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Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, has a new venture aimed at painting houses in a single day. (Jeff Vinnick/Globe and Mail)
Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, has a new venture aimed at painting houses in a single day. (Jeff Vinnick/Globe and Mail)

Small Business Briefing

Vancouver startup paints your house in a day Add to ...

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First came 1-800-GOT-JUNK

Having your house painted can be an ordeal, sometimes stretching over days or even weeks. But Brian Scudamore, the man who started the successful trash-hauling franchise 1-800-GOT-JUNK, is moving forward with his latest venture, which promises to cut the house-painting timeline down to a single day, reports Inc. Magazine.

The franchise, dubbed 1-888-WOW-1DAY, sprung from an existing Vancouver business that painted Mr. Scudamore's own home in 2010. That company, started by Jim Bodden, was called One Day Painting at the time. Mr. Scudamore told Inc. that he was impressed by Mr. Bodden's professionalism, but incredulous about the promise of having his entire house painted in a single day.

"Jim told me the job would get done in one day, and I said 'How is that possible?'" Mr. Scudamore said. "But I came home at 6:30 p.m., and there it was - floor to ceiling, moldings, trim, three coats in the kitchen, all of it immaculate ... I kept looking at it thinking: 'I need a piece of this.'"

He got more than just a piece. Mr. Scudamore acquired the company by the end of 2010, and he set to work rebranding it with the new moniker, investing a further $300,000 into the relaunch.

What makes the process possible is the surge of painters that converge on a house, up to16 for a single job. The crews first meet in a parking lot near the work site, where they review the job and each individual's task, as well as donning uniforms. They head to the site en masse and set to work.

The crews also rely on a friendly touch. At the end of a job, they leave a thank you card signed by the painters and a bouquet of flowers. In rare cases when a job takes more than a day, the company puts the homeowners up in a hotel and buys them dinner.

"They're small things, but they seal the fact that we're different," Mr. Scudamore said.

Report on Small Business caught up with Mr. Scudamore to discuss the early days of the franchise in June, 2011, but expansion appears to have moved quickly since then.

Mr. Scudamore expects 1-888-WOW-1DAY to have as many as 50 franchises by the end of the year, and projects the company will do $5-million in business this year.

Computer screen sharing for the average Joe

Screenleap, an American startup, aims to bring computer screen sharing out of the boardroom and into public use reports Mashable. Currently, screen sharing is used primary by businesses to broadcast how-to seminars or troubleshoot problems, but Screenleap founders Tuyen Truong and Lawrence Gentilello see value in the technology as an online social interaction tool. "We want to make screen sharing as frictionless as possible," Mr. Truong told Mashable. "Screen sharing can and should be as easy to use as email." Screenleap, which requires no software download, lets users get their own personal domain name and choose to share their screen on the broader Internet, or with select individuals. Users are able to share from a computer, smartphone or tablet, and they are able to send friends a link or nine-digit Screenleap code to give them access to their site.

Social-media-savvy customers have higher expectations: report

According to a new American Express study, customers who take to social media to air their grievances about certain products or services have a higher expectation of the response they should get than those who call customer complaint lines or go to stores in person to complain. Consumers reported that they would spend more with companies who delivered great service; 21 per cent said they would buy more, as opposed to 13 per cent of the general population. The top five ways Americans use social media for customer service are to seek a reponse from the company, to praise a company, to share information about the service they received, to vent frustration, and to ask other users about their experiences, according to the poll.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Montreal Startup Festival

Entrepreneurs will converge on Montreal from July 11 to July 13 for the International Startup Festival. The three-day event will feature aspiring entrepreneurs pitching and presenting their ideas, with one deserving startup taking home an investment of at least $50,000, supplied by a group of angel investors and venture capitalists. The deadline for nominations for the prize is May 4 at 5 p.m. For more information, visit its website.

Toronto Talks presents Jumpstart Your Sales

In the latest in this series of workshops featuring industry experts, Toronto Talks will be joined by international business speaker and trainer Eric Lofholm on May 8. Mr. Lofholm will be speaking about a number of business topics, including networking and ways to generate and convert leads. Tickets are $35 in advance, and $45 at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Toronto Talks website.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Six Canadian companies leading the social media charge

These six Canadian small businesses have built substantial and sustained campaigns through social media, writes Ivor Tossell and John Lorinc in this story from Report on Small Business magazine.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

When work isn't fun any more

Winnipeg clothing designer Rebecca McCormack needed to break out of the monotonous routines of running her retail operation, but she wasn't sure exactly how to do it, in this Nov. 4, 2010 article.

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