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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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M AY/J U N 2020

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OUR 2020 SURVEY RESULTS

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Pros on exterior coatings 2 pros’ approach to the same bid Elevating the customer experience through employee engagement

May/Jun 2020 | inPAINT

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CUTTING IN

“Now what?” —Pretty much everyone

I

think it’s safe to say that we’ve all experienced moments of uncertainty in our lives that left us feeling unsettled. But never have we all simultaneously experienced a global and protracted sense of uncertainty like the one that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create; a reality in which the only certainty is uncertainty. So, yeah. Now what? As our annual inPAINT Survey found, the answer to that question varies dramatically from pro to pro. I invite you to turn to page 21 to learn how fellow pros have been impacted by COVID-19, what they’ve learned, how they’ve adjusted, what they think the future holds, and what they’ve come to appreciate from the experience. While some have opted to step away from work entirely for the time being, others have been actively preparing for an uptick in business that they anticipate coming their way in the months ahead. Regardless of your outlook, there’s a good chance you’ll also appreciate reading about the choices your colleagues are making in terms of coatings, applicators, sundries, tools and vehicles (see page 20 for the results of the inPAINT Survey). To those who participated in the survey, we thank you. Your feedback is not only of value to other pros, it will also help guide the topics we’ll cover in future issues. Because when it comes to the “Now what? ” for inPAINT, we’re already working on our next issue. We believe in the resilience of our readers and the industry as a whole and look forward to covering what comes next. 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 | May/Jun 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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May/Jun 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

This issue’s contributing experts Michael Bordes AA Jedson Company, LLC Scott Hepburn Blue Corona Peter Holton Caber Hill Advisors Rick Holtz H.J. Holtz & Son, Inc. Mike Kelly Crestwood Painting Nick LoGrasso SNL Painting, Inc Carmelo Marsala Spray-Net Nelson Martin Nelson Martin Painting, LLC Tommy Masters Entire Home Services Corp.

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

©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 | May/Jun 2020

Liam Morin Profit for Contractors Ray Rahni Paint Track Painting Services Zach Shrum Davis Custom Painting, Inc. Robert Smith Smith Painting Joe White AEU LEAD Tess Wittler Content Marketing for Contractors


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eNewsletter

Our monthly e-newsletter delivers industryrelevant articles to your inbox—many expanding on our magazine articles—offering additional valuable content professionals find essential to continue to learn and grow. Stay informed. Watch for it monthly.

Our monthly e-newsletter delivers industry-relevant articles to your inbox— many expanding on our magazine articles —offering additional ols, subscribe to inPAINT magazine. They’re all FREE! valuable content AINTmag.com/subscribe professionals find essential to continue to learn and grow. Watch for it monthly and stay relevant.

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To receive these valuable tools, subscribe to inPAINT magazine. They’re all FREE! inPAINTmag.com/subscribe

This wise adage served as inspiration for a type of communication that offers industry professionals education and instruction to learn from—and build on. Here, we present an industryspecific question and invite an expert to share their insight. Prepare to sharpen your skills.

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CUTTING IN

inPAINT® May/Jun 2020

CONTENTS FEATURES

10

18

inPAINT Survey Results

Readers’ preferred brands and how pros are navigating in the time of COVID

22

2 Pros, 1 Bid

26

Courtesy of Spray-Net

Creating an Ownership Mentality

The key to elevating customer experiences

Two different approaches to bidding the same job

10 The News Industry ins and outs

30 Pros talk exterior coatings Pro Picks

for a variety of climates

The inPAINT Interview

GC’s 40 years of referral business without advertising once

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inPAINT | May/Jun 2020

DEPARTMENTS

34

32 Ask a Pro What owners need to understand about valuing a business

14 5 Good Questions Painting business owner focuses on employee culture and customer service

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

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

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

17 Trend in Focus Expand your online impact through blogging

39 Bottom Line Creating a strategy to win more bids

Cover Photo Courtesy of PPG Paints; This Page’s Background Photo Courtesy of Adam Roe Painting


THE NEWS

IMPORTANT: Pro-grade COVID-19fighting products T Rust-Oleum recently announced that three products in their cleaning line have been approved by the EPA as effective against COVID-19. Krud Kutter Heavy Duty Cleaner & Disinfectant, Moldex Disinfectant Concentrate, and Concrobium Broad Spectrum Disinfectant II have been approved as effective against Coronavirus when used in accordance with the directions on nonporous surfaces. These products are available at home centers and hardware stores nationwide, professional products distributors and online retailers, though availability may be limited due to demand.

Spray-Net expands into the U.S. T After nine years in business across Canada, exterior paint franchise company Spray-Net is staking its claim in the U.S. Focusing largely on exteriors, Spray-Net custom mixes coatings on-site and applies them to specific surfaces including: stucco, aluminum siding, vinyl siding, asphalt roofing, brick, doors and windows, and kitchen cabinets. According to company founder and president Carmelo Marsala, “Instead of using one-size-fits-all types of coatings that perform okay across a lot of substrates, we offer seven water-based coatings formulated for specific substrates and the challenges they present. We mix them on-site at every job, incorporating our patented process of weather adjustment for current conditions to bring better control to film formation for a better finish and long-term durability. By eliminating the middleman, and essentially serving as the formulator, manufacturer, retailer and applicator, we’re able to offer better coatings options at less cost to the property owner.” Spray-Net currently operates 51 franchises in Canada and three in the U.S. SprayNetFranchise.com

Werner introduces a 3-in-1 ladder T Designed for residential and commercial trade professionals, Werner’s new LEANSAFE X3 multi-purpose ladder can seamlessly shift between three positions, making setup quick and simple. A unique 3-in-1 design means it can be used in multiple scenarios including: leaning directly against a wall, corner or stud; as a conventional step ladder; or as a straight ladder with a 13' reach. Both ANSI and OSHA compliant, it features non-marring, specially angled rear-rail feet. Slip-resistant Traction-Tred steps provide added comfort and confidence while climbing. Weighing just over 24 pounds, the LEANSAFE X3 has a 375-pound load capacity and a Type 1AA duty rating. WernerCo.com/leansafe

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inPAINT | May/Jun 2020


CompanyCam: Using smart photos to streamline organization T If you ever wished you could be on two jobsites at once, CompanyCam is your wish granted. Available on iTunes, Google Play and via your desktop, the app lets you create smart photos—images imbedded with information on who took the shot, where they took it and when, plus custom notes. Every image is organized by project is and instantly available to your team, allowing you to see what’s going on anytime, anywhere. Stored in the cloud, images are instantly synced back to the office to help your marketing, operations and sales teams. You can even hold real time text conversations about the project with whoever’s on-site. No more time lost to waiting for you or a team member to arrive with answers. Plus, CompanyCam lets you create before-and-after shots based on each project library (ideal for social media posts); project time lines and galleries to use internally or share with customers as the job progresses; as well as PDF photo reports to send to customers with estimates and invoices. CompanyCam.com/painting-app

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.

New truck rack maximizes space and capacity T WEATHER GUARD’s new heavy duty Steel Truck Rack (1175-52-02) was designed for pros. Offering universal fit for 250/2500 and larger series full-size trucks, the rack can accommodate three ladders side by side and is tough enough to transport bulky cargo and materials up to 1,700 lbs. when evenly distributed. Plus, the industry’s first truck Rear Rolling Cross Member accessory allows for easier loading from the tailgate position and can be installed drill-free in under an hour. WeatherGuard.com

Made in

USA

with Globally Sourced Components

www.mitm.com 800-553-9053

Air Compressors | Portable Generators Air Compressor/Generator Combinations Air Compressor/Generator/Welder Combinations Cold and Hot Water Pressure Washers | Wet/Dry Vacuums Jobsite Boxes | Portable Heaters | Water Pumps Water Treatment Systems May/Jun 2020 | inPAINT

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THE NEWS

Titan introduces the Elite 3000 electric sealed hydraulic airless sprayer

Brushaper: The kindest thing you can do for your paintbrush T A good paintbrush is worth preserving and that’s exactly what Brushaper is designed to do. Developed and patented by a painter, Brushaper protects, shapes, and allows your brush to dry between uses, extending the life of the brush. Unlike cardboard covers that come with most paintbrushes, Brushaper won’t fall apart or get soggy. Made in the USA from a stretchable, moisture-wicking material, Brushaper lets the brush breathe, and it doesn’t trap harmful moisture like plastic brush covers do. You begin every day with a clean, dry brush that’s retained the shape and function you bought it for in the first place. Available for both angled and straight brushes in 2," 2.5" and 3" sizes, they can be ordered directly from Brushaper.com

