inPAINT Magazine - July/August 2022

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inPAINT TH E MAGA ZIN E FO R PRO FESSIO NAL S

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®

TRENDS

J U L /A U G 2 0 2 2

EXTERIOR COATINGS Pros trust to solve problems

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What it takes: wallcoverings

Lean on liens to get paid

Jul/Aug 2022 | inPAINT

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*

The best

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*Based on 2020 TNS Kantar U.S. Brand Health Survey. © 3M 2022. All rights reserved. 3M, Scotch, ScotchBlue, Edge-Lock and the BLUE color of the tape are trademarks of 3M.


ELEVATE YOUR GAME

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CUTTING IN PUBLISHER

Edward McAdams

“ Persistence is the most traveled path to success.”

MANAGING EDITOR

Amanda Haar

—Bryant H. McGill, author, activist and social entrepreneur

DESIGNER

Carl Bezuidenhout

E

very summer, I am reminded of the value of persistence. I’m reminded when rabbits mow down my zinnias, when tomato hornworms (nasty creatures if you’re not familiar) decimate the foliage of my tomatoes, and, on occasion, when my bees swarm to parts unknown. It would be easy to give up, but because I value the beauty of flowers, savor the flavor of fresh tomato sauce, and am concerned about the fate of pollinators, I persist. Bountiful harvests and healthy hives define my success. The path is rarely smooth or straightforward, but I’m committed to walking it and learning (and re-learning) the lessons being offered, knowing that if I stick with it, there will be summer bouquets—and savory sauce and sweet honey to enjoy even in the darkest days of winter. Persistence is also a quality found in many of the pros featured in this and, frankly, every issue of inPAINT. From those committed to providing their customers with the best exterior coatings to stand up to their climate—and supply chain—challenges (see Pro Picks, page 22) to a think-outsidethe-box pro looking for new ways to hit his goals (see Ask a Pro, page 10), their experiences serve as further proof that persistence pays. I hope you find inspiration in their persistence and the paths they’ve forged to achieve their individual definitions of success. If you’d like to share your own story, please reach out. I’ll be in touch as soon as I’m done dealing with the hornworms.

CREATIVE SERVICES DIRECTOR

Cindy Puskar

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Brian Sodoma

CONTRIBUTING EXPERTS

Mark Cassel Tower Plumbing & Water Conditioning Karalynn Cromeens The Cromeens Law Firm Chris Fontaine Level Five Painting Justin Frye JnS Professional Services Sam Gorgone Hometown Property Management Services Ben Hildre Bucket Painting

Cheers,

Chad Jeffries Brick City Painting & Drywall Nick Kelley Elite Paint Home Renovations

Amanda Haar, Managing Editor, inPAINT amanda@inPAINTmag.com

Brandon Kephart KHS&S Contractors Ashley Luke Shurtape Technologies Jason Lunn 3M Trevor Marshall Colorado Commercial & Residential Painting Frank Miles Blair Commercial Painting Lisa and Peter Moon Paper Moon Painting Sean O’Toole PropertyRadar Justin Rowling 360° Painting of Central VA Michael Verderosa Latter & Blum Historic 504 Properties

EDITORIAL

amanda@inPAINTmag.com ADVERTISE

2022 EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Bryce Benfield Owner, South-East Painting & Protective Coatings Co. Brooke Cambridge Owner, BLC Painting

Jeremy Fyfe Owner, GLS Painters

Ray Rahni Owner, Paint Track Painting Services

Larry Marler Owner, The Works Remodeling and Finishing

Steve Spinelli Owner, Uni Pro Painting

Rich Purnell Owner, BASE Painters

©2022 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 expressed or implied, and is subject to the terms and conditions stated in this disclaimer. 4

inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2022

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


CONTENTS

TRENDS

inPAINT® Jul/Aug 2022

FEATURES

12

Two pros’ take on the opportunities and challenges

Leveraging Liens to Get Paid

26

18

Don’t get strung-out on final payments

Pro Picks

Exterior coatings pros turn to for solving problems in their locales

Project Snapshots

Challenges, coatings and color choices on two projects

DEPARTMENTS 6 The News Industry ins and outs

22 26

Courtesy of Level Five Painting

What It Takes: Wallcovering

8 Trends A fast look at the forces at work in our industry 9 Trend in Focus Strategies for finding and connecting with new homeowners 10 Ask a Pro Line striping: a simple and lucrative service add-on

28 Teach to Fish Can a respirator be worn effectively with facial hair? 29 Tools of the Trade What’s in today’s professional toolbox? 30 Upcoming Events The what, where and when of the industry’s leading events 31 Bottom Line Assessing your business through your customers’ eyes

ON THE COVER Nolan Painting’s crew went to great lengths—and heights—to complete this full exterior residential repaint in Villanova, PA using Sherwin-Williams Resilience Exterior Acrylic Latex in gloss. Jul/Aug 2022 | inPAINT

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THE NEWS

Keep projects on track with the Houzz Pro Timeline tool T Houzz Pro, the all-in-one business management and marketing software for residential construction and design professionals, recently added new features to its Timeline tool. With the goal of simplifying project planning and tracking, the new features let you quickly map out a project schedule, track progress, visually communicate the plan to everyone involved, assign tasks to team members, and add activities and related sub-activities for each stage of a project. A new dependency feature enables pros to indicate when the start of one item relies on the completion of another, so that moving one activity on the schedule will also move the dependent activities. Time line activities can be assigned to different team members, who are notified immediately. Information can be shared with the team including staff, trade contractors and customers, keeping everyone informed of due dates, tasks and schedule changes. The Houzz Pro app is available on iOS and Android devices. Houzz.com/pro

Grow your business through Remodeling Mastery Forums T In the world of remodeling, collaboration is key. To help pros connect, Pro Remodeler has created Remodeling Mastery Forums (RMFs). Comprised of dynamic groups of eight to 10 non-competing remodelers and industry experts, RMFs meet virtually once a month and run in four-month cycles focusing on a specific area of business: leadership, marketing, sales and production. Conducted in collaboration with industry leader Mark Richardson and the National Association of Home Builders, RMFs are open to anyone in the residential remodeling field with more than $1 million in annual revenue. ProRemodeler.com/Remodeling-Mastery-Forums

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inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2022

Talk about flesh tone T So, it seems in the 16th and 17th centuries, there was a popular paint color called Mummy Brown. The aptly named hue was produced by grinding down human or feline mummies and mixing them with a combination of myrrh and white pitch (a polymer). The resulting pigment had a rich brown color, and its transparency made it a good choice for use as oil paint, glazing and shading. However, given that every mummy was different, there were issues of consistency with the paint’s color and performance; specifically, it tended to crack and was easily affected by air or sunlight. While many painters stopped using it for these reasons, production continued into the mid-1960s when— get this—the paint manufacturer ran out of mummies.

