inPAINT Magazine April/May 2016

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When does owning a lift make sense? Pro picks for exterior paints Tips for tackling the ‘fifth wall’



We’ve heard your cries for a better spray gun. And we’ve delivered. Introducing the RX-Pro: an innovative spray gun built for the way you work, giving you ultimate comfort and control. Take the pain out of painting at



We’ve heard your cries for a better spray gun. And we’ve delivered. Introducing the RX-Pro: an innovative spray gun built for the way you work, giving you ultimate comfort and control. Take the pain out of painting at



On my flight home from the recent PDCA Painting and Decorating Expo in New Orleans, I had the chance to watch a TED Talks in which the speaker cited a quote by the late entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn. It goes: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”



Martha MacGregor DESIGNER

Kathryn Heeder Hocker COPY EDITOR

As I heard that I thought, ‘Wow, if I spent every day surrounded by the motivated, talented and knowledgeable folks I had just spent the past three days with, I’d be amazing!’ Much of the EXPO was focused on helping you to find ways to do whatever it is you do in the painting and decorating world even better. And from my vantage point, the best ideas didn’t always come from the presenters and vendors. Many came from the pros that sat elbow-to-elbow through every session and meal (plus a few cocktail parties …) sharing their experiences and ideas. Because attending an industry event every day isn’t an option, it’s our aim to try and recreate the experience of sharing ideas and knowledge with inPAINT. For example, for this issue we tapped 20 pros for their opinions and insights on everything from their go-to paints to why they own or lease a lift, to reasons they do or don’t work with builders, and how they estimate uneven surfaces. Plus, we talked to a dozen manufacturers about what they’re doing to make it easier for you to get the job done. Granted, it’s not quite the same as spending a day—or three—together, but we hope the time you do spend with this issue will inspire and guide you to do the work you love even better. Cheers,

Amanda Haar

COVER: The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter WORKER targets the heart of the commercial van market, including painters and general contractors. The Sprinter WORKER is available in Mercedes-Benz van dealerships now.


Stephanie Conner Debra Gelbart Les Lieser Brian Nolan Jake Poinier Art Snarzyk Brian Sodoma Jim Williams SOCIAL MEDIA

Jillian McAdams PUBLISHED BY

REM Publishing Group LLC 6501 E. Greenway Pkwy., Suite 103–273 Scottsdale, AZ 85254

inPAINT Editorial Advisory Board Residential Services 0 Paul Dunkman, Project Manager and VP, Dunkman Paint & Wallcovering, LLC 0 Kevin Godfrey, Owner, Heritage Restoration 0 Tony Hady, Principal, PacificWestern Commercial & Residential Painting 0 Mike Kelly, Owner and General Manager, Crestwood Painting



Amanda Haar Managing Editor, inPAINT

0 Tara Carter, Managing Director, Luxe

Cindy Puskar

0 Carolyn Liedtke, Marketing Director, Fresh Coat Painters

0 Scott Lollar, General Manager, Precision Painting & Decorating

0 Judy Mozen, President, Handcrafted Homes, Inc.; President NARI

0 Carolyn Noble, ASID, NCIDQ, Interior Design Manager, VeenendaalCave, Inc.

0 Kristopher Toth, Owner, Toth Painting Solutions

©2016 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.

Product Solutions for Every Need / On-Time Delivery / Project Records / Industry-Leading Color Program The World Leader in Paint & Coatings / Available at More Than 2,400 Locations Nationwide Visit to find out how we can make your job easier.

© 2015 PPG Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. PPG PAINTS™ is a trademark of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc. MULTI-PRO® and Because Every Job Matters are registered trademarks of PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc.

inPAINT® Apr/May 2016


What’s trending in vans for the trades

18 +

The Pro Connection


The Fifth Wall


Pro Picks


How paint manufacturers market to pros

Manufacturers talk ceiling paint

5 pros on their go-to exterior paints

Building Relationships

Connecting with contractors to grow your business




38 Business Profile

Industry ins and outs

Catchlight Painting

10 Trends

40 Tools of the Trade

A fast look at the forces at work in our industry

What’s in today’s professional toolbox?

11 Trend in focus

42 Workforce

Building a talent pipeline through apprenticeships

How the labor shortage is going to make you change your business

12 Ask a Pro How do you estimate uneven surfaces?

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

14 Work Smart Rent or buy: When does owning a lift make sense?

46 Bottom Line Recruit like you market



©2015 Benjamin Moore & Co. All trademarks are registered trademarks of their respective owner.


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[ THE NEWS ] Paintzen Expanding into Chicago and Los Angeles Markets


A Deal 23 Years in the Making T 1992. Chris Baynum can remember it like it was yesterday. That was the year he first pitched Coney Island’s iconic roller coaster, the Cyclone. While Baynum didn’t win the job back then, he made a point to stay in touch with the customer and, in the years that followed, his company, Baynum Painting in Newport, KY, went on to paint more than 200 major roller coaster projects. That experience and his determination finally paid off in 2015, when he was awarded the landmark 85-foot-high, 60˚ plunging ride. The project, which began in September and was completed mid-November, required 700 gallons of PSX ONE in Bright White, donated by PPG Paints.

PPG Paints Brand Named Exclusive Paint Sponsor to HomeAdvisor Inc. T PPG Paints recently announced their exclusive paint sponsorship with HomeAdvisor, the nation’s largest digital home services marketplace. By working together, PPG Paints and HomeAdvisor aim to provide home-improvement professionals across the country with the means to reach project-ready customers and, ultimately, grow their businesses. As part of the arrangement, PPG Paints professional customers who join the HomeAdvisor exclusive network will have access to a suite of benefits, including getting matched with project-ready homeowners, and being able to view project details and scope. Other benefits to network professionals include access to mHelpDesk field service software, and access to Instant Booking, the HomeAdvisor on-demand scheduling tool that enables homeowners to schedule appointments with prescreened homeimprovement professionals via computer or mobile device. In addition, the relationship between PPG Paints and HomeAdvisor Inc. allows current or former PPG Paints professional customers to receive a discount for the first 30 days of their HomeAdvisor membership, as well as an 8% rebate on all paid leads. To learn more, visit 8

inPAINT | Apr/May 2016

T After successfully launching in New York City, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C., Paintzen is adding Chicago and Los Angeles to its online contractor-customer matchmaking service. Often called the Uber for house painting, Paintzen lets professional paint customers book, schedule and paint—for either commercial or residential painting projects— through an online platform. “Since we started in 2013, we’ve vetted and established relationships with 60 paint crews and painted more than 10,000 rooms ranging from dining rooms to corporate meeting spaces,” says COO Justin Geller. “With growing customer confidence in and comfort with purchasing services online, it made sense to expand into Chicago and Los Angeles at this time.” With a company promise to be able to fulfill 100% of the jobs bid, Paintzen is

actively looking for new pros to join their team. “Paint pros don’t need to work exclusively with us,” explains Geller, “but they do need to demonstrate proficiency and dependability.” According to Geller, all Paintzen contracting candidates must complete a 15-question painter’s exam before even being considered. Then they must clear a criminal background check and provide three solid references. “Assuming they do that successfully, we’ll send them out on a job with an established crew to demonstrate their professionalism.” If approved by the crew, pros can then take on projects on their own. All Paintzen pros must provide their own workers comp and general liability insurance. To learn more, visit

Fade-Proof Paint on the Horizon, Thanks to Feathered Friends T Scientists at The University of Sheffield have determined why the brilliant plumage on birds never fades—a discovery that could lead to the creation of fade-proof paint in the future. Researchers found that birds actually use wellcontrolled changes to the nanostructure of their feathers to create vivid colors. The studied birds were able to create patterns featuring different colors along a single feather barb. According to Dr. Andrew Parnell from the university’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, “We have discovered it is the way in which [the nanostructure] is formed and the control of this evolving nanostructure … that determines what color is reflected … This discovery means that in the future, we could create long-lasting colored coatings and materials synthetically.” The work, published in Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Reports, used feathers from the extensive collection at the Natural History Museum in London.

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For every dollar spent on apprenticeships, employers get an average of $1.47 back in increased productivity.

