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inPAINT T H E M AG A Z I N E FO R PR O FE SS I O N AL S

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J U L /AU G 2020

SURVIVING AND THRIVING IN A VOLATILE ECONOMY

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Marketing and customer communications amid COVID-19 Pros talk drywall repair choices

Jul/Aug 2020 | inPAINT

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INTRODUCING THE PURDY® PAINTER’S BACKPACK

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The best paint jobs start with No two surfaces are alike — that’s why starting with the right prep can make all the difference. With a family of tapes designed specifically for your surface, Scotch® Painter’s Tape helps you prep right for professional-looking results.

© 3M 2020. All rights reserved. 3M, Scotch, ScotchBlue, Edge-Lock and the BLUE color of the tape are trademarks of 3M.


CUTTING IN

“Never waste the opportunity offered by a good crisis.” —NiccolÒ Machiavelli, Italian Renaissance diplomat, philosopher and writer

W

hile they’re not a lot of fun to live through, crises have historically served as the powerful impetus for innovation in the world of business. Plenty of companies actually got their start when things were seemingly at their worst. For example, Netflix, Microsoft, Warby Parker and Airbnb were all started during recessions. While other businesses were tightening their belts and cutting budgets, these innovators were launching with new products and services to address customer needs and wants because those needs and wants didn’t disappear when economic prosperity did. Similarly, the need to preserve one’s home, business or operation didn’t just disappear when COVID-19 arrived on the scene. That’s the good news. The other good news—or bad news, depending upon your mindset—is that, like the recession, the pandemic has brought challenges. The process of landing business was not the same on July 1 as it was on March 1. Nor is how you obtain product and get the job done. Or how you keep your crew and customers safe. At this point, change is not optional. But the decision as to how to respond to the challenges change presents is totally in your court. To help inform the choices before you, in this issue we feature insights from a number of folks on how to adjust and adapt during the pandemic. You’ll find tips for safely returning to work courtesy of the National Safety Council in both Trends and Trend in Focus, tactics for preserving your business during the pandemic and making it stronger in a feature article, and ideas for successfully entering the new normal of virtual communications with customers in Bottom Line. But if you’re one of the many who want to read about pretty much anything but COVID-19, you might enjoy the Two Pros, One Bid article featuring Nick May and Nick Slavik sharing their bid processes and actual numbers for the same kitchen cabinet job. Plus, you’ll find four pros talking about their favorite drywall repair choices in Pro Picks, and some helpful tips for achieving a professional-looking finish by sanding between coats in Ask a Pro. Afterall, even in the throes of a global crisis, the quest for great craftsmanship continues. Cheers,

Amanda Haar Amanda Haar Managing Editor, inPAINT

2020 EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD LeAnn Day President, Paint & Decorating Retailers Association Doug Imhoff Owner, Imhoff Fine Residential Painting

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inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020

Larry Marler Owner, The Works Remodeling and Finishing, LLC Tara Riley President, Fresh Coat Painters Dave Scaturro VP & Director of Commercial Estimating, Alpine Painting & Sandblasting Contractors

Nick Slavik Proprietor, Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co., and Host of Ask a Painter! Live Art Snarzyk Owner, InnerView Advisors, Inc.


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Jul/Aug 2020 | inPAINT

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PUBLISHER Edward McAdams MANAGING EDITOR Amanda Haar DESIGN Carl Bezuidenhout CREATIVE SERVICES DIRECTOR Cindy Puskar

CONTRIBUTING WRITER Brian Sodoma

EDITORIAL amanda@inPAINTmag.com ADVERTISE 602-296-5391 ed@inPAINTmag.com SUBSCRIBE inPAINTmag.com/subscribe inPAINTmag.com

publishing group REM Publishing Group LLC 8924 E Pinnacle Peak Rd Suite G5 #575 Scottsdale, AZ 85255

This issue’s contributing experts Chris Bache Hatch Rob Byers ACP Painting Vanessa DaSilva Femmy by Design Corp Mark DeFrancesco MDF Painting & Power Washing Tom Ditlefsen 3M Joel Gotshall The 360° Painting Franchise System Lee Mallahan lll Tadpole Tape Cutter Lorraine Martin National Safety Council Nick May Walls by Design Michael Murray Textbook Painting Eric Regan Mission Painting & Home Improvements John Seidensticker Behr Paint Company Nick Slavik Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co.

©2020 REM Publishing Group LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of content in any manner without written permission by the publisher is strictly prohibited. Opinions expressed in signed columns and articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Publisher assumes no liability for any damages or loss of any kind that might arise from the use, misuse or inability to use the materials or information contained in this publication. All material and information appearing in this publication is distributed and transmitted ‘as is,’ without warranties of any kind, either express or implied, and is subject to the terms and conditions stated in this disclaimer. 6

inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020

Parker Smith Smith & Company Painting Steve Spinelli Uni Pro Painting Diane Walsh Shurtape Technologies


Paper

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© 3M 2020. All rights reserved. 3M, Hand-Masker and the BLUE color of the tape are trademarks of 3M.

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CUTTING IN

inPAINT® Jul/Aug 2020

CONTENTS FEATURES

Riding the Wave of COVID-19

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Pro Picks

22

2 Pros, 1 Bid

26

Surviving and thriving in a volatile economy

4 pros on handling drywall repairs

The inPAINT Interview

Commercial painting business built on craftsmanship and relationships

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inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020

32

22

Courtesy of Sheetrock Brand

Two different approaches to bidding the same kitchen cabinet job

DEPARTMENTS 10 The News Industry ins and outs

16 Ask a Pro Using abrasives between coats to help improve finish results

12 5 Good Questions Painting contractor on his company’s core values, and the benefits of offering benefits

34 Tools of the Trade What’s in today’s professional toolbox?

14 Trends A fast look at the forces at work in our industry

36 Upcoming Events The what, where and when of the industry’s leading events

15 Trend in Focus Returning employees to traditional work environments post-quarantine

38 Bottom Line The move to virtual appointments and texting amid COVID-19

Cover Photo Courtesy of Fresh Coat Painters


THE NEWS

Save tape, save time, save money T After Lee Mallahan spent more than an hour taping 32 panes of glass on a set of French doors, he knew there had to be a better way. Self-described “as a little OCD,” he visited several home-improvement centers, certain there’d be a tape cutter that would provide the crisp, clean cut he desired. When it wasn’t to be found, he decided to create it. Fully made and assembled in the U.S., the Tadpole Tape Cutter fits snugly on the tape roll and delivers perfect edges and corners every time. Available in 1," 1.5" and 2" options, the tiny tool saves tape and time on every job—and is reusable. Cutters can be purchased individually or in a convenient 3-pack that features one of each size. TadpoleTapeCutter.com

Festool introduces compact mobile dust extractor T Festool’s new dust extractor is compact in both size and price tag. Fully HEPA-Certified and featuring a HEPA filter that meets or exceeds all requirements of EPA RRP guidelines, the CT 15 Dust Extractor weighs just 24 pounds and has a capacity of 3.96 gallons. Compatible with all Festool systems and capable of removing dust, water and dirt, the mobile extractor features a touch-operated control panel for easy operation even while wearing gloves or in a dusty workshop. In addition, the tool-triggered activation is a real time-saver, as the extractor starts and stops in-sync with the connected tool when it is plugged into the supplied socket. Available at participating Festool dealers. FestoolUSA.com

DAP delivers a rainbow of sealant options T DAP recently added 12 new colors to its EXTREME STRETCH color offerings to make matching the most common building substrates for windows, doors and siding easier than ever. The new color assortment now includes white, clear, almond, tan, limestone, woodtone, dark brown, gray, slate gray, iron stone, redwood, pine green and black. An acrylic urethane sealant, EXTREME STRETCH combines the flexibility and adhesion of a polyurethane with the paintability and ease of use of an acrylic latex. Ideal for both interior and exterior applications, it can fill gaps up to 3" wide and stretches up to 600% for an extremely durable seal that won’t crack. Available at homeimprovement retailers. To learn more, visit DAP.com

The Purdy Pail: a cut bucket that’s a cut above T Purdy has re-engineered the traditional cut bucket for easier use, better comfort, and super simple cleanup. Dubbed the Purdy Pail, it boasts a one-quart capacity and features multi-grip options, including a coffee cup-style adjustable side grip and a flexible bail handle. Add a pail hook to the bail and hang the pail for easy access and to keep both hands free while climbing a ladder. The inside of the bucket features a powerful brush magnet strong enough to hold a brush out of the paint, a gridded roller ramp that accommodates mini-rollers up to 4-1/2," and a roller rest that keeps rollers out of the paint. Add a Purdy Pail Liner (sold separately) and cleanup is fast and easy. Available at Sherwin-Williams stores. Learn more at Purdy.com/pail