PaintCare recycling expands to New York T In the wake of New York state passing a paint stewardship law, PaintCare launched its collection and recycling program at paint retail stores and local government facilities throughout the state, with plans to expand to more than 300 drop-off sites by year’s end. Mirroring PaintCare efforts in California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maine, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, the program now makes it convenient to recycle leftover paint in New York by establishing drop-off sites near residential neighborhoods. Most sites accept both latex and oil-based architectural coatings including paints, stains, sealers and varnishes at no cost to residents or businesses. Paint must be dropped off in its original container with its original manufacturer’s label. A full list of products accepted by the program is available on PaintCare’s website: PaintCare.org/products All sites accept up to five gallons of paint from each customer, and some sites may accept more. Businesses, organizations and households with 100 gallons of paint or more to recycle may request a free pickup at their location (PaintCare.org/pickup). Some restrictions apply.


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Find it at The Home Depot, Sherwin-Williams or your local paint store.


TRENDS

That ‘new-home smell’ is paint According to Houzz, in 2021, recent homebuyers (defined as those who have not yet moved into their home or moved in less than a year ago) were more likely to upgrade exterior paint than homeowners that are: ■ Short-term (moved in one to five years ago) ■ Long-term (moved into their home six or more years ago) SOURCE: 2022 Houzz & Home Report: Overview of U.S. Renovation in 2021 & 2022

Searching for color inspiration LivingCozy.com compiled a list of the most popular color searches by room using Google in 2021. From black bathrooms to brown nurseries, consumer search choices may surprise you.

KITCHEN 1. White 2. Green 3. Blue

889,500 728,500 715,200

LIVING ROOM 1. Green 188,100 2. White 150,100 3. Blue 122,700

You can’t afford to be careless As of January 13, 2022, OSHA’s maximum penalties for serious and other-than-serious violations increased from $13,653 to $14,502 per violation. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations also increased from $136,532 to $145,027.

The cost of passing along increased costs According to the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI), here’s how 560 pros have handled recent price increases:

55% BEDROOM 1. Black 2. White 3. Green

396,000 274,800 259,800

NURSERY 1. Green 71,600 2. White 36,200 3. Brown 31,900

29%

16%

Raised prices and absorbed increases

Absorbed all price increases

Passed all price increases to customers

Of those pros passing increases along to customers,

57%

said they lost business because of it. BATHROOM 1. Black 2. White 3. Green 8

362,600 252,400 204,800

inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2022

DINING ROOM 1. Green 38,700 2. Blue 36,700 3. White 23,400


TREND IN FOCUS

New homeowners, new opportunities Tips for targeting and connecting with an eager-to-hire market

A

ccording to market research company Statista, there were 6.9 million home sales in the U.S. in 2021. That number is expected to climb to 7 million by 2023. If you extrapolate that number with the Houzz finding that 21% of recent homebuyers invest in a paint upgrade,* you’re looking at 1,610,000 potential jobs. In other words, there’s plenty of work to be had with new homeowners. You just need to find a way to reach them. Homing in on new homeowners The two most direct paths to new homeowners are through a realtor and mining data. Regarding working with realtors, Michael Verderosa, realtor and principal with Latter & Blum Historic 504 Properties in New Orleans, says, “The top realtors within a given market are typically familiar with the names of true professionals in the area. In fact, they’ll often drop their names as part of marketing a property … ‘Not only does this house have all of these tremendous amenities, but the interior paint was just refreshed by John Doe Painters.’” As for making the name-drop cut, Verderosa suggests pros looking to build their reputation first invest in their website and build it out with plenty of professional photography of past projects. Then, “Gather a database of local top realtors’ email addresses and send out a brief personal note—no mass emails—to each, referencing your expertise, availability, capacity to take on new projects, and including a link to your website.” He notes that agents may just forward your email to clients asking for a contractor referral in the future, so make sure whatever you send is polished and professional. While he welcomes a phone call a few days after an initial email, he cautions pros against hounding agents. “If we connect, you’re on my radar. Repeated attempts at contact are only going to hurt the odds of me recommending you.” On the data mining front, Sean O’Toole, founder and CEO of PropertyRadar, says the good news is that thanks to public records, there’s a lot of readily available data on new homeowners. “With one visit to your local County Assessor’s office, you can find out the name of any homeowner, a home’s value, and its size. All good info if you’re looking to target new homeowners.”

The bad news, he adds, is that if you’re looking for information on recent transactions, you must go to the County Recorder. “That’s where deeds and sales are tracked,” he explains. “Again, good info, but if you want the full picture you’ve got to hit up both offices and marry the information. It can be tedious and time-consuming.” Another option is to purchase new homeowner lists from a list broker. “Typically, you pay per record for this information, but you only get mailing info, not email addresses,” says O’Toole. Yet another option is to partner with real estate software companies who do the heavy lifting of creating a comprehensive new homeowner profile with address, email and phone information. O’Toole says that complete profile is the key to hyperlocal marketing. Why hyperlocal deserves the hype Hyperlocal marketing is a method of marketing that focuses on a targeted audience within a local area. “The goal is to make every dollar work harder by zeroing in on the small number of people who might want your services and reaching them through multiple channels,” says O’Toole. Given the sheer volume of ads people are exposed to every day, O’Toole encourages home service providers to embrace as many channels as possible. “When used in combination, each channel supports the other, makes an impression, and builds familiarity and trust in the homeowner’s mind. That’s especially true when your messaging provides helpful information rather than a sales pitch. It could be tips for choosing color or why you should pressure wash your exterior. When done right, any cold calling you do won’t actually be that cold and may very well be welcome.”

The two most direct paths to new homeowners are through a realtor and mining data.

*2022 Houzz & Home Report: Overview of U.S. Renovation in 2021 & 2022

Jul/Aug 2022 | inPAINT

9


ASK A PRO

JUSTIN ROWLING is the owner of Charlottesville, VA-based 360° Painting of Central VA, as well as Dirty Dog Carpet Surface and Duct Cleaning and Maid Right of Central VA. By offering a variety of services, he is able to keep revenue steady even during the winter months when his team can’t operate outside. 360painting.com/central-va

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inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2022

Courtesy of 360° Painting of Central VA

Q:

What inspired you to offer line striping to your service offerings, and how has it worked out?

A:

Last year, I came to the realization that in order to hit our goals, we needed to diversify our service offerings. We had already added cabinet painting, so I was looking to add another type of painting. At some point, I was scrolling online and came across a video of a guy running a line striper machine in a parking lot. I thought, ‘That looks pretty simple,’ and quickly went down the YouTube rabbit hole looking to learn all I could about line striping. What I found is that it’s a very simple service that doesn’t require a lot of equipment or crew. You need a line sprayer that runs roughly $7,500, a couple of hand tools, paint … and with two to three guys, you can make money quick. As I considered it, I realized that we were already working with a number of property management companies who maintain large lots. Plus, every business, even in a rural area like ours, has a parking lot, and 80% of them need work. In late summer 2021, I pulled the trigger and bought a Graco line striper. Their rep trained us on how to use it in about an hour. At that point, I just started calling the property management companies. I thanked them for trusting us to work on their property in the past, and let them know that we now offer line striping and if they needed the service, we’d be happy to help. Within six weeks, those calls generated $60,000. I then started connecting with apartment complexes that had huge lots and landed a few of those; one brought in $8,000 for a week’s worth of work. As I was working at these locations, I realized that any complex that has a parking lot has a fire lane. Local fire

marshals routinely check out fire lanes to make sure they’re being maintained and are visible. If they’re not, they can order a property to address it and they can be fined. They usually provide property managers with a list of businesses that do striping. Once I heard that, I reached out to the different fire marshals in our area and asked to be added to their reference list. That, too, generated a few jobs. The nice part about those jobs is that once you’re doing the fire lane, the customer usually bites the bullet and has us do the entire lot. As we got into more jobs, we added seal coating for asphalt and started offering patching and crack repair. This year, I brought on a guy to go after commercial exterior business. He’s been targeting a lot of retail businesses where the lots are looking shabby. He points out that a parking lot is like the doormat to a business. If it’s in rough shape, it’s a terrible first impression. He offers a free estimate and leaves a brochure. It’s been a pretty successful approach. Another nice thing about the offering is that it’s easy to bid and complete. You basically evaluate the surface for issues and damage and then use a measuring wheel to determine the size of the lot. I calculate by linear footage for crack filling and line striping and use square footage for seal coating. And I don’t take any job under $500. As for the work, it’s not nearly as difficult as house painting. In terms of prep, we’ve got a couple of backpack blowers that our guys use to rid the surface of grass and debris. From there we do any patch, repair or seal coating and then we lay down the lines. It’s been a great add to the company. We anticipate it will generate a quarter to a half million in revenue this year.


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WHAT IT

TAKES Brick City Painting & Drywall worked between the hours of 9 pm and 9 am to install this extensive—and crowdstopping—mural so that the retail business could remain open throughout the process.

Wallcovering installation According to a recent market study by Technavio, the wallcovering market in the U.S. is expected to grow by $9.21 billion (with a ‘B’) by 2026. Numbers like that are bound to catch the interest of many paint contractors looking to grow or expand their services. But, as we learned from pros at two well-established paint and wallcovering companies, the only thing equal to the opportunities in this specialty service area are the challenges you must overcome to achieve success.

MUST-HAVES & RECOMMENDED Insurance

Equipment

Liability insurance

Estimated initial expenses; cost will vary by market and equipment: Pasting table

$400-500

4' level -orLaser level

$20-45

Smoothing brush or plastic smoother Pasting machine* * min. 54" for commercial work

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inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2022

$20-500 $5-50

$450-3,000

(Certificate of Liability

Quality hand tools ($200-500 total): Snap Razor $12-18 Trimmer $25-30 Straight edge $75-125 Seam roller $15-45 Scissors $25-60 Sponges $5-20 Wallpaper tool apron $20 Work van (optional)

$34,000-40,000+

required for commercial work) Training Recommended: ■

Wall prep

Install basics

Layout planning

Pattern matching

Specialized materials

Removal


W

hile Chad Jeffries learned the art of wallcovering at vocational school, it wasn’t on his initial list of services when he founded Brick City Painting & Drywall in Mexico, MO. “When it started to pop up in commercial bids, I dusted off my skills and pretty soon, I found that I was one of the few companies that could offer both painting and wallcovering. Even today, there aren’t a lot of other companies that can compete for combination paint and wallcovering jobs.” Today, he runs his business with a crew of 20, including three paper hangers (including himself). “Not every job includes paper so this breakout works well for us,” he says. “Good installers are hard to come by so having them on board full time is a must in my opinion.” Like Jeffries, Lisa and Peter Moon, owners of Paper Moon Painting, operating in San Antonio and Austin, TX, have a full-time crew of 25 painters, but they sub out their wallpaper installations to four pros. Peter, who learned paper hanging at the tender age of 14 says, “We’ve worked with these guys for years and have a lot of confidence in the quality of their work and how they present themselves in relation to our brand.” Even so, the Moons are always on the lookout for new installers. “We can make as much off of four installers as we can 10 painters, but they have to be the right people.” Lisa adds, “Whenever we interview a new hanger, we buy paper and have them install a wall in our office. We’re looking to see how long it takes them, the quality of the work and the seams, did they refloat it well, and are they presentable. My advice is if you find the right person, hire them. You may end up paying them twice what you pay a painter—we do—but you can pass that expense on to the client.” The rewards and risks of the trade While Jeffries see a lot of opportunity in the market, he cautions other pros against casually adding the service. “The profit margins for hanging paper are much higher than painting but so are the risks. It’s not like putting up paint. It requires a lot of attention to detail and critical thinking. You need to have a handle on how to estimate jobs. Depending upon the pattern matches and drops (i.e., how often a pattern repeats), there can be a

The Brick City Painting & Drywall team line up a pattern in student housing at the University of Missouri.

tremendous amount of waste. If you miscalculate that and under-order, you can end up with rolls from different dye lots when you reorder and find yourself having to rehang a whole job. And with some rolls these days costing $1,000 or more, that’s not the kind of mistake you want you or your crew to be making.” In addition to being able to estimate a job correctly, Lisa states that “you have to be able to float any surface well and quickly. Ideally, you want to float a wall in the morning and then hang in the afternoon. But if you can’t float a wall well, you really shouldn’t be hanging paper.” Planning is key For both the Moons and Jeffries, much of their wallcovering work is comprised of small residential jobs, including powder rooms and accent walls. Despite their size, these jobs require a fair amount of planning, administration and upfront work. While Jeffries leans on the same estimating software he uses for painting to calculate labor rates, he notes the rest of the bidding process is customized by job. “You have to account for the different costs of papers and any variables in the rooms like light fixtures and thermostats that have to be cut around, and angled roofs that require extra work to match patterns. Even once you have the yardage calculated, you need to call the manufacturer to

“The profit margins for hanging paper are much higher than painting but so are the risks.” —CHAD JEFFRIES, BRICK CITY PAINTING & DRYWALL

Jul/Aug 2022 | inPAINT

13


“We can make as much off of four installers as we can 10 painters, but they have to be the right people. ... You may end up paying them twice what you pay a painter—we do—but you can pass that expense on to the client.” —LISA AND PETER MOON, PAPER MOON PAINTING

A member of the Brick City Painting & Drywall uses a pasting machine to ready a large custom mural for install.

