THE MAGAZINE FOR PROFESSIONALS | AUG/SEP 2016
Think Outside the Cube Coatings for Office Spaces
PROS TALK STAINS THAT PERFORM UNDERAPPRECIATED APPLICATORS CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR PROS
BLENDING IN HAS NEVER STOOD OUT MORE. When you need spot-on color consistency, count on Sherwin-Williams, and ColorSnap Precision â€” our exclusive system for delivering gallon-to-gallon color consistency. Whether you want to match the paint you used last year, or match an existing color for cost-effective touch-ups, you can rely on us. We make predictability a real art form. Find out more at colorsnap.com.
[ CUTTING IN ]
We’ve done our best to bring forward many of the choices you need to make to create your path to success.
s we compile each issue of inPAINT, something inevitably strikes a chord with me. Sometimes it’s a spot-on quote, sometimes it’s an innovative product, and sometimes, like this time, it’s the recognition of how much work running a job and business actually is. There’s no great epiphany there but this issue brought the scale and scope of things home in a big way. From the seemingly simple stuff such as choosing coatings, applicators and apps, to dealing with big stuff like employee status, business structure options, and major marketing initiatives, we’ve done our best to bring forward many of the choices you need to make to create your path to success. Fortunately, the number of tasks that you need to accomplish is easily matched, if not surpassed, by the number of opinions and experiences of pros who are living the reality every day. And we’re happy to share many of them throughout this issue. As always, we’re grateful to those who took the time to share their views and voices to enrich each article, and we invite you to raise your hand if you’d like to be featured in an upcoming issue—or if you simply have a topic you’d like to see covered. Cheers,
Amanda Haar Amanda Haar Managing Editor, inPAINT editor@inPAINTmag.com
Amanda Haar ART DIRECTOR
Martha MacGregor DESIGNER
Kathryn Heeder Hocker COPY EDITOR
Cindy Puskar CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Oginga Carr Stephanie Conner Brandon Doyle Stacey Freed Debra Gelbart Jake Poinier Brian Sodoma Jim Williams SOCIAL MEDIA
Jillian McAdams PUBLISHED BY
REM Publishing Group LLC 6501 E. Greenway Pkwy., Suite 103–273 Scottsdale, AZ 85254 ADVERTISE
inPAINT Editorial Advisory Board 0 Tara Carter, Managing Director, Luxe 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
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 Kristopher Toth, Owner, Toth Painting Solutions
COVER: The conference room wall at IdeaPaint’s Boston headquarters is transformed into a highly functional workspace with the company’s White Dry Erase Paint.
©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. Aug/Sep 2016 | inPAINT
inPAINT® Aug/Sep 2016
CONTENTS FEATURES Think Outside the Cube
Coatings for office spaces
Match Maker, Money Maker?
A look at how online lead-generation services promise to benefit pros
Rollers and brushes you may be missing out on
Pros on their go-to exterior stains
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
DEPARTMENTS 6 The News
38 Business Profile
Industry ins and outs
Hester Painting & Decorating
40 Tools of the Trade
A fast look at the forces at work in our industry
What’s in today’s professional toolbox?
9 Trend in Focus
Wallcoverings making a comeback
5 secrets to success as an HR department of one
10 Ask a Pro
45 Upcoming Events
Getting work in the off-season
The what, where and when of the industry’s leading events
12 Work Smart
46 Bottom Line
Smart business structures
Why you should be tracking your digital marketing efforts
Photo Courtesy of Valspar
Continuing education opportunities for pros
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 ppgpaints.com 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.
[ THE NEWS ] Titan Launches Free Coating Connector Smartphone App T Titan Tool has launched the Titan Connector, a free smartphone app for iOS and Android devices. Created for busy paint contractors and professional paint retailer associates, the app makes it possible to instantly access volumes of sprayer and coating information in seconds. Paint contractors can use the app to get recommendations for airless and HVLP sprayers based on coatings used and frequency of spraying, as well as check the compatibility of a sprayer with any coating. Product information pages, product service manuals, recommended accessories, product catalogs, and coupons and promotions are also available via the app. The free app can be downloaded and installed directly from Google Play and iTunes. Visit TitanTool.com/app
Sashco Launches ‘Logs Ain’t Wood’ Web Site T Sashco recently launched a consumer-facing web site called LogsAintWood.com. Intended to inspire and educate consumers on options for staining their log-built properties, the site also includes a ‘find a log contractor’ feature, which connects consumers with log-finishing pros in their area at no cost to the pro or the consumer. Pros are invited to upload company information and, after completion of their first project using Sashco log-home finishing products, upload photos of that project and future projects to the web site where consumers can view the work and connect to them directly.
BLACKER STILL T Dubbed ‘the world’s blackest material,’ Vantablack is now available in a spray to be applied to virtually any surface. Originally introduced in 2014 by Surrey NanoSystems, Vantablack is made up of light-absorbing carbon tubes that trap 99.965% of incoming light. That’s enough light to make 3D objects appear 2D. The spray version, Vantablack S-VIS, absorbs up to 99.8% of incoming light, defying spectrometers, which are unable to quantify its blackness. Surreynanosystems.com
STATE-OF-THE-ART COLOR-MEASUREMENT TECHNOLOGY GOES RETAIL T Datacolor, a global leader in color manage-
ment solutions and color communication technology, recently announced the launch of the Datacolor 200 spectrophotometer. Designed especially for paint retailers and hardware stores, the device contains state-of-the-art color-measurement technology in a compact form. Combined with the new Datacolor PAINT v. 2.0 software, it provides industry-leading color-matching accuracy for paint and coating applications. This new technology reduces the need for calibration from every eight hours to every two weeks, and offers automatic gloss detection for perfect sheen formulation. Datacolor.com/200
Olympic Paints & Stains Achieves GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS’ Title for Largest Paintbrush Mosaic T All it took was 150+ gallons of Olympic MAXIMUM Stain + Sealant in One and 33,000 Wooster brushes for Olympic Paints & Stains to create the largest paintbrush mosaic ever, according to Guinness World Records. Constructed over the course of a month-long tour of 21 Lowe’s stores, the 350-square-foot mosaic features an image of Adirondack chairs overlooking a colorful sunset. Hundreds of shoppers and guests dipped paint brushes in the Olympic stain and added them to the ‘canvas’ to complete the final image. To see the mural under construction, visit Facebook.com/olympicpaintandstain
Get That Unique Touch Feather softness, balanced flex, or extra strength . . . whatever the preference, Wooster Ultra/Pro is the brush for you. Three distinct filament blends suit the environmental conditions, paints, and pressures of any job you encounter. And all of them provide the high production and super precise cut-in you expect from Wooster.
The Wooster Brush Company • 800-392-7246 • woosterbrush.com
[ TRENDS ]
Winning the War on Graffiti According to Keep America Beautiful, quick action is key to reducing the rate of graffiti recurrence.
Removal Response Time
1 YR 3 MOS 1 MO
The number of gallons of leftover paint that PaintCare anticipates processing in 2016.
2 WKS 1 WK 48 HRS 24 HRS
Predicted Rate of Recurrence SOURCE: KAB.org
More Work for Wallcovering Pros What Keeps You Up at Night According to the 2016 Houzz State of the Industry report, the top three challenges for general contractors, remodelers and builders are: 1 Increased cost of doing business 2 Shortage of subcontractors 3 Consumers overly concerned about costs SOURCE: Houzz.com 8
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
In the past year, the demand for wallpaper installation has grown 227%, per Thumbtack. - Homeowners requesting wall coverings are looking for wallpaper installation in one room vs. multiple rooms or the whole house. - Vinyl wallpaper is surprisingly popular (makes up ~30% of requests). - Bathrooms/powder rooms, children’s rooms and nurseries are the most popular rooms for wallpaper. SOURCE: Thumbtack.com
HARVEST TIME A gathering of ‘harvest’ colors from 5 major paint manufacturers: SHERWIN-WILLIAMS
HARVEST GOLD SW2858
HARVEST TIME DE5208
AUTUMN HARVEST PPG119-7
HARVEST MOON 2167-30
BEHR PROCESS CORPORATION
HARVEST BROWN 710D-4
[ TREND IN FOCUS ]
Wallcoverings Making a Comeback INNOVATIONS ADD INTEREST AND APPEAL
DEPENDING UPON YOUR AGE, you may remember that in the ’70s and early ’80s, wallpapers featuring blue geese and lots of florals were the musthave in many homes. Then, in the late ’80s, pre-pasted wallpaper hit the market and homeowners slapped up even more paper and patterns. Fast-forward five or so years later when those same DIYers grew tired of their must-have motifs and attempted to remove it themselves. “To say they didn’t know what they were doing is putting it mildly,” says Vincent LaRusso, president of the Wallcovering Installers Association (WIA). “They didn’t just make a mess of the job, many actually ended up damaging their walls. And that was pretty much all it took to give wallpaper a bad name.” In short order, wallpaper sales plummeted from a robust multibillion per year to just several hundred million per year by the end of the ’90s. However, in the past few years, major manufacturers have begun to note an appreciable uptick in interest and sales. New technologies, new demand Jon Sherman, president of Flavor Paper, says his company has enjoyed a major bump in sales in recent years, and especially this year. “It’s been a blend of commercial and residential work; more residential jobs numbers wise but bigger budgets on the commercial side,” says Sherman. Sherman attributes the increased interest in wallcoverings to the fact that you can do a lot aesthetically with them. “Compared to paint, wallcoverings offer more variety, depth and branding opportunities. With digital technology, you can customize coverings to reinforce your brand and add interest to the workplace. For example, instead of painting their conference room walls white, Google has a foggy San Francisco bay mural on the wall … conveying brand essence is much more of a millennial way to build recognition as opposed to the old-school ‘here’s your logo’ approach.” Healthy hospitality According to Greg Laux, technical director at MDC Wallcoverings, “MDC’s commercial sales are tethered to the health of the economy and hospitality. When the economy was slow between 2008 and 2010, many hospitality companies put a hold on renovations. But
when things turned around in 2011, renovations kicked back into high gear and sales have been very positive ever since.” Laux notes that wallcoverings are the go-to choice for hospitality venues due their durability and design. “You can take an aging property and literally transform a hallway overnight in a way you simply can’t with paint. Plus, wallcoverings hold up to maid carts and luggage bumps much better than even the most durable paint,” says Laux. Home chic home Thanks to innovations in production and design, wallcoverings make it possible for customers to achieve any look or vibe they want. “Natural themes are really big on the residential side,” says Laux. “You can get coverings made from wood, stone, bamboo, grasses, and virtually every kind of bark, including banana bark.” Sherman notes a growing interest in oversized florals and color-changing inks, and adds that LED coverings are really trending. Literally embedded with LED lights, these pricey coverings bring a bit of drama and a lot of ambience to a space. While these new innovations answer a number of specific consumer desires, they’re often too delicate for commercial use, and require professional installation.
“Compared to paint, wallcoverings offer more variety, depth and branding opportunities.” —JON SHERMAN, FLAVOR PAPER
Keeping current is key Formerly known as National Guild of Professional Paperhangers, the 600-member WIA is where both buyers and manufacturers turn for professional help. LaRusso says, “Coverings are evolving so quickly that it’s important for pros to stay current on techniques specific to different manufacturers. The WIA offers accredited courses ranging from the basics of installation to handling highly specialized papers.” WIA’s member directory is accessible to consumers and manufacturers. Sherman of Flavor Paper adds, “Finding qualified installers isn’t always easy. But when customers ask, we send them to the WIA.”
Aug/Sep 2016 | inPAINT
[ ASK A PRO ]
Q: What's your approach to getting \
work during the off season?
TERRY BEGUE, owner of
A: After almost 40 years in the business, we have
Begue Painting, Inc. in Hartville, Ohio, has been in the painting industry since 1978. Begue prefers to focus on residential exteriors, and doesn’t work on new construction. He has become the local go-to expert in painting aluminum or cedarsided homes. With a crew of just three painters and himself, Begue paints more than 100 homes each year, April through November. He credits his high volume to his house-a-day painting system, combined with the ability to communicate high value to his customers. Begue wrote an e-book, The Wealthy House Painters Guide to Having It All, and created ‘The 4 Abilities’ (the4abilities.com) program, which helps business owners generate more business.
From August through October I let people know about our winterize and cleanup specials: I offer caulking around windows and doors; also, pressure washing the house, which includes washing the roof and chimney. For an upcharge, we’ll pressure wash the sidewalk, clean gutters, cut back branches and pull dead tree limbs from roofs. We offer small carpentry repair; for example, fixing loose siding and spouting or securing a fascia board. We replace rotted wood; we even take off shutters, repaint them in my shop, and put them back in place when the weather’s better. In October and November, I call on customers whose exteriors we painted in the past few summers to see if they have any interior painting needs. I guarantee them we’ll be in and out before the holidays. To market these services, I mail fliers to 300 or 400 of my most recent customers, offering our services. We usually get 30 to 40 calls and we’ll close on 20 to 40 jobs from that. Sometimes calls come from people seeing our job signs, and sometimes we look at houses that need painting and then we’ll approach the homeowner and let them know that we’re in their neighborhood.
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
a customer base of more than 4,000. That’s who I turn to for work in the non-summer months.
Another service I’ve offered to fill in the winter work lull is Christmas lighting installation. The average price for a standard residential Christmas light installation is roughly $1,400 for a few hours of work. And, most of that is profit. A small company (two or three installers) can take in more than $100,000 during the three months of the season. Wallpaper is another off-season service that’s worked well for me. It’s labor-intensive and most homeowners don’t know how to remove it—nor have the time to. For the contractor, a one-time purchase of a few lowcost wallpaper-removal tools … and you’re ready to go. The best part is, it’s all profit! We see higher margins removing wallpaper than we do painting interiors. Finally, I’m not opposed to using loss leaders to gain business. For example, I’ll offer free plaster or drywall repair (within reason) for three or more rooms to be painted, or I’ll paint four rooms for the price of three. Many times, my company makes little or no profit, but it provides a paycheck and keeps us working. The key is to stay busy and keep the momentum going, even when you’re not profitable. I believe in the adage, “Nothing succeeds like the appearance of success.”
©2015 Benjamin Moore & Co. All trademarks are registered trademarks of their respective owner.
NEW KITCHEN CABINETS. NOW AVAILABLE IN A CAN. CABINET COAT has aggressive adhesion and is self-leveling, giving your customers a furniture finish. No matter the problem, INSL-X® has the solution. Visit insl-x.com.
[ WORK SMART ]
LLC, S CORP, C CORP, PARTNERSHIP―WHAT’S THE BEST STRUCTURE FOR YOUR PAINT BUSINESS?
STRUCTURING YOUR COMPANY BY BRIAN SODOMA
RODNEY NASH HAS BEEN PART OF HIS FAMILY’S PAINTING AND CONTRACTING BUSINESS, W.W. NASH & SONS, INC., IN RICHMOND, VA SINCE 1963. His father started the original company in 1946 and, through the years, Nash has seen several family members come and go as partners in the enterprise. Today, at 74, the company VP is nearing retirement himself, and is now readying W.W. Nash’s next generation of leaders to run the company, which includes his own son and daughter. 12
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
Through the years, W.W. Nash has adhered to a simple, straightforward business structure. It has operated as an S corporation (S corp) for quite some time, a move primarily driven by tax savings, Nash said. Further, every time a family member is added to the company as a partner, internal documents, reviewed by an attorney, are drawn up to explain that person’s duties and title within the company. In addition, language is crafted that spells out payments to a surviving spouse if the partner passes away. “If I pass away, my wife gets paid the book value of my part of the company’s current value,” Nash said. A surviving spouse does not automatically become a partner, he clarified. The payout approach, he adds, is a better way to keep the company operating smoothly. “You don’t want someone’s spouse to come in and start calling the shots. That person doesn’t necessarily know the business.” Unfortunately, there are plenty of contractors who are less meticulous with their company structure and governing documents. These business owners may end up making mistakes that could result in overpaying on taxes or, even worse, legal disputes with partners or clients. Several small-business experts recently weighed in on exactly how the right business structure and documentation can help you minimize risk and reap tax rewards. The LLC advantage Karen Mitchell, CPA, coauthor of Contractor’s Guide to QuickBooks Pro, and author of The Organized New Business and other books for small-business owners, says it’s important to pay attention to that time when the business is no longer a part-time side gig or hobby. That’s usually the time you should start thinking of filing paperwork with the state to protect your small, but growing, enterprise. “You shouldn’t hesitate setting up an LLC (limited liability company) as soon as you know this is not a hobby anymore,” she added. An LLC brings legal protection. If a client or competitor wants to sue a business owner, he or she can only go after the assets of the business, not the owner’s personal assets, explains Eric Franklin, an associate professor of law at University of Nevada, Las Vegas’
William S. Boyd School of Law, and director of the university’s Small Business & Nonprofit Legal Clinic. Franklin says paint pros can be vulnerable to liability due to the very nature of their business. Working at a home, for example, a resident could trip on equipment. A property owner’s personal items could be damaged by workers. These are only a couple of examples of things that can go wrong—and lead to legal problems—for a painting contractor.
“… once your net income is $50,000 or more … it’s worth it to move to an S corp.” —KAREN MITCHELL, CPA AND AUTHOR
Virtually any project, any surface, every job.
Indoors. Outdoors. Walls. Wood floors. Trim. Archways. Whatever you’re masking, save time and rework by choosing the right tape for your project. With sharp paint lines, clean removal and protection from paint bleed, our full line of products gives you incredible results the first time. Find the right tape at ScotchBlue.com.
Pull Off a Better Paint Job © 3M 2016. All rights reserved. 3M, ScotchBlue and the BLUE color of the tape are trademarks of 3M.
PRODUCTION Job# SBLU-16-1289
PLATINUM PORTFOLIO AD 2016 | inPAINT IINPAINT HALF PAGE Aug/Sep ISLAND AE: NP PM: JA AD: MB CW: MB PA: SD
“When I meet with all businesses for the first time, the first questions I ask involve trying to figure out how much liability they have,” Franklin added. “The LLC was designed by lawyers and accountants with the small business in mind.” Each state’s filing fees are different but it’s usually only a few hundred dollars annually to create and maintain an LLC; most of it can be done on a state’s secretary of state web site. After setting up the LLC, make sure you open a checking account for the business and maintain all business expenses and revenues separately from personal finances, Mitchell added. Avoid commingling company dollars with personal funds. Commingling could compromise the legal protections afforded to an LLC and allow a plaintiff to argue that seizing a business owner’s personal assets is justified since the owner did not separate personal and business funds. “That’s where we see guys go wrong. Someone sets up the LLC and is a single member. They don’t go through the formality of setting up a business bank account with the business tax ID and are commingling personal funds with business funds,” added Ken Van Bree, partner-in-charge with RubinBrown LLP’s Construction Services Group in St. Louis, MO. Sole proprietorships, S corps, tax advantages After creating an LLC, many small businesses will be taxed as a sole proprietorship. It’s the default business form, adds Franklin, if you do not choose to incorporate or file additional paperwork with the state. Under a sole proprietorship, an owner would simply include his or her business revenue and expenses on their personal tax return by incorporating a Schedule C, or ‘Profit or Loss From Business’ form.
“ The LLC was designed by lawyers and accountants with the small business in mind.” —ERIC FRANKLIN, UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS’ WILLIAM S. BOYD SCHOOