Scaling up a commercial painting contracting business

Vork Brothers Painting

Painting | Zeeland, MI

In 2014, Shane Vork founded Vork Brothers Painting with his two brothers, who had been working in the paint division of a construction company. Their goal was to serve the West Michigan community, be it through commercial or residential paint jobs. These days, they’re making their mark all over the area, providing painting services to commercial establishments like Aldi and Ford, bureaucratic institutions like the Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce, and myriad homes.

Picture of Vork Brothers Painting team | Vork Brothers Painting | Knowify case study

Knowify fav

Seamless communication between the office and the field

Priorities

  • Grow business into a multi-million dollar industry
  • Bring in a diversity of painting projects in commercial, industrial, and residential fields
  • Streamline data and communication

Top features

  • AIA-style billing
  • Plan & Track feature
  • Mobile app

Not quite excelling with Excel

When the Vork brothers started their business, they arranged their data primarily by using Excel spreadsheets. At the time, it seemed like the most efficient solution possible, but the truth of the matter is that the system made it difficult to keep track of figures and profits, an attribute crucial for a business just getting off the ground. “It was disorganized,” Vork admits. “We thought we were organized until we moved to Knowify.” In light of his goals of gradually growing his business, and as such, his revenue, Vork sought a solution that was scalable and could work for businesses of multiple sizes and various revenue streams.


“Knowify streamlines everything, which then streamlines our communication with the customer. It makes things a lot easier. Even after using Knowify for just a year or so, it’s helped a ton.”

Shane Vork

Taking the “pain” out of “paint job

In 2019, Vork Brothers Painting abandoned its old ways and made the switch to Knowify, eager to use a software that would relay crucial data and information to the team efficiently and clearly. It was Knowify’s plan-and-track feature in particular that initially caught Shane Vork’s eye. “Being able to know where you’re making money and losing money is very helpful,” he said.

The dashboard, in particular, has been helpful to Vork’s business, in that it gives the team a clear sense of their finances and allows them to set realistic fiscal goals. “The Knowify dashboard is so clear about the job and the projected profitability,” Vorks says. “It’s so nice that it’s all in one place and you can access it from wherever.”

Vork admits that it took some effort to convince his team to embrace a new software. Although the transition did not happen overnight, Vork knew that Knowify would help the business run more methodically, and ultimately, allow it to grow. “It did take a little bit of time, and we’re still getting used to some features of Knowify,” he says. “It’s a work in progress.”

Progress has been the name of the game for Vork Brothers Painting. The team now boasts 25 employees, all of whom now use Knowify to complete a wide variety of tasks. 

Vork particularly appreciates Knowify’s integration with Zapier, a popular recipe-based middleware software that allows various software tools to pass data back and forth seamlessly among platforms. Vork Brothers Painting uses the email marketing service Mailchimp to communicate, and with the help of Zapier, the company can easily integrate its Knowify data into its newsletters. “It takes the information out of Knowify into Mailchimp and just streamlines that process,” Vork says.

A painting business whose future looks bright

These days, Vork can’t imagine running his business without Knowify. Whether the team is repainting a residence, painting a new residence under construction, or doing a large commercial job, Vork can feel confident that the job will be done professionally and properly. For that, he thanks Knowify’s mobile app, which allows him to get a sense of what’s happening on the job site regardless of where he is. “Our guys in the field are using the app to communicate and send pictures,” he says. “They’ll use the log part of Knowify if we’re missing change orders or need to send out change orders.”

Vork Brothers Painting has taken to using Knowify as a CRM, using the software to log any communications with business owners regarding leads and projects out for signature. “If I give an owner a call and they don’t answer and I leave a voicemail,” says Vork, “I’m going to log that, so that if I’m on vacation or out of the office and someone else takes a call for that particular job, they can look into that job and see where we stand.” Vork says that using Knowify as a CRM has bolstered a spirit of collaboration among his team, since this element of the software ensures that everyone is on the same page. “It’s been really helpful in allowing us to work as a team on these projects without having to be in the same location.”

Vork says it’s been gratifying to watch his team embrace new technology, and he envisions relying on Knowify for the foreseeable future. His one gripe with the software? Vork loves the mobile app so much that he’d like to be able to utilize it for all of his job-planning needs. He hopes to see a day when he can calculate an estimate directly from the mobile app (it’s in the works!).

Vork Brothers Painting is thriving, and Shane Vork could not be prouder of his team’s stellar work on businesses and homes all around West Michigan. The team is already 65-70 percent booked for the next calendar year, and Vork anticipates many successful years to come, in part thanks to the efficiency of his business’s inner workings. “Knowify has helped us a ton, and it’s going to continue to help.”

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