confirm the pricing. You never want to bid until you’ve confirmed a price and inventory.” Unlike Jeffries, the Moons always have the client order the paper. “There’s a temptation to try and make money off the paper itself but we prefer to let the client order it once we tell them the needed yardage. That frees us up from having to manage the purchasing, delivery, and, if necessary, any change orders.” Regardless of who receives the paper, both companies agree that it’s important to make sure the rolls are held in a secure place on the jobsite for at least a week before the job begins. Jeffries explains, “This allows the covering to acclimate to the humidity or environmental influences at the site. If you don’t do this, the covering may end up shrinking or swelling once it’s hung and then you’ve got a huge problem on your hands.” The minuses and pluses of commercial work While both Jeffries and the Moons take on commercial work, it’s definitely not the Moons’ preference. Peter says, “For me, commercial jobs aren’t that exciting. The wallcoverings are typically on the low end of the quality spectrum and the work is often repetitive, and doesn’t really call for a lot of skill. I really prefer residential projects.” 14

inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2022

Jeffries, on the other hand, has found plenty of challenges and opportunities in the commercial arena. “We’ve done large mural installs in museums and retail settings, and installed a nice wood covering to a ceiling in an apartment building. These projects are usually a lot larger in scale than residential, which is nice, and the impact is really big.” Training is essential When Jeffries and Peter Moon got started in the wallcovering world, there really was only one type of material: vinyl. Today, wallcoverings are made with silk, grass cloth, wood and even crystals. Not surprisingly, each material has its own unique behavioral properties that have to be understood and accounted for when bidding and working a job. The Moons lean heavily on manufacturers for training videos and insight on new products. Jeffries often taps manufacturers but is also a big fan of hands-on training. He explains, “I’m certified with the Wallcovering Installers Association and try to take every live training they offer. They have a lot of good online info through their Wallcovering University, but I really prefer seeing and feeling the materials. It gives me confidence that I can pull off a job with the demonstrated materials successfully.” -

RESOURCES Wallcoverings Association Wallcoverings.org Wallcovering University WallcoveringUniversity.com Wallcovering Installers Association WallcoveringInstallers.org



PRO SPOTLIGHT KLAUDIO DULAMATA

KILZ: What aspect of professional painting do you love most? KLAUDIO: For me, I love the focus of the prep and the instant gratification of spraying. Prep is key. Make sure your floors and furniture are covered to eliminate overspray. Spraying covers large areas quickly with a smooth finish. Prep and spraying are what makes a pro and gives me a sense of accomplishment. KILZ: For people who aren’t sure, when would you spray vs. roll vs. brush? KLAUDIO: I use spray when I want a smooth finish. I roll interior walls. I use a brush to cut-in on walls, corners, and ceilings.

KILZ: What piece of general advice would you have for someone who’s never done a DIY project but is thinking about it? KLAUDIO: My advice for someone new to DIY is just to give it a try and make sure you have fun. Then just keep having fun until you’re satisfied with the outcome. There’s no better feeling. KILZ: What do you like about KILZ 3® Premium Primer? KLAUDIO: I choose KILZ 3 Premium Primer over other primers because its stain blocking is perfect, it has minimal overspray, and is super durable.

“KILZ 3 Premium is my go-to primer. I use it on every job.”

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KILZ: Can’t you skip the primer step? KLAUDIO: No professional would do that. Primer is important to seal the original surface and bring out the bestlooking finish for paint. Even a previously painted surface requires the use of primer to cover and block old colors. KILZ: Was there a moment that you decided to take painting to the next level and marry that with becoming a painting influencer? One of your videos has over 50 million views. KLAUDIO: I never really planned on becoming an influencer. I just started taking videos of my jobs as a daily way to save all my work. At some point I started sharing tips and processes on TikTok, then Instagram followers started showing interest, so I just kept doing it.

KILZ: How important is reputation in your business? KLAUDIO: In this business, reputation is key. People put trust in you, so you have to trust the products you use. I use KILZ® Primer to help maintain my reputation as a pro. I prime every time. First I prep, then I use KILZ Primer right after.

KLAUDIO DULAMATA Professional Painter / Social Media Influencer

Klaudio began working as a painter alongside his uncle in Italy where he dedicated himself to a path of continual learning and improvement by studying a wide variety of techniques. In 2016, he emigrated to America and opened his own company, K-pro Painting, LLC in Detroit, MI.

ADVERTORIAL


Quit getting stiffed How to leverage liens to get

If you’ve ever worked on a project and collected partial payment while on the job, but then were unable to collect that last payment, you aren’t alone. It’s happened to many of us. But thanks to liens, you can safeguard your business against stalled final payments.

18

inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2022


G

enerally speaking, the construction industry runs on credit, meaning you, as the subcontractor or materials supplier, do the work or supply the materials and then wait to get paid. You have extended the owner of the project or the GC credit in the form of your labor or materials. This puts subcontractors and material suppliers in a very precarious position; what happens if they do not get paid? This is an age-old issue that even predates the founding of the U.S. In the early days of America, there was plenty of land, but not a lot of money or materials to develop the land. Tradesmen, or ‘mechanics,’ as they were referred to at the time, did not want to go work on someone’s project and take the risk of not getting paid. Enter the father of invention, Thomas Jefferson, who developed the mechanic’s lien, or more widely known as a construction lien, which gives the contractor who improves property with their labor or materials a security interest (a lien) in that property to the extent they are unpaid.

Learn the two types of debt In the credit industry, there are two types of debt; secured and unsecured. When you are hired by an owner or a GC to work on a project, if they do not pay you, you can sue them for breach of contract. Once you get a judgment, you must then find assets owned by the owner to satisfy it. Said assets can include any possession of value: a car, a television, a boat and a bank account are some strong examples. This is an UNSECURED DEBT claim, meaning the amount you are owed is not secured by any specific asset and you are therefore responsible for finding the assets to satisfy your judgment monetarily if you are not properly paid. A SECURED DEBT claim is an amount that is owed, which is secured by a specific asset; usually the property you are working on. For example, a mortgage is a secured debt. If you take out a loan to purchase property, the bank has a lien on that property. If you do not pay, they will enforce that lien by selling the property to satisfy the amount they are owed. A construction lien works the same way; if you remain unpaid, you can file a suit against the owner of the property to enforce your lien. The ultimate result is the sale of the property to satisfy the amount that you are owed. However in 99% of lien cases, the lien will be paid before it ever comes to the sale of the property. If you are unpaid on a project and have taken the proper steps to have a valid lien, you now have both an unsecured debt claim and a secured debt claim for the amount that you are owed.

Liens = leverage Because a construction lien gives you an interest in a property, the owner of the property cannot sell or further mortgage the property until the lien issue is resolved. A lien is the closest thing to a guarantee of payment that you can get in the construction industry, and it is a huge leverage to use to get paid. Ironically, the point of a lien is to not actually have to file one; but rather to serve notice that you’re willing to do what’s necessary to be paid what you are owed in a timely manner. Any effective collection strategy will incorporate the steps needed to have a valid lien in the state you are working in … and it is worth noting that lien laws and details regarding notices vary in every state.