T Designed to spray up to 100 gallons per week, the newest sprayer from Titan is perfect for professional paint contractors, property maintenance managers and general contractors. Featuring a one-gun sprayer, the new Elite 3000 electric sealed hydraulic airless sprayer is outfitted with PermaStroke Technology so there is no piston, packings or clutch to wear or replace—and the fluid pump and electric motor are backed by a lifetime warranty. Maintenance is minimal with only two cartridge-style wear parts, and field-serviceable inlet and outlet valves that can be changed with common tools. The Elite 3000 comes standard with a Titan RX-Pro gun, TR1 517 tip and a 1/4" x 50' hose. The multi-position cart quickly converts from a high-rider direct-fed configuration to a low-rider siphon-fed configuration. Large 10" semi-pneumatic tires make travel over rough surfaces easier. Available in the U.S. at professional equipment and industrial supply retailers. TitanTool.com

Samplize: real paint samples, really easy T The days of working from tiny sample cans of paint may be behind you. Launched in 2017, Chattanooga-based Samplize now offers the complete color libraries for both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams, and select colors from Farrow & Ball and Behr/The Home Depot, all in convenient peel-and-stick samples. And if things go according to plan, they’ll add the complete color offerings from Behr, PPG Paints and Glidden to the lineup by the end of the year. Each 12" x 12" sample is hand-painted with two roller-applied coats of a specific paint color from the manufacturer. Samples can be repositioned as needed and even wrapped around corners to show lighting contrast between surfaces. When the selection is finalized, it can easily be removed with no worry of damage to the wall. Samplize samples are currently available online and at select Ace Hardware locations. Bundled sample kits are available through The Home Depot (Behr colors only). Samplize.com

FrogTape Brand introduces Pro Grade ORANGE Painter’s Tape T While sharp paint lines aren’t always necessary for production-grade painting, a premium tape that sticks where it’s placed is. That’s what FrogTape’s new Pro Grade ORANGE Painter’s Tape is designed to do. This premium-grade production painter’s tape offers high adhesion to stick to a variety of surfaces, even in hot and humid conditions. Engineered with a conformable backing for ease of use on interior and exterior surfaces, and advanced adhesive technology that allows it to adhere to light fixtures, doorknobs, doorways, windows and other surfaces, it also provides 3-day clean removal without shredding. Available nationwide at a wide range of retailers, including Kelly Moore, PPG Paints and ALLPRO, as well as at Amazon.com 12

inPAINT | May/Jun 2020


5 QUESTIONS

5

Good

QUESTIONS WITH NICK LOGRASSO

1 NICK LOGRASSO is the owner of SNL Painting, Inc., based in St. Charles, MO. Offering residential and commercial services, the company prides itself on offering the highest quality of craftsmanship and unmatched customer service. SNLPainting.com

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inPAINT | May/Jun 2020

What’s been the most important part of your business journey? Buying out my business partner. I was in a 50/50 business partnership for 9 years, and when my partner made the choice to step away from painting and go in a different direction, I bought him out. It required a big financial commitment and a big shift in mindset. I went from collaborating on every decision to thinking all for myself. The decisions as to where to go as a business, how to get there, who to hire, which projects to take on, etc. all fell to me. It took some getting used to but I’m really happy with where it’s taken me.

2

What are your top three to-do’s this week? First, visit customers without whom I don’t have a business. We have two sales people; one guy who handles new leads, and me, who handles regulars or repeat customers. I try to get out to visit customers Mondays through Wednesdays 8:00 – 4:30. I try hard to stick to that window but will make exceptions for our best customers. Second, meet with the architect on the remodeling project at my new shop. I recently bought a new building, which we need to restructure to make sense for the type of work we’re doing and to create office space for our administrative team. The new space is three times the size of the old space, which is exciting, but I can already tell I should have gone larger. And third, find a proximity mail service. As the business has grown up, I have a really solid handle on who my ideal customer is and where they are. I want to get a mailing out to a very specific neighborhood and target those prospects. Proximity mail services can help me target those folks, get a mailer designed using their templates, and get it sent. I’m hoping to find an appbased one but I need to do some research this week and find ‘the one,’ so to speak.

INSIGHT FROM A PAINTING BUSINESS OWNER

3

What’s been your most effective marketing campaign ever? Without question, calling—not emailing—past customers. Honestly, if you need instant business, just pick up the phone and talk to people. Just say, “It’s been a while. How are things?” You’ll be amazed how well it works. If you do that for just one afternoon, you’ll have a really, really good shot at having work the next day or week.

4

How do you keep your passion for the industry alive? By focusing on growing my business and making it a better place to work, a great company to do business with, and a great company to own. My primary focuses are employee culture and customer service. For me, it’s all about happy customers and happy employees. If I have those two things, I’m in great shape. When your employees are engaged and happy, customers like having them around; then, when they have another job, they don’t hesitate to have us come back to do more work. It’s really nice to own a business with a reputation—and a reality—like that.

5

What is your company’s value proposition vs. other painting contractors? Customer service and culture. We promise and deliver on that by always answering the phone, showing up on time, demonstrating a lot of respect for their property and, if there’s a problem, we get back quickly to fix it. Even if it costs us money. We deliver on the promise of great service. How I articulate that difference is by asking a lot of questions up front. What’s important to them? Have they worked with painters before? How’d that experience go? What didn’t you like? I drill down to what they didn’t like and sell around it. I don’t sell anything else but their priority. After they’ve had our crew around, they get comfortable and trust that we do what we promise. It’s much easier to start talking about other work then.


• •

• •


TRENDS

Blog facts Including a blog on your website will give you a 434% better chance of being ranked highly on search engines. Companies that blog have 55% more visitors to their websites than those that don’t.

Courtesy of Dunn-Edwards Paints

SOURCE: HubSpot.com

Eye-popping islands According to the 2020 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, 2 in 5 homeowners who are adding or upgrading their kitchen island opt for a color that contrasts against the upper cabinets. While white still dominates as the color of choice for uppers (45%), gray and blue most often make the cut for island cabinetry (26% and 19%, respectively).

What pros are listening to

Word of mouth (online)

Top 10 PCA PaintED podcasts for 2020 thus far: 1. Instagramming for Profit 2. Responding to COVID-19

82%

3. Commercial Estimating 4. Cash Flow Planning for a New Year

of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, with 52% of 18–54-yearolds saying they ‘always’ read reviews Among consumers that read reviews,

97%

read businesses’ responses to reviews

5. Online Marketing Map 6. Developing a Revenue Goal

Time is money Your chances of getting in touch with a lead plummets 1,000% if you wait more than 5 minutes to respond. SOURCE: GetSlingShot.com

SOURCE: BrightLocal.com, Local Consumer Review Survey 2019

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inPAINT | May/Jun 2020

7. New Year’s Podcast 8. APC and PCA at EXPO! 9. We Want Sales Problems 10. Financial Fitness To check out these podcasts, visit SoundCloud.com/paint-ed-podcast


TREND IN FOCUS

Blog your way to more business Capture consumer interest with content that matters to them

A

s consumers increasingly spend more time on digital platforms looking for information and resources to address their needs, businesses that want to grow must invest in their web presence. But a placeholder website is no longer enough. The benefits of blogging According to Tess Wittler, a content writer specializing in the construction industry, “What makes a website valuable is actually getting people to see it. If someone doesn’t know your business exists, it’s unlikely they’ll enter your URL. So you’ve got to create an online presence that will show up when they search for a specific need. And a blog is a great way to do that.” Here’s why: every time you add a blog post to your website, you increase your chances of showing up in a search engine. For example, if you do a post on the most popular kitchen cabinet colors that you painted in the past six months, when a consumer searches ‘popular kitchen cabinet colors,’ guess who shows up. And that info-hungry consumer is now introduced to your website, your company, and your services. Plus, you’ve already demonstrated you have knowledge and expertise in their specific need area. But the benefits of blogging don’t stop there.

As she explains, you can then add your posts to other social media platforms. “Through searches and sharing, you’ll drive new audiences to your website.”

Your story, your way According to Scott Hepburn, lead campaign director at digital marketing agency Blue Corona, “One of the best aspects of blogging is the amount of control it affords you. Unlike other platforms where you’re competing for eyeballs and attention, you have complete control over the content. You get to tell your brand story directly to your customers, framed in the spirit and values of your company.” Wittler agrees and expands on the control aspect: “In much the same way that you wouldn’t build a house on land you didn’t own, you shouldn’t build your online presence on a platform you don’t control. Because you never know when Facebook is going to change their algorithm, you shouldn’t build your primary presence there; or on any platform other than your own. Instead, build on your own property—your URL—and then work out from there.”