No Vacancy

According to AXIOMetrics, apartment occupancy rates in the U.S. will remain close to 95% through 2020. SOURCE:

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Labor






According to the 2016 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Survey, nearly nine in 10 homeowners undertaking a kitchen remodel in 2015 enlisted the help of a pro (87%, up from 80% in 2014). Over half of those renovating kitchens hired a general contractor (54%) or a design professional such as a kitchen designer, interior designer or architect (27%, 14%, 11%, respectively). SOURCE:



Over half of home builders expect to be building 60% or more of their new homes green by 2020. SOURCE: Dodge Data & Analytics SmartMarket Report, Green and Healthier Homes: Engaging Consumers of All Ages in Sustainable Living

Premium Pricing

Buyers requesting superior paint products will pay an average of 28.8% more per square foot than the benchmark price. SOURCE: IBISWorld Procurement Report 48688513, Painting Services,






inPAINT | Apr/May 2016

I Don’t Like Mondays According to Hanley Wood Data Studio, the majority of construction industry workers injured on the job in 2014 suffered their injuries on Mondays. SOURCE: Remodeling magazine,




Building a Talent Pipeline Through Apprenticeships TRIED-AND-TRUE + ALL-NEW APPROACHES TO TRAINING


n the past two years, the U.S. has had the largest growth in apprenticeships in nearly a decade. And given the current labor crunch in both the paint and construction industries, the growth could not have come at a better time. According to Anton Ruesing, director of The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades’ (IUPAT) Finishing Trades Institute, “In the past, business owners often looked at apprenticeships as a source of cheap labor. But in reality, apprenticeship programs are one of the best ways to ensure a steady pipeline of qualified talent.” A win-win proposition For Peter Cafiero, president of Island Painting, Inc. in Long Island City, NY, apprenticeships offer value in many different ways. “The best thing about union apprenticeship programs is that they’re structured and organized,” he says. “There’s a curriculum that lets the employer know exactly where the apprentice is at in terms of training, and allows the apprentice to track their own progress. As an employer, it gives you confidence in your people.” Cafiero adds that individuals who work their way through the apprentice programs tend to be long-term employees, noting that a number of his current foremen started out as apprentices and are among his best employees. “When a recruitment class comes through, we really try to take them in and make them feel a part of the company,” he says. “Skills matter, but so does finding the right fit. We do our best to make sure they fully understand what they’re getting into before they come on board. It’s better to determine it’s not a good fit before you invest any time.” Support for independents For non-union businesses, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration stands ready to offer plenty of support and guidance. “We have 100 people across the country advising business owners on how to develop apprenticeship programs,” says John Ladd, administrator, Office of Apprenticeship & Training Administration. “We work with companies that employ hundreds of workers to ones that are really your basic mom-and-pop shops,” he says. “We help them identify their needs, outline the type of program they want, and connect them with resources including local community colleges and other training centers. In fact, we have an online Quick-Start Toolkit that really spells out the whole

… it’s” —PH

process.” He adds, “It shouldn’t take more than a few weeks to establish a program and there’s no commitment to maintaining it. Our goal is to help employers cultivate a pipeline of qualified talent that ultimately saves the employer money by creating higher-skilled workers that make fewer errors and do quality work.” DIY approach When independent contractor Jody Finglas of Finglas Painting, Inc. in Westchester, NY was in need of talent a few years back, he decided to switch things up. “There’s a finite pool of talent in our area. They move from one company to the next, eventually ending up back where they started,” says Finglas. “Frankly, I just got tired of rehiring guys who didn’t have the full set of skills we needed.” Finglas decided to establish his own apprentice program. “Working with my foreman, we determined we wanted someone who was a blank slate; little or no skills and experience, and very few bad habits to break,” he explains. “We found the guy and explained that we were willing to take him on, train him in our services and our approach, and compensate him as he progressed.” While Finglas’ approach doesn’t include the curriculum-based type of training union and other programs offer, it’s working well for him. “I couldn’t be happier,” he says. “When we’re done, we can send him to any job for any need. He’s going to have the complete skill set to complete the work in the manner we require.”

“… apprenticeship programs are one of the best ways to ensure a steady pipeline of qualified talent.” —Anton Ruesing, IUPAT

Apr/May 2016 | inPAINT





3" 4-½"



2" 12"



Q: How do you estimate uneven surfaces? A: Determining the labor and material to paint

an irregular surface can be somewhat daunting.

LES LIESER spent 30 years as a professional painter, focusing on upper-end residential and commercial projects. In the early ’90s, Lieser also developed the first version of Front Range Coating Consultants estimating software. He later sold his painting business and worked as an estimator for a commercial painting company in Denver while continuing to hone his commercial and residential estimating software. Lieser now works as a contract estimator and consultant for large commercial painting companies. 12

inPAINT | Apr/May 2016

Even something as simple as the texture applied to a drywall surface can produce an irregular surface and have some effect on production rate and material consumption. On a smooth drywall surface you might expect to produce a spray-paint finish at 550 s.f. per hour. With a light texture you may only get 500 s.f. Bump that up to a heavy texture and your production drops to 450 s.f. On a small project of 2,500 s.f., going from the smooth surface to the heavy texture, you’re only looking at about an hour difference in labor, but on a project with thousands of square feet, it would make a big difference. Now, corrugated metal sheeting, once only used on roofs or exterior walls of farm or commercial buildings, is showing up in commercial office buildings as accent surfaces. Two of the most common patterns are a 2-½" and a 1-¼" corrugation. To find the surface area of the 2-½" pattern, take the square feet of the area to be painted and multiply it by 1.08. For example, if the wall is 10' high by 200' long (or 2,000 s.f.), you’d multiply 2,000 x 1.08 and the actual surface to cover is 2,160 s.f. The labor for painting this type of surface wouldn’t be particularly affected, but material quantity would be. A more severe example would be one with the M-patterned metal sheeting like the kind used on

roofs, showing on the underside of a roof deck. In 12," it goes up then down 1," then up 4-½," across 3," down 4-½," across 2," up 4-½," across 3," down 4-½" then across 1." I hope you get the idea. One square foot of this material has 2.42 s.f. of surface to paint. A 20' x 30' roof has 600 square feet, but the area you would have to paint is 1,452 s.f. This would have a major impact on production and material consumption rates. Usually, this type of surface would be spray-painted but still, the production rate would be a lot slower than painting a smooth (flat) surface. On a smooth surface you’d make one pass; here you will have to make four passes to cover the same area. Painting structural steel is another irregular surface that can’t be ignored. For example, a 12' x 4' I-beam has 3.35 s.f. to the foot of beam. Any painting contractor or estimator must take these factors into consideration when preparing a project’s cost estimate. Not doing so could be devastating to the painting company. There are several manuals available with formulas for calculating the area of surfaces, and PDCA has its Cost & Estimating guide, which shows different shapes and formulas for estimating all types of irregular surfaces.



WHEN DOES OWNING A LIFT MAKE SENSE? You’ve finally landed that larger commercial job—and it requires a scissor lift. So, you figure out a way to build a rental into your costs without harming your profit line. Heck, maybe you even find a way to tack on a markup for renting the equipment. In time, as you see more of these scenarios, you naturally consider buying a lift of your own. The move could bring convenience and will save you time and money in the long haul, you think. Not so fast, some of your peers say. There’s more to the decision than you might think.



inPAINT | Apr/May 2016

Lift demand Joe Dixon is COO for, an online company that connects more than 1,500 equipment rental suppliers around the country to contractors in need of equipment. Dixon says the 19' electric scissor lift is among the top five requested pieces of equipment in the rental industry, and it has been that way for some time. An electric scissor lift usually rents for around $100 to $135 a day, or $600 to $800 a month, depending on the region and supplier. “A larger painting contractor could have multiple jobs going and they might own a few of their own, but most other contractors will ultimately rent,” he said. Dixon’s team also fields calls from contractors who want to purchase a scissor lift. He is happy to refer them to one of his rental suppliers who may also sell new or used equipment. But after contractors take a closer look at the prospect of owning a lift, Dixon says many stay the course with renting. “Maintenance on the machines is relatively minimal. You just have to keep the battery charged. But one of the main reasons people rent versus buy is they don’t have to worry about transporting it,” he added. “The availability of lifts, along with the ease of renting these units, makes it an easy decision for painting contractors to rent, even if they own units.” Dixon’s suppliers usually charge about $125 to deliver a piece of equipment to a job site. Tim McCahill, owner of McCahill Painting Company in Chicago, says painters who are new to scissor lift rentals may overlook seemingly small delivery details like, for example, how a job may not have a dock that is the adequate height for getting the scissor lift inside. Most rental companies are good at circumventing these situations. “These are complications [for a painter],” McCahill noted. “Then you have to think about if you have a building to store it, and if you have a big enough truck and trailer to haul it around.” McCahill says someone new to renting must also remember that OSHA certification is required for lift operators. Most rental companies will offer training; sells online training courses, added Dixon. “Many of my customers want to see the [certification] card before the guy even gets on the lift,” McCahill added. Some job superintendents will also require operators to wear body harnesses. This is most common for operators of larger articulating boom lifts, but McCahill says he is increasingly seeing the request made with small scissor lifts, too. McCahill owns two 19' scissor lifts, and he says they are almost always in use. He is looking to add two more lifts to his fleet, as his revenues seem to justify the added expense. Apr/May 2016 | inPAINT


“It’s not like you can write off mileage, like with a company vehicle. It’s just a direct cost. I’d rather let someone else maintain, clean, fix and move it,” he adds. At this point, McCahill won’t even consider buying a larger straight-stick or articulating boom lift, which can cost several hundred thousand dollars. Larger articulating booms tend to run on diesel too, he added, bringing more maintenance costs than the electric scissor lifts. Due to their sheer size, they bring their share of headaches when it comes to storage and transport, as well. “I’ll have five or six lifts on various projects at once, but to own all those lifts? Forget it. That would be incredibly expensive,” he explained.

“It’s not just about ‘Will the machine pay for itself?’ It’s ‘Will the machine make the company money?’” —Andrew Amrhein, Nolan Summit Services, Inc.