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Online job management made easy T Houzz recently launched an all-in-one software as a service solution intended to help remodelers, designers and other industry professionals win more clients, increase profits, and stay better connected with their clients and teams. Dubbed ‘Houzz Pro,’ the software enables pros to manage their entire project and client lifecycle in one place. Also available as an app, which includes all the functionality of its desktop software, Houzz Pro provides access to the information needed to manage a job remotely. Featuring a built-in messaging tool that unifies real-time chat and email communication with clients— including photo and document sharing, invoices, change orders and time lines—the tool tracks the entire communication history between pros and clients, including key activities and approvals. A built-in dashboard lets you share updates throughout the project, including milestones and phase completion. The software also features an estimate creation tool to help you build faster and more accurate estimates from pre-loaded, project-specific templates that include products, materials and installation costs specific to the project’s zip code. Plus, it tracks change orders and schedules payments, and allows pros to get client approval via a digital signature. Houzz Pro is available to existing pro subscribers as part of their paid subscription. Pro.Houzz.com

RE-U-ZIP Reusable Dust Barrier Zipper

RE-U-ZIP +Magnetic Entry Strip

Innovative dust barrier entry systems save time and money T The process of dust containment just got a major upgrade thanks to two new containment barrier options. The RE-U-ZIP Reusable Dust Barrier Zipper option features a jam-proof zipper that can be easily attached, adjusted and removed from any poly sheeting thanks to mounting strips featuring patented hook-and-loop fasteners (similar to Velcro) and high-grade adhesive. When the job is done, the zipper can be removed and reused. Additionally, its unique lockable design helps you to secure the site at the end of the day, reducing liability and the risk of jobsite tampering, and maintaining a chain of custody for the job. The RE-U-ZIP +Magnetic Entry Strip provides a self-closing option using the same mounting strips as the zipper system. The magnetic opening is hands-free, allowing you to pass through the opening even with your hands full. Both systems are easy to install and feature reusable components for dramatically less waste and a cost savings up to 50% over traditional barrier methods. Visit reuzip.com for video demonstrations of each system. Available through Reuzip.com, Amazon.com, and select industrial cleaning and abatement websites.

Shurtape tweaks its tape for better performance T In an effort to improve upon a good thing, Shurtape recently changed up its CP 27 14-Day ShurRELEASE Blue Painter’s Tape. The tape’s synthetic rubber-based adhesive has been replaced with a solvent-less formula that delivers excellent paint lines and prevents lifting and paint seepage. CP 27 also features a new fine-structured crepe paper backing that makes the tape more flexible and responsive and offers stronger tear resistance compared to standard crepe paper. Available widths: 0.7," 0.94," 1.41," 1.88." Shurtape.com/products/CP-027 Jul/Aug 2020 | inPAINT

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5 QUESTIONS

1 MICHAEL MURRAY founded Textbook Painting in 2006 after graduating from college. Serving the Cleveland, OH area, the company offers interior, exterior and cabinet painting services as well as rail refinishing to residential clients. TextbookPainting.com

5

Good

QUESTIONS WITH MICHAEL MURRAY

How do your core values influence how you operate? Early on, we operated without core values and then, for a time, we ‘borrowed’ a few from other companies. As the business grew, I came to appreciate the purpose of core values and got serious about creating our own. Now, we revisit them every year during our annual planning. We discuss whether we lived them out or not and, if not, why not. Sometimes we realize we’ve outgrown a value or it’s not as important to us as it once was; other times, we realize our operations aren’t allowing us to hit the mark on something we do value. In those instances, we make changes to our practices. We refer to our core values regularly to guide decisions and practices.

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What’s been the hardest lesson to learn? How important cash flow is, and also how important it is to understand your numbers and manage your operation based on those numbers, rather than your feeling. A few years back, I felt like we were doing well but then, at the end of the day, we lost money. That taught me that feeling good wasn’t enough. I needed defined goals and metrics to evaluate against. I worked with a business coach to establish those things and now we’re in a much healthier financial position.

3

How does offering a range of warranties serve your business? One of the weak spots I see in our industry is treating the customer like a transaction, rather than a relationship. Warranties give us a reason to be in touch. Plus, they ensure our work always looks great. This has been especially helpful with our lifetime kitchen cabinet touch-up warranty. I WANT kitchens to look as perfect as possible for as long as possible so that when friends or family see them, they’re impressed.

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INSIGHT FROM A PAINTING BUSINESS OWNER We do exterior inspections every year. And because we call them, it takes the burden off the customer to reach out about a problem—something they might fear is ‘confrontational.’ Our proactive nature takes that tension away. They feel better about dealing with us and we reinforce the fact that we take pride in our work.

4

What’s the toughest decision on your immediate horizon? The biggest decision I’m facing right now is what our sales process should look like. We’ve been a very technology-forward company —that’s my preference. With COVID-19, we’ve been quick to embrace virtual quotes and sales presentations using Zoom and other virtual meeting technology. The question will then become ‘do we stay the tech course or go back to old ways?’ We’re trying to get a handle on whether or not the new format is as effective as in-home visits. Right now, I’m thinking it is. I do know it’s saving us time and fuel. My hunch is this will be our new normal in six months, and I suspect companies not taking these processes virtual will be left behind.

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What changes are you considering to help your business grow? We’re in the process of adding health, vision and dental benefits for employees. The decision to offer benefits goes back to the idea of building relationships. It’s something I want to do to help the people who work here, plus I believe it will put them in a better position to take care of our customers. I’m also looking at offering more carpentry-related services. We currently do some trim work when needed, but the guy who’s best at it is also one of our better painters. Pulling him off of painting to do it gets a little clunky. We need to hire a full-time carpenter, but we need to have the work to keep them busy. I anticipate we’re within 12 months of doing that.


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TRENDS

Most-matched colors These were the top five colors matched using three different devices in the U.S. in 2019: Color Sensor by Nix

Sand Dollar 877 Benjamin Moore

Pure White OC-64 Benjamin Moore

Antique White DLX1024-2 Dulux

Urban Putty SW 7532 Sherwin-Williams

Alabaster SW 7008 Sherwin-Williams

ColorReader by Datacolor

The National Safety Council’s 10 universal actions for a safe return to work See Trend in Focus for more on these recommended actions.

1. Phasing: Create a phased transition to return to work aligned with risk and exposure levels. Frost 57 Behr

Gateway Gray MQ6-22 Behr

Evening Blue 2066-20 Benjamin Moore

100 MPH P170-7 Behr

Grape Juice 2074-10 Benjamin Moore

Pico by Palette

White Willow SW 6728 Sherwin-Williams

2. Sanitize: Before employees return, disinfect the workplace and make any physical alterations needed for physical distancing. 3. Screenings: Develop a health-status screening process for all employees.

Blackout N510-7 Behr

Lilac Muse 7004-3 Valspar

Flash of Orange DEA116 Dunn-Edwards Paints

Casual Khaki N300-3 Behr

4. Hygiene: Create a plan to handle sick employees, and encourage safe behaviors for good hygiene and infection control. 5. Tracing: Follow proper contact tracing steps if workers get sick to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Pros giving back during COVID-19

Mixed outlooks When asked about their expectations for business revenue between April 2020 and April 2021, here’s what a survey of small business owners had to say:

40%

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The number of pros who have joined the ‘Remodel for a Reason’ campaign launched by Paint Track Painting Services, which offers free home-improvement services to essential workers in their communities ●

20%

0%

75% 50% 25% No 25% 50% 75% lower lower lower change higher higher higher

SOURCE: SCORE, The Impact of COVID-19 on Small Businesses, April 2020

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inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020

Vanessa DaSilva, Femmy by Design Corp Tonya Sinko, R & J Painting Juan Vasquez, Illusions Painting Jorge Hernandez, Legacy Construction of TN Mike Kelly, Crestwood Painting Efrain Medina, Medina Painting Nick May, Walls by Design Zach Kenney, ZK Painting Rodrigo Vasconcellos, Palette Pro Painting & Renovation

Kevin Nail, Kevin Nail Paint Contracting Ryan Turry, Headwaters Painting Marc Ringel, Paint Works New York Nigel Costolloe, CatchLight Painting Affordable Handyman of Greenwich Nick Rochacewich, NWR Painting Jeff Dupont, Sound Painting Solutions

List current as of July 10, 2020 To learn more, visit painttrack.com/remodel4reason

6. Mental Health: Commit to supporting the mental and emotional health of your workers by sharing support resources and policies. 7. Training: Train leaders and supervisors not only on the fundamentals of safety such as risk assessment and hazard recognition, but also on the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health and well-being, as employees will feel the effects of the pandemic long after it is over. 8. Engagement Plan: Notify employees in advance of the return to work, and consider categorizing workers into different groups based on job roles—bringing groups back one at a time. 9. Communication: Develop a communications plan to be open and transparent with workers on your return to work process. 10. Assessment: Outline the main factors your organization is using as guidance to provide a simplistic structure to the extremely complex return to work decision.


