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How To Become A Trade Partner

Building quality and long-lasting trade partner relationships is not easy.  It takes time, persistence, communication and a genuine interest.  You must believe in the service you offer and be willing to do the things that other trade partners are not willing to do.  The relationship must come first in order to build the foundation of a strong partnership.  It can’t be about the money, the work, or any other intention.  With that being said, here are ways you can start building those relationships:

Team Work

Connect With A Big Company

When you are just making your mark you might not be ready to take on large projects by yourself.  We found ourselves in this situation, but we really needed to start building our experience and learning a bigger market if we were ever going to grow.  Our solution was to find a more established painting company and apply to be a sub contractor.  This is exactly what we did and that partnership has been well worth it!  They have exposed to a different level of work and have helped us learn a skill set we would not have otherwise easily gained.  We are now equipped to take on those big scale projects on our own.

Send A Letter

Today we often think the best way to connect is online.  In some cases this might be true, but don’t discount a good ‘ol hand written letter.  We’ve taken this approach many times and it has paid off.  Write a letter explaining why you think you are a good fit for their company and ask for a meeting.  Don’t just send a million letters though in an attempt to boost your work flow.  Do your research, be intentional, and make sure they are the type of company you want to do work with.   Pursue companies that have missions and values aligned with yours; these are the best partnerships.

Do A Drive By

On many occasions I have driven by a construction company in which I wanted to become a trade partner and stopped in to ask for a meeting. Don’t worry, often the correct contact person isn’t onsite or not available so in that case I leave a card and follow up with a phone call.  Remember, persistence is key so if you can’t connect with the right person then try again.  Continue to stop in their office every week or so.  Always ask for the card for the person in charge of managing sub contractors or trade partners so you can reach out to them by email or a phone call.

Trade Partners Utilize Connections

It never hurts to just ask.  Often this is the hardest thing to do, but it’s generally the most effective.  I find that most people want to help and love being a connector for people. Reach out to realtors, your paint reps, and other business owners for help.    Our Sherwin Williams paint rep has been a great resource for us and I encourage everyone to work to develop this relationship.

Write An Email

Emails may get over looked if the content is not pertinent to the receiver’s current needs, but it certainly won’t hurt to try. If you choose this route be sure to not send anything that could be interpreted as spam.  Instead, be thoughtful and intentional in what you write and explain why you would be a compatible trade partner.  I suggest to start the email with a short introduction explaining who you are and what you can provide to them-how can you benefit their organization?  Again, make sure you’ve done your research ahead of time, don’t contact everyone that shows up on a Google search, instead, contact the companies that look appealing to you.

Join A Networking Group

For No Drip Painting, joining a networking group has proven to be one of the most important and effective strategies thus far.  We are members of NARI and they have helped facilitate some great relationships for us.  When part of a networking group like NARI, you might have the opportunity to join specialized committees within the organization that will further your understanding of fellow members and elevate personal relationships within the industry.  You might actually make some really great friends too!


There is no ‘quick ticket’ to finding your business-changing connection, but with time, effort, appreciation and honesty, great relationships can begin to take shape.  Never forget to focus on relationships and give them the necessary attention they deserve in order to get the results you are seeking.

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