Like bears, emerging slowly from a long hibernation, stretching and yawning, various aspects of the Phoenix economy are starting to slowly recover from the bleak years of the recession. The real estate market, first revisited by the investors, is now reaching those regular folks, who have been safely saving their money in their mattresses and can qualify for the special programs and loans. Those, who are not interested in moving, are finally able to fix up their current homesteads. All this bodes well for the independent craftspeople, like Jimmie Judon, who owns Judon’s Custom Painting, LLC.
Judon is from Chicago, and has been in the Valley 15 years (came for the weather, like most Chicagoans). He started his own company—Judon’s Custom Painting LLC—in 2000. Judon’s company does paperhanging, power washing, and both interior and exterior paint jobs for commercial and residential customers. His DBE/MBE certified business has four employees, and is headquartered in the Desert Hills area of Phoenix, in the West Valley.
After a successful run, like others in the construction industry, Judon was hit hard by the economic downturn in Phoenix. He turned to networking to expand his customer base and increase referrals. He also joined Value Card Alliance, a local trade organization. He has been very successful with trade, a barter system where vendors “sell” some or a percentage of their services to customers in exchange for trade dollars. But it takes careful planning and management to successfully use trade.
“You have to be careful not to get overwhelmed,” advises Judon, “As you still need revenue to pay employees and cover other cash expenses.” But, trade organizations, like Value Card, refer and promote small businesses as part of their services, their fees are low, and the trade dollars a small business earns are very useful for many needed services from pest control to bookkeeping, helping businesses' bottom lines.
Judon only uses high-quality paint and materials, and attributes his survival through the tough times to his excellent customer service. “My priority and what I love to do is taking care of my customers.” He is known for his quick response, honest/accurate bidding, and professionalism.
In Phoenix, people, feeling relieved as the economy picks up, but stressed as they face pent-up home maintenance needs, are starting to love tradespeople, like Judon, again, too.