Each state has different rules, deadlines and minimum requirements needed to have a lien. You can view each state’s laws for free at: SubcontractorInstitute.com/lien-laws Though filing a lien is your legal prerogative, some contractors may hesitate, fearing it could cause friction. The one thing I can tell you from experience is that the squeaky wheel gets paid first. Here is an example: I represent a subcontractor client that outsourced their collection department to my firm on a subscription basis. When we first started doing their collection work, we sent notices and pre-lien letters on around 150 projects. A pre-lien notice is basically a notification that we intend to file a lien. That means for those 150 projects, the money they were owed was anywhere from 60 to 75 days old at that time. Within 6 months, we went from 150 projects in collections each month to only 50. This company still had the same amount of work, but 75% less of their projects were going to collections, meaning they were getting paid for those projects right away. The GCs they were working for knew that they were going to send notices of unpaid amounts to their customers. As a result, they made sure my client got paid first so they would not have to deal with their angry customers.

A lien is the closest thing to a guarantee of payment that you can get in the construction industry, and it is a huge leverage to use to get paid.

Jul/Aug 2022 | inPAINT

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The point of a lien is to not actually have to file one; but rather to serve notice that you’re willing to do what’s necessary to be paid what you are owed in a timely manner.

KARALYNN CROMEENS is an attorney and the owner and managing partner of The Cromeens Law Firm; cofounder of Morrell Masonry Supply; and owner of The Subcontractor Institute, an online educational platform for contractors. Additionally, she hosts the Quit Getting Screwed podcast and has authored two Amazon bestselling books: Quit Getting Screwed: Understanding and Negotiating the Subcontract and Quit Getting Stiffed: A Texas Contractor’s Guide to Collection & Liens Rights. TheCromeensLawFirm.com

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inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2022

Becoming the squeaky wheel The first step is determining if your state requires a prelien notice. This is a document that needs to be sent to the owner and/or GC shortly after you start the project if you want the ability to file a lien should they neglect to pay you later. For example, California requires that you send notice to the owner, GC and construction lender (if there is one) within 20 days from when you began work or supplied materials. (The only instance where that is not true is if you include the original notice in your contract with the owner.) It lets everyone know that you are working or supplying materials to the project and that if you are not paid, you will file a lien. Importantly, if you do not send this notice, you will not have lien rights. There are several states that require some type of pre-lien notice, though the time line and type of notice vary by state. Case in point, to be the squeaky wheel in North Carolina, you need to register with a lien agent within 15 days of the first work or materials supplied. A lien agent is an individual, not exclusively an attorney, who is hired by the owner of the project to collect all notices and is a position unique to North Carolina’s lien laws. This particular state requires you to file your lien within 120 days of your last work or materials supplied. Once you’ve established if a pre-lien notice is needed in your state, the next step is to calculate when you will send it to the owner, notifying them that you have not been paid and that you intend to file a lien. This date should be calculated on two considerations; your cash flow needs and the lien rules of your state. Notices, notices, notices In addition to your state’s notice deadline, you can always send notices earlier and more often than is actually required. While you don’t have to, sending additional notices is significantly more likely to remind the owner and GC that you are still awaiting payment. Whatever you decide, it is of utmost importance to be proactive about your lien notices and pay attention to the notice deadlines in your state. To help keep track of your notices, I recommend you create an internal process to document when each notice of unpaid amounts and an intent to file a lien (pre-lien notice) was sent to owners and GCs on any invoice that is over 60 days old. This is a good rule of thumb

for contractors across the country, as is an important mechanism to improve your cash flow, especially in states like North Carolina, where your lien is only valid to the extent that the owner owes money to the GC. So, the sooner you send your notice—and if you send a reminder—the more likely the owner is to have the GC’s money prepared. And the sooner the owner pays the GC, the sooner the GC can pay you. Yes, there may be some pushback at first, but is it really that unreasonable to expect to be paid in 60 days, especially if the GC has already been paid for your work? And keep in mind that, in general, it is easier to get paid if the owner or GC does not have to pay twice, so sending notice earlier than what may be required by the rules of your state can prevent the double-payment issue and help get you paid faster. The next deadline you set to be the squeaky wheel is when to file your lien if you have not been paid from the notice(s) you’ve sent. Again, the deadline should be based on your cash flow needs and the lien rules of your state. A construction attorney that is familiar with your state’s lien rules can help you set up and implement a collection strategy based on your specific business. Creating and implementing a consistent collection strategy will be lifechanging for your business. Just imagine what it would be like if all the money sitting on your open invoice report sat in your bank account instead. Set your business up for success Learning the lien laws for your state and connecting with a skilled construction attorney who thoroughly understands them are key to maintaining cash flow and establishing financial stability. Pair that with an air-tight, consistent collection strategy and you’ll be on your way to getting paid in full on every project, every time. -


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PRO PICKS

Up your outdoor game: Pros on their exterior coatings of choice Warm weather and sunshine have pros taking on more exterior work this time of year. Depending on your location and the types of surfaces you most commonly work with, you may need several different types of exterior coatings to get the job done. We’ve tapped four pros around the country to share which paints serve them best for the substrates and conditions they most commonly encounter. Here’s what they had to say. BY BRIAN SODOMA

1 JUSTIN FRYE

Residential repaints are the primary focus for this Iowa-based pro. The most common surfaces he works with are cedar wood and aluminum siding. A preference for many of his customers is Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex in a satin sheen. Customers who want more longevity will opt for the company’s Duration Exterior Acrylic Latex or Emerald Rain Refresh Exterior Acrylic Latex. When working with wood surfaces on older homes that need priming, his go-to product is Sherwin-Williams Extreme Block Interior/Exterior Stain Blocking Alkyd Primer/Sealer before he applies one of the above three topcoats. For metal doors or trim, Frye likes to start with SherwinWilliams Pro Industrial DTM Acrylic Primer/Finish and top it with the company’s Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel for a brilliant finish. “I will get these Victorian and Queen Anne home projects … I know many pros think they can go with SuperPaint on trim and doors on jobs like that, but I feel more comfortable with an enamel,” he said. Some customers also request brick painting. For those, he starts with Sherwin-Williams LOXON Concrete & Masonry Primer/Sealer and follows up with Duration for the topcoat.

The availability of colors has been a big driver of late in choosing which manufacturer to suggest to customers. —TREVOR MARSHALL, COLORADO COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL PAINTING Courtesy of Nolan Painting 22

inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2022


OUR PROS

1

JUSTIN FRYE JnS Professional Services JnSPainter.com

2 FRANK MILES

2

FRANK MILES Blair Commercial Painting BlairCommercialPainting.com

The great majority of Waukesha, WI-based Blair Commercial Painting’s work involves commercial industrial park repaints. The buildings on these jobs were typically built between the 1960s and the 1990s, Miles says, and the most common material his crews paint is CMU (concrete masonry unit) block. For this surface, he relies on two topcoats of Sherwin-Williams A-100 Exterior Acrylic Latex, sprayed and back-rolled. “We make sure to spray and back-roll because of the Wisconsin weather to make sure the paint’s not just sitting on the block, but is beaten into the pores of the surface for proper adhesion,” he emphasized. To spot prime on these jobs, his teams use LOXON Concrete & Masonry Primer/Sealer. In some cases, where his teams are working with new concrete block on a building addition, the pro likes to use Sherwin-Williams PrepRite Block Filler to maximize adhesion before applying A-100. For new concrete tilt-up buildings, Miles also likes to prime with Hallman Lindsay GRIPCRETE 167 Vertical Concrete Stain because it doesn’t sag, a common problem other heavy-bodied primers have as a result of the area’s cold climate. He also uses that manufacturer’s WEATHERGUARD Premium 100% Acrylic Exterior Paint in place of A-100 as a premium option on some concrete exteriors. “A-100 works well and I like how you can work with it down to 35.° For longer color retention, we recommend WEATHERGUARD,” he said. For exterior steel or metal surfaces like handrailings and doors, Miles prefers Sherwin-Williams Pro Industrial Waterbased Alkyd Urethane for its ability to “dry hard and fast.” And if the surface requires primer, it’s Sherwin-Williams Kem Kromik Universal Metal Primer that his teams use. “What’s nice about that product is sometimes you have a 4-hour recoat time with an oil-based primer; it’s only 45–60 minutes with Kem Kromik. It has a lot of solvents in it that allows it to dry faster,” he noted. Sometimes, Miles’s crews are tasked with refreshing previously stained wood ceilings on commercial buildings. For this work, it’s Hallman Lindsay TIMBERSHADES 197 Designer Quality Exterior Semi-Transparent Long Oil Deck & Siding Toner, an alkyd formula designed to highlight the wood’s natural grain. He’ll use the product on wood decks of townhome and condominium multifamily projects as well.

3

NICK KELLEY Elite Paint Home Renovations ElitePaintCompany.com

4

TREVOR MARSHALL Colorado Commercial & Residential Painting ColoradoPainting.com

For new concrete tilt-up buildings, Frank Miles likes to prime with Hallman Lindsay GRIPCRETE 167 Vertical Concrete Stain because it doesn’t sag, a common problem other heavy-bodied primers have as a result of Wisconsin’s cold climate.

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3 NICK KELLEY

This Detroit, MI-based pro paints a lot of vinyl, wood and aluminum siding as well as brick. With brick, Kelley likes to start with Sherwin-Williams LOXON XP Waterproofing Masonry Coating before applying the company’s Duration Exterior Acrylic Latex as his topcoat. “Because of the weather here in the Midwest, we use LOXON on every brick exterior to seal it and help prevent the paint from flaking. The biggest problem with painting over brick is that water can get behind the coating and into the brick. Loxon actually keeps water from penetrating inside the brick,” the pro said. For the three types of siding surfaces that Kelley works with, he often uses KILZ Original Aerosol Interior/Exterior Primer for spot priming, and Sherwin-Williams Exterior Oil-Based Wood Primer on larger expanses of wood. In all cases, he relies on Duration for his topcoat. When working with vinyl, aluminum and wood siding early or late in the season, a time when temperatures may dip into the 30s, he turns to Sherwin-Williams Resilience Exterior Acrylic Latex for its ability to handle air temperatures as low as 35.° He’ll also use the manufacturer’s Latitude Exterior Acrylic Latex on vinyl and aluminum early, late and even at the season’s peak (the hotter months) because its ClimateFlex technology allows it to handle both high and low temperature extremes. As an upgrade option for customers with vinyl and aluminum siding who are looking for strong UV protection and easy rinsing for maintenance, Kelley offers Sherwin-Williams Emerald Rain Refresh Exterior Acrylic Latex. “We stick with Sherwin-Williams on all of our exteriors,” he added. “Duration holds up very well. I like the coverage and the moisture barrier technology in many of their paints, too. We guarantee our work for five to seven years and all these products have always served us well.”

Elite Paint Home Renovations tackled this storefront with Sherwin-Williams Exterior Oil-Based Wood Primer and Duration Exterior Acrylic Latex.

JnS Professional Services’ team used Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex on the body of this home and Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel to finish things off.

4 TREVOR MARSHALL

Marshall is an owner and managing member of a painting enterprise that has served Denver, CO for nearly four decades. As of late, Colorado Commercial & Residential Painting has seen a business shift toward more residential work than commercial. On residential exteriors, composite lap siding is the most common surface Marshall’s teams work with. He offers customers options from three Sherwin-Williams products: SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex (good), Duration Exterior Acrylic Latex (better) and Emerald Exterior Acrylic Latex (best). “Duration offers a little better longevity and color retention than SuperPaint. Our market is very susceptible to UV rays, too, and Emerald is the best option for color retention and overall aesthetics,” he explained. For those same surfaces, he also offers ‘good, better, best’ options in Benjamin Moore products: Ultra Spec EXT Paint (good), Regal Select Exterior High Build Paint (better) and Aura Exterior Paint (best). “Ultra Spec is a great workhorse product, but similar to Emerald, it’s the color retention and longevity that makes Aura so great,” he noted. His crews also work with cedar wood and MiraTEC composite trim boards. For these surfaces, if the job requires a primer, he will start with Sherwin-Williams PrimeRx Peel Bonding Primer before topcoats. And for requests to paint previously stained wood doors, he starts with ZINSSER B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer to block out tannins and stains, and then applies any of the three Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore topcoats. The availability of colors has been a big driver of late in choosing which manufacturer to suggest to customers, Marshall said. “In the past, I would say we used Sherwin-Williams paints more, but with the supply chain issues, we leverage Benjamin Moore more than before. It’s a situation where having both options really helps us.” -

EDITOR’S NOTE: The pros featured in Pro Picks are chosen randomly by the editor with no prior knowledge of their product preferences, based on the relevance of their service offering as they relate to the featured product category as well as geographic location/diversity and reputation (i.e., years in business, BBB rating, reviews). If you’d like to be featured in an upcoming Pro Picks, email amanda@inpaintmag.com with the subject line ‘Pro Picks Candidate’ and include your location, contact information, website URL and a list of services offered. 24

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PROJECT SNAPSHOTS

PROJECT No.