Blogging brings in the business For Rick Holtz, owner of H.J. Holtz & Son, Inc. in Richmond, VA, blogging has increased traffic on his business’ website. But it wasn’t instantaneous. As he explained, “When we first started posting blogs, we didn’t have a regular schedule and the writing wasn’t of the highest quality. I was then approached by a local freelance writer who suggested we make the quality of the content on our site match the quality of our work. While the comment stung a bit, I took her up on it and it made a HUGE difference.” Holtz now posts blogs on his site and Facebook twice a month. So far, kitchen cabinets remains the most popular topic. “Without question, blogs have brought more traffic to our site and introduced people to our services,” he says. “But it is a long game. You’ve got to be consistent and patient. That said, the investment will pay off if you do it right.”

Content is key When it comes to blogging, content is an area where a lot of businesses struggle, says Hepburn. “But it doesn’t have to be that hard. The key thing is to answer the questions consumers are asking. Questions like ‘How long should a paint job last?’ or ‘How much does it cost to paint a living room?’ are great topics for blog posts. You can use the question as your headline and then answer the question in a conversational tone. Lean on your experience and include specific information. For example, you can list the factors that can influence the cost of painting a room—product used, the number of doors, the amount of trim, etc. These are the things that subtly demonstrate your expertise and build consumer confidence.”

Every time you add a blog post to your website, you increase your chances of showing up in a search engine.

May/Jun 2020 | inPAINT

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®

RESULTS OF OUR 2020 SURVEY

WE THANK OUR 2020 SURVEY SPONSORS

TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED IN OUR SURVEY

At inPAINT, we appreciate that your time is valuable and thank all participants for their insights. The following Survey participants were randomly selected from all respondents to each receive a prize valued at $200 or more from our 2020 Survey sponsors: 3M™ Safety and Wall Repair products including 3M™ Worktunes™ Connect Phil Hursh Hursh Painting Co. Inc. Lancaster, PA ScotchBlue™ Original Painter’s Tape (2090 – 2 cases) Jerome Paluch GT Construction Tinley Park, IL

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inPAINT | May/Jun 2020

Armstrong-Clark Exterior Oil-Based Wood Stain (5-gallon pail; color of winner’s choice) Butch Howell Main Street Painting Monroe, NC Benjamin Moore ColorReader Pro Roger Moyer Aspen Painting, Inc Aspen, CO

Titan RX-Pro HEA Spray Pack George Keegan Keegan Painting Marion, MA Nix Mini Color Sensors (2) John Neubert Neubert Painting, Inc. Brook Park, OH Tower Sealants Accelerator Fast Dry Caulk (6 cases) David Bulaski Heritage Paintworks Bristow, VA

Tower Sealants Accelerator Fast Dry Caulk (6 cases) Erick T. Gatcomb Gatcomb Painting & Design Hancock, ME FROGTAPE® Brand Painter’s Tape and T-REX® Tape Bundle Edward Saldana Epic Painting Lewisburg, TN


L

ast month, we again reached out to 35,000 print and online readers of inPAINT magazine and asked pros which brands they’re finding the most success with in a dozen product categories. This information is of interest to other pros who might be considering new options, and serves as a valuable resource for manufacturers, consultants and other industry service providers who are also looking to stay abreast of ever-evolving pro needs.

ABOUT THE SURVEY RESULTS

In our survey, we asked participants to answer questions about their businesses. For some questions, respondents could select more than a single answer, thus some percentage totals exceed 100%. WHAT IS YOUR AGE?

Under 18....................................................................................................0% 18–30.........................................................................................................5% 31–40........................................................................................................12% 41–50........................................................................................................22% 51–60........................................................................................................31% 61 and up..................................................................................................30% IN WHICH BUSINESS SEGMENTS DO YOU WORK THE MOST?

Residential: Single Family.......................................................................81% Residential: Multifamily..........................................................................25% Commercial: Office..................................................................................15% Commercial: Retail..................................................................................10% Health Care...............................................................................................9% Industrial..................................................................................................6% Education ................................................................................................5% Other.........................................................................................................3%

HOLDS

700 + LBS

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES?

5 or less.....................................................................................................69% 6–10..........................................................................................................14% 11–20.........................................................................................................9% 21–50........................................................................................................4% 51 or more................................................................................................4% YEARS YOU’VE OWNED YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS?

5 or less....................................................................................................10% 6–10..........................................................................................................11% 11–15..........................................................................................................16% 16–25.........................................................................................................22% 26 or more................................................................................................34% I do not own a business..........................................................................6%

THE ABSOLUTE STRONGEST DUCT TAPE Holds more than 700 pounds with a single loop of tape. T-RexTape.com Extreme real-world test; tape not weight-rated for towing applications. ©ShurTech Brands, LLC. 2019/79417 All Rights Reserved.

May/Jun 2020 | inPAINT

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2020 SURVEY

THE RESULTS PRO READERS’ GO-TO BRANDS

EDITOR’S NOTE: For the purpose of this survey, product lines and brands such as Glidden, FrogTape, Sikkens, etc. are included under their manufacturer’s name, with a few exceptions. The ‘Other’ category includes all brands receiving a response of less than 5%. INTERIOR PAINT

Sherwin-Williams....................................................................................42% Benjamin Moore......................................................................................20% Behr..........................................................................................................18% PPG Paints................................................................................................8% Other.........................................................................................................12% EXTERIOR PAINT

Sherwin-Williams....................................................................................43% Benjamin Moore......................................................................................19% Behr..........................................................................................................17% Dunn-Edwards Paints.............................................................................6% Other.........................................................................................................15% PRIMER

Kilz............................................................................................................25% Sherwin-Williams....................................................................................23% Zinsser......................................................................................................20% Benjamin Moore......................................................................................10% PPG Paints................................................................................................5% Other.........................................................................................................17% STAIN

Sherwin-Williams....................................................................................23% Minwax.....................................................................................................20% Behr..........................................................................................................10% Benjamin Moore......................................................................................10% Cabot.........................................................................................................8% PPG Paints................................................................................................5% Other.........................................................................................................24% TAPE

3M..............................................................................................................60% ShurTech...................................................................................................26% Other.........................................................................................................14% CAULK

DAP ...........................................................................................................42% Sherwin-Williams ...................................................................................25% White Lightening ....................................................................................5% Other.........................................................................................................28%

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inPAINT | May/Jun 2020

BRUSH

Purdy........................................................................................................60% Wooster....................................................................................................19% Corona......................................................................................................12% Other.........................................................................................................9% ROLLER

Purdy........................................................................................................59% Wooster....................................................................................................30% Other.........................................................................................................11% PAINT SPRAYER

Graco.........................................................................................................66% Titan..........................................................................................................22% Other.........................................................................................................12% PRESSURE WASHER

Mi-T-M.......................................................................................................24% Honda.......................................................................................................17% DeWalt......................................................................................................11% Graco.........................................................................................................8% Simpson....................................................................................................7% Other.........................................................................................................33% POWER TOOLS

DeWalt......................................................................................................40% Ryobi ........................................................................................................13% Milwaukee ...............................................................................................12% Ridgid ......................................................................................................9% Festool .....................................................................................................7% Makita ......................................................................................................7% Other ........................................................................................................12% WORK VEHICLE

Ford...........................................................................................................34% GMC...........................................................................................................32% Dodge.......................................................................................................13% Toyota.......................................................................................................9% Other.........................................................................................................12%


®

Readers Survey: COVID-19 Impact

With many of us continuing to shelter-in-place to varying degrees, it can be hard to get a sense of how our peers are responding and faring during this challenging time. In an effort to learn how workloads, practices and plans for the future have been impacted by the pandemic, we added a series of COVID-related questions to our annual survey. We’re happy to share the responses received between May 9th and May 13th with you below. ARE YOU STILL OPERATIONAL, AND AT WHAT CAPACITY?

75% or more............................................................................................. 41% 50%–74%.................................................................................................. 18% 25%–49%...................................................................................................13% Less than 25%...........................................................................................15% Shut down.................................................................................................13% IF YOU ARE STILL OPERATIONAL, HOW HAS WORK SHIFTED?

More exterior work.................................................................................46% Less interior work.................................................................................... 32% No interior work...................................................................................... 18% More interior work...................................................................................17% All interior work.........................................................................................9% All exterior work........................................................................................8% IF YOUR WORK HAS SLOWED—OR IF YOU HAVE CLOSED YOUR DOORS— WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING ON?

Equipment maintenance........................................................................34% Applying for government assistance/disaster loans.......................... 32% Organization and project readiness...................................................... 32% Website upgrades and/or advertising efforts......................................15% I’m taking a break from work altogether..............................................15% Hiring and/or staffing adjustments....................................................... 11% Other.........................................................................................................26% AS STATES CONTINUE TO OPEN UP IN THE COMING MONTHS, WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS?