Photos: ServiceFirst Painting (top), McCahill Painting Company (bottom)

With a focus on larger commercial and industrial work, his company sees its share of large jobs. It does about $3 million annually and employs about 16 painters during the busy season. A new 19' scissor lift can cost roughly $15,000, and there are plenty of suppliers who will sell used ones for less, he adds.


inPAINT | Apr/May 2016

Drawing a line between renting and buying On the other hand, the longtime pro draws a clear line in the sand between which lifts he is willing to buy and which ones he chooses to rent, even though the rental bill is quite steep. He spends more than $100,000 annually on rentals. Most of that money goes toward large, straight or articulating booms ranging from 40' to 135.' It’s not uncommon for him to rent a 40' boom in May and keep it until November, and he happily pays a delivery fee to move it from job to job during those busy months. A straight-stick 40'-boom rental runs around $2,500 a month, whereas a 135' boom can run up to $10,000 a month, he adds. Mike Shaffer, owner of a Five Star Painting franchise in Temecula, CA, prefers the convenience of renting in all cases, even when it comes to smaller scissor lifts. He uses a boom or scissor lift on about 20% of his jobs.

Answering the ‘why’ Andrew Amrhein is a senior business coach for Nolan Summit Services, Inc. in Pennsylvania. Nolan Summit works with nearly 100 contractors, more than half of which are paint pros. Amrhein says the question of whether to buy a lift or not comes up frequently with his customers when he works with them on budgets and business plans. “This question comes up a lot and it’s a tough one. It doesn’t really have an easy answer,” he said. He does, however, offer one simple piece of advice to all of his customers. “Never buy a lift without a budget or without understanding how much revenue it must generate to pay for itself,” he said. Amrhein says a painter’s decision to buy a lift is either strategic or financial. A strategic decision, he explains, means a pro is usually eyeing a new line of business that requires a lift. In some cases, some of that work may have already been secured. But is that business a one-shot deal? Or has there been some promise of future work? Even more, have contracts

Someone new to renting must also remember that OSHA certification is required for lift operators. —Tim McCahill, McCahill Painting Company

for future work been signed? These are just a few of the questions he poses to his customers. “If you want to expand and are testing the water, you probably want to rent,” he adds. A financial decision to buy or rent, he adds, is where a contractor already does considerable work in a sector that requires a lift. In this situation, the contractor may have been renting for several years. The paint pro is ultimately trying to answer the question: Do I actually save money by buying the equipment instead of renting it?

However, Amrhein has also seen paint pros rent their lift to other contractors with whom they have a good relationship. This approach not only allows the owner to make a little revenue off of equipment that might otherwise sit idle; it also allows a contractor considering a purchase to try the equipment out before buying. Research is critical when buying any piece of equipment. But when it comes to a lift, looking at the investment from both logistics and financial perspectives is key. In most cases, if the lift won’t beSTRAIGHT CUT BLADE 1/2 PG ISL AD AE: TS PM: SC AD: RS CW: MB PA: SJ in constant use, you might be better off renting, even CLIENT: Linda Riggs for the long haul. PUB: InPaint Magazine, April/May 2016 TRIM SIZE: 4.792" x 6.708" BLEED SIZE: NA LIVE AREA: NA INK: 4c

Beyond break even Amrhein encourages contractors to be realistic with their math when purchasing a lift or another piece of equipment, and to also look well beyond the pay-off period. He gives the following example: If you have a 50% profit margin and you purchase a $15,000 lift, you need to see $30,000 in revenue to cover the cost of the lift. But it’s important to think beyond immediate needs and more about the total revenues that equipment could produce. Can that equipment, be it a scissor lift or something else, help you produce $300,000 more in revenue? That question may not be easy to answer at first. “Frankly, if you buy a $15,000 piece of equipment and are making $30,000 in business for the year with it, the spending is eating all the profit, and you have to ask yourself if the profit will be there the following year. And also, can it continue for the next three years?” Other situations, factors Accessibility to the rental company could be an issue for some; in other situations, the customer service and/or equipment may be unreliable. “These are factors that can accelerate a decision but, bottom line, you don’t want to buy a lift on a wild hair,” Amrhein said. “Don’t make this decision off the cuff. Put a budget around it. It’s not just about ‘Will the machine pay for itself?’ It’s ‘Will the machine make the company money?’” Amrhein also suggests weighing the opportunity costs of not buying a different piece of equipment like, for example, a van for a working crew. “We see people buy a lot of equipment that just sits there when they could’ve bought a van for a crew that would be out there making money right now,” he added.


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Apr/May 2016 | inPAINT



RIDE ON When it comes to purchasing a new commercial vehicle, it’s never been a one-size-fits-all situation for professional painting contractors. From the area of the country you work in, to your paint and gear demands, to the overall cost of ownership, the factors that go into making a decision are as individual as your business. The good news is, today’s variety of vans and trucks offer hundreds of different base configurations—plus countless add-ons through upfitters. The current trend throughout the trades is the surge of European-style vans. “It used to be that larger vans from Dodge, Chevy, Ford, and everyone else were all pretty similar—you were just picking the brand,” says Dave Sowers, Chrysler’s head of Ram Commercial Marketing. “They were little more than a pickup with a different body. Everything was a front engine with rear-wheel drive, and inefficient on every level—getting in and out, cargo-carrying capacity, and cost of ownership.”


inPAINT inPAINT||Apr/May Apr/May2016 2016

Highly configurable choices in top brands Today, that couldn’t be more different. Depending on the make and model, configurations will include an array of gas or diesel engine choices, power trains, payload and towing ratings, doors, and height and wheelbase-length choices. Here’s a quick look at a few of the vans that experts say make the most sense for today’s painting contractors: Ram’s full-size ProMaster and Class 1 ProMaster City vans have their roots in the company’s corporate relationship with Fiat in Europe, and exemplify the manufacturer’s focus on commercial vehicles that started four years ago. “They’re unibody products, which is a change from the old body-on-frame that

Chevrolet Express Cargo Van and Chevrolet City Express van, as well as the GMC Savana Cargo van, are the comparable offerings from General Motors, which this year is touting the addition of an OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot for ease of communications. Like the Sprinter, the changes to the Nissan NV Cargo van for 2016 include supplemental front-seatmounted side-impact air bags and roof-mounted curtain side-impact air

Photos: Ford Motor Company, Fiat Chrysler America, and Mercedes-Benz USA


vans used to be,” Sowers says. PROMASTER CONNECT (TOP RIGHT), AND THE MERCEDES BENZ SPRINTER “We’ve changed the powertrain WORKER (RIGHT) OFFER INNOVATIONS to make sure it’s durable for U.S. AND CONFIGURATIONS DESIGNED conditions. If you had a clean slate, SPECIFICALLY FOR THE TRADES. they are what you’d design.” bags for front outboard occupant head protection, Ford Class 1 Transit Connect and full-size Transit added as standard equipment. Its NV200 Compact vans display a similar European sensibility. “The most Cargo van sibling may look tiny, but its cargo area popular version for contractors in general has been the allows for loading standard 40"x48" pallets. medium-roof, long-wheelbase Transit,” says Yaroslav Hetman, brand manager for the Ford Transit/Transit Comparing the new generation of vans Connect/E-Series. “Specifically, it allows the contracYou’ll need to consult individual automakers for tor to have a mobile workshop. If you’re six feet tall, the specific packages they offer, but the options— you can stand up straight in the back, you can fit all and advantages—can be fairly generalized. As with of your tools and equipment and, at the same time, any vehicle purchase, it comes down to trade offs and you don’t have to worry about the security or weather deciding how important the options are for you. disadvantages of a pickup truck.” For 2016, Ford added dual sliding doors, allowing convenient access to the - Different interior and exterior heights. Inside vehicles from either side, and fleet options like speed the smaller, low-roof vans, you’re obviously not going limitation to 70 mph. to be able to stand up straight, yet they offer a benefit Mercedes-Benz’s one-two punch in the van world for contractors who do a lot of work in cities and need includes the Sprinter, which has been updated for 2016 to squeeze into underground garages and into tight with standard window air bags and thorax air bags. parking spaces. A medium roof might accommodate And the Metris Cargo Van, which enters its first full someone who’s six feet tall, while the highest specs can year of availability in 2016, launched in the U.S. in late allow someone a few inches taller to walk the length of 2015. All Sprinters sold in the U.S. are powered by the cargo bay without hitting their head. Don’t just look BlueTec clean diesel engines, although a V6 turboup, though: Consider the height of the load floor from charged diesel is available as an option for more the ground. “When you’re constantly lifting 5-gallon power—and can also be had in a 4x4 power train.

“As with painting or any of the trades, it’s about finding the right tool for the job at the right cost.” —Yaroslav Hetman, Ford

Apr/May 2016 | inPAINT


buckets of paint, drywall compound, or a paint compressor in and out of the van, a low step-in height makes a difference,” says Sowers. - Different lengths. In addition to increasing the overall cubic cargo space, a longer vehicle offers the

The real number you need to look at when considering a purchase is the overall cost of operation: initial costs, taxes, fees, fuel, maintenance, repair, insurance and depreciation. advantage of being able to carry ladders inside. “When you put a ladder on top of a vehicle, it decreases your fuel economy as much as 30%,” says Ford’s Hetman. “When you do the math, if you’re driving 100,000 miles a year, that’s a lot of money you’re spending on fuel just to have the ladder up there—not to mention the added theft risk.” In the long wheelbase version of the Transit, you can fit a 12' ladder, while the high-roof, extended-length version will accommodate one that’s 14' long from the driver’s seat to the back door.