1

“ULTRA-GRIP ended up being ideal, as it’s a multi-surface primer and we were working on a variety of [interior] substrates including drywall, GRFG and millwork. It was nice to have a continuous skin of primer on which to apply the finish coats. ENDURAPRIME was the star of the exterior products. It meets our desert requirements in that it dries quickly and performs better than other metal primers I’ve seen used in a hot region like Vegas.” —BRANDON KEPHART

WYNN LAS VEGAS

DUNN-EDWARDS COATINGS:

South Convention Center Expansion

Interior walls in 10–15 custom colors and in Dunn-Edwards: ULTRA-GRIP Premium Int/Ext Multi-Surface Primer SPARTAZERO Premium Interior Paint (Flat) SPARTAWALL Premium Interior Paint (Low Sheen) EVEREST Ultra-Premium Exterior Paint (Semi-Gloss) ARISTOSHIELD Ultra-Premium Int/Ext Paint (Semi-Gloss)

Location: Las Vegas, NV Paint contractor: Brandon Kephart, Area Operations Manager KHS&S Contractors KHSSWest.com Time frame: 6 months Crew size: 300+ total tradespeople Challenges: ■ The 430,000-sq.-ft. space has some 45' walls ■ Working around multiple tradespeople and coordinating 100+ jobsite deliveries ■ Tight schedule required working 10–12 hours daily for six months ■ Matching 10–15 colors from the Wynn portfolio

Exterior metal surfaces in 10–15 custom colors: ENDURAPRIME High-Performance Int/Ext Metal Primer ULTRAGRIP Premium Int/Ext Multi-Surface Primer ACRI-HUES Professional Int/Ext Paint (Flat) ARISTOSHIELD Ultra-Premium Int/Ext Paint (Semi-Gloss) SPARTASHIELD Premium Exterior Paint (Flat)

Pro comment:

“The place was crawling with tradespeople and getting material in and out required a lot of coordination.” In all, Dunn-Edwards made 100+ jobsite deliveries, including occasional weekend runs, of 12,000+ gallons of product and countless sundries. 26

inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2022

Black (DEA002)


PROJECT

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No.

HISTORIC RESIDENTIAL INTERIOR Location: Boston, MA Paint contractor: Chris Fontaine, Production/Operations Manager Level Five Painting LevelFivePaintingllc.com Time frame: 3 weeks Crew size: 3 people Equipment used: Air-assisted airless sprayer Challenges: ■ Dust mitigation ■ Discovering a leak in the windowsill that needed to be fixed before the painting could continue ■ Refinishing the 8'-tall, 150-year-old solid-wood pocket shutters that are original to the house and still fully functional ■ A tight deadline that could not be extended

Pro comment:

This project gave us the opportunity to work for and showcase our skill set to one of the most well-known and respected small-business owners in the city of Boston. We were thrilled to give them the perfect ‘WOW’ factor they desired for this comfortable space.

“With our client wanting a high-gloss finish, we knew that Fine Paints of Europe Hollandlac Brilliant 98 was the only way to go. The impeccable finish that can be achieved with this product is second to none. While it can be a challenging product to work with, the end finish is always worth it.” —CHRIS FONTAINE

COATINGS AND COLORS: Interior walls: Benjamin Moore Fresh Start High-Hiding All-Purpose Primer Benjamin Moore Regal Select Interior Matte Paint matched to:

California Paints Yarmouth Oyster H0105

Interior trim: Fine Paints of Europe Oil Tintable Primer/Undercoat Fine Paints of Europe Hollandlac Brilliant 98 matched to: Ceilings: Benjamin Moore Regal Select Interior Flat Paint matched to:

California Paints Otis Madeira H0134

California Paints Yarmouth Oyster H0105 (50%*) *50%=Use half the colorant so it’s a shade lighter than the walls.

Jul/Aug 2022 | inPAINT

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

Q:

Can I wear a disposable respirator if I have a beard?

A:

JASON LUNN is a 3M application engineering specialist for consumer safety products. He oversees the training and educational aspect of a wide variety of safety products, including respirators. Here, he tackles a common question heard today about the impact of facial hair on tight-fitting respirator performance.

NIOSH released a facial hair chart endorsed by the CDC that helps explain the types of acceptable facial hair options. Access the chart with these search keywords: NIOSH Facial Hair.

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inPAINT | Jul/Aug 2022

If you want the respirator to help provide its full protective benefits, the answer is ‘no.’ This is because the seal of the respirator to the face is critical. Disposable and reusable respirators are designed to create a tight seal to the wearer’s face so that air entering the facepiece is forced through the filter media, and leakage between the facepiece seal and the face is reduced. Anything that prevents the edge of the respirator from creating that seal with the skin on the face can reduce the protection afforded by the respirator. Even short stubble under the edge of the respirator can compromise the seal. A short mustache or goatee could be acceptable; however it must fit completely inside the respirator and not cross the sealing surface. The need for proper fit testing and education Any painting professional required to wear a respirator must be fit tested at least once a year, usually by an appointed company safety lead or an industrial hygienist. It should be emphasized that the safety lead should also train the employees on a variety of aspects regarding their respirator, such as how to wear it correctly, how to inspect it for damage, how to maintain the product, why they need to go through a fit test each year and, of course, why they need to be clean-shaven. This can help employees better understand both the importance of using the equipment properly, and the safety value in a close shave as well. Let’s discuss some of these aspects, starting with fit testing. What is a fit test and what is it ‘testing’ for? It is a relatively short test, using specific protocols, to show that an individual can achieve an effective seal with a particular disposable or reusable respirator. To perform a fit test, the user must go through various acts like nodding your head up and down, breathing in and out heavily, and bending over. These motions are meant to mimic real-life situations on the job where you need the seal to stay in place. This is why a clean-shaven face is so critical. In fact, according to NIOSH, some studies have shown that

even a five o’clock shadow can interfere with the seal and reduce protection. Another critical aspect of helping achieve a good seal is the position of the respirator and straps on the face and head, which is why a user needs to be educated on proper fitting instructions. For example, for disposable respirator head straps, the top strap must go over the crown of the head, above the ears, and the bottom strap must go below the ears and around the neck. They shouldn’t be crisscrossed, nor both above or both below the ears. This proper placement can help the edge of the respirator form a good seal to your shaven face. The user should always read the full user instructions for their specific respirator. Properly forming the noseclip to your nose is another key tip. Do not pinch the noseclip with one hand because it could crease it and cause leakage around the nose. You should take your time to gently and slowly form the noseclip around the nose using both hands, like you’re molding clay. That will help provide you a more secure seal. New respirator styles offer more options 3M has recently expanded production of the Aura™ Particulate Respirator 9205+, an N95 horizontal flatfold model. The Aura’s three-panel design lays flat prior to use, making it more convenient to store without the concern of crushing it, which might occur with the traditional cup-style N95 respirators. The three-panel design flexes with the mouth and helps accommodate facial movements, and has also shown the ability to fit a wide range of face shapes and sizes. This flat-fold respirator provides another option for people to try when seeking to achieve a good fit with their respirator. We understand that facial hair is an expression of personal taste, style, and even values to some. But when you make the decision to be clean-shaven (or to choose a facial hair style that can accommodate an adequate seal for your respirator), you also make the choice to help ensure you achieve the protection your respirator was designed to offer you.


What’s in today’s professional toolbox?

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

The Best Paint Jobs Start With Scotch® Painter’s Tape! The best paint jobs all start the same way, with Scotch® Painter’s Tapes. Scotch® Brand has a full line of painter’s tapes to help you conquer whatever surface you’re painting. It’s the #1 most trusted brand by professional painters*. The best paint jobs start with Scotch® Painter’s Tape. *Based on 2020 TNS Kantar U.S. Brand Health Survey. Learn more at Scotchbrand.com/painterstape ®3M 2022. All rights reserved. Scotch is a trademark of 3M.