An uptick in business from the last couple of months, but not back to normal.................................................................... 40% Business back to normal within a couple of months.......................... 32% Business staying about the same as the last couple of months for a while............................................................................28%

DUE TO COVID, HAVE YOU MOVED TO VIRTUAL APPOINTMENTS AND BIDDING?

No..............................................................................................................62% A mix of virtual and in-person..............................................................30% Yes...............................................................................................................8% HOW CHALLENGING HAS IT BEEN TO OBTAIN PRODUCT AND/OR SERVICES DURING COVID?

More challenging.....................................................................................60% No change................................................................................................29% Very challenging .................................................................................... 10% Impossible...................................................................................................1% HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR PRICING AS A RESULT OF COVID?

No change................................................................................................86% Yes (decreased)........................................................................................ 11% Yes (increased).......................................................................................... 3% IF THERE ARE ANY ‘POSITIVES’ THAT MAY COME FROM THIS PANDEMIC IN RELATION TO YOUR BUSINESS, WHICH MAY BE THE BIGGEST?

Customer appreciation for my services.................................................32% Increased demand for my services........................................................ 17% Equipment in top shape...........................................................................11% Less low-priced competition..................................................................10% A stronger bond within my organization............................................... 8% Upgraded systems.....................................................................................5% Enhanced skill set due to extra time to train/learn............................... 4% Other.........................................................................................................13%

How are you planning for your business to be better prepared if COVID rises again in the future? ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

■■ ■■ ■■

Stockpile personal protective equipment Build my ‘rainy day’ savings account back up Have more cash on hand for payroll Concentrate on getting work not having direct contact with residents Expand my contacts in the real estate business and target more empty properties If it rises again, I’ll probably have to close or retire Do more virtual sales calls and consults Do more exterior work Order online Continue practicing social distancing and maintain high standards of cleanliness and sanitation out on the jobsites Do more advertising highlighting safety concerns Reduce debt Move to outer space!

While COVID-19 has negatively impacted our lives and livelihoods in a variety of ways, we asked readers to share their favorite sheltering-in-place uplifting —or amusing—experience. Here’s what a few folks had to say: ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

Being able to spend more time with my family Finishing projects at home Having no idea what day of the week it is after Monday Seeing people on the Interstate wearing masks in their personal car Feeling a closer connection to family and friends It provided me time to slow down and give back by helping others Learned to cook Discovered I’m a terrible pain in the neck when I’m home too long with family People wearing masks upside down Reading the Bible more Saving money by drinking at home Enjoying more time to catch up on movies and YouTube at home If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this situation, it’s that family is everything and the opportunities to spend time with loved ones shouldn’t be taken for granted. May/Jun 2020 | inPAINT

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CREATING AN OWNERSHIP MINDSET:

The Key to Elevating Customer Experiences

Courtesy of ALLBRiGHT 1-800 PAINTING

A

ccording to the inPAINT 2019 Readers Survey, existing customers were viewed by painting professionals as the most critical to future business opportunities: 67% of respondents relied on past customer referrals for leads 63% of respondents primarily depended on word-of-mouth testimony to reach new customers Clearly, customer satisfaction is central to operating and sustaining a healthy painting business. To maintain high satisfaction rates, you must consistently deliver on factors driving the overall customer experience, and that requires engaged employees with a vested interest in meeting or exceeding customer expectations. n n

BY JOE WHITE

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inPAINT | May/Jun 2020

The challenge and opportunity ahead Nearly half of painting business owners feel that staffing is the single biggest challenge they must overcome to remain successful. Forces driving recent labor conditions won’t end anytime soon but, given several emerging trends, you may be able to improve your circumstances. The key to doing so involves emphasis on driving employee engagement. Done properly, it also directly translates to the customer experience, and subsequently impacts satisfaction rates. ‘Employee engagement’ is a term loosely defined and often misunderstood. Generally, it represents the level of interest, motivation and commitment employees have for their job. It goes beyond satisfaction, and is a measure of connectivity and alignment with the organization. Engaged employees go above and beyond, consistently please customers, and are far less likely to leave your organization. And as the owner, you have significant control over factors leading to and resulting in their engagement.


One of the most effective ways to engage employees and, therefore, positively impact the customer experience, is to create an ‘ownership mentality.’ Every time your crews engage with a customer or potential customer, they represent the business you’ve worked hard to build. You have a vested interest in your employees creating an outstanding customer experience. Do they? Here are five ways to create an ownership mentality among your employees to increase their engagement— and ultimately drive outstanding customer experiences:

1

Connect and align employees with your purpose As the owner, you have likely given thought to why your organization exists. For some, this reflection results in documented statements outlining the company’s mission that may be used in advertising or on their website. For others, the process is less formal, with guiding principles that are applied when making critical business decisions. Closely related to your company’s mission is a vision statement. Where do you aspire to take the company over the course of the next few years? What are your mission-critical objectives? How do you plan to get there and who will be involved? Your company’s vision provides direction and gives clarity to priorities and where the organization is headed. When hiring new employees, look for those who connect with your company’s vision. If you don’t have a mission or vision statement, that’s a perfect opportunity to bring employees into the process of crafting one and helping them to think like an owner. In doing so, consider both the professional services you offer and the social impact you can have on your community. Research shows that emerging generations are more inclined to do business with, and work for, companies that commit to a social cause. In conjunction with your social cause, you might consider an all-employee service day or philanthropic effort in the community to get employees involved. This creates an emotional connection that reminds employees about your company’s purpose and promotes loyalty.

2

Consider professional development beyond technical skills Career growth opportunities are an ongoing dilemma for employers wanting to retain employees, especially in skilled labor industries where turnover is already high. While promotions within may not be as common as they once were, opportunities for personal growth and development are abundant. Customers need to feel comfortable allowing your employees into their place of residence or business, and it’s critical that your employees understand the importance of building rapport, trust and credibility, and it’s critical that you help them develop those skills. Remember: in a service-based business, employees are the key to positive customer experiences, which are critical to

You have a vested interest in your employees creating an outstanding customer experience. Do they?

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JOE WHITE is the director for AEU LEAD, a management consulting and developmental training organization for labor-intensive industries specializing in providing lead personnel with the skills required for success in front-line leadership roles. His career includes 26 years of operational safety experience, the majority of which was with DuPont Sustainable Solutions. AEULEAD.com

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inPAINT | May/Jun 2020

the future success of your business. To lead employees toward the ownership mindset that drives these experiences, you must invest in them. In additional to skills that will help them engage with customers, consider asking employees about what’s important to them in terms of growth and improvement. It may be getting a GED or achieving a professional certification. Look for ways to help fulfill those objectives.

3

Offer incentives and reward loyalty Business owners spend much of their time thinking about profitability. For your employees to have an ownership mindset, financial performance needs to be on their mind as well. Performance-based incentives are an effective way to drive engagement. Constructed properly, these incentives reward your most-valued employees and help attract potential new hires. There are a variety of incentive plan options to consider, including financial stipends or even time off. Find what works and has perceived value to your employees, connect it to desired outcomes, then get out of the way. For example, consider how employee engagement would change if your crew members were set up as individual business units. With a bottom line to protect and possible incentives (e.g., bonuses for repeat customers or high customer satisfaction ratings), suddenly employees start considering the factors that are critical to their (and your) success. Feed those that help grow your business and watch engagement— and customer experiences—improve rapidly.

4

Involve employees in decision-making Many small business owners struggle to delegate control or seek input in decision-making. Harnessing the creativity and talent of those around you, however, may offer a strategic advantage worth further consideration. A trait we see in generations entering the workforce today is a desire for flexibility and collaboration. This suggests a growing need for involving employees in operational decisions, as is appropriate. When you involve employees in strategic planning, even something as simple as a brainstorm session, they feel like their opinions matter. Knowing they can bring up issues that are important to them brings them closer to the ownership mindset.

5

Motivate employees intrinsically by showing value and appreciation Sources of motivation vary by employee, and it’s up to owners to identify what makes each individual tick. All employees want to know that what they do makes a difference and is important to you. Owners can show value and appreciation in several ways, none more meaningful than a genuine expression of appreciation for a job well done—extended with a firm handshake and a smile.

Photo by Alby Lorenzo of ALLBRiGHT 1-800 PAINTING

Engaged employees go above and beyond, consistently please customers, and are far less likely to voluntarily leave your organization.

Preferred management styles are also changing. Organizational structures are gradually becoming more informal to promote interaction and collaboration. Employees now entering the workforce don’t necessarily have automatic respect for another person’s status or title, so managing from a position of power or authority will only lead to high turnover as these employees turn to other employers that may be more aligned with their need to feel like a valued team member. Employee engagement is key to customer satisfaction The challenges business owners face today are unprecedented. An evolving and multi-generational workforce, employment rates, and consumer trends have combined to create both barriers and opportunities. For those who learn how to navigate this unchartered landscape, a competitive advantage awaits. The key to success involves high employee engagement. It’s the answer to meeting customer expectations, as well as recruiting and retaining the skilled labor needed to move your company forward. Instill leadership principles through your own demonstrated leadership practices. Everything else will fall into place. -


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Our monthly e-newsletter delivers industry-relevant articles to your inbox— many expanding on our magazine articles —offering additional ls, subscribe to inPAINT magazine. They’re all FREE! valuable content AINTmag.com/subscribe professionals find essential to continue to learn and grow. Watch for it monthly and stay relevant.

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Two Pros, One Bid From setting scope to final numbers, how two pros bid the same job

W

hen it comes to proposals, both customers and pros often think bids should be ‘apples-to-apples’ comparable. But in many cases, the only thing competing bids

have in common is the scope. Everything else—from the bidding method and product used to the number of crew and hourly rates—can, and does, vary. In order to better understand how different pros arrive at their numbers, we asked two veterans to bid the same job and share their approaches and final proposals for the project. For this experiment, we asked pro Ray Rahni to pick a completed job to use for comparison and provide the specs to pro Mike Kelly, who was able to view ‘before’ images of the rooms on Zillow.com. The image details, including window frames, door styles and other features, informed Kelly’s numbers. The pros exchanged several emails clarifying different aspects of the job to ensure their bids, as much as possible, reflected the same conditions and specs.

> THE JOB Residential interior repaint: ■■

■■

■■

■■

Lower-level room and hall, including closet interior: paint walls, ceiling and trim Main hall, closet interior and stairway: paint walls, ceiling and trim, including balusters Master bedroom and closet interior: remove wallpaper, paint walls, ceiling and trim Family room: paint walls, ceiling and trim

Level 2 prep, spot prime, sand and cleanup, then: 2 coats on walls 1–2 coats on trim and woodwork, based on room 2 coats in closets Total square footage: 1,600 26

inPAINT | May/Jun 2020

Photos Courtesy of Ann Werner

1 coat on ceilings


ABOUT OUR PROS AND THEIR BID PROCESSES

> MIKE KELLY Based in Kansas City, MO, Mike Kelly has operated Crestwood Painting since 2007. The company specializes in residential repaint work and employs six crew members. Kelly’s preference for interior coatings leans toward SherwinWilliams and PPG Paints, and he enjoys a competitive discount from both companies.

Thank You!

Mike’s approach to bidding

EDITOR’S NOTE: In Kelly’s actual proposal, text on Arbitration and Notice to Owners is included here along with lines for the homeowner’s signature indicating acceptance of the proposal. It was removed due to length.

Mike Kelly is a hard numbers guy. His bid is based on measurements and production rates plus materials. “When I first started bidding jobs I just guessed—very poorly. Then, I joined the PCA so I could learn from smart business owners and avoid common mistakes. I also hired a great coach and learned about production rates—that was key. “In 2009, I bought some software that I used minimally. In 2011, I started to build my own spreadsheet using Google Sheets, which I still use today. “Over the years, the spreadsheet evolved from a document to a system that lets me seamlessly transfer information from the initial spreadsheet to customers, our estimator and production crew. Everybody now has access to up-to-the-minute data on their phones. “We’ve had the same production rates since 2010. I have production numbers from as far back as 2016 that I can show new hires so they understand our rates are achievable. With that kind of data, you don’t discuss whether we can hit the numbers but rather, how we can hit the numbers.” Kelly keeps his proposals as streamlined as his number-generation process. “The top sheet is simple: a thank you for letting me bid, a single number that covers the entire cost of the job, a time line for completion, and payment terms. That’s it,” he says. An attached scope of work details tasks to be completed, standards, exclusions and clarifications. For this article’s bid, the clarifications section (not shown) ran two to three times longer than the other sections and touched on everything from plaster repair and moving the homeowner’s possessions to climate control and working ‘free of other trades.’

We’re pleased that you’ll consider our proposal. Don’t hesitate to call if you’d like anything clarified. Total Cost & Expected Completion $12,770 includes all paint, sundries, labor and materials needed for work as outlined in the Scope of Work. 1/2 due end of first work day, balance is due on completion. Completion is expected 12 work days after project start. This proposal shall serve as the invoice unless Additional Work is approved.

Scope of Work All work will adhere to industry standards (Painting Contractors Assoc., available at PCAPaintEd.org) and will be performed in a workmanlike manner. Insurance certificate here (Bus. Liability & Workman’s Comp.). EPA Compliance On acceptance of this Proposal and to comply with EPA requirements for all pre-1978 buildings, we’ll forward Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information, warning of the potential risk of lead hazard exposure from renovation activity to be performed in your home. Inclusions ●● Project Specifics: Interior painting - Lower Level Room and Hall including closet interior: paint walls, ceiling and trim - Main Hall, closet interior and stairway: paint walls, ceiling and trim including balusters - Master BR and closet interior: remove wallpaper, paint walls, ceiling and trim - Family Rm: paint walls, ceiling and trim Standards ●● Walls: sand lightly to minimize “bits and fuzzies”, spackle small holes, prime as needed and paint. ●● Trim: scrape loose or peeling paint and lightly sand to help minimize chipped edges. Fill nail & screw holes, caulk wall/trim gaps, prime bare wood and paint. ●● “Touch-ups” should be viewed as a disguise repair rather than a seamless-blend-to-original restoration. It is reasonable to expect that touch-up color, sheen and/or surface profile will not exactly match original. ●● Crack Repair: An allowance will be made above (under Inclusions) to quantify the number and/or location of cracks. ●● Wallpaper removal: wallpaper and adhesive will be removed, tool marks and minor dings filled and sanded smooth, walls sealed to allow consistent topcoat appearance. On discovery of unforeseen conditions or necessary repair work (plaster damage or cracks, additional layers, excessive adhesive, previous skim coat, etc.) approval of additional costs will be required. Should removal appear to be simply impractical we’ll discuss the options. ●● Protect floors, floor coverings and furniture with plastic or drop cloths as needed to protect from paint and dust. ●● Materials: Walls — SW Cashmere or PPG Manor Hall; Ceilings — SW SuperPaint flat; Trim — SW Emerald Urethane or similar; Primer — Zinsser 123 (or similar as appropriate for the substrate). ●● Coverage and Application: one or two finish coats will be applied by either brush, roller or sprayer. Added costs for accent walls or if additional coats are requested. ●● A walk-through will be scheduled before completion to ensure customer satisfaction and clear communication. Exclusions ●● Closet and cabinet interiors unless specifically called out under Inclusions. ●● Repair of plaster cracks or holes larger than 1" unless specifically called out under Inclusions.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An extensive of list of Clarifications closes out the proposal. May/Jun 2020 | inPAINT

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PROFESSIONAL PAINTING SERVICES with results you’ll be proud to show-off!

> RAY RAHNI Rahni founded Paint Track Painting Services in Briarcliff Manor, NY in 2004 with a focus on residential and commercial work. His team of six full-time painters tackle projects in Westchester County and nearby Fairfield County, CT. As for coatings brand preference, Rahni works mostly with Benjamin Moore paints and appreciates a discount through his local paint store.

Ray’s approach to bidding Ray Rahni’s proposal style differs from Kelly’s in a number of ways. First, his top sheet sells the company experience and expertise, citing membership in the PCA and accreditation by Contractor’s College. The document also notes work will be done based on PCA industry standards and comes with a two-year warranty. Second, Rahni’s attached scope of work includes a detailed room-by-room breakout of labor and material costs, as well as information on product choice and number of coats. The closing page provides a time line, a few exclusions, and no clarifications. Rahni’s numbers are borne from experience. “When I bid a job, I go a lot from my gut and past experience. I know, looking at a room of a certain size with this many doors or windows, what it’s going to take in terms of time and product to complete it.” While Rahni says this approach has served him well for the past 16 years, he is in the process of training his new estimator/ project manager in Estimate Rocket. “Up until now, the company has been solely dependent upon me to estimate jobs,” he says. “But, in order to grow, we need to share that load and streamline the bid process. I’m confident Estimate Rocket will help us do that.” Rahni also includes a guarantee at the end of every bid:

The Paint Track Guarantee We guarantee all material used in this contract to be as specified above and the entire job be done in a neat, workmanlike manner. Any variations from the plan or alterations requiring extra labor or material will be performed only upon written order and billed in addition to the sum covered by this contract.

Please find herein the Proposal (‘Contract’) for interior painting of your home located ((ADDRESS)). The proposal includes labor, paints, consumable tools and material, site preparation, painting, and TQM, our Total Quality Management, to ensure the project is completed to meet or exceed your expectation. Paint Track field employees use PROFESSIONAL SERVICES a project management app to ensure every step is completed as specified by our estimator/project manager and is PAINTING with results you’ll be proud to show-off! executed correctly. Serving Westchester PROFESSIONAL PAINTING SERVICES with results you’ll be proud to show-off!

County, Fairfield County, & Manhattan

We are members of the Painting Contractors Association/PCA, since 2006 and Contractor’s College accredited since 2010.

inPAINT | May/Jun 2020

(888) 203-4142

All work will be done based on PCA standards and recommendations. The condition of the painted surfaces is determined to be moderately deteriorated. We recommend DSD2 Level 2 Standard surface preparation to be performed on all surfaces before painting. That is to clean, patch, and repair dents, crack, and surface profile bigger than 1/8" (please see attached P-14 standard summary for explanation). Our work comes with a two-year warranty, such that if there is any paint failure caused as a result of our workmanship, the work will be performed free of charge and to the best of your satisfaction. We look forward to working with you on this particular project and for many years to come. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call me. Description Labor: Material: Estimate: Lower level room and hallway (50x15x7): Ceiling, wall, and trim $3,880 Set up, cover up, level 2 prep, spot prime, sand, and clean up 420 50 Apply one coat of Decorator’s White in Regal flat on the ceiling 600 140 Apply two coats of color of your choice in Regal flat on the wall 960 180 Apply one coat of Aura satin finish on the trim and woodwork 960 90 Apply two coats of Decorator’s White on the three closet walls and ceiling 420 60 Subtotal 3360 520 Main floor hallway and stairway (20x10x8): Ceiling, wall, and trim (including spindles) $3,560 Set up, cover up, level 2 prep, spot prime, sand, and clean up 180 30 Apply one coat of Decorator’s White in Regal flat on the ceiling 300 60 Apply two coats of color of your choice in Regal flat on the wall 960 160 Apply one coat of Aura satin finish on the trim and woodwork 1200 120 Apply two coats of Decorator’s White on the two closet walls and ceiling 420 60 Subtotal 3060 430 Master bedroom (16x14x8): Ceiling, wall, and trim $2,830 Set up, cover up, level 2 prep, spot prime, sand, and clean up 180 20 Remove wallpaper and clean the wall 360 30 Apply one coat of Decorator’s White in Regal flat on the ceiling 180 90 Apply a primer and two coats of color of your choice in Regal flat on walls 600 110 Apply two coats of Aura satin finish on the trim and woodwork 600 60 Apply two coats of Decorator’s White on the four closet walls and ceiling 480 120 Subtotal 2400 430 Family room (30x14x14): Ceiling, wall, and trim (not including wood beams) $2,390 Set up, cover up, level 2 prep, spot prime, sand, and clean up 240 30 Apply one coat of Decorator’s White in Regal flat on the ceiling 480 110 Apply two coats of color of your choice in Regal flat on the wall 960 150 Apply one coat of Aura satin finish on the trim and woodwork 360 60 Subtotal 2040 350 Timing: The work will be scheduled between January 27th and February 15th, 2020. We will confirm the date as we get closer to the start date. Notes: Kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, and any other room not mentioned in this estimate are not included. Any additional work that might be needed will be brought to client’s attention and will need approval before starting. Complete work outlined for sum of plus applicable sales taxes

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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:

Mike on Ray’s bid: “There were a number of thing about Ray’s proposal that really worked for me. I like that materials are included in total price, (I do this as well), the emphasis on his PCA membership, his reference to the PCA Standards, and how he was very clear on which surfaces receive which paint type and number of coats. I especially liked his closing thought: ‘We look forward to working with you on this particular project and for many years to come.’ Love this! What I question in the proposal is the reference to the PCA DSD2 (Degree of Surface Degradation). I have found this confusing and overly technical for customers who typically are all about ‘just make my walls white.’ I think the biggest difference in his proposal versus mine is the inclusion of line items for labor and materials. I appreciate that this emphasizes clear and careful calculation, but I prefer to emphasize peaceof-mind and confidence in the finished job. Also, we do not mention our warranty in the proposal, however, our warranty is mentioned on our website and I do address it when asked—while also referencing our many 5-star Google reviews.” Ray on Mike’s bid: “I found Mike’s estimate to be very detailed when it comes to inclusion and exclusion. The wording defines the responsibilities of parties involved really well. That said, I prefer our approach of line-iteming the work to be done. I believe having the estimate broken down gives customers a clear picture of why the cost is what it is. It also allows customers to be able to do the math and eliminate parts of the work if budget’s a consideration. On the flip side, they also get a sense of what to expect if they decide to add to the scope of work.” -

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PRO PICKS

Benjamin Moore Regal Select High Build Low Lustre finish provides a smooth sheen and a long-lasting ‘just painted’ look that holds up even in humid climates.

4 pros talk exterior coatings A host of factors may influence how you choose the right exterior coating for your needs, including geographic location, surface type and pricing. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation for anyone, so we tapped pros from different areas of the country—a mix of consistently warmer and four-season climates—who were willing to talk about what types of surfaces they regularly work with and why they choose the exterior coatings they do. Here’s what we found.

OUR PROS

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NELSON MARTIN Nelson Martin Painting, LLC NelsonMartinPainting.com

inPAINT | May/Jun 2020

2

ZACH SHRUM Davis Custom Painting, Inc. DavisPainting.biz

3

TOMMY MASTERS Entire Home Services Corp. EntireCleaningServices.com

4

ROBERT SMITH Smith Painting Facebook.com/smith.painting.5


1

NELSON MARTIN

This Pennsylvania-based pro sees a lot of residential aluminum and vinyl siding repaints. For these jobs, his topcoat of choice is Benjamin Moore Regal Select Exterior High Build in a low lustre sheen. “I’ve used other products but I’ve really kind of settled in with this one,” he said. “I really like the finish of the low lustre. I spray it, and lay it on a little heavier, and it looks great.” For wood clapboard siding and wood trim he has a different approach. He starts with Benjamin Moore Fresh Start Exterior Wood Primer. He likes how this slow-drying oil primer deeply penetrates wood pores. For the topcoat on wood trim, he turns to California Paints Ultra 2010 Exterior Paint in a semi gloss. For wood siding, he’ll knock the sheen down to a low luster. “It’s a fast-drying topcoat; it usually dries in a couple hours, and it looks great,” he added.

PPG Paints PERMANIZER Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint provides a longlasting finish with excellent UV protection and dirt, moisture and tannin resistance.

2 ZACH SHRUM

This Oklahoma-based pro sees a wide range of exterior surfaces, but mostly wood and cement siding. For cement siding, he likes to first seal the surface with Sherwin-Williams LOXON XP Waterproofing Masonry Coating. In addition to providing a great bonding surface, the product also helps to prevent lime from leaching out of the surface, he said. He then follows up with the company’s Duration Exterior Acrylic Paint. “I like a product with some flexibility, and Duration is a little more flexible [than others]. If a customer doesn’t want Duration for some reason, PPG Paints PERMANIZER Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint is my close second,” he said. Shrum also works with pressboard (synthetic wood) siding. He uses Duration, but prefers to apply Rhino-Grip 8000 Interior/Exterior Universal Primer/Sealer before the final coat. The primer offers high hide and helps with color retention for darker-colored coatings. For wood doors, window trim and wood soffits and fascias, he likes a more rigid topcoating to prevent runs. For that, he sprays Benjamin Moore Regal Select Exterior Paint. “We’ve found that with the correct pressure and tip, we get a higher mil rate and we use less paint,” he noted.

Formulated with resin-modified Tung Oil, Waterlox MARINE formula products preserve the beauty and integrity of exterior wood surfaces.

3 TOMMY MASTERS

Masters heads a Jacksonville, Florida-based enterprise that has been in business more than 15 years. With residential homeowners in custom or tract homes as his primary customers, his teams most commonly work with cement stucco surfaces. Masters prefers a two-step approach, starting with SherwinWilliams LOXON XP Waterproofing Masonry Coating. Then, he follows it up with either the company’s Resilience Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint or its Duration Exterior Acrylic Paint. “Resilience is great for moisture-proofing and there’s less potential for mildew buildup. Duration is great for color retention,” he explained, when discussing why he chooses one or the other for any given situation. “Both of these coatings handle movement from a shifting or settling building really well, too.” Masters also uses these two topcoatings for cement-board siding and wood trim, but not before assessing the condition of the wood and whether it needs spot or full priming.

4 ROBERT SMITH

With more than 30 years in the business, this northeast Alabama-based pro sees a lot of residential work involving cement board. His go-to topcoat for that surface is Sherwin-Williams Duration Exterior Acrylic Paint, although he’ll sometimes use Benjamin Moore Regal Select Exterior Paint, both of which he’s comfortable brushing, rolling or spraying, depending on what the job requires. For raw-wood situations and exterior wood doors, prior to using Regal Select, he applies Sherwin-Williams Exterior Oil-Based Wood Primer. For fiberglass and metal doors, he’ll use any number of acrylic bonding primers before applying the topcoat. And, just as with cement board, Duration is his first option, but he’ll recommend Regal Select if the customer requests an alternative. “In those situations, the primer is key. You need to give that good bite to the substrate,” he said. Smith also has customers with log cabins and wood-siding homes that require staining. For that, he’ll use Sherwin-Williams SuperDeck Exterior Deck & Dock Coating. He also uses Waterlox MARINE formula products for added durability and weather resistance, and to extend the life of the job. “With wood homes and cabins, you’re refinishing every five or six years, but if you don’t use Waterlox, then you may be back out there in two,” he added. May/Jun 2020 | inPAINT

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ASK A PRO

Q:

What do owners need to understand about valuing a business?

PETER HOLTON is a certified mergers and acquisitions advisor and the managing director of Caber Hill Advisors. He has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, business development, operations and sales management, and is an expert at negotiating complex contracts and developing successful business strategies. He also has extensive personal experience working with and advising family businesses. CaberHill.com 32

inPAINT | May/Jun 2020

A:

The first thing you need to understand is that value is in the eye of the buyer. While you, as an owner, might look at your business and determine your company is worth X dollars today because of the blood, sweat and tears you put into it, a buyer looks at each potential acquisition with one mindset … future revenue. They’re all about future revenue and all the factors that will influence that revenue. While there is no magic mathematical formula that yields a value, you can get close to determining value by thinking like a buyer. That is, you need to look beyond the financials and figure out what makes your company valuable to a buyer. And honestly ask yourself, ‘Would I acquire this business for the value I believe it’s worth’? Most buyers focus on systems and processes. What do you have in place in the way of technology, operations and sales? Are your systems scalable? Are your records, contracts and insurance up to date? Do you have agreements in place with major vendors? If these things are in place and running smoothly, it’s much easier for a buyer to envision integrating your company into their systems and organization. Something many owners considering selling don’t understand is that when you sell your company, in most cases, it is an asset deal. This means the buyer is acquiring the business free and clear of any debt, liens lawsuits, etc. Those all have to be paid off by the seller by the closing date. And, whatever value you are actually selling your company for, well, you’re not going to get it all in one tidy check on the date of sale. You’ll get some cash, but the balance will be deferred or earnedout (i.e., a pricing structure in which you, the seller, must ‘earn’ part of the purchase price based on the performance of the business following the sale) over an agreed-upon amount of time. Very often, the seller has to sustain the revenue and gross profit margin over a certain period of time to earn the balance. This ensures that buyer doesn’t take

on a company that falls apart when ownership changes hands. For example, if 50% of your business comes from one customer, the customer may walk away if the owner decides to walk away when you sell. The buyer wants to make sure you have skin in the game to help the transition go smoothly. I encourage all owners to build a business that largely runs without them; make it as turnkey as possible. Obviously, you can’t do that from day one, but it should be a goal. And as you get closer to the time where you might want to sell, you absolutely should not be in a sales or customer relations role. A buyer needs to know your ship sails itself without you at the wheel. And because numbers do matter, you’ll want to run a Quality of Earnings Report on all your financial documents. I advise businesses to use someone other than their current CPA to do this so you’re sure you’re getting a fresh take on things. The aim of the report is to make sure you don’t have any skeletons in your closet —a forgotten tax debt or anything else that could gum up the works later. Once that’s done, you can hire an outside firm to do a valuation. A valuation will involve looking at your P&Ls, balance sheets for the past three years, and all other nonfinancial matters such as your customer concentration, organizational chart, your risk multiplier and more. While this effort will yield a number, I refer back to my first point: value is in the eye of the buyer. Whether you’ve been at it 30 months or 30 years, my advice to every owner is to run your business like you want to sell it tomorrow. You’ll run leaner and more profitably, with more flexibility to evolve and be prepared for whatever comes. The harsh reality is that 80% of U.S. businesses for sale do NOT sell. And the main reason is unrealistic expectations on the seller’s part. With proper planning, you can be in the 20% that do walk away happy. But you need to start today.


Do you have 200+ gallons of leftover paint to get rid of ? PaintCare offers free pickups for recycling! In addition, painting contractors and businesses can recycle smaller quantities of leftover house paint, stain, and varnish for free at more than 1,750 PaintCare drop-off locations in eight states and the District of Columbia.

To find a drop-off location near you or request a large volume pickup, visit paintcare.org or call (855) PAINT09. CALIFORNIA | CONNECTICUT | COLORADO DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA | MAINE | MINNESOTA OREGON | RHODE ISLAND | VERMONT WASHINGTON and NEW YORK — COMING SOON


THE inPAINT ® INTERVIEW

GENERAL CONTRACTOR

From self-taught through necessity to self-made through hard work Michael Bordes’ introduction to the trades began humbly at home. “My dad was a firefighter but that didn’t bring in a lot of money,” he says. “So when stuff needed to be fixed around the house, I’d read up on it and figure out how to do it.” Thanks to the age and style of the family’s Bronx-based bungalow home, learning opportunities were abundant. Bordes got early hands-on experience removing wallpaper and repairing plaster. “Over time, I took on bigger projects and learned everything from framing and plumbing to painting and electrical work.” Given his background, it’s no surprise that he was able to find work with a paint contractor while still in his teens. There, he was trained by master craftsmen who instilled in him the importance of quality workmanship and discipline. In his early 20s, he parlayed those lessons into his own residential construction company, and for the past 40+ years both Bordes and his business have continued to learn and grow. Today, his company, AA Jedson Company, LLC, employs 80 and runs eight to 10 jobs at a time, mostly in the commercial arena. However, he’s not opposed to still doing a residential project or two for his favorite customer: his mom. 34

inPAINT | May/Jun 2020

Q

What prompted your shift from residential to commercial work?

Residential work usually ends up being one-off jobs. When you’re done with a remodel, they don’t tend to call again for years. But with commercial, it tends to lead to more business more quickly, with expansion into multiple locations and even business referrals. That’s the same model we run today. The only thing we sub out is mechanical work. The beauty of this approach is that we always have the necessary hands on deck to get the job done, no matter what it is. Now, of course, if someone’s clearly a stronger painter, I’ll try to use him that way. They tend to be happier doing what they’re good at and the product is solid. That works for us and for the customer.

Why did you move from hiring subcontractors to employing your own crews?

Q

Early on, I did most of the finish work myself. As a result, I put in a LOT of 18-hour days. Then one day, a guy with the local union I was doing work for asked me if I wanted to run my business or work my business. I realized he had a point and I decided to run it. So I started taking on some subcontractors and independents. Pretty quickly, I figured out that we didn’t always share the same values and understanding about what constituted quality work. Their idea of ‘good enough’ wasn’t anywhere near where it needed to be for me to feel proud of it. It was then I decided to hire a team and train them to do all the work up to the standard I expect.


Q

“ Everyone has something to offer and contribute and everyone has something to learn.”

What type of project do you consider your sweet spot?

If I had a choice, I would love to be building out office space; somewhere in the range of 20,000 to 30,000 square feet. I see that as the fastest and easiest way to get in and out of a project. That said, we do a lot of fitness and wellness projects. They can be pretty profitable and they offer great exposure. It’s a big industry but it’s really a small community of committed owners. We see a lot of referral business from it. But this type of work isn’t fast. They like a lot of custom details and fancy fixtures and equipment. Each one is truly unique.

Given the broad scope of work you do, how do you train and assign your crews?

Q

Well, to start, we have a lot of senior guys—some with over 30 years of experience. And even our ‘less-experienced’ guys tend to have eight to 10 years under their belts. When we have new people, we’ll look at their level of experience and skill set. We never hire anyone with less than three years. If they’re a mid-level person, we put a senior (level 10) person with them. We try to match up personalities and interests best we can to make it enjoyable for all, but it’s really about teaching skills. In addition to the one-on-one mentoring, we have a project manager and a supervisor on every job. They spend a lot of time walking the job, teaching and training anyone who needs it. On the safety side, we do 5 minutes of OSHA training every morning. That covers everything—ladders, extension cords, respirators, you name it. And that’s mandatory for everyone. The other thing we hit home on a lot is respect. We have a serious policy that you always have to be respectful of your coworkers. Everyone has something to offer and contribute and everyone has something to learn. If you don’t agree with that, then this is not going to be the place for you.