- Performance. Sowers notes that front-wheel drive is better for traction, particularly in inclement weather in the northern U.S. “It also gives you a better turning radius, which makes it easier to get in and out of customer driveways or loading docks,” he says. “One of the side benefits of these vans, in an age where it’s tough to get qualified employees, is that you don’t need a special license. You can focus on employees with the painting skills you want, and not worry as much about the safety aspect related to vehicles without current technology.” Features like electronic stability control, back-up sensors and back-up cameras keep people from backing into things—which also minimizes downtime.” - Service and maintenance. One

of the most important aspects of a commercial vehicle is preventing time at the mechanic shop. If the vehicle isn’t running, it’s costing you money. So, consider where the nearest dealership is when it comes time for regular maintenance, or where you might need to have emergency work done in the event of a breakdown. 20

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Many dealers promote priority service for commercial customers, which means you get the first available bay. - Overall cost of operation. It’s easy to focus on fuel economy figures—and the vehicles listed above offer good or outstanding mileage. For painters focused on efficiency, some of the smaller vans get up to 29 mpg on the highway, which is impressive for a cargo vehicle. But the real number you need to look at when considering a purchase is the overall cost of operation over the long term: initial costs, taxes, fees, fuel, maintenance, repair, insurance and depreciation. How to sort through your choices Your vehicle selection process will most likely begin with a look at manufacturers’ web sites, which offer a wide range of ways to configure the base vehicle. Their goal, of course, is to make it easy and cost-effective for a tradesman to build the perfect vehicle for their business. Engines alone can make for challenging choices: In the Ford Transit, for example, the base engine is a 3.7-liter 6-cylinder with 275 HP and 260 foot-pounds of torque, while the 3.5-liter EcoBoost 6-cylinder offers 400 footpounds of torque for more towing power or carrying heavy payloads. At the high end, the 3.2-liter Power Stroke diesel enables towing as much as 7,500 pounds, and is also Ford’s best choice for long idle times and high mileage. With so many choices, the process can seem daunting, which is why Ram’s Sowers recommends consulting with a local dealer to help you decide the specifications that best meet your needs. “Dealers are the experts on the vehicle options, and also have relationships with the local upfitters,” he says. “A dealer can go through the offerings from different suppliers with you, such as shelving or ladder racks, and have it installed before or after you take delivery.” He emphasizes the importance of working with a certified upfitter in order to get everything installed properly. When van shopping, he also suggests you research possible dealer incentives —and not just on the purchase price or financing. Ram, for example, offers up to $1,000 for upfitting on the ProMaster and $500 on the ProMaster City. There’s no question that Americans have an emotional attachment to pickup trucks, which outsold vans by about 4 to 1 in 2015. When you consider the across-theboard financial and practical advantages vans can offer, however, the market share balance may tip the other way in the coming years. “Pickups can be good solutions if you encounter particular needs such as rough roads or 4x4 capability,” says Hetman. “But as you look at those vehicles, they’re typically more expensive in terms of total cost of ownership. As with painting or any of the trades, it’s about finding the right tool for the job at the right cost.”

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U.S. demand for paint and coatings is forecasted to reach 400 million gallons by 2019, growing 3.8% annually, which is valued at $31.5 billion, according to a new study by The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry market research firm. And professional painters drive a large part of that business.



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“About 70% of paint sold today is sold to a professional paint contractor,” says Joseph Dellafave, Benjamin Moore manager, commercial contractor and facility maintenance. “The professional paint market is vital to our success. The majority of paint sold on a daily basis is to paint contractors, so it’s very important that we continue to find innovative ways to support their businesses.” Behr Process Corporation’s Tim O’Reilly, director of pro services, The Home Depot Channel, says Behr is committed to find new ways to support the pro industry.

Photo: The Home Depot

Making the Pro Connection

“Behr has a long history of developing high-value products throughout our partnership with The Home Depot,” O’Reilly says. Over much of the last decade, Behr has been steadily building and growing its products and service programs to better support the company’s growing number of pro customers. “The professional painter and the work they do are very important to Behr.” How important is the professional paint market to Valspar Paint? “Like any paint manufacturer, the largest segment is always important,” says Steve Wiezorek, Valspar’s director of product marketing. “For more than 200 years, Valspar has been working with pros in multiple categories and multiple segments; our committed partnerships are the reason for success with the pro. We want to be an important part of any pro’s business, providing creative solutions for on-site or in-store services that make painters more productive. That is our number one goal.” It’s the same story for paint giant Sherwin-Williams, which owns and operates 4,000 stores across the country. “The professional paint market is the backbone of our business, and what makes our company hum,” explained Jeff Winter, the company’s director of wholesale marketing, residential repaint. “Sherwin-Williams is a professional paint company.”

The magazine created for professionals just like YOU inPAINT magazine delivers engaging and informative articles on the latest industry news and current trends. This is the kind of information that can set you apart from your competitors, and make your job easier and more profitable. Stay informed by subscribing now.


Channeling the pro The major players in the paint manufacturing industry share a common theme when it comes to marketing their products and services to the professional paint contractor: It’s critical they know they’re important to us. The channels manufacturers use to reach pros is both varied and diverse. Photo: Sherwin-Williams “The professional paint market has always been, and remains, extremely important to PPG,” says Tom Dougherty, director of pro marketing, PPG Paints. “PPG built its reputation in the architectural coatings business on the pro side, and we consider it one of the key foundations of the business today.” Dougherty says PPG announced a comprehensive brand strategy in 2014 to service professional customers with its PPG Paints and PPG Pittsburgh Paints brands through its U.S. company-owned stores and independent dealers. “PPG reaches professionals through three channels of distribution in the U.S.: 3,000+ paint-dealer locations, more than 630 PPG Paints company-owned paint stores, and at The Home Depot,” Dougherty says. Behr also leans heavily on The Home Depot to market to pros. “The Home Depot is our distribution partner,” O’Reilly says. “Our products are featured amidst an assortment of the supplies and sundries needed to address any project, and with extended hours and will-call, the convenience is exceptional. We also offer factory tinting and direct-to-job site delivery in many markets.” Valspar’s Wiezorek says his products are sold in more than 5,000 retail locations, “offering a wide range of coatings for any pro and for any job,” he says. “We also have an on-site and on-demand direct-to-the-pro channel called ValsparPRO Solutions that brings the paint store to any job site, providing coatings, paint sundries, expert support, and on-site color matching and tinting—keeping paint crews painting and more productive.” Like Valspar, Sherwin-Williams serves pros through its retail stores, but also through a sales force of 2,500 outside reps. “They have a singular focus: to support the pro,” Winter says. “Every one of our products is, first and foremost, tested by the pro market. We also often introduce products —Tom Dougherty, PPG Paints specifically for the pro market that are tested and applied by professional contractors. All benchmarking for application centers around the pro, too. One example is ProMar 200 Zero VOC Interior Latex Paint, a professional product and a standard in the industry.” Dunn-Edwards Paints, one of the country’s largest independent manufacturer and distributor of highperformance paints and paint supplies, boasts having 24

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“ When a professional painter finds a brand they can trust, they become comfortable with that brand, knowing they can rely on the service, products and people backing the brand.

some of the greenest paint products in the industry, which is something important to pros who spend every day handling paint, explains Tim Bosveld, Dunn-Edwards’ VP of marketing. “We’re the only major manufacturer who removed EG (ethylene glycol) from its paints—something we did voluntarily in the 1980s—and our paint is produced in the world’s only LEED Gold-certified manufacturing facility,” Bosveld says. Bosveld says Dunn-Edwards reaches professional painters via its 124 company-owned stores in California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas, as well as more than 80 authorized dealers throughout the Southwest. Responding to the needs of pros Reaching the pro is one thing, but keeping them happy is something quite different. With nearly 1,000 paint and coating manufacturers in the market, pros have a choice when it comes to the products they use. “Painters are always looking for ways to mitigate their risks; callbacks and failures can eliminate all profit,” O’Reilly says. “This causes inertia around the processes and products chosen for all types of jobs. It’s natural for pros to be loyal to their brands. We respect this—we want them to try our products so they’re making an educated decision.” Dougherty agrees. “When a professional painter finds a brand they can trust, they become comfortable with that brand, knowing they can rely on the service, products and people backing the brand,” he says. “Professionals loyal to PPG brands find that our dedication to the professional, as well as our expertise and vast product and service offerings are designed to meet their individual needs no matter the size and scope of their jobs.” Meeting the diverse and changing needs of the professional paint contractor in this competitive landscape is always going to be a challenge. “Sometimes, the biggest challenge is actually communicating all the things we can actually offer a pro contractor,” Winter says. “Pros sometimes don’t know all the things we offer or may be skeptical. They ask ‘You really do that? You do all of that for your customer?’ We find the biggest challenge is in effectively communicating the full scale of what we can and do offer the professional market.” “Each product developed needs to meet attributes important to all pros, no matter what segment they’re working in,” Wiezorek says. “Through the continuum of price points, each product may provide a different benefit. Valspar offers architectural, and even industrial, coatings used traditionally by pros. In terms of service, we partner with our channels to help grow their pro focus. Our ValsparPRO Solutions channel also provides a ‘pro-only’ service model.” Says Dougherty: “We are very excited about the professional paint business going into 2016 and beyond with most economic indicators that impact painting pointing in a positive direction. We’re hopeful, and we’re ready to work as hard as we can to help our professional customers expand their businesses.”

