. And he was just a guest speaker for all these entrepreneurs and business owners in the center city, Philadelphia. And at the time, our CEO said, hey, this guy is changing the space in a very fragmented space. And I want some of our emerging leaders to come with me and listen to him. And I was blown away by the way he was pre-buying fuel when no one was doing that, this whole bags fly free thing. He was just trying to disrupt his industry, and that’s what we’re trying to do with the painting space. We have a roadmap or a blueprint on how to scale and grow a professionally managed painting business. But it is not about painting, it’s about leveraging our technology, our tools, our roadmap, our leadership development program, and the franchise owners who buy into that really, I mean, they’re running businesses way bigger than I ever thought possible and creating incredible wealth for themselves, their families, and creating really impactful businesses in their communities that give back in terms of charity. And a lot of that was inspired by what Herb was doing back in the early 2000s.

Alex Bridgeman: So, you talked about trying to cross a billion in revenue in the next year or two, and in a different media appearance, you talked about trying to get to two and a half billion by 2032. Given how fragmented it is, you’re at 2% today, where does CertaPro today stand amongst other painting contractors? Are you one of the larger ones, like a top 10 size contractor? I’m trying to wrap my head around the market size. What are the other participants doing, and what are their sizes?

Michael Stone: If you added up the conglomerate of all the CertaPros, we’re the largest painting contractor collectively in our space, probably by a factor of three or four. So, there’s no one that is probably bigger than 250 or 300 million in all of the United States, and we’re around 750 million. And yet we own less than 2%, Alex. So do the math. There’s tens of thousands of tiny little contractors. And frankly, when CertaPro opens up a new territory, and we have some really great opportunities in Southern California, Northern California, San Fran and LA, Toronto, Detroit and Long Island. When we open up a new territory, very quickly we become the largest painting contractor in that space. And some of the smaller contractors, they just want to go and do the work for the local CertaPro because then they don’t have to worry about estimating. They don’t have to worry about marketing their business. They just have to focus on the painting. And so, we use a combination of subcontractors or independent contractors and employee painters, and that allows us to scale very quickly with limited overhead. And we don’t carry any inventory. We buy all the paint directly from mostly Sherwin-Williams and a little bit of Benmore. And so, we’re able to get these businesses up and running very quickly with relatively low investment. And we’re looking for great people who have an aptitude towards leadership and getting results through others.

Alex Bridgeman: So why is there no other, in a $50, 60 billion industry, why is there no other billion dollar company yet? What is holding back some of these companies from scaling past the 3X smaller size that they are compared to CertaPro?

Michael Stone: I think there’s two things. One, the widget itself is not sexy, let’s be honest. No one says, when I grow up, I want to run my own painting business. But if you saw the balance sheets and the EBITDAs of some of our most successful franchise owners, there would be people flocking to buy these franchises. But you have to overcome this perception that, oh my God, painting, it’s dirty, it’s messy. And that’s just not the case. I mean, we are trying to redefine our space. When I started out in this business, just to give you perspective, Alex, there were three painting franchise concepts. There’s 19 today, and they’re all drafting CertaPro because they see the $60 billion industry that is there. And I love it. I mean, we’re lifting up the painting industry. We’re bringing more professionalism to it. If you go to Europe and you go to Italy or France, a painter is revered. They’re looked at as a craftsman, an artist, an artisan. And painters are not looked at in the trades here in the United States that way. But when you knock it out of the park for a customer, a homeowner, or a big commercial client and do the painting right, but mostly give them incredible customer service, you make them smile, and we lift up the painting industry and you took something that was dull and lifeless and you make it beautiful again. And that’s kind of the legacy we’re trying to leave here at CertaPro.

Alex Bridgeman: It seems like the franchise models made it perhaps easier to grow faster as well. Do you think it would have been slower if you owned each location as a company?