The Purdy® Painter’s Storage Box Extension pole holders, replaceable, all-terrain 9" wheels, an IP65 rating for water and dust resistance, plus Purdy quality from top to bottom, make the Painter’s Storage Box not only the first, but the ultimate storage system designed for Professional painters. Plus, it comes with 2 XL boxes, brush storage bars, and a wet brush and roller cover bin to keep you organized on every job. Purdy.com/storage-box

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 2022 | inPAINT

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UPCOMING EVENTS 7

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ADVERTISER INDEX 3M 3M.com Pages 2, 7 & 29 Behr Behr.com Back Cover

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KILZ KILZ.com Pages 3 & 16-17

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Due to the pandemic, some events may be cancelled or rescheduled. Visit the event websites listed below for the latest information.

S E P T E M BE R

N OV E M B E R

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14–16: Mile High Profit Summit, Westminster, CO thecontractorfight.com/mile-high-profit-summit

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1–3: Greenbuild International Conference + Expo, San Francisco, CA informaconnect.com/greenbuild

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15–17: 2022 Wallcovering Installers Association Convention, New Orleans, LA convention.wallcoveringinstallers.org

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2–4: Design-Build Conference & Expo, Las Vegas, NV dbia.org/design-build-conference-expo

3

26–28: Building Innovation Conference, Washington, D.C. buildinginnovation.org

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3 & 4: Vision Conference 2022, Boston, MA https://www.estimaterocket.com/vision-conference-2022

OCTOBE R

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15–17: International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo | PSP/DeckExpo, Las Vegas, NV poolspapatio.com/en/home

MiTM MiTM.com Page 23 4

Purdy Purdy.com Page 29

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What, Where & When

FrogTape FrogTape.com Page 15 Graco Graco.com Page 11

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12–15: PowerClean Convention, Orlando, FL pwna.org/events

Topics covered include: ■ Sales trend analysis ■ Lead-sale-invoice-payment workflow ■ P&L reports ■ Customer segmentation ■ Growth targeting ■ Sales team staffing and training ■ Lead generation inventory November 3 & 4, Boston, MA ■ Cultivating new markets ■ Marketing campaigns Estimate Rocket presents the Vision Conference, ■ Sales process a leadership training program for your ■ Profit trend and actuals analysis company’s executive and sales teams on high■ Vendor relationships and negotiation level sales and profit planning. The conference ■ Technology integration and training allows you to listen, learn and course-correct to get ready for new growth before the heavy Not able to attend in person? The Vision spring and summer production processes. Conference will also be broadcast via GoTo Webinar for remote attendees to join in the sessions and the conversation.

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BOTTOM LINE

Perspective shift: How your customers see you Courtesy of Tower Plumbing & Water Conditioning

Making the customer experience as good as your workmanship

F

or trades businesses, craftsmanship only takes you so far. Real growth also requires top-notch customer service. This article examines all sides of the customercontractor relationship—from property management companies to homeowners and subcontractors—to define best practices that can help ensure customers get what they want out of their experiences with you. Communication is key Shortly after establishing Hometown Property Management Services in southeastern PA in 2009, owner Sam Gorgone found himself in an interesting position. “Early on, my #1 challenge wasn’t growing my business, acquiring clients or finding the right employees,” Gorgone recounts. “It was finding the right subcontractors to help service the properties we managed.” Gorgone relies on a network of trusted subcontractors for maintenance and repair. In addition to professionalism and punctuality, he lists clear and frequent communication as a top priority for anyone he engages with. Being a reliable communicator means returning calls and emails in a timely manner, giving real-time updates on your arrival time (even if you’re arriving on time), asking clarifying questions while work is underway, and following up with customers to make sure they’re satisfied. Scale with your customers—up or down “Any contractor will take on a kitchen renovation,” says Gorgone, “but not everyone is willing to fix a door.” Smaller maintenance and repair jobs may seem like more trouble than they’re worth, but they can help solidify long-term relationships with customers that supply you with a steady flow of guaranteed work. With property maintenance, for example, there is never a shortage of items in homes, apartment units and businesses to be replaced, repaired or maintained. And much of that work is subbed out to contractors. Walk the talk Delivering on the scope, deadlines and daily work hours you’ve promised is a must. When trying to win a job bid, it’s easy to slip into aggressive time lines or over-promised work scopes. But it doesn’t take much for those to set your customer up with unrealistic expectations and unmet promises.

When Plainview, NY homeowner Tracy Slavsky remodeled the kitchen of her 65-year-old home, she sought a GC who was as honest, transparent and open-minded as they were capable of high-caliber craftsmanship. “The estimated time frame was also important for us,” recalls Slavsky. “He promised to work straight for 3–4 weeks in order for us to have a working kitchen. And he did it—no skipped days.” For Slavsky, the ability to stay on schedule and deliver on initial promises earned her GC a great customer service review and word-of-mouth recommendations. Adopt a “here to help” approach Infusing all your customer interactions with optimism and positivity can have a huge impact on your brand and business—and it costs you nothing. As a plumber, Mark Cassel, owner-operator of Tower Plumbing & Water Conditioning in Lancaster, PA, recognizes that his repair work can be among the most daunting issues a homeowner can face. So, he sees his role as more than simply providing plumbing services: He’s helping people get back to normal life. That simple shift in positive outlook has turned the vast majority of Cassel’s customer base into repeat business and earned him many referrals. A focus on customer service is a focus on success Your work ethic is ingrained in you. Your craftsmanship was learned in school or in your early days on the job. But your customer service is something that needs constant attention with the ever-changing expectations on each job with each customer. By listening to your customers and minding a few core best practices in service, you’ll be equipped to take on whatever comes your way.

ASHLEY LUKE is a Senior Product Manager, Duct Tapes, for Shurtape Technologies, an industry-leading manufacturer and marketer of adhesive tape. She holds two Bachelor of Science degrees from The Ohio State University: Business Administration & Marketing and Human Ecology. For the past six years, Luke has worked at Shurtape Technologies, focusing on identifying consumer trends and needs, and opportunities within the industry to fulfill them. Shurtape.com

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Introducing

Kills 99.9% of viruses† and bacteria‡ on the painted surface.

†SARS CoV-2 and Feline calicivirus (EPA Proxy for Human Noroviruses) ‡Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa *As long as the integrity of the painted surface is maintained.

It doesn’t just make the high-touch areas of spaces more beautiful and durable. It kills up to 99.9% of viruses† and bacteria‡ within two hours of contact on the painted surface and lasts for up to six years*. All while providing the aesthetic appeal and performance you expect from Behr. Contact a BEHR PRO® Rep at behr.com/rep

behr.com/copperforce


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