TREND IN FOCUS

New practices and procedures to ensure worker and customer safety

A

ccording to Lorraine Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council (NSC), “The biggest thing standing in the way of getting our economy running again is dealing with the safety of our workforce. It’s what stands between where we are today and where we want to be.” Recognizing that returning employees to traditional work environments post-quarantine will be the most nuanced and complex actions American employers will be undertaking in the coming months, the NSC recently identified 10 universal actions every employer must take to help ensure a safer reopening (see page 14). “These actions are based on recommendations of the SAFER (Safe Actions for Employee Returns) task force—the first national task force focused on worker safety in a post-quarantine world and comprised of large and small Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, legal experts, public health professionals, medical professionals, and government agency representatives,” says Martin. Assessing your environment and risks Because paint contractors don’t operate in a closed environment, the challenge of keeping workers safe is a bit more complicated—but it’s not impossible. “You have to have a clear understanding of your operational environment and your whole risk profile,” says Martin. “That is, where are employees at risk of exposure including entering and exiting a work site, and operating within that site (through shared tools or proximity of work space). You need to look critically at those potential points of exposure and develop procedures for minimizing the risk. And you need to communicate those procedures clearly and reinforce why they’re important. This is for the safety of your team and their families. Ultimately, we will all be judged by how well we kept employees and customers safe at this moment in time.” Making the most of the return-to-work moment “The return-to-work moment is critical on so many safety fronts, not just COVID-related,” says Martin. “It will really pay off to give your safety talks—with the added new procedures—the time and consideration they deserve. Your workers’ health and your company’s future depend on it.”

Courtesy of the 360° Painting franchise system

Preparing for a safe return to work

She also encourages employers to be especially sensitive to issues related to mental health and substance use disorders. “It’s a stressful time for everyone, and employees may be struggling to deal with it. Supervisors need to know how to recognize stress and signs of substance-use issues—which spike during times of crisis—and have a plan for addressing them and offering support.” Playing it safe for employees and customers For Joel Gotshall, VP of the 360° Painting franchise system, implementing new procedures wasn’t as challenging as anticipated. “It’s really about good workplace hygiene.” Gotshall notes, “We now provide gloves, N95 masks, and booties to be worn at all times, with the exception of some exterior work and no booties on ladders. We have sanitizing wipes and pump jars on every jobsite, and encourage crews to use them often. High-touch surfaces, equipment and vehicles get thoroughly wiped down at the end of every day, as do cans of paint we might leave for a customer.” Gotshall notes the new procedures add a bit of time on to every job but says it’s a small price to pay to keep his employees safe. On the customer side of things, many of the 360° Painting franchise system owners have moved to offering free virtual estimates. “We found that it’s very doable with most of the video conferencing platforms and, when possible, we also refer to images found on Zillow to help with pricing.” As for when it’s time to do the work, “We really leave it to the customer to decide how they want to handle things. Some prefer to isolate in the home away from the crews and others make a point of leaving entirely.” “The biggest thing,” says Gotshall, “is simply being respectful of our customers and employees and communicating the measures we’re taking and why. I don’t think you can overcommunicate on why you’re taking things seriously.”

“ The return-to-work moment is critical on so many safety fronts, not just COVID-related.” —LORRAINE MARTIN, NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL

Jul/Aug 2020 | inPAINT

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ASK A PRO

Q:

What are the keys to improving finish results when sanding between coats?

TOM DITLEFSEN is a global product marketing manager for the 3M Construction & Home Improvement Markets Division. He has over 20 years of experience working with abrasives. The last several years have been spent leading the development of new products that help provide a better sanding experience.

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inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020

A:

The whole idea behind sanding between coats is, first, to remove any imperfections that might exist on the surface and, second, to improve the adhesion of the next coat. When it comes to doing the work, there is no one right technique for doing the job. It really depends upon the surface you’re working on and personal preference. If you’re working on a large, flat surface, like a wall or a door, a common 5" random orbital sanding disk can make pretty short work of the task, whereas going at it by hand could eat up a lot of time. But if you’re working on cabinets with a lot of detail and grooves, sanding sponges and sheets will give you the flexibility to tackle all the surface contours. The most important choice related to sanding between coats is grit. There are three stages of sanding that define grit: ■ remove (60–80 grit) ■ smooth (100–150 grit) ■ finish (180+ grit) When you’re choosing a grit, you need to consider both the substrate and the coating. For sanding most primers, 180 or 220 is a good starting point. Then, once you start adding layers of topcoat, you’ll want to bump up the grit you use with each successive coat—however it is important that you don’t bump too far (for example, skip from a 180 grit to 320). Lower-grit abrasives will leave a scratch pattern that’s more visible than the next level up. If you try to take the pattern out with a much higher grit, you’re going to be at it for a long time. It’s got to be a gradual transition.

When sanding between coats, you’re aiming to scuff the coating, not remove it. That said, if, in the course of sanding, you find you’re burning through the paint, you might be using too coarse a grit. However, it is also possible that coating thickness may be the issue. Thus, always make sure you’re hitting the right mil rate when applying a coating. If you’re aiming for a glossy, almost wet-looking finish, you’re going to want to use the highest number grit possible before the final topcoat. Besides providing the necessary adhesion, it will leave a virtually invisible scratch pattern. Another key to a successful finish is making sure you clean the surface completely after each sanding to remove the swarf or resulting dust. What you don’t want to use is a cloth moistened with water, especially on wood surfaces. Water can raise the grain of the wood, so when you apply your next coating, you might see those grains pop up. Tack cloths are ideal for this task, as they won’t leave any lint on the surface. Some pros are partial to lint-free cloths lightly dampened with mineral spirits, which pick up the dust and flash off quickly. And some orbital sanders have a built-in dust-extraction feature. While many of these are very efficient, I’d still recommend hitting the surface with a tack cloth right before your final coat to be sure you remove as much dust as possible. In the end, the strength of your reputation is based on the quality of your work. Sanding between coatings is one of the easiest ways to ensure a final product that not only looks great, but endures. That’s really the best reminder of your company you can possibly create.


CUTTING IN

RIDING THE WAVE OF COVID-19 Strategies to survive and thrive in a volatile economy

BY DIANE WALSH

L

ike most trades, the painting industry feels a significant impact from fluctuations in national and regional economies. Thus, most painting operations across the country are facing the economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and, along with them, an uncertain future. You obviously can’t control the factors that influence the economic ups and downs of the country or your region, but you can implement some best practices to help your business survive and remain positioned for success when the economy stabilizes.

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inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020


Strategies for preserving your business

1

Preserving your business’ finances and its workforce

For most painting companies today, a scarcity of work from seasonal dips or a slumping economy is familiar territory, but a global public health crisis with government guidelines that prevent you and your employees from reporting to jobsites and interacting face to face with customers is an entirely uncharted landscape. If you’re in an area where you’re restricted from sending teams out on jobs—or if you’ve made the decision on your own—your number one priority right now is preserving your company the best way you can. This will mean something different to every business in every region of the country, but it ultimately boils down to two components: 1) having enough available funds on hand to carry your business through, and 2) reducing overhead wherever you can. In terms of funds, the federal government’s stimulus package— the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act —allocates funds for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide grants and low-interest loans to qualifying businesses with fewer than 500 employees. With so many businesses applying for support, available funding may continue to exist in a state of flux (check the SBA’s Coronavirus Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources for current status at SBA.gov) so, alternatively, it’s not a bad idea to check with banking institutions near you who are offering low-interest loans and lines of credit. As for reducing expenses, perhaps you’ve temporarily reduced your staff. Maybe you’ve even found yourself in the grueling position of having to furlough the majority of your workforce. But your business still exists, so it’s important to remember that your people are the most critical components to its operation—and the best way to preserve your business and your people is to ensure they have a place of employment to return to as the economic engine begins to turn again.

At Mi-T-M, we pride ourselves on building mighty, damn good equipment. It’s what sets us apart from our competition. When you purchase equipment with the Mi-T-M name on it, you are buying dependable equipment that is designed, built, and tested by good people. Mighty. Damn. Good.