Michael Stone: There’s no way. There’s no way we would be nearly as big as we are. We get to leverage learning, we create SOPs, franchisees are innovating, and then we take what they’re doing better in Dallas, Texas, and sharing it with the people in Atlanta, Georgia, and with the people in Seattle. And they’re refining it and then practicing and continuous improvement. And then we create a new SOP. And that’s why year after year after year, the productivity of these businesses continue to scale at rates that in the beginning we though unfathomable. And that’s why I cast a new vision. You heard it. We want to be two and a half billion by 2032. And really it’s going to be the appetite of the franchise owners. Do they want to grow? Because the opportunity will be there for them to grow if they desire. And we can give them the tools and resources. It will happen.

Alex Bridgeman: And you have, what, 400 odd franchise owners today, something like that?

Michael Stone: Yeah, we have 370 franchise owners that operate in about 500 territories. We have about 120 open, exclusive residential territories left in North America. So, there’s still plenty of opportunity. But to be honest with you, Alex, I could only add 50 of the 120 and we could still get to two and a half billion because the existing owners, again, in the most dominant markets, maybe we own 8%. So that means 92% of the painting is done by somebody else. And those are our most dominant markets. Where we have a franchise owner approaching $10 million in Athens, Georgia, and one doing like $7 million in Flagstaff, Arizona, tiny towns, mass painting, and yet they own 8% of all the painting being done down there. That just shows you the fragmentation and the incredible opportunity for growth, regardless of wherever your territory is.

Alex Bridgeman: Yeah, and you’ve talked too about having a program for franchise owners to be able to sell their franchise and get liquidity for the business they built. Is there a meaningful multiple expansion for those businesses as they grow, or is it fairly limited given the perhaps more project-based revenue versus something more recurring?

Michael Stone: So, there’s not a territory where they can’t continue to grow at massive rates. So yes, we have a finite amount of territories left to sell, but they’re non-exclusive when it comes to commercial painting. So they can go and do commercial painting anywhere. You follow the client. Residentially, you have exclusive rights. So is there a cap on residential? I guess technically there is if you painted 100% of every single dwelling in your territory, but that would represent probably $100 million worth of painting in that territory, just to give you perspective. So I don’t even know that I would say that they’re- even the franchisee that is the most dominant and wins our residential market share award in Athens, Georgia, doing seven and a half million, he thinks he can double and triple that. And he’s the most dominant, Jake Kaiser there. So the ability to scale and grow when you have less than 2% share across North America, that won’t happen in our lifetime.

Alex Bridgeman: So what do franchise owners like that who have really exceeded in their market, what are they doing differently? Are they developing good partnerships, or is their marketing better? How are they growing these businesses faster than others?

Michael Stone: Well, there are probably three keys that I’ve seen that allow existing franchise owners to perform at a higher level than their constituents. One, they truly follow the program. They execute every marketing tactic that the franchisor recommends. They invest in their people, so they really develop a strong leadership competency so they’re getting great results through others. They develop a culture of a workplace of choice, so they treat their people and their painters better than their competitors do. I would say those are probably the three biggest keys. They follow the program, they work really hard on their leadership development, and they create a culture of a workplace of choice. And that may mean something different in their market, workplace of choice, versus some other market. It may mean money. It may be more free time. It may be giving back to the community. It may mean you’ve connected with your painter base differently than somebody else. So that it just, it’s variable when it comes to that. But those three elixirs are all of what our largest and most successful franchise owners do at a very high competence.

Alex Bridgeman: Yeah, you’ve talked about having those, like other local contractors just starting to go work for CertaPro, that local franchise. Are there other painting service consolidators or contract consolidators who are competing for those hires or those folks who are maybe wanting to leave and join a bigger company or bigger group?