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‘FIFTH WALL’ PAINT MANUFACTURERS OFFER TIPS FOR PAINTING CEILINGS BY DEBRA GELBART You may never paint anything as grand as the Sistine Chapel, but that doesn’t mean ceilings aren’t an important part of your business. In fact, said Tim O’Reilly of Behr Process Corporation, it’s probably a good idea to convince homeowner customers to repaint their ceilings at the same time they’re repainting walls.

“When you don’t repaint ceilings, they can look dingy, no matter what light color the customer chooses for walls,” said Tim O’Reilly, director of pro services for the Home Depot Channel of Behr. “It’s simply common sense to repaint ceilings, too.” Most, if not all, ceilings can be painted, said Sam Carrillo, a product manager with Dunn-Edwards Paints. There aren’t many situations when a ceiling shouldn’t be painted, said Kevin Lemire a brand manager with Benjamin Moore, but if the ceiling is damaged and shows signs of mold or mildew, it should be replaced or repaired before painting. Best coatings for ceilings Painting a ceiling is more challenging, of course, than painting walls, and paint manufacturers offer specially formulated products that address those challenges. PPG Paints, for example, offers an acrylic latex ceiling paint ideal for ceilings because of formulations that reduce splatter and provide the least amount of sheen, said Brian Osterried, product manager of interior coatings for PPG Paints. “These characteristics are valuable for ceiling application, because reduced splatter allows for less mess and flat sheens minimize surface imperfections.” Patch any holes or cracks before painting and sand it smooth, Osterried advised. If there are stains, an appropriate stain-blocking primer should be used.

Benjamin Moore has several products that are appropriate for use on ceilings, said Lemire. Flat or ultra-flat finishes are best for ceilings, Lemire said, since they are forgiving when it comes to surface imperfections. Using a semigloss or high-gloss on a ceiling is an option, but proper preparation is key. “Glossy ceilings can be dramatic but without proper prep work, every imperfection will be amplified with the reflectance of light,” Lemire said. A paint that hides imperfections well with minimum spatter as it is applied is the ideal product, Lemire said. Ceiling paint is specifically formulated with these properties in mind. “For drywall ceilings, we recommend a ceiling paint that is very flat, has great coverage, is selfpriming, and can minimize surface imperfections,” said Rick Watson, director of product information and technical services for Sherwin-Williams. “On smooth ceilings, the chance that surface imperfections and application issues will stand out increases as the gloss or sheen of the paint increases.” Behr also offers several products for ceilings, O’Reilly said, noting some block stains and others don’t. Still others are formulated for high commercial ceilings. BEHR PRO Dryfall Paint, an acrylic coating with flash rust resistance, sprays on and settles into a sweepable dust, he said. “This product is intended for tilt-up concrete walls, warehouses, sports venues and other commercial spaces that have at least 20-foot-high ceilings,” O’Reilly said. Ceilings are primarily painted with traditional flat paints, Carrillo said, because higher sheens magnify imperfections and may show roller- or spray-pattern application marks. When deciding what color to paint a ceiling, remember that ceilings don’t have to be ‘straightout-of-the-can white,’ said Andrea Magno, a color expert with Benjamin Moore. “If you have a blue wall color, look to a white with a tint or hint of blue so that each surface works well with the other,” she said. “The effect will be subtle but it’s an added detail that will help to tie a room together.” Ceilings are a great way to add more drama and depth or create additional layers of color within a room, said Sara McLean, Dunn-Edwards Paint color & design expert. “While, for the most part, I do agree about using flat paint on the ceiling, a high-gloss finish is an alternative for a special look,” she said. “I like the idea that the ceiling can be part of the beauty, creating an artistic and special feature for the room—a memory point.” One trend in ceilings, she said, is a high-gloss finish in a deep color such as emerald or navy, or

a light hue such as sky blue or cream, or even a metallic such as bronze or gold for the ceiling. Osterried said you don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to a specialized ceiling paint to get optimal coverage. “Wall paints can be used on ceilings,” he said. These types of paints provide different benefits from ceiling paints, he added. For instance, wall paints offer more color and sheen options than ceiling paints, “so if pros or homeowners are seeking a ceiling color other than white or a sheen other than flat, a wall paint will likely need to be used. In addition, ceiling paints aren’t designed to be as durable or washable as wall paints because they aren’t subject to the same wear and tear that walls are.”

“Applying a lower-viscosity paint will reduce the additional surface tension created on the textured ceiling …” —SAM CARRILLO, DUNN-EDWARDS PAINTS


Your Go-To Strippable Adhesive

Apr/May 2016 | inPAINT


Recessed ceilings can offer a blank canvas but carry application considerations, including cutting in small areas and highlighting accent features. —RICK WATSON, SHERWIN-WILLIAMS

“Glossy ceilings can be dramatic but without the proper prep work, every imperfection will be amplified with the reflectance of light.” —KEVIN LEMIRE, BENJAMIN MOORE

Application methods Because ceilings are painted overhead, using an extension pole is preferred. Osterried said. It’s important to work quickly when painting ceilings, and maintain a wet edge to prevent flashing or an uneven sheen, he said. If a ceiling is textured, a thicker-nap roller is ideal for application, he added. Like walls, ceilings can be rolled or sprayed, and floors should be covered in case of paint spatter, said Lemire. Whether you choose spraying or rolling may be a matter of personal choice. The best application methods for ceilings are essentially the same as for painting walls, said Osterried. “Painters should cut in the edges with a brush and use a roller on the rest of the ceiling,” he said, adding, “When painting a ceiling, make sure to roll along the width of the room, not the length. Using an airless paint sprayer can make sense for larger ceilings to greatly reduce the time on the project.” Watson said spray application with no backrolling needed is the recommended method of application. But a super-flat finish can be brushed, rolled or sprayed, he said. In most cases, Carrillo said, the preferred application methods for painting ceilings are dependent on the occupancy of the property and whether it’s new construction or a repaint. If ceilings are painted using a paint sprayer, more labor is needed to mask and protect the room’s contents if the room is occupied, he explained. Using a paint sprayer creates overspray that will damage furniture and other items in the room if not protected. If the room is empty, spray application will provide the fastest and most uniform appearance. Using a roller is also an effective way to paint ceilings. It requires less time to set up the room for painting, as it does not create any overspray issues. Special challenges What about ceilings that present additional considerations, such as textured or recessed surfaces? “The material that gives the ‘popcorn’ effect is somewhat


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fragile,” Osterried said, “and can come off when subject to contact with a roller cover or to the moisture in paint.” “Painting popcorn ceilings can be a challenge, depending on the age and condition of the ceilings,” Carrillo said. The preferred method for painting popcorn ceilings is with a paint sprayer, he said. “Lower-viscosity paints should be used on popcorn ceilings. Applying a lower-viscosity paint will reduce the additional surface tension created on the textured ceiling, which can help eliminate delamination. If spray application is not possible, a thick-nap roller cover should be used in order to get paint into all the crevices. It must also be applied in a slower, more deliberate method in order to reduce the possibility of damaging the texture.” Preparation is key when painting popcorn ceilings, Lemire said. “The ceiling should be cleaned prior to painting using a feather duster and then primed with the appropriate primer. Thicker rollers (3/4" or 1") are also available for textured ceilings.” When painting a popcorn ceiling that first needs to be repaired, Osterried said, consider using a ceiling patch for popcorn ceilings. “This simplifies popcornceiling repair and provides a time-saving solution, compared to traditional gun and hopper methods.” If removing the texture isn’t an option, Osterried said, a ceiling can be painted, but a few factors need to be considered. When using a roller on popcorn ceilings, make sure to go back and forth with the roller as few times as possible while still ensuring proper coverage. “The more you roll the more likely you are to rewet and dislodge the texture from the ceiling,” he said. “Using an airless sprayer to paint a popcorn ceiling is a good option, as it eliminates direct roller contact with the texture. Recessed ceilings, although more time consuming to paint, do not require any special paint or special techniques.” Recessed ceilings can offer a blank canvas but carry application considerations, including cutting in small areas and highlighting accent features, Watson said. The bottom line for the top of a room: careful preparation and use of the most appropriate products for a particular ceiling results in durable, beautiful coverage.


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HARSH, COLD WINTERS. HOT, HUMID SUMMERS. Torrential rains and blustery winds. Snow, sleet, hail. Yes, exterior paint has to be able to hold up to a wide array of elements. No one wants to see their property peel, crack or blister. And that means hiring a qualified painter—and choosing the right paint for the job. We asked five paint professionals about their go-to exterior paints. And, after reinforcing the importance of proper cleaning, scraping, priming, taping, caulking and other prep work, here’s what they had to say about their top coatings picks.


Terry Begue has honed a specialized niche over the course of nearly four decades in business. He started Begue Painting, Inc. out of high school, and eventually found that focusing on residential repaints—primarily aluminum siding and cedar, which are prevalent in his service area—made the most business sense for the Akron/Canton, OH company. Once siding is properly prepped, Begue likes Sherwin-Williams’ Duration Exterior Acrylic Coating in satin, which he and his painters spray on. “Before this product came out, we had to use two coats of our previous paint,” he notes. “But we’ve had great success with this product. Just one coat of Duration produces the best results. It costs a little more, but it goes much further.” Begue, who’s been using Duration since it came on the market, says homeowners are happy, too. “Sherwin-Williams offers a limited lifetime guarantee, so if it peels or blisters, they’ll replace it,” he says. “I’ve been using it for 12 to 15 years and I’ve never had a homeowner complain.” For those cedar projects, Begue turns to Sherwin-Williams’ Woodscapes Exterior House Stain (semi-transparent or solid). Peel resistance and rich color make this product his go-to stain.



Begue Painting, Inc.


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3 KRISTOPHER TOTH 4 KEN BYRD Toth Painting Solutions

America Paint Company (909) 965-7929

5 RON RAMSDEN Ramsden Painting


Serving the Cleveland, OH area, Kristopher Toth, owner of Toth Painting Solutions is loyal to Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams. In business since 2000, his company does both interior and exterior work, primarily in the residential sector. For new-wood projects and fiber-cement siding, Toth says, Sherwin-Williams’ Emerald Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint is a new favorite. “We’ve tried it with great success on some high-end woodwork and cement-sided projects,” he says. But his most frequent choice is the brand’s SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint. “When I first started in the business, it was their best paint,” he says. And today, he remains confident in SuperPaint for lots of different surfaces—aluminum, masonry and older wood. “With so many heavy-build, one-coat-coverage type of paints out there now, SuperPaint still works the best on multiple-coat types of situations,” he says. “And it bonds directly to the siding.” Homeowners can rest assured their aluminum-sided homes will look great and shouldn’t peel for years to come.


FROM OUR PRO: When Jeff Sommers

was 14, his grandfather hired him to paint the exterior of his home. His summer jobs were painting—and in college, he wrote the business plan for ESP Painting. For 20 years now, Sommers has owned and operated his business in Portland, OR. The vast majority of his company’s jobs are residential—mostly repaints. And he and his painters like Sherwin-Williams’ SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint. “It’s the best bang for the buck,” Sommers says, adding that his painters like it because it’s easy to spray, brush and roll. Two coats provide great coverage and a beautiful look. For higher-end projects, he gravitates toward Benjamin Moore’s Aura Exterior Paint. Its price point can be prohibitive to some homeowners, he says. “But it’s a high-quality product. It covers well, and it looks really great,” he notes. He’s noticed in his market that for the majority of residential repainting jobs, homeowners are choosing mid-rangepriced paints. “The repaint cycle doesn’t change that much,” he says. “Even if you have a lifetimewarranty paint, you’re probably still having to repaint after about 10 years.” That’s because trends change, colors fade, and people move. And that’s where the SuperPaint offers a great value and look for homeowners—as well as a great experience for painters.”

Apr/May 2016 | inPAINT


“ With so many heavy-build, one-coat-coverage type of paints out there now, SuperPaint still works the best on multiple-coat types of situations.” ­—Kristopher Toth, Toth Painting Solutions


With an equal mix of commercial and residential work, Ken Byrd of America Paint Company in Redlands, CA takes on a good balance of new construction and repaint jobs—both interior and exterior. And he isn’t shy about his favorite paint: He’s a Behr fan. His exterior pick? BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA Exterior Satin Enamel Paint. He’s been using it for years, he says. But as a Southern California-based painter, his options changed when the state’s tougher green building standards were enacted in 2013. As a result, only paints with low or no VOCs can be used. And while Byrd says a lot of brands worsened as a result, Behr’s Ultra didn’t. “Its durability and performance have actually gotten better,” he says. “I liked it before the changes. And after they made the changes, I thought it was as good or better.” It boasts resistance to moisture, fading and stains. The one downfall with low- or zero-VOC paint, Byrd says, lies with darker colors. “The first coat might seem kind of clear, so everything needs two coats,” he notes. “But you should be doing that anyway—especially in California, where steady sun speeds up fading.”


inPAINT | Apr/May 2016


After nearly 16 years of running his business, Ron Ramsden of Ramsden Painting focuses largely on residential repaints. The paint choice, he says, really depends on the job. Serving the Greater Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts, Ramsden says historic homes comprise a large percentage of his business. “A lot of the houses we work on are more than 75 years old,” he notes. For those historic homes, he prefers California Paints’ 2010 100% Acrylic Exterior Paint in eggshell (two coats following an oil primer)—a preference he came to through trial and error after painting many, many older homes in the New England area. “The California 2010 has characteristics of all of the leading exterior paints with color retention and great adhesion, but we also have to account for the flexibility and elasticity of the paint,” he says. That’s because temperatures in the area can change by as much as 50º in one day. “Secondly,” he says, “California Paints has partnered with Historic New England to preserve and recreate the historic colors of America. When someone purchases a historic home, they want the colors to be exact replications of years gone by in most cases. California Paints has made a science out of recreating those exact colors.” For newer homes, Ramsden often opts for Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select Exterior Paint (MoorGlo Soft Gloss Finish). “We use that for probably about 60% of our jobs,” he says. Another top pick for Ramsden is Sherwin-Williams’ Resilience Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint. “I like that it dries quickly and it has some flexibility to it,” he says. “It’s a beautiful product.”

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Relationships with general contractors who build new homes or work in commercial construction can lead to steady business and plenty of regular income, but professional painters and builders say you have to know what to expect when looking for and accepting jobs offered by builders. A golden opportunity Most builders who don’t maintain an in-house painting staff rely on the 80-20 rule, said Jay Evans, owner of Two


inPAINT | Apr/May 2016

Structures, LLC, a new-construction company in Oklahoma City that focuses on residential building. That means a general contractor typically hires a single painting company to do about 80% of the work needed, leaving about 20% of the work available for another painting company. “We purposely haven’t hired one company to do all our painting as a way to protect ourselves from the unexpected,” said Evans. “We’ve insisted on a relationship with at least two painting companies; we prefer to hire a second painter who is willing to work with us to take

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inPAINT | Apr/May 2016

care of about 20% of our painting needs, so he gets to know what we expect and what we need. It doesn’t help a painter or a builder to work with a builder only once in a while.” A willingness to handle that percentage of a builder’s painting needs “is a great way to get your foot in the door with a builder,” Evans said. But he cautioned that a builder will first want to see the kind of quality work you provide before agreeing to let you become the back-up painter. “Always remember that a builder is your customer, not your employer,” he said. “You’re trying to win business, not persuade the builder to hire you full time. You always want to create the best possible impression.” Range of options Whether you seek out relationships with residential or commercial builders (or both) may depend on the size of your company as well as your own preference. Some painters like working with commercial; others are partial to residential. Still others prefer a mix. Here’s how three pros are approaching the opportunity: CLIFF HUDSON: “We work more often with companies, small or large, that focus on commercial construction,” said Cliff Hudson, owner of a Fresh Coat painters franchise in northern California, who employs 22 painters on his staff. “The margins are too low for us in residential construction. I lose too much money trying to compete in a newhome market.” But Hudson said his company does do some residential painting for small general contractors. MARK GANN: The emphasis for Kaleidoscope Painting & Design (in Oklahoma City) is painting primarily single-family homes for small and large builders—and apartment community repaints, said Mark Gann, CEO. His company, established in May 2014, employs 50 painters that comprise 12 production crews. They work with at least 25 different builders in the Oklahoma City area. NICK KUNST: Nick Kunst, a professional painter and owner of Kunst Bros. in San Rafael, CA, chooses to do very limited work for general contractors in part because “other trades can damage our work.” At press time, Kunst and his team of 13 to 20 painters were painting the first phase of a brandnew, 400-unit apartment complex. “If all goes well with this phase, we’ll continue with the next phase,”

he said. “But we have a mutual agreement with the builder that if either of us is unhappy after each phase, we can part ways.” Finding and impressing builders If you prefer painting residential construction, consider becoming a member of a local homebuilders’ association, Kunst advised. It’s a good way to meet builders in your area. To find both residential and commercial projects to bid on, said Hudson, start with, an online construction network that can connect professionals with all types of projects. “A relationship begins when you start sending bids,” Hudson said. He recommends submitting a resume that includes descriptions of projects you’ve completed that are similar in size, scope and dollar value to the project you’re bidding on. Be honest with yourself about your company’s capabilities, Kunst said. Don’t bid on jobs that are too big for your staff. “If you can’t produce, you won’t be hired by that homebuilder again.” If you do get hired by a builder, said Gann, insist on walking the job with the site superintendent or the project designer beforehand to verify colors and other particulars. “Effective communication about your process between you and the builder is essential,” Gann said. No matter what obstacles or unforeseen challenges come your way, the builder won’t be happy if your portion of the project exceeds the estimated or expected charges you presented before work began. “If someone gives me a price, I expect them to stick to it, barring change orders from the client,” said John Cooney, a general contractor whose company, John Cooney General Contracting in Hoosick, NY, builds custom homes in a variety of price ranges. He also expects that a professional painter will have knowledge of a wide array of painting products, the chemical makeup of paints, and also application techniques. “That knowledge is really key for me when talking about paint,” he said. It’s important to keep in mind that a builder’s needs may vary. “Sometimes we’ll hire sole proprietors,” Cooney said. “But a company with eight to 10 painters may be ideal because of their flexibility for completing a job on time.” Gann also advises that you make sure your reputation is impeccable, not only through outstanding work for customers, but also by maintaining a great relationship with your paint supplier. It’s almost a certainty that a builder will check with your supplier to see if you pay your bills on time and if you place orders in a timely fashion.

And remember … When a mutually beneficial relationship has been established with a builder, Gann said, let the builder know precisely how you’ll ensure successful completion of the project. “Deliver exactly what you’ve promised you’ll deliver,” he said. “If you promise A, B and C, don’t skip any steps. Follow through on your plan and you can look forward to more business from builders.”

“Always remember that a builder is your customer, not your employer.” —JAY EVANS, TWO STRUCTURES, LLC

Apr/May 2016 | inPAINT



The president of Catchlight Painting

Nigel Costolloe contributes his success in business to experience, both earned and shared.

CATCHLIGHT Beautiful Lasting Results


and a member of the PDCA’s Board of Directors, Costolloe has honed his acumen for more than 20 years, managing two paint companies on both coasts in the process. Differentiation matters When Costolloe started his first company, Natural House Painting, in Berkeley, CA in the late ’80s, he sought ways to stand out and appeal to the health-conscious academic community where he was based. “I was one of the first to use the first-generation zeroVOC paint—one product manufactured in California and another from West Germany. I was 25 years ahead of the zero-VOC game,” he says. When life-changes in the early ’90s moved him to the Boston area, he again made an effort to appeal to the needs and expectations of prospective customers. Among the first things he did was rename his company Catchlight Painting. “It’s a much more distinctive name than Natural House Painting. It refers to a photographic term in which the pupil of the eye reflects a light source,” he explains. “Plus, I didn’t want to be the fourth company with the name ‘Costello Painting’ in the Boston area.” But that’s not all. Projecting professionalism In researching the competitors in his new market area, Costolloe quickly realized an opportunity to differentiate himself simply through style. “I would show up for a meeting wearing a button-down shirt with a three-page presentation prepared on a computer. Our competitors weren’t using computers at the time. Most contractors would show up for an estimate and scribble some numbers down on the back of a business card.”


inPAINT | Apr/May 2016

The polished approach worked. “It differentiated me and allowed me to elevate my business quickly,” Costolloe says. It also helps to have an English accent, he says. In both Berkeley and Boston, elocution, vocabulary and diction go a long way to establishing expertise, bona fides and trust. He also had the benefit of working with customer service consultant; this process helped formalize their level and delivery of customer service. Costolloe also implemented a comprehensive project evaluation form based on the Net Promoter Score, which simply asks the customer, ‘Would you refer us?’ They have yet to receive a ‘No.’ “Our evaluations are never about me, the owner,” he says, “only about the foreman and crew; they are customer-facing every day and it’s their presentation that leaves a lasting impression with our customers. Past customers will call about a new project and request a foreman by name—how great is that?” The power of peer knowledge Though now a recognized PDCA leader, Costolloe wasn’t initially enthusiastic. “[At first] I put off joining PDCA,” Costolloe says. “I had a master’s degree in Political Science— what could a bunch of painters teach me? But then I attended a PDCA event in Chicago and realized how little I knew. I was in a room with 150 professional painters doing much better than I was. It was humbling, nauseating and inspiring.” Through PDCA, he says, “I’ve learned everything from how to hire the right people to how to recognize and fire bad employees, and to embrace profitability while building a company culture.” Respect-and-reward management style Among the lessons and ideas learned through PDCA is a management approach that begets happy employees and customers. “We take great pride in our ability to treat employees well,” says Costolloe. Catchlight employees enjoy up to 14 days PTO a year, a week of paternity leave, a week of grievance leave for the loss of immediate family members, life coaching, health insurance, and retirement benefits. According to Costolloe, much of the success needed to offer the benefits and to implement them came through the knowledge gained through his participation in PDCA. Catchlight sends staff members to training events around New England and invites vendors and reps to their shop for all-hands presentations on a monthly basis. “This is a significant expense, but it sends all employees a message: we expect them

Stats Catchlight Painting prides itself on attention to detail and craftsmanship.

COMPANY NAME Catchlight Painting FOUNDED 1994

to be learning constantly, and will invest in them to make them better, smarter painters,” says Costolloe. Catchlight also uses two online training tools; one by the Paint Quality Institute and more recently, the Master Painters Institute. Both are designed to develop the painters’ familiarity with coatings chemistry, paint failures, application techniques, and productivity. Additionally, every painter is EPA RRP certified and quarterly blood testing assures us that their staff is compliant with lead-safe protocols. Profit multipliers and process analysis Costolloe attributes his success to Woody Allen’s philosophy that ‘90% of success is just showing up.’ Costolloe believes the remaining 10% involves being open to new ideas, challenging conventional thinking, and embracing change. Two concepts have resonated most with him include: 1) Failure is just another test result, and 2) You are living the life and business of your design; if you don’t like the results, change the design. To Costolloe, these simple truisms have been freeing. “The first, because it embraces failure as evolution and, if managed well, creates a positive outcome. The latter because it helped me to think more systemically about business processes—if a project goes sideways, it is more constructive to identify the lack of process or system that allows the mistake to occur than to simply find a culprit to blame. This reduces blood-pressure levels for all involved, creates a more harmonious and productive workplace, and engenders trust, loyalty and respect.” Finally, Costolloe notes, “It’s easy to stand out in our industry—minimal regulations, low barriers to entry—the playing field is anything but level. We can either blame low-cost competition for our lack of success or we can choose to build a truly professional company that stands head and shoulders above the crowd. The choice for me has always been an easy one.”

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 19 SERVICES OFFERED Specializing in fine interior and exterior residential painting, historic-home restoration, and newhome painting ASSOCIATIONS 0 PDCA Board of Directors 0 Past President, PDCA Residential Forum and North East Council 0 Member and Past Professional Development Director, ASID, New England 0 Past Director, Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston, NAHB Member, Advisors On Target Member 0 Member, Vistage Worldwide, a CEO peer group AWARD Best of Houzz, 2016 TOTAL ANTICIPATED BILLINGS IN 2016 $2.15 million CONTACT Nigel Costolloe President and Owner (617) 734-1696




inPAINT | Apr/May 2016

in today’s professional toolbox? Benjamin Moore’s ADVANCE® Waterborne Interior Alkyd Paint This paint offers the unique application and performance of traditional oil paints in a low-VOC, low-odor formula. It provides outstanding flow and leveling and cures to a hard, durable, furniture-quality finish. It is ideal for interior doors, cabinets, trim and all types of interior woodwork.

Titan RX-PROTM Airless Spray Gun Titan’s new RX-PRO paint sprayer gun has ergonomic features that make it possible for paint contractors to spray longer with more comfort and less fatigue than ever before. With the lightest trigger pull in its class, it requires 30% less force than the closest competitor. The FingerPrint GripTM is customizable to fit any paint contractor’s hand size, and the gun is easier to maneuver with an improved free-flow swivel. The RX-PRO works with any brand sprayer that has maximum pressure ratings of 3,600 PSI.

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

Apr/May 2016 | inPAINT



How the Labor Shortage is Going to Make You Change Your Business A recent national survey by the Associated General Contractors of America found that 86% of construction companies are having a tough time filling jobs.


At a time when demand for construction and remodeling is growing, the labor shortage may very well be your biggest obstacle to success and growth in the future. While the reasons for the current shortage are beyond your control—from seasoned pros leaving the industry entirely during the downturn of 2008 to fewer young people entering the trades, etc.— how you respond to it is in your control. Change your business Did I catch your attention? I am not suggesting you close your business and start a new one in a different industry. But you do need to become a different kind of business with a new mind-set that will help you grow. In the past, you may have thought of yourself first and foremost as a painting, remodeling, or construction company. And, of course, those are the services you provide. But if the goal is to do more of that service for more people, you are going to need more people to help you do it. Doing the work is the easy part. Changing the overall strategy of your business may be more difficult.


inPAINT | Apr/May 2016

Become a recruiting company As a ‘recovering painting contractor’ who ran my own company for nine years, I remember how much more nimble my company became when I started focusing on gaining the next A-Players as much as I did finding the next great customer. Once I became proficient at recruiting, the selling actually became easier because I knew I had the pool of talent to deliver on the promises I was making. So how do you recruit effectively? First, you should factor the two types of employees you need to reach— people new to the industry and existing tradespeople. You have to recognize that for many years, young people have been hearing all the reasons they should go to college. Very few understand the benefits of your line of work. It’s your job to enlighten them. Good reasons include: less (or even no) student debt, more autonomy, pride and satisfaction in their work, the ability to take that skill anywhere, and the self-esteem that comes from finishing a job from the start. If you can’t explain the rewards of a career in the paint industry concisely and articulately, start practicing. Mastering this ‘pitch’ is essential to attracting new talent.