Made in

USA

with Globally Sourced Components

2

If you’re hiring, hire strategically

Painting operations in some areas of the country aren’t on lockdown—some are even doubling down on jobs with an abundance of vacated businesses and offices to work in. If you’re one of those lucky few, you may even be hiring new employees to help with an uptick in work. What you look for in new hires is a key component to position you for future success. Hiring well is a critical component to your success because your employees’ quality of work and customer

www.mitm.com 800-553-9053

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How well you come through these challenging times will ultimately depend on your ability to adapt.

DIANE WALSH is VP, market & channel development for Shurtape Technologies, makers of FrogTape brand Painter’s Tape. She also serves as director of the company’s Professional Paint Advisory Board, working with leading contractors across the country to explore industry trends and share innovations for the benefit of the entire trade. Diane was named the PDCA Associate Member of the Year in 2018.

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inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020

service directly impact your company’s brand and reputation. But hiring and retaining quality employees is trickier than it may seem, and is one of the industry’s most pressing perennial challenges. To offset the short supply of experienced, reliable employees—especially if you’re located in a smaller labor market—some contractors have turned to screening potential employees based on character, attitude and behavior, rather than searching exclusively for candidates with painting experience. “If someone has a terrible attitude—if they are either too cocky, too negative or just plain unhelpful—I am not in the business to address that,” says Parker Smith, president and owner of Smith & Company Painting in McMinnville, OR—an operation that is still hiring amid COVID-19. “I can’t change 30 years of someone’s life, but what I can change is their skill set.” Smith says he looks for qualities like honesty and trustworthiness because that translates to care of a customer’s home and property—and that oftentimes translates to more business. “You can’t have repeat business without the right team,” emphasizes Smith. “When the work is excellent, and when the team is kind and caring and they complete a job quickly and efficiently, then you create repeat customers.”

3

Take word-of-mouth online

If social distancing guidelines are preventing you from being out in the community painting or drumming up new projects, it may be critical for your business to network digitally and meet leads where they’re spending more of their time: online. Any painter not already marketing their services online may be leaving leads on the table, as today’s consumer climate is such that many potential customers first engage with products and services online. So it’s important to dedicate some of your resources, even if it’s just a small amount, to online and social media marketing. “Google AdWords campaigns and other online tactics have been very successful for us,” Smith notes. On average, he says his painting company gets roughly 40 to 50 leads per month through various online outlets. “We have a high conversion rate, with roughly 35 to 40 out of 100 inquiries turning into jobs,” he adds. You can (and should) also use social media— Facebook and Instagram, in particular—to get your business and its services in front of more potential customers. Both platforms allow you to choose your budget, geographic area and audience’s interests and, for a small fee, enable you to boost specific posts, increasing your likelihood of getting in front of someone who most likely needs your services.

4

Let technology guide efficiency

You already know one of the most direct ways to control your bottom line is by working efficiently. And though there’s no automated substitute for the personal care you put into sharp lines on trim or smoothly finished cabinetry, there are technologies that can help streamline your processes beyond actual painting. Software programs designed specifically to help painting contractors are today’s way to get organized, reduce time-consuming paperwork, and track customer interactions. Most of these programs automate everything from tracking leads, estimating and scheduling to creating job documents and invoicing. They’re also handy tools for helping estimators and project leads in the field to communicate with both the home office and your customers. And with the coronavirus limiting person-to-person interaction, the technology can even help give virtual quotes to customers. With these kinds of technological efficiencies, painting companies have been able to remove a significant number of overhead processes and cut back on administrative staff, allowing them to focus more heavily on customer service and training, rather than operations. It also removes significant expenses, positioning these companies to better endure unexpected hits to potential business in a down economy.

Finding success No matter the state of the economy, placing an increased focus on smart financial decisions and hiring, and having an openness to technology and new ways of networking are proven business practices that contribute to any company’s success. And while the ever-evolving conditions in each market may differ, one thing holds true: How well you come through these challenging times will ultimately depend on your ability to adapt. -


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21


Sheetrock Brand Joint Compounds provide a great bond and a hardfinish surface.

PRO PICKS The art of the patch: 4 pros share their go-to choices for drywall repair

22

inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020

Courtesy of USG Corporation

1 BOB BYERS

This Arizona-based painting professional works almost exclusively with textured walls. For small holes, he prefers 3M High Strength Small Hole Repair (formerly known as 3M Patch Plus Primer), which is ready for paint in about 30 minutes and doesn’t require any mixing. “It dries fast and when you paint over it, the spot you’ve filled doesn’t flash like some other spackles,” Byers emphasized. For anything larger than a doorknob-sized hole, he’ll use a wood backer with FiFlex Mesh Fiberglass Self-Adhesive Drywall Joint Tape and Sheetrock Brand Easy Sand 5 Patching Compound or the company’s Easy Sand 20 Joint Compound. “It’s a little stronger and a little more flexible; it’s especially useful for repairs where we’re dealing with settling cracks,” he said of the Easy Sand 20. To match textured surfaces, his teams use skip trowel or knockdown techniques that involve an initial skim coat and a second coat that’s flared out farther than the first coat. After sanding the surface, he then retextures by spraying a slightly diluted version of premixed Sheetrock Brand All Purpose Joint Compound and troweling afterward.


OUR PROS

1

ROB BYERS ACP Painting ACPPaintingLLC.com

2

ERIC REGAN Mission Painting & Home Improvements MissionPaintingKC.com

3

VANESSA DASILVA Femmy by Design Corp FemmyByDesign.com

4

MARK DEFRANCESCO MDF Painting & Power Washing MDFPainting.com

Regardless of whether your drywall repairs are large or small, every painting professional has a comfort level with certain materials and tools for the job. We tapped four pros to see what types of drywall repair situations they typically encounter and the tools and products they use to help make both mere wall blemishes and disasters look like they never happened.

2 ERIC REGAN

This Kansas City-based pro’s teams primarily deal with nail pops, scuffs and small holes. For that work, he turns to Sheetrock Brand Easy Sand 5 Patching Compound or ‘5-minute mud,’ as it’s commonly called. “You don’t need to wait to sand it and that’s what we’re really looking for with those small repairs,” he said. Regan also said his teams are trained to gently use a mini roller on the surface of the repair to add some texture. “You’re trying to match that orange peel texture of the existing wall,” he added. When patching an area where the customer will hang something afterward, his teams prefer Sheetrock Brand Easy Sand 20 Joint Compound. And if he knows a heavier object will be hung on the wall, he’ll turn to the company’s Easy Sand 90. “The 5-minute mud is super easy to sand, but if you’re going to be screwing something into it, the 90-minute mud is more like plaster,” he noted. When needed, his teams also use Sheetrock Brand Paper Joint Tape. He avoids mesh because he doesn’t like the extra buildup and sanding required.

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23


3 VANESSA DASILVA

In the painting business for most her life, DaSilva’s New York-based teams primarily deal with small imperfections on walls and some light waterdamage situations. For both scenarios, she prefers Sheetrock Brand Easy Sand 20, 45 or 90 Joint Compound. “It just depends on the situation and how fast we need it to dry,” she explained. “Since our repairs are smaller, we tend to stick with the standard Sheetrock products.” If a crew does need to install new sheets of drywall, DaSilva likes the low-VOC and GREENGUARD Gold Certified Sheetrock Brand All-Purpose Joint Compound (premixed) or the company’s Plus 3 Joint Compound, which weighs about 25% less than traditional formulas. For sanding, she prefers 3M Edge Detailing Sponges and usually starts at a 100 grit and works her way to a 220 fine grit.

Courtesy of Festool

4 MARK DEFRANCESCO

Lightweight and smooth running, the Festool ETS 150 is ideal for vertical, horizontal, and even overhead surfaces.