Michael Stone: I think there’s some of that. I don’t think there’s a ton of it because there is so much fragmentation. A painter, most people who paint for CertaPro are first generation immigrants. And so, they’re looking for stability, a steady paycheck. They’re looking to be treated really well and understand their culture because we have a lot of Portuguese painters, Turkish painters, people from Mexico. They come from all over the world, and most of them, English is the second language for them too. When our franchise owners identify that pool of contractors in their market and create an environment that allows them to thrive, then more and more of those people want to come and work for those local owners. And then those people actually end up taking on leadership roles and responsibility even within those businesses. And even recently, we had one of them do so well with that that he ended up buying a CertaPro as a result of it. Over a 10-year period, he learned everything there is to do working for one of our flagship franchises. And it was probably one of the most proud days that franchise owner ever had, is he bought the neighboring territory from another CertaPro owner and has now doubled in size since then. I mean, that’s lifting up the painting industry, what I was talking about.

Alex Bridgeman: Yeah, there just seems to be a lot of tailwinds with housing and painting in general. It’s not an industry that’s going to be wildly disrupted by tech and AI. Those things can be your friends versus your opponents. And folks will always need homes and houses, and they’re always going to want to repaint them. My wife and I look at different houses that we’d love to own one day and we’re like, I would probably change that color or the counter’s wrong, all that sort of stuff. So that’s always going to be a thing.

Michael Stone: That’s correct. That’s one of the beauties of what we do. We take things that are dull and lifeless and make them beautiful again and we do it better than anyone else in our space. And not just residential, remember half the work we do is commercial painting. So, the runway of growth is really exciting. And it actually gets me excited to get up every day to go to work because I’m surrounded by amazing people who see the opportunity in our space.

Alex Bridgeman: What’s become harder as CertaPro has grown? Is there certain challenges you’re encountering more and more?

Michael Stone: Awesome question. And I really appreciate you asking it because one of the challenges we’re dealing with is apathy. And what I mean by that is, let’s say you scaled your business from zero to four million or three million and you’re making a pretty good living. You’ve got a pretty good management team, steady painters, and you start resting on your laurels. Hey, I don’t need to continue to invest and grow this business anymore. So that’s this apathy. And what happens is you can probably do that for a year or two, but your people become restless and they need to be challenged. And how are they going to earn more money and take on more responsibility? You need to continue to develop your management team. And so once- The problem, though, is you get stuck in that rut a little bit, it’s hard to keep that momentum going. When you push a rock up a hill and you get it moving, it’s easier to keep it moving. When you stop it, it’s harder to get it going again. And that’s one of the challenges I’ve seen is some of these franchise owners have gotten to a plateau and they’re quite successful and then they get stuck. And so that’s a challenge we’re dealing with, and we have to give them assertive leadership, which is communicating in a direct manner and a confident manner that we know how to get them unstuck and continue to invest in their people and scale their business. Because what happens is your competitors are going to keep growing around you. And when you rest on your laurels like that, that’s when you get eaten for lunch. And I think we felt that a little bit in the last year. We had incredible growth coming out of COVID. I mean, we grew 200 plus million in two years. I mean, we could barely even keep up. And it was amazing that we did. And in this last year, I think a few of our franchise owners did rest on their laurels, and now it’s time to get after the growth train.

Alex Bridgeman: So how do you get out of that? What do you instruct or advise franchisors to do to get out of that rut?

Michael Stone: Well, it starts with whatever you are going to do, you’ve got to over-communicate it by a factor of 10. So, part of the reason I’m doing this podcast with you today is I want to continue to share the message of opportunity. And we have what’s called a gap. Somebody’s here and you need to get them over to here. And the space between the two areas is the gap. And when you say, hey, what’s going to happen with your team if you keep doing the same thing over and over again, they’re going to get stuck in a rut. So, it’s really about trying to get people to change their behavior. And the best way to do that is to show them their peers that are doing it really well. It’s nothing like hearing from a lighthouse franchise owner versus the franchisor as to what they should do to continue to grow or how to get out of their rut. And it’s different for everyone. But the most important thing is peer-to-peer accountability around it.