Q

What percentage of your business is repeat business?

Almost all of it. The rest is referrals. I mentioned the fitness industry earlier. I have one customer that I’ve done 20 fitness studios for, another I’ve done nine for, and another I’ve done seven for. We’ve been working with quite a few customers for 10+ years. If they bring me a referral, it’s not just one job; it’s multiple projects. Honestly, I’ve been in business for 40 years and have never advertised once. The only thing we have is a website and, truthfully, that could use some updating.

What’s one piece of advice you would share with someone just starting out in the industry?

Q

When you’re bidding a job, be very precise with your language. I still review every contract that goes out for us, and the guys who put them together are very good. But I often make word changes so there can be no misunderstanding about what we’re committing to do and not committing to do. Customers make assumptions about what’s included. But if you spell out that your bid doesn’t include painting all the trim or a new coat of floor epoxy, then you won’t have a problem later. Making the effort to be precise with your language on bids makes a huge difference from the beginning of a project and all the way through. It sets a tone and helps avoid a lot of misunderstanding, aggravation, and time wasted explaining and re-explaining what work is and isn’t being done. -

MICHAEL A. BORDES, president of AA Jedson Company, LLC, has decades of experience in construction management. His expertise, directorial and organizational skills have presented him with bigger and broader opportunities and a multitude of satisfied customers. Spearheaded by Bordes, AA Jedson Company, LLC, is driven by a team of experienced construction managers, skilled craftsmen, and field and support staff who recognize the importance of commitment, responsibility, attentiveness and partnership. JedsonCompanyLLC.com

May/Jun 2020 | inPAINT

35


CUTTING TOOLS OFIN THE TRADE

Courtesy of Spray-Net 36

inPAINT | May/Jun 2020


What’s in today’s professional toolbox? Mi-T-M Pressure Washer Disinfectant Mister Combinations In response to the immediate need for disinfecting equipment, Mi-T-M introduced two new models into their pressure washer line. The electric combination 1400-PSI cold water pressure washer and 350-PSI low pressure dispensing mister is available as a hand carry or portable model. Includes a lance and trigger gun and quick connect nozzles for pressure washing, a trigger gun with misting nozzle and 75-foot x 1/4-inch hose for disinfecting. Visit mitm.com/support/videos to see how to use this essential equipment.

Scotch® Painter’s Tapes

Mural Created by Matt W. Moore

The best painters know that every job is unique, but they all start the same way: with the right preparation. Prepping with a painter’s tape from Scotch® means you have a family of tapes specifically designed for your surfaces. By choosing to use the right tape, you’re choosing to end up with a better result. The best paint jobs start with Scotch® Painter’s Tape. © 3M 2020. All rights reserved. Scotch is a trademark of 3M. Learn more at Scotchbrand.com/painterstape

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

May/Jun 2020 | inPAINT

37


UPCOMING EVENTS

ADVERTISER INDEX 3M 3m.com Pages 37 & Back Cover ARMSTRONG-CLARK ArmClark.com Page 3

What, Where & When

EPA EPA.gov Page 13 FROGTAPE FrogTape.com Page 23

6 4

1 2

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

DATACOLOR Datacolor.com Page 15 DUNN-EDWARDS DunnEdwards.com Page 5

5

S E P T E M BE R

O C TO B E R

1

NEW DATES 1-3: National Hardware Show, Las Vegas, NV nationalhardwareshow.com

4

13-15: Remodeling Show | DeckExpo, Baltimore, MD remodelingdeck.com

2

15–17: 21st Century Building Expo & Conference, Charlotte, NC 21buildingexpo.com

5

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

3

26: Wallcovering Installers Association TeleSummit 2020 wallcoveringinstallers.org

6

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

GRACO Graco.com Page 2 HABITAT FOR HUMANITY Habitat.org Page 9 & 25 Mi-T-M MiTM.com Pages 11 & 37 PAINTCARE PaintCare.org Page 33 T-REX Tape TRexTape.com Page 19

Take your business’ growth to the next level by attending PowerClean 2020. A colocated event sponsored by PWNA (Power Washers of North America) and CETA (Cleaning Equipment Trade Association), the conference provides the perfect opportunity to participate in continuing education, see the latest equipment and products from 70 different distributors and suppliers, and network with peers from across the country. Educational session topics include business growth, safety, marketing and all-new hands-on training opportunities. In addition, the event will feature the popular ‘Wine & Wash’ gathering for women in the industry as well as a PWNA/CETA golf outing.

To register, visit pwna.org/events 38

inPAINT | May/Jun 2020


BOTTOM LINE

Game on! Creating a winning strategy to win more bids

I

n order to be successful in any contracting job, you have to start with profits in mind. Neglecting to quote profitably means you will have lost the ‘game’ before it even begins … Think of any sports game … ■■ There’s a strategy behind why certain players stick to specific positions and why they’re played at certain times. ■■ There’s also a strategy behind who gets paid more, and why. ■■ And there’s a strategy behind the next play chosen. These strategies aren’t just pulled from thin air; they’ve been calculated, tested and tweaked time and again for ultimate success. This is exactly how you should be thinking when you’re about to step up to bat for a new project—think of it as your next play. What information can you pull from your last few ‘games’ (aka projects) in order to win? The key is to be strategic so that you outsmart and beat your competition. What do you need to know in order to quote to win? Back costing to ensure you’re NOT losing money ‘Back costing’ is an accounting method that records the costs associated with producing a good or service only after they are produced, completed or sold. This method allows you to take what you’ve learned from prior jobs and use it to build more accurate estimates going forward. So what have you learned from some of your previous projects? Did you make any mistakes you could learn from? Where were the leaks in profit on your last project? Perhaps you had the wrong crews on the job initially and it ended up costing you an extra week of work just to fix their mistakes. Maybe you made a promise on a project completion date that you couldn’t meet because your subcontractors didn’t hold up their end of the deal. Or maybe you overestimated the amount of material you would need just in case there was a mistake or two, and didn’t win the bid. The good news is that it is never too late to start back costing.

with your accountant to develop a comprehensive list that includes everything allowable by law. Then a percentage of that final number should be factored into each bid as a baseline minimum ‘operating cost’ line item. There are several ways to determine what that percentage is that you should include in your estimates. One way is to divide your operating costs by 12 months, then spread that figure out among each month’s estimates. Or you can proportionally tack on a larger percentage to larger jobs and a smaller percentage to smaller ones. Whichever method you choose, this knowledge-based strategy will help ensure that you’re not quoting for failure right from the opening kickoff. Every painting contractor has a unique break-even margin, as each has different fixed expenses as well as varying amounts of revenue month to month. To understand the impact your markup can have on your sales and profits, refer to the margin guide below. The contractor of today needs to be an all-star both at completing a project and at crafting estimates. If you can do that, you will have achieved your goal of satisfying customers and also making the profit you projected and counted on to win. -

As director of operations for Profit for Contractors, LIAM MORIN is dedicated to helping contractors go from chaos to control. His passion for coaching was ignited through his journey of owning trades companies himself; experiencing firsthand the challenges, and finding efficient processes to better them—then passing forth this knowledge. ProfitForContractors.com

Your break-even margin In sports, hitting your break-even means a tie. In order to make a profit (score more than 0), you have to bring in enough of a margin to cover your yearly direct and overhead costs. ‘Overhead’ or ‘fixed expenses’ can cover a broad range of things such as labor costs, vehicle lease, office space rent, cell phone bills … the list goes on. Work May/Jun 2020 | inPAINT

39


Helps you see clearly and stay protected. 3M™ Anti-Fog Safety Eyewear with Scotchgard™ PROTECTOR Wearing proper eye protection is key to a job well done. But it doesn’t have to mean sacrificing clear vision. Get safety eyewear that resists fogging longer than traditional anti-fog coatings, even after multiple washes with water.* Premium anti-fog coating helps you see clearly for longer. Designed for working in challenging situations such as heat and humidity, indoor, outdoor and climate-controlled areas. These sleek, modern styles help block small flying objects and particles, while providing essential protection from harmful UV rays.

built to perform

*Based on 3M internal testing per EN168 test method when compared with traditional anti-fog coatings. © 3M 2020. All rights reserved. 3M and Scotchgard are trademarks of 3M.

3M.com/SafetyProducts

Profile for REM Publishing Group

inPAINT Magazine May/June 2020  

The Magazine for Professionals

inPAINT Magazine May/June 2020  

The Magazine for Professionals

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