24

inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020

DeFrancesco’s teams use Sheetrock Brand DuraBond 45 Joint Compound for all repairs, but the Connecticut-based pro integrates some other tools and materials as well. When dealing with stress cracks at the corner of doorframes, for example, after filling the crack with DuraBond 45 and sanding, he also sprays on Goof Off Good-bye Cracks. “It gives a lot more flexibility and holds the paint nicely. It’s not easy to find and a little expensive, but it works great,” he noted. On larger repairs, his teams use what he calls a ‘speed skim’ technique that involves mixing DuraBond 45 with hot water. “It speeds up the drying process and, generally, you’re ready to sand in about 20 minutes,” he explained. In these situations, he’ll also sometimes use a damp sponge while the surface is still wet to minimize sanding. DeFrancesco primes all repairs with either Sherwin-Williams White Pigmented Shellac Primer or Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer. “I’m not partial to one. Both work well. The shellac base hides a lot of bleed-through and dries really fast,” he added. For small repairs the size of a door handle puncture or less, he uses the DAP Wall Repair Patch Kit and likes how the 6"-square mesh patch self-adheres to drywall. For sanding ceilings and large areas, his crews are also equipped with Festool ETS 150 and DTS 400 sanders. -


Jul/Aug 2020 | inPAINT

25


Two Pros, One Bid Two veterans share their approaches and numbers for the same job

I

n addition to a sharing a first name, Nick May and Nick Slavik are both also known as ‘the kitchen cabinet guy’ in their respective markets. But when it comes to bidding

cabinet repaints, the two pros are definitely

on different paths. We recently invited the Nicks to bid on the same cabinet repaint project and share their approaches and final numbers for the job. Nick May provided details for a recently completed project, which, along with images of the actual kitchen via Zillow.com (see right), were shared with Nick Slavik. Upon receiving their bids, we then interviewed both pros to learn more about the thinking behind how they built their proposals, and invited them to comment on the other’s effort.

> THE JOB Kitchen cabinet and island repaint ■

Perimeter cabinets: 40 doors/ drawers, one color Island cabinets: 4 doors/drawers, same color as perimeter cabinets

26

inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020

Photos Courtesy of Madlom Real Estate & Next Door Photos

Total square footage: 1,600


ABOUT OUR PROS AND THEIR BID PROCESSES

> NICK SLAVIK A lifelong resident of New Prague, MN, Slavik is the proprietor of Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co.; the host of Ask a Painter! Live; a regular contributor to This Old House; and a member of inPAINT magazine’s 2020 editorial advisory board.

While his company offers exterior and interior services for both commercial and residential properties, his team of 20 full-time and five part-time painters put a lot of hours in tackling kitchen repaints. “I’m actively looking to double my business,” says Slavik, “Our crew is made up of 12% apprentices. Cabinets provide a great training opportunity so we’re happy to have that type of work coming in day after day.” His product preference for cabinets is Zinsser Cover Stain Oil-Base Interior & Exterior Primer and, for a topcoat, Benjamin Moore Advance or the company’s Ultra-Spec SCUFF-X, both in a satin finish.

Nick Slavik’s approach to bidding Slavik holds tight to the principle that ‘simpler is often better.’ “While I have over 20 years’ worth of data and production rates to base my bids on, when putting together a kitchen repaint bid, I keep it super simple,” he says. “I charge $100 for a door or drawer. If there’s anything out of the ordinary, like a funky wine rack, I’ll incorporate that into the numbers. The $100 rate is high enough that we make some money but, more importantly, it’s low enough that we close about 50% of the jobs we bid—and I keep my team busy and learning. And because I’m the only one writing bids, my process makes it easy to quickly get accurate estimates to my clients.” When preparing the proposal for client review, Slavik likes to keep the numbers and the scope separate. “First, I send clients an email with several attachments including the estimate; an information sheet that details the process (i.e., what type of prep, how long the job will take, how many coats of primer and topcoat, etc.); a ‘Next Steps’ sheet that explains the process for getting the project started; and I also share photos of work we’ve done. “I find people first want to know how much it’s going to cost. I put that right up front. If they’re still interested, then we dive into any scope questions. It’s worked for me for a long time and I like that approach.” “Keeping the numbers separate from the scope is just a personal preference I’ve developed over the years,” explains Slavik.

Project Kitchen

Item Remove Wallpaper

Project Item Perimeter Cabinets Kitchen

Island Cabinets Perimeter Cabinets

Island Cabinets

Walls

Option:

Client: Name INTERIOR Client: Tim Barstad Phone: ESTIMATE Phone: (xxx) (303)xxx-xxxx 525-9229 �������� Address: Dawn Drive, Littleton, CO 80125 Address:7572 xxxxxxxx Email: tim.barstad@gmail.com Email: xxxxxxxx@gmail.com Source: Google �������� Source: Date: Google 29 Apr 20 Date: 29 Apr 2020 Notes Total Remove wallpaper and prep walls for paint Inlcudes kitchen area and breakfast nook area

$575

Notes ~40 Doors/Drawers, all 1 color, 1 finish, all sprayed ~4 Doors/Drawers, colorallassprayed perimeter cabinets, all sprayed ~40 Doors/Drawers, all 1 color,same 1 finish, Prep, Patch and paint walls 2 coats, 1 color

Includes kitchen and breakfast nookcabinets, area ~4 Doors/Drawers, same color as perimeter all sprayed

Re-skin Cabinet Box End Panels

Total

$4,000

$4,000

$400

$400

$400

Existing kitchen cabinets have adhesive wood grained covering

includes re-skinning of perimeter and end cabinets All estimates subject to change based on full siteThis verification, final scopeendofpanels work and color selection/placement with wood and filling cracks and nail holes Thank You For Your Trust! Payment due 7 days from completion Subtotal $4,400.00 Payment Options: Check, Bank Transfer (ACH - no fee) or Credit Card (add +3% to invoice) Credit Card Fee $132.00 All estimates subject to change based on full site verification, final scope of work and color selection/placement 3% Credit card fee will be deducted from the invoice if paid by check or Bank Transfer (ACH) Total $4,532.00 Material & Labor Included — Unless SpecifiedTrust! Thank You For Your See attached information sheet for processes, coating information, methods and color information Payment due 7 days from completion Subtotal Color Consult: LetCheck, us know if you'd like (ACH us to connect with aCard trusted designer! Payment Options: Bank Transfer - no fee)you or Credit (add +3% to invoice) Credit Card Fee 3% Credit card fee will be deducted from the invoice if paid by check or Bank Transfer (ACH) Total Stain/Color/Finish Samples/Matches created $65/hr + Materials

$550

-$ 5,925.00-$ 177.75-$ 6,102.75-

Material & Labor Included - Unless Specified

See attached information sheet for processes, coating information, methods and color information Color Consult: Let us know if you'd like us to connect you with a trusted ● designer! Walls/Ceilings We do not caulk the floating panels on cabinet doors—they are Stain/Color/Finish Samples/Matches created $65/hr + Materials ●

We are happy to move Furniture, TVs, window blinds and other items, but are not at fault if items are damaged during the process We protect floors, cabinets and misc items with plastic and canvas if needed We tape all woodwork, doors and windows if necessary We use low tack painters tape. Any damage caused to trim, wall and other client’s items are not the responsibility of NSPRC Minor defects in the walls and ceilings are patched and sanded We patch all nail and screw holes unless a nail/screw remains in the wall at the time of painting Unless otherwise specified, a durable Flat/Matte/Low Luster finish will be used on the walls and flat white on the ceilings We will utilize a combination of brush, roll and spray methods to apply coatings Unless otherwise specified, 2 topcoats will be applied to your walls and 1 coat to the ceilings If a 3rd coat is needed because of shine/drastic color change +35%

Cabinets/Trim The average kitchen takes 5-7 days to complete The average floor (trim & walls) takes 1-2 weeks to complete - varies with complexity and scope Your kitchen will be usable during the enameling process if requested Cabinets must be fully emptied prior to the start of your project. We will remove items and bill $65/hr. We plastic/paper items not to be painted We are happy to move appliances, but are not responsible for damage or water leaks from water lines that occur during the process Low tack painters tape and paper will be used to protect all floors. Damage to floors from low tack painters tape is a sign of a failed/ improper floor finish and is the liability of the flooring contractor. Filters will be installed in air returns/vents All alterations to the kitchen must be made prior to the start of the project—especially changing of hardware (pulls and hinges) Doors/Drawers and hardware will be removed If needed, wood will be washed to remove dirt/grease Wood will be sanded, vacuumed and dust will be removed with microfiber cloths Nail holes will be filled. Cracks will be caulked. ●

meant to move seasonally Oak grain will be minimized, but not completely leveled and removed We may use air scrubbers and negative air machines to improve air quality Walls will need to be painted after enameling—the gaps between the wood and wall will be filled Cabinets and trim will be primed once and topcoated twice with enamel unless otherwise noted We will utilize a combination of hand-finishing, spray-finishing and roller application methods to apply coatings to your home Unless specified, no cabinet interiors will be painted Cabinet doors may need to be adjusted by a carpenter/cabinet maker after completion—this is an expense incurred by the client.