Existing tradespeople already know some of the benefits of the work. Demonstrate to this group why it is better to do that work for your company. Maybe you have specific benefits, beliefs, or a culture that cannot be found elsewhere. Spend some time thinking about why your company is better than the one just down the road. Once you’ve nailed down your differentiation messaging, share it with everyone in your company. Let them know the type of talent you’re looking for and encourage them to share your message with others who might want to join you. But don’t stop at just employees. Share your story and message with customers, colleagues and vendors so they, too, can support your recruiting needs. Become a selection expert In my consulting practice, I work with businesses to identify the right qualities and help them attract, hire and manage ideal employees. Almost unanimously, customers tell me that when they find the right kind of person, they typically keep them and invest in them, regardless of their skill set. And when they find someone with a great skill set but a terrible attitude, it doesn’t matter how well they do the job, they inevitably let them go. The challenge is being able to identify and recognize the right attributes up front. To do this, you need to identify the traits and attributes that lead to success in the role you are hiring for. Look at your current and past crews. What are the attributes of your best workers? Are they creative or rule-followers, process-oriented or versatile, leaders or cooperative team players, chatty or withdrawn? Make a list of these traits and attributes and look for them during the interview process. Don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions such as, “Tell me what you would do if you showed up at a job and realized there wasn’t enough coating to complete the job?” Or, “Tell me about any conflicts you’ve had on past jobs and how you handled them?” Just be sure that the questions you ask are relevant to the attributes and traits you desire. In addition to identifying the right traits and attributes, you need to recognize the wrong ones. Again, look at your current and past crews. Who isn’t working out, or who didn’t cut it and why? Note the reasons and keep an eye out for any signs of them in potential hires. Some lessons aren’t worth learning more than once. Become a training company Think you don’t have time for training? I’m willing to bet you have even less time for correcting poorly trained

employees, salvaging your customer relationships, and overcoming poor public reviews. You get to choose where you spend your time. I suggest you do it up front. New recruits to the industry need to get up to speed quickly in order to be effective. And with fewer and fewer training and certification programs for new tradespeople available today, it’s up to you to develop your people’s competency quickly. Documented and repeatable training with a fair and consistent process for evaluating and giving feedback is of the utmost importance. When developing your training program, I urge you to visit some viewpoints found in the classic business book, The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. One specific thought is that each position should be created to be operated by people with the lowest possible level of skill. Often, many business objectives are lumped into one position. This makes the position difficult, and only true superstars end up being successful at it. This is fine, if you hire all superstars. Setting up your business to rely only on superstar employees makes growing and expanding unnecessarily difficult. The better approach is to hire specialists; that is people who focus on a narrower set of tasks and needs that tap their greatest strengths. Specialists end up being more successful and, ultimately, happier employees thanks to their success. Plus, specialists are easier to come by than superstars and, should they leave, they’re easier to replace—and won’t leave as big a void in your company during the rehire process.

The challenge is being able to identify and recognize the right attributes up front.

Change your company—and your future You really don’t have to change your business too much. Expand how you think of your business and what its core purpose is. If you have a new understanding about how you need to grow and can implement these few tactics, you will be set up to capitalize on potential growth opportunities. Companies that embrace these principles the fastest will be positioned to outgrow their competition over the next decade.

Art Snarz yk owns InnerView Advisors and is known as ‘The Turnover Terminator.’ His clients learn to attract, hire and manage only ideal, top-performing staff, and to predict who will be a great long-term fit during the hiring process. Apr/May 2016 | inPAINT


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Behr Process Corporation

General Motors

0 BEHR PRO Dryfall Paint, p 27 0 BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA Exterior Satin Enamel Paint, p 32

0 Chevrolet Express Cargo Van, p 19 0 Chevrolet City Express Van, p 19 0 GMC Savana Cargo Van, p 19

Benjamin Moore

0 Sprinter WORKER Van, cover, p 4, p 19 & p 20 0 Metris Cargo Van, p 19

0 Aura Exterior Paint, p 31 0 Regal Select Exterior Paint, p 32 0 ADVANCE Waterborne Interior Alkyd Paint, p 41

California Paints

0 2010 100% Acrylic Exterior Paint, p 32


0 Transit Connect Van, p 19 0 Transit Van, p 19



0 NV Cargo Van, p 19 0 NV200 Compact Cargo Van, p 19

PPG Paints

0 PXS ONE Paint, p 8



0 ProMar 200 Zero VOC Interior Latex Paint, p 24 0 Duration Exterior Acrylic Coating, p 30 0 Woodscapes Exterior House Stain, p 30 0 SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint, p 31 0 Emerald Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint, p 31 0 Resilience Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint, p 32


0 RX-PRO Airless Spray Gun, p 41

0 ProMaster Van, p 19 & 20 0 ProMaster Connect, p 19 0 ProMaster City Van, p 19 & 20





3M Page 17







TITAN Pages 2 & 3






What, Where & When A PRIL



7: Builders & Remodelers Show, Minneapolis, MN


12–14: American Coatings SHOW 2016, Indianapolis, IN



M AY 3

4–6: National Hardware Show, Las Vegas, NV


19–21: AIA Convention 2016, Philadelphia, PA

Aug 29–Sept 1: NPMA National Education Seminar, Nashville, TN

7–9: CONSTRUCT, Austin, TX

J UN E 5




6–11: 2016 Society of Decorative Painters Conference & Expo, San Diego, CA 15–18: NAA Education Conference & Exposition, San Francisco, CA



3 8



25–28: BOMA 2016 International Conference & Expo, Washington, D.C.





29 & 30: PDCA Residential Forum Advanced Shop Talk (AST 17), San Diego, CA

Presented by BOMA International and BUILDINGS

BOMA 2016 International Conference & Expo Presented by BOMA International and BUILDINGS, this year’s conference will take place in our nation’s capitol June 25–28. The four-day event offers the chance to learn from industry leaders in the city that leads the nation in BOMA 360 certified building. The Green Pavilion will be dedicated to green and energy-efficient products, services and technologies, while the Technology Pavilion offers the chance to preview solutions for creating energy-efficient, high-performance buildings.

TO LEARN MORE or to register, visit Apr/May 2016 | inPAINT



The single biggest problem facing the trades is a shortage of field workers.

BRIAN NOLAN is a managing partner at Nolan Summit Services, Inc., a national business consulting and coaching company focused on helping painting contractors implement business systems, build their teams, and increase profitability. Summit, an affiliate company of Nolan Painting, is a residential repaint company with annual revenues of $7.8 million.

Recruit Like you Market MAKING THE QUEST FOR TALENT AS IMPORTANT AS THE QUEST FOR BUSINESS How much time do you spend thinking about hiring the right employees? Now consider how much time you spend on implementing creative approaches to recruiting new employees. Do you have a recruiting budget or are you still depending on a ‘help wanted’ ad on Craigslist to bring you in the abundance of great employees you need to achieve your goals? Are you still looking for only experienced painters? Are you fitting in recruiting activities at the end of a long day? The single biggest problem facing the trades is a shortage of field workers. Yet, as a painting contractor industry, we are still using passive approaches to recruiting talent. Below are some ideas to consider to shift your paradigm and create an abundance.

WHO TO HIRE: Everyone has heard the expression ‘Hire attitude, train skill.’ It’s time to put that expression into action. Consider setting up a booth at a community college. Talk to a high school guidance counselor so they know your company is a great option for those graduates not going on to college. Yes, you need a core group of experienced painters, but turn that group into trainers. It’s up to you to create a teaching and learning culture. MARKETING FOR EMPLOYEES: Think of everything you’ve ever done to get customer leads: social media vehicle lettering, web site, business cards, billboard, radio, email blasts, prospecting, search engine optimization, etc. Now, imagine if you applied all of those ideas to recruiting employees. Come up with a slogan, such as ‘Join a winning team’ and post it everywhere. Become the sought-after place to work. Share your vision and values with applicants to bring in people who will care.


inPAINT | Apr/May 2016

Hold a brainstorming session with your team and list out every possible ‘marketing for employees’ idea you can. If one field employee brings in about $8,000 per month in revenue, isn’t it worth spending money on this? If you miss bringing in your targeted number of employees, you’ll miss your revenue goals.

RESOURCES: Many business owners post ads, receive applications, and put them in a pile. When they have time, they sort through them and make some calls. Even though the quality of applicants is often low, they hire them anyway because they need painters NOW. Not surprisingly, many of these hires don’t last and owners find themselves back at the beginning. You can avoid this vicious and unproductive cycle by hiring a part-time recruiter. Depending upon your volume, you might look for someone to work 10 to 15 hours per week recruiting, screening, checking references and setting up interviews. This hire could end the bad-hire routine, keep your pipeline full of talent, and minimize the challenges of finding talent. Don’t wait until you need an employee to look for one. Market for employees all year long and create an abundance, giving you the freedom to fire the employees who are hurting your brand and culture.

Apr/May 2016 | inPAINT


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