Alex Bridgeman: Yeah, we were talking about football earlier, and I know coaches clinics are a good way for coaches to meet others and go visit another team, campus, what have you. Is there something like that for CertaPro where there are different gatherings you’ll host just to get those folks to meet each other?

Michael Stone: Yeah, we have a very, very unique program at CertaPro. It’s called the Flight Program. And the franchise owners meet three to four times a year and they serve as a board of directors on each other’s businesses and they get to work on their business, not in their business. And it’s facilitated by a corporate representative, even me, the CEO, I have seven franchisees that I meet with quarterly. But all I do is facilitate the dialogue and the discussion and encourage them to challenge each other and share best practices and review each other’s financials so they can develop core competencies that one of the others has at a much higher level and then take that back and deploy it in their own business. Alex, that’s when true growth happens.

Alex Bridgeman: Yeah, that’s pretty rare to see, like a board of director style meeting in businesses this small. It’s pretty unique. What are some of the most helpful meeting structures you’ve worked with for those quarterly meetings?

Michael Stone: Well, they share their financial goals, they share how they’re performing against their goals, and then they ask for input on a problem or issue they have in their business. And so, they present the data, and then there’s a lot of discovery, facts and feelings related to that data. And then they share, the other owners then share based on my experience of dealing with something similar to what you shared, here’s how I fix that problem in my business. And imagine if three or four people reiterate the same thing versus a problem that somebody has, well, they’re going to go, huh, they’re all solving that problem that way. I was going to do it this way. And they’re all bigger businesses than mine. And they’ve already gone through that. Maybe I should listen to my peers on that one.

Alex Bridgeman: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Michael Stone: And the smart ones do, Alex. And the dumb ones don’t.

Alex Bridgeman: What are you hearing from the seven year in meetings with quarterly now? Are there any consistent themes or topics that keep coming up?

Michael Stone: Yeah, right now, one of the consistent themes that is coming up with, these are some of the bigger businesses, is how do you generate leads? We spend a lot of money on marketing. You may have seen or heard our ads on radio, TV, Sirius, Satellite, we’re Pay Per Click. We spend a fortune on advertising. But when you hit a little lull, you need your sales force to go out and procure some of their own leads. So that means get a referral, hand out some business cards, network a little bit more. So the sales force today, the fish just don’t jump in the boat like they did the last couple of years where you didn’t even have to put any bait on the hook. They just kept jumping in the boat, literally, after COVID. And now they have to go out and fish, which means you’ve got to go out and network. And if you see something that needs to be painted, put some door hangers out and get signs up, and you’re just going to have to dominate in the neighborhoods and the streets and be involved in Facebook community pages and tell them what a great painter you are. I mean, you’re just going to have to work a little harder to generate leads today.

Alex Bridgeman: What other data do you find interesting for marketing purposes?

Michael Stone: What other data do I find interesting for marketing? Any lead source that’s going to get us a return on investment. Our average job size is about $5,000, so if we can spend a couple hundred bucks to generate a lead, it’s probably good money spent. So, pay per click, SEO, the digital space is obviously there’s so many different ways to find a company versus when I started out in the business as a sales rep 25 years ago, it was you send direct mail, you put some door hangers around the house, you knock on the door. But half of our revenue comes from existing customers that we already have. So that’s probably the number one lead source. You’ve got to just keep reminding your existing customers. Guess how many times, Alex, that I’ve had CertaPro paint in my house in the 20, I’ve been in this house now 17 years.

Alex Bridgeman: Oh, my goodness. I would put the over under at five. Wow, okay. Should have been a lot higher.

Michael Stone: Yeah. Now did I have them paint the entire house 13 times? No, but I’ve had the entire house painted twice. They’ve power washed. They’ve done- two weeks ago, my wife and my son were away, and his room, he’s a 16 year old teenage boy, his room was hideous. While he was gone, they came in and they painted his room and we put everything back, and you wouldn’t even have known his room was painted other than it looked brand new. And I had a water leak one time, they had to come out and fix after the restoration work was done. Yeah, I mean, I’ve hired CertaPro for small projects, big projects 13 times in 17 years. And they send me a direct mail piece every spring going, hey, you’re a preferred previous customer. We’d love to paint for you again. Use our previous customer discount. And usually, I mean, like I said, it’s been insane. And my wife always says, well, you don’t like wallpaper and I’m tired of this color, so let’s repaint. And so, we’ve done that in various- outside we painted too.

Alex Bridgeman: How often are you sending some sort of marketing to past clients? You talked about the annual mailer, but is there something more often?

Michael Stone: Yeah, I think the previous customers get a marketing piece four times a year.

Alex Bridgeman: That feels like a good round number.

Michael Stone: Yeah, usually they get one in early spring, late spring, one in the fall, and then, hey, we want to keep our best painters busy, we’ve got a really great deal if you want to do some painting over the winter. Because it slows down in the winter, and it’s interior painting usually that they would do during the winter, because I live in a seasonal environment.

Alex Bridgeman: Is the seasonality more dramatic in colder environments like Philly, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis versus like San Diego?

Michael Stone: Yeah, so imagine you have to compress your entire exterior season in Boston, you can only paint really outside April through probably the end of October. So there is a high amount of urgency to get exteriors done during that period. Interior painting can happen anytime even if it’s 30 below zero. But it’s interesting, all painting is very seasonally driven. What really good franchise owners do is they try and elongate that painting cycle for their interior painting to offset when they know they can only do exteriors if you’re in a seasonal environment. So a good example of this would be in San Diego, you may be able to do $2 million in painting with only 20 painters because you can paint year round inside and outside in San Diego. But to do $2 million in painting in Boston, you may need 40 painters for five months. Does that make sense? Do you understand? We do the same volume. So the ramp up is very challenging and different and we give really good support and training around that.

Alex Bridgeman: So what other, between here and two and a half billion, what else do you need to solve or address or build to get there?

Michael Stone: So over 10 years ago, we rolled out a path. It was a roadmap or a blueprint on how to scale and run a professionally managed business. And that really spurred our growth to get us around 300 or 400 million. That was really cool. And that roadmap was what staff do I need, when, what leadership skills do I need to work on, how much residential, how much commercial, and it just kind of showed you how to get there. So, at our conference this last year in January in New Orleans, we rolled out the new path, and to go from zero to three million was the old path. Now it’s zero to seven and a half million in the same amount of time. So, we’ve got franchisees that are so far past what our old path was that they’ve created a whole new way to scale bigger businesses. So, we just got to inspire more of our franchise owners to get on the new path. That’s probably the most important. Certainly, we need to sell 50, 60, 70, 80 more territories, open up some new markets, that makes sense. And then we’re also probably going to buy. We have two- we have three company owned locations. I think we will buy some of our really mature franchise owners and then leverage our balance sheet and take maybe their $8 or 10 million business and try and get it to 20 or 30 million because we know it’s possible in that market. And if we’ve got the investment capital to do it, and that might inspire some of our existing franchise owners to do it as well, and that’s exciting too.

Alex Bridgeman: Yeah, that’s exciting. Well, Mike, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. It’s been really good to chat with you for a little bit. And thank you for sharing all about the painting industry. I love it.

Michael Stone: Yeah, yeah. Thank you so much for having me. Last thing I just leave you with is, rare if ever in your life do you get the opportunity to be the largest player in your space probably by a factor of three or four or five, and we can do that in painting. We own two percent of the market, and the runway of growth is really a product of your appetite for growth because the opportunity would be there, and it’s just a unique spot, and we’re excited to help new and prospective owners lift up the painting industry and use that widget for wealth creation and true equity to be realized.

Alex Bridgeman: Absolutely. Thanks, Mike. Really appreciate it.

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