General Notes Garbage disposal is the responsibility of the client. NSPRC will dispose of job site garbage for $100 Pickup & Delivery from the NSPRC shop will be done at $65/hr per person All work requested to be performed by client after start of project (not estimated) will be charged at $65/hr per person + materials (Time & Materials) It is the responsibility of the client to safeguard their gas and electric appliances/utilities while work is occurring (i.e. water heater, furnace) Color: we can connect you with one of our interior designers. Cost for a color consult through one of our people is $100. In order to determine whether a surface has been properly painted it shall be examined without magnification at a distance of 4 feet or more, under normal, finished lighting conditions (no use of handheld light source) and from a normal viewing position. ●

We Help w/Color We Clean

Our Promise To You: We Move Furniture We’re Responsive

I have read, understand and agree to this information: _____________________________________________ Name Sign Date

Jul/Aug 2020 | inPAINT

27


Estimate

> NICK MAY When Nick May opened Walls by Design, in Denver in 1999, he decided, in order to stand out from competitors, to focus on interior painting, with a specialty in cabinets. Twentyplus years later, that remains the company’s focus, but now a team of 17 painters, one trim carpenter, and one tile installer make sure the 20 to 24 kitchens they do monthly meet May’s —and their customers’—exacting standards.

Walls by Design

Nick May’s approach to bidding May’s bid process has evolved quite a bit over the years—from handwritten forms to Microsoft Publisher to Excel, and now to Estimate Rocket—as has his approach to bids. “Early on, we just handed the customer a bid and kind of hoped for the best. Today, we send an email that includes two videos: a 2-minute one that talks about our experience in the cabinet business and our process for doing work onsite, and a 4-minute video that details the process of working with our company. This last one is very helpful in setting expectations. Included with the videos is a 2-page Contract Information document that covers everything from moving furniture and patching holes to payment terms and our lifetime warranty. A link in the email takes customers directly to their estimate, which they can accept and sign online.” While May includes product details and information on how many coats will be applied in his bid (an impressive 5 coats for this project), he does not include a door/drawer count. He explains, “I never include counts in our kitchen bids. I think it’s better to just say ‘this is what it costs to paint your kitchen.’ Here’s why: sometimes in the bid process, we’ll see a big pantry door and count it as two in terms of labor and materials costs. What we don’t want at the end of the job is the customer saying we overcounted the doors and looking for a refund. So, no. No door counts. It’s what works for us.”

Cabinet Painting Kitchen cabinets Kitchen cabinets 5294 Heatherglen Dr, Littleton, CO, 80129 $4,558.25 Oak Cabinets Apply twoPainting heavy coats of Stix bonding primer, one additional spray coat of primer and two spray coats of Cabinet Advance finish paint on all doors and drawers Description Total Includes sanding and wiping down with de-glosser Advance (Water Reducible Alkyd by Benjamin Moore) $4,558.25 Kitchen cabinets Oak Cabinets Apply TWO coats of rolled primer to be used as finish coat Apply ONEcoats coat ofofsprayed primerprimer, one additional spray All door andofdrawer coat primerfaces and are twoto be sprayed. Apply two heavy Stix bonding spray coats Advance ApplyofTWO coats offinish finishpaint painton all doors and drawers Boxes to be hand painted. Underside of Upper boxes not included Includes sanding and wiping down with de-glosser.

inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020

● ●

Apply TWO coats of rolled primer Cabinets - Optional Hardware Installation Apply ONE coat of sprayed primer Apply TWO coats of finish paint. Add Hardware - Cabinet $350.00 * (Water Reducible by Benjamin to be used asIncludes finish coat. Install Advance customer-provided handlesAlkyd on kitchen cabinet Moore) doors and drawers. drilling new holes All door and drawer faces are to be sprayed. Boxes to be hand painted but notUnderside filling the ofunused holes. DISCOUNTS DO NOT APPLY Upper boxes not included

Cabinets - Optional Hole Patching $4,558.25 Hole Patching - Cabinet $0.00 * Cabinets - Optional Hardware Installation OPTION: If preexisting holes need to be filled: a $75.00 per hour fee will be applied to patch and fill the preexisting holes. This generally takes 1-3 hours depending on the number of cabinets (this is only an estimate Total Description and be longer ) and will be reported upon completion. DISCOUNTS DO NOT APPLY Add can Hardware - Cabinet $350.00 * Install customer-provided handles on kitchen cabinet doors and drawers. Includes drilling new

Cabinets Optional Underside/Topside Painting holes but -not filling the unused holes. Cabinet Boxes Underside $210.00 * Additional $25 per powder bath, additional $50 per room for all other rooms OPTION: Paint the underside of the upper boxes DISCOUNTS DO NOT APPLY. TWO coats primer * not included in Total TWO coats paint Includes sanding & deglossing ● ● ●

Cabinets - Optional Hole Patching

Cabinets - Additional Color Option Description Total 2nd - Cabinets $100.00 * HoleColor Patching - Cabinet $0.00 * OPTION: to be filled: $75.00 hour fee will $100 fee forIf preexisting each cabinetholes colorneed chosen after theafirst color.perDISCOUNTS DO be NOTapplied APPLY to patch and fill the preexisting holes.

Cabinet Tune Up This generally takes 1-3 hours depending on the number of cabinets (this is only an estimate and Tune-up includes the following: Secure drawer boxes 1 of 6 Tighten loose doors Fix cracks in doors at carpenter’s discretion Replace screws as needed Fix drawer slides — If the carpenter is already doing work in the home, this work will be done at time & materials and will be charged $90/hr, two hour minimum. If this is the only work to be done, work to be done at the minimum charge of $350. — Hours reported when work is complete. DISCOUNTS DO NOT APPLY ●

$0.00

Standard Discounts $0.00 10% Discount if project is contracted by 4-30-20! DISCOUNT CALCULATED & APPLIED ON DATE OF PROJECT SCHEDULING. Discount taken on originally contracted items only. Work added after project has been scheduled and/or started are not eligible for discount. Standard Notes $0.00 Price includes the cost of paint, labor and materials Also includes: Annual touch-up program & LIFETIME Warranty (Does not apply for rental properties) To secure a date on our schedule a 30% deposit is required If final color choice is changed after Project Review, there will be a color change fee ● ● ● ●

Financing We offer financing! 6 months same as cash Ask us for more information!

$0.00

Free Color Consultation $0.00 ONE FREE COLOR CONSULTATION FOR PROJECTS $2,000+ $150 Color Consultation fee in order to contract color services for projects that do not meet the $2,000 minimum Color consultations upon request of the customer for projects that do not meet the minimum ● ● ●

TOTAL $4,558.25 Compensation. Client shall pay as set forth above. Price is subject to change, with customer’s approval. Invoicing & Payment. Customer agrees to pay a 30% deposit to hold a spot on the calendar which is nonrefundable. Upon completing the final walk-through after project completion, homeowner is responsible for final payment. Homeowner will receive the final invoice prior to completion to review. Signature Date * not included in Total

28

(CLIENT)

In Paint Magazine - Amanda Haar INFO) 5294 Heatherglen(CONTACT Dr Kitchen cabinets Littleton CO 80129 amanda@inpaintmag.com (ADDRESS) 303-910-4646

Walls by Design 1014 St.,St.Denver Colorado 80223 1014BBSouth SouthJason Jason taylor@wallsbydesign.com Denver Colorado 80223 taylor@wallsbydesign.com (303) 346-1694 (303) 346-1694

A big believer in keeping things clean and streamlined, May works almost exclusively with Benjamin Moore products. “We use Benjamin Moore INSL-X STIX Waterborne Bonding Primer, and Advance for a topcoat. If we’re working over cabinets with dark stain, we’ll use STIX as the first coat of primer, then use a stain-blocking primer on top of that. With the exception of those situations, we’re all-in on BenMoore. I find that when you start mixing brands, it’s pretty much impossible to get help or answers if you need them.”

ESTIMATE

2004-2014-3632 2004-2014-3632 2020-04-20 2020-04-20


PROPOSAL POINTS & COUNTERPOINTS

I

n compiling this article, we shared each pro’s bid with the other and invited them to comment on what they liked about the other’s approach and what wouldn’t work for them. Here’s what they had to say:

Nick Slavik on Nick May’s bid: “Nick and I approach both the job and the bid differently,” says Slavik. “First and foremost, he includes his scope with his numbers. I know that’s how most guys do it but, as I mentioned earlier, I like to keep those separate. “In terms of scope, we differed in a few ways. His approach was to do five coats—three of primer and two of topcoat—where we would do one of primer and two of topcoat. That’s a lot more product and time on his end. “In addition, we include a couple of things in our bid that he includes as optional costs: painting the underside of the upper boxes and filling old hardware holes in the cabinets. “Again, this goes back to personal style. Nick’s great at juggling a lot of information, whereas I’m all about keeping it simple. “The other thing he offers that we don’t is a discount for committing to the job by a given date. I never offer discounts. Never.”

