"Stripping is like the icing on the cake. It has to have precision and it has to look nice." - Steve Montano
Some people say you need to focus on the big picture, but for Steve Montano, it’s the details that really matter. Montano, president of Action Striping, Westminster, CO, says that attention to detail is essential in his business, both on and off the pavement. And he has made sure to put his words into action.
Montano started part-time in the striping business 12 years ago when he saw there was a niche to fill. Now a full-time business, Action Striping does most of its work in parking lot striping – about 90% Montano says – but also offers signage, parking blocks, and minor pothole repair.
For example, it may seem like a minor detail, but Montano paints all of his trailers a bright yellow so customers can easily recognize him when he is out on jobs. Another way Montano makes sure potential customers get the details of Action Striping’s business is through what Montano refers to as “pleasantly persistent.” Montano always carries business cards with him, and he is always handing them out. But the follow up is what really matters.
“Once I make a contact with somebody I will contact them a week or two weeks after that to remind them that I’m still around. After that I try to contact them at least once a month with a phone call or e-mail to put my name in front of them.”
Probably the area where Montano pays the most attention to detail is customer service. “I think customer service is a part of the job all the time,” Montano says. “I really don’t have to give it too much thought anymore because it’s something I’ve gotten so use to doing.”
For Montano, it has always been important for him to be there for the customer. When he schedules a job he makes sure he arrives on time. And he also makes sure that his company follows the customer’s time line instead of its own. After all, the customer is boss.
And he always makes sure that if a customer contacts him he either answers the phone or makes sure to call back. “A lot of people will call me and say ‘Hey, I’m requesting a bid, and I’ve called a couple of stripers who have never called me back,’” Montano says. He is determined never to have one of those companies that doesn’t return calls.
“If somebody calls show him you care, that you’re willing to listen to them, and give them a bid.”
Montano’s detailed customer service continues from the beginning of each project through the end and even after the last stripe is painted.
“I’m always contacting them letting them know the status of the job or how things went,” he says. “After the job I always like to follow up with a phone call to make sure it met their expectations and if they have any questions.”
To help control the work and make sure the details are not overlooked Montano says he likes to keep his striping crew small. Action Striping currently has five employees, including Montano.
“Striping is like the icing on the cake. It really has to have precision and it has to look nice,” Montano says. “I try to keep my crew small and manageable so I can have hands on it at all times.”
He says about 75% of his customer base has been with the company since its beginning, so it looks like focusing on the details has been paying off for Action Striping.