I’m Dale Jagger and thought I would start this blog about the commercial and residential painting trade by introducing myself, my philosophy on service, and tell you a bit about who I am.
I’m from the Centerburg, Ohio area, about 30 minutes northeast of Columbus. I grew up on a farm and went to Centerburg High School, class of 1977. I spent most of my free time working on the family farm, which I really enjoyed, while growing up. I went to Ohio University and graduated with a degree in general studies in 1982, but like a lot of young people I was still not sure what I wanted to do.
I began my career path by going into management in the food service industry. I worked with two different companies, and I enjoyed the food service industry. While I was in management, I was still an employee and found it very frustrating that the owners would occasionally make minor changes, just for the sake of making changes. These variations essentially amounted to “rearranging deck chairs”, rather than making any impact on actual problems.
My frustration with food service management let me to taking a leap into another industry. After being asked several times, I finally went to work with my father in law at his painting company. Now this was against my better judgement, I don’t like to mix business and family, but it was an opportunity for a change. After about two years the business dissolved due to a divorce, so in 1997 I decided to go into business for myself and started my own painting company, Integrity Painting.
I was set on running my business the same way I had in food service, with my own personal philosophy: “Say what you do, and do what you say.” I was determined to set an example of good quality service. Since I was in control now, if changes need to be made, I was going to make ones that would solve real problems. I’ve been asked what makes me an expert in my field, and to that I reply, “Nothing”. There is no school for this industry, it’s just experience. Been there, done that and found out what works and what doesn’t. It’s a constantly changing field, so nobody is really what I’d consider an expert. Some of us are just more knowledgeable than the layperson would be because there is a great deal to know.
I will acknowledge that in the trade industry, a lot of companies have earned a bad reputation for being unreliable and trying to get by with doing fast and cheap work. I don’t want that to be what Integrity Painting is known for. The only way to distinguish yourself from the next guy, whether you’re selling nuts and bolts, food or paint, is the quality of service you provide. If you’re going to do something, do it right the first time. It just makes sense. Go the extra mile, beyond what you’re supposed to do, rather than trying to get away with doing the minimum, because you will always have to go back and fix it or do it right later. That makes a bad impression right from the get go, and you can never walk away from that situation in a positive light. I believe in being upfront with customers about what we can and can’t do. I would rather be honest about the limitations in my field, than tell a customer that we can do something that we can’t, and have them walk away from their service experience disappointed.
This statement is the cornerstone of my philosophy for success. It holds true across all types of businesses. If you and your employees follow that rule, you will be successful. That, and of course your staff. I am just a “cog in the wheel”, and if it wasn’t for the people that put the paint on the walls or the administrative staff, there wouldn’t be an Integrity Painting. My employees spend more time with our customers than I do, so they really are the ones that represent the company. I’m careful to hire people that share my philosophy about business and quality of work.
I currently live in Baltimore, Ohio with my supportive wife Dona. We began raising our family here in 1987. We have three beautiful daughters, Abigale the youngest, is going to Mt. Union pre-med. We also have twin daughters Audreyana and Louisa. Audreyana is going to Southern Illinois University, pursuing a doctorate in neuropsychology, and her twin sister Louisa has Down’s Syndrome and lives at home with us. We have a dog, Daisy, and cats (all female) too. So the “seat is always down” at my house, ha ha! I don’t have much time for hobbies since I work 60-70 hours per week, but I still enjoy farming, we have some wool sheep currently for 4H. I also enjoy muscle cars, we have a 1970 Ford Torino that we take out on weekends occasionally.
Stay tuned for the next post: Part one of a four-part series on the most challenging topic in the painting industry: Scheduling.