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Nick May on Nick Slavik’s bid: “Nick’s bid is very true to him and his brand. It’s all about trust and it feels very neighborly. He sets a very different expectation than I do. He’s featured in his bid materials holding a brush so his clients expect to see him on the job and doing the work. While I’m in our videos, I’m very intentionally not shown doing the work. I’m setting a different expectation. As I mentioned earlier, I structure my bid differently—no door counts, the inclusion of options, etc. Again, it’s just a matter of style and comfort. Honestly, it doesn’t matter if your style is more like Nick’s or mine. The most important thing is the consistency of the message and value proposition. He’s hardworking and homespun. And if you call the company number, you get his voicemail. That’s consistent. For us, our message about our process and value are the same no matter where you see or hear it. From the video to the estimator you might talk to on the phone, or even me. It’s consistent. You need that consistency to build trust and confidence. Nick does that really well and, I think, so do we.” -

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TEACH TO FISH

inPAINT ® presents an industry-specific question and invites an expert to share their insight.

Q: A:

JOHN SEIDENSTICKER serves as the senior VP of professional sales for Behr Paint Company. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the professional sales and business development strategy and execution throughout the U.S.

30

inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020

How can a paint manufacturer’s service offerings be most helpful to the pro painter amid COVID-19?

Without question, this is a challenging time for all businesses, and especially for those in publicfacing service industries like paint contractors. For many pros who have seen their business drop off by 50% or even more since the virus emerged, every day is a struggle to figure out how to keep their operation up and running and how to do it safely. Fortunately, many long-standing—and a few new— services from paint manufacturers are in place to help pros navigate the ever-changing landscape and to address a number of challenges they’re facing. Obviously, one of the biggest issues is finding ways to mitigate risk by limiting unnecessary exposure to others. Where available, pros should take advantage of contact-less ordering opportunities. Many manufacturers now offer online ordering for coating and painting supplies. Companies like Behr Paint have gone the extra step and provided direct access to BEHR PRO Reps via email, text and phone. These reps can coordinate order placement, fulfillment, pickup or delivery, and, working from your ordering history, ensure you are receiving the exact products you need and had previously ordered. And not just for paint, but for any supplies you might need on a jobsite. What follows naturally from online ordering is curbside pickup and delivery options. Even in the best of times, pickup and delivery options were a simple step for streamlining workflow. And now, they are just another measure you can take to protect yourself and your employees. Ideally, curbside pickup includes free load-in by the retailer. Be sure to ask about the option. Beyond solutions for safely obtaining products, pros should not hesitate to ask their paint reps for support on other fronts. Very early on in the pandemic, BEHR PRO Reps reached out to customers to get a pulse on their needs and challenges and to determine how we might help. Among

the support we were able to add to our offering was helping painters locate resources to learn about and apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, a Small Business Administration loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during this time. We built out our website to include links to resources ranging from lenders by state and small business association directories to CDC guidance for small businesses and information on tax credits. For pros whose projects got cancelled or delayed, our reps assisted in finding other projects and filling their pipeline through The Home Depot Pro Referral program. For pros who were fortunate to keep busy, we began conducting job walks independently—something we’re also doing with increased frequency for property managers. As part of the BEHR PRO Professional Products & Services Program, our reps are available to walk jobsites, observe the substrates, take pictures, prepare job specification recommendations, and, when requested, even provide color services. This is especially helpful in situations where property managers are still working offsite or have returned to work on a limited basis. Work they used to have to accomplish, often with groups of people, can be taken care of with no—or very limited—contact. At this moment in time, there’s almost nothing a paint pro shouldn’t ask of their rep. The success of manufacturers depends on the success of pros. Manufacturers are rising to the challenge of not only being vendor and supplier, but also serving as a business support partner. The goal is to keep pros working as safely as possible at full, or as close to full, capacity. Many of the pro services offered are designed to do just that. And if there’s a bright side to be had in any of this, it may be the fact that the new habits pros develop utilizing these services will continue to serve them well —saving them time, saving them money, and increasing efficiency—in the future.


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THE inPAINT ® INTERVIEW

COMMERCIAL PAINTER

Left to right: Billy, Steve Sr. and Steve Jr.: Every day, three generations of Spinellis share their passion for complicated commercial projects and a commitment to quality workmanship with each other and the entire Uni Pro team.

A family business built on craftsmanship and relationships Based in Cleveland, OH, Uni Pro Painting was founded at a time when painters proudly wore whites. “In fact,” says company president Steve Spinelli, “I’ve got a set of my uncle’s whites—a long-sleeved button-down shirt and white pants—hanging in my shop. They used to send them out to the dry cleaners. His set is still in the bag.” While Steve rarely gets to wear his whites, when he does get to paint, he carries on the tradition of craftsmanship established by his uncles and his father (with whom he still works today) when they founded the company in 1996. “I cleaned a lot of brushes and folded a lot of drop cloths before I ever got to pick up a brush. It made me really appreciate how important it is to do the job right at every step,” said Steve. Over the years, he has instilled these values in his son, Billy, who has served his apprenticeship under Steve and his grandfather, Steve Sr., since he was young. He is now part of the management team and is an integral part of the company’s growth and vision. Today, the company keeps a team of 15 painters busy working on commercial, industrial and retail projects throughout the greater Cleveland area. Uni Pro also employs a full-time estimating department and three project managers, with the entire office and all administrative duties being led by Steve’s wife Jodi. “I’m extremely fortunate to work with my father, my son and my wife, and I know it’s one of our strengths. We are all vested in this company. It has its challenges, but I think we enjoy working together and we laugh a lot.” While the company leans hard on their familial bond and a pillar of craftsmanship, they’re also actively adapting to and preparing for the realities of business post-COVID-19. 32

inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020

Q

How do you instill the spirit of craftsmanship in your crew?

It kind of comes naturally, and I think that’s because my father, son and I still have a strong presence in the field. My father has been in the trade for 60+ years. He interacts on a daily basis with the teams in the field, communicating directives on how to execute the work, and assuring that quality standards are met. The wisdom and knowledge that he acquired over the years is an invaluable asset that contributes to the success of the company. And my son Billy has always been a strong leader. He has great communication skills and excels as a project manager. I don’t get to spend much time in the field because my focus is on sales and running the business. But whenever possible, you’ll find me, my father or Billy working alongside the crews when an extra hand is needed, or if it’s a complicated project. We’re not just talking the talk. Our crews and customers see that and understand that the process is as important to us as the results.

What percentage of your business is repeat or referral, and where does the balance come from?

Q

I’d say 70% of our business is repeat or from referrals. We work really hard at building relationships with GCs who we like or are doing the kind of work we’re good at. We want


With some clever thinking and planning, Uni Pro completed the prep and painting on this silo at a concrete plant in 48 hours, all while it remained fully operational.

our bids to be more relational than transactional. When we get an RFP, we try to slow the bid process down a bit by asking questions that drill down to what’s really important about the job. Sometimes there’s information to be had that’s not in the documents—like it’s an active facility so you have to be mindful of overspray and odors—or it’s very schedule-driven, so you need to plan for weekends or second shifts. When we have that kind of information, we’re better able to position ourselves as the company that can best address those needs. That being said, we’re still extremely aggressive about landing new business. For example, a few years back, I was out bidding a $900 job for guardrails at a retail location. I noticed they were clearing land across the street for a Lifetime Fitness location. I had a hard hat in my truck, so I put it on, knocked on the trailer door and asked if the paint contract had been awarded yet. The guy said ‘no’ and he gave me the name and number of the person in charge of painting, and said he’d tell him I stopped by. I called the next day and we ended up landing a $240,000 job from it. I still chase dumpsters to this day and, I have to say, my close rate is pretty high. Just by walking in you show initiative and you’re in a great position to take some work and pain off the GC’s shoulders.

What’s been your response in terms of adjusting and adapting to the COVID-19 crisis?

Q

When it first hit, we shut down for two weeks. Absolutely nobody was working in the field. I worked from home, continuing to do estimates and staying in touch with customers to get a feel for how they were responding and if they were moving forward with any jobs we were on. Not everything is business as usual, but some jobs are still running and even those are different now. On at least three jobs, we have to scan in to the jobsite with a QR code on our phone and take a survey about our health. And, of course, there’s the mandate for masks. I just ordered some custom cloth masks with our logo that I imagine we’ll be using for a long time. We also have a disinfectant station in the shop. Basically it’s a hand-pump sprayer that we use to spray down equipment as it comes back in, and we spray it again on its way out. Also, for any job, one of the leadership team will go out the day before and assess the site to make sure it’s not overmanned and that it’s a safe, clean environment for our guys. We relay anything of note to the crew—like there are finishers on the other side of the building or no more than two men at a time in the elevator, etc. We also load up everything and deliver it to the site so that no one has to come to the shop.

Q

How long do you anticipate you’ll be feeling repercussions from the pandemic?

In the next few months, we’re going to expand our shop. We’re taking over some space in one of our other buildings and installing a 13' x 24' spray booth. Not only will this allow the field crews to have a go-to place to finish things, but it also opens us up to some new revenue streams. If we can add work from a few more customers using this space, it will get us to the next level of sales.

It’s hard to say. The projects we’re working on were bid and funded long before COVID hit. Plus, I’ve got a lot of exterior overrun work from last summer that will carry us through the fall. We’ll have to see what bidding opportunities look like then. Not every business—painting or otherwise— is going to survive. But I think if we keep turning over rocks and knocking on doors, we’ll be okay. -

What investments or changes to your business do you anticipate making in the near future?

Q

STEVE SPINELLI is the president of Uni Pro Painting. His northeast Ohio-based company specializes in largescale commercial projects. Under his leadership, combined with the efforts of his father and his son, their work has been recognized nationally as one of the top painting companies in the area. Their collective passion and drive are key factors to their success. UniProPainting.com

Jul/Aug 2020 | inPAINT

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CUTTING TOOLS OFIN THE TRADE

Courtesy of 3M

34

inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020


What’s in today’s professional toolbox? 3M™ Hand-Masker™ M3000 Dispenser The 3M™ Hand-Masker™ M3000 Dispenser applies painter’s tape to masking film, plastic or paper in one continuous application, saving you valuable prep time. Use when preparing for painting, ceiling texturing, exterior wall finishing or floor sanding. For all the basics in one kit, choose the 3M™ Hand-Masker™ M3000 Starter Pack. Learn more about 3M™ Hand-Masker™ Masking Products at 3m.com/handmasker

The Purdy® Painter’s Backpack From roller frames and covers to brushes, prep tools and extension poles — this backpack holds everything you need on the job in one place. Plus, it comes with a removable wet pouch so you can transport wet brushes and rollers from the jobsite to a cleaning location without making a mess. Purdy.com/backpack

ENVISION YOUR PRODUCT HERE If you have a product, service or tool that you think professionals should know about, contact: advertise@inPAINTmag.com

Jul/Aug 2020 | inPAINT

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UPCOMING EVENTS

1

ADVERTISER INDEX 2 3

3M 3m.com Pages 3, 7, 13 & 35 ARMSTRONG-CLARK ArmClark.com Page 9 CDC CDC.gov Page 37 DUNN-EDWARDS DunnEdwards.com Page 5 FROGTAPE FrogTape.com Page 23

What, Where & When

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY Habitat.org Page 17

O C TO B E R

Due to COVID-19 regulations regarding gatherings, many events have been cancelled or rescheduled. Visit the event websites listed below for the latest information.

13-15: Remodeling Show – Online remodelingshow.com

S E P T E M BE R 1

GRACO Graco.com Page 21

4

23–25: PDCA Commercial Forum, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada pdcacommercialforum.org

2

22–25: PowerClean Convention 2020, Reno, NV pwna.org/events

3

28–30: Design-Build Conference & Expo, Washington, D.C. dbia.org

26: Wallcovering Installers Association TeleSummit 2020 wallcoveringinstallers.org

N OV E M B E R 4

8–13: International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo | DeckExpo, Las Vegas, NV poolspapatio.com/en/deckexpo.html

KILZ Kilz.com Back Cover Mi-T-M MiTM.com Page 19 PAINTCARE PaintCare.org Page 39

O c to b e r Online 13 –15

PURDY Purdy.com Pages 2 & 35 SAFETY HOIST CO. SafetyHoistCompany.com Page 25

With the goal of continuing to serve remodeling, design and building professionals from all over the country, this year’s Remodeling Show is going digital. Through virtual technologies and platforms, the event will continue to showcase the latest building products and techniques, while providing unique opportunities to expand professional reach. The online learning program will include education tracks covering management, finance, decking, marketing and lead generation, production and project management, and sales and design. As learning shifts to an online experience around the country, the virtual edition of the Remodeling Show will offer building clinics, conference sessions, and content for remodelers—available in live and on-demand video format—at no cost to view.

remodelingshow.com 36

inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020


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TOGETHER, WE CAN HELP SLOW THE SPREAD. Learn more at coronavirus.gov


BOTTOM LINE

Customer communications amid COVID-19 The move to virtual appointments and texting

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CHRIS BACHE is the CEO and cofounder of Hatch, a business messaging platform built for the homeimprovement industry. Hatch helps mid- to large-sized companies like Pella and CertaPro close more leads via two-way texting, email and calling from one easy-to-use platform. UseHatchApp.com

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inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2020

ave you ever heard the phrase, “The medium is the message”? Though Canadian communication thinker Marshall McLuhan was talking about the impact of television on radio and newspapers when he coined it in 1964, it continues to accurately reflect how people react to how they receive information today. This even rings true when it comes to how your painting business communicates with its customers; the way you message your customers is just as important as the message itself. From instantly engaging a new lead to a virtual appointment to post-sale/pre-project customer nurturing, there’s a science behind the most effective messaging types. By treating it as a science, we at Hatch have come to form some of our own theories about what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t. Let’s dive into two of the biggest misconceptions about how your painting business should be communicating with customers in this mid-COVID world. Misconception #1: Customers aren’t comfortable with going virtual At the beginning of May, zero virtual appointments were being set within our platform. By the end of May, we saw 500+ being set per week. Additionally, major franchises like Pella Windows & Doors and CertaPro Painters made a top-down, company-wide shift into the virtual appointment space with educational materials around conducting effective appointments. One of the core reasons for this is that many customers have wanted a digital experience for quite a while. Yes, it makes estimating the job more difficult at times, but it’s become a necessity in high-consideration purchases (those that require a hefty investment) today. The medium is the message … offering the option of a virtual appointment (in this case, the ‘medium’ is the virtual appointment) as a means for your customers to safely connect with your company sends a ‘message’ that you are willing to work with them in a way they are comfortable with; an option your competitors may not offer. This method can be used for initial sales calls as well as for estimates and follow-ups. Our research shows that sales reps who first get face time (either virtually or in person) with a customer have a higher chance of closing the sale. Also, setting up and executing a virtual appointment can oftentimes be done quicker than a traditional appointment, meaning sales close faster. Twilio.com: How Consumers Use Messaging Today

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Misconception #2: Email should be the bulk of your customer communication The quickest change you can make today is this: stop using email as the primary method of contacting your customers. Make texting the core of your communication. Simply put—if you haven’t adopted texting as your primary method of communicating with customers, you’re losing business even as you read these stats: ■ 90% of consumers want to have a two-way text conversation with a business.* ■ 64% of consumers have started a transaction on one device and completed it on another. Using a multi-channel approach allows customers to communicate with you on whatever device they have available at the moment.** ■ 71% of customers now expect companies to communicate with them in real time.** When presenting your quote via text, let the prospect know you can also email it for sake of ease in filing, etc. And add your phone number in case they want to talk. If you haven’t heard back from them within 48 hours of sending the initial quote, here’s a simple cadence you can leverage in revisit situations to keep the ball rolling: Day 1: Text + Email Day 5: Text + Voicemail Day 2: Text + Voicemail Day 7: Text Day 4: Text + Email Day 10: Text Your objective is to pull your lead’s objection to your quote out … why haven’t they bought? We’ve found that you’ll get a much more honest answer from a text message than any other medium, allowing you to refocus on the stumbling block and rethink your approach. Customer communication: the new normal Industry standards didn’t account for a global pandemic or the resulting huge uptick in home improvement and exterior painting projects. The events of this year have completely disrupted the industry, and our society’s norms and ways of doing things are changing, leaning more toward technology. Take this shift in the market to make changes in your company. Adopt new practices and a mindset to ‘disrupt’ the industry. -

Salesforce.com: Blog—The New Rules of Customer Engagement: Key Trends From Global Research

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inPAINT Magazine Jul/Aug Issue  

The Magazine for Professionals

inPAINT Magazine Jul/Aug Issue  

The Magazine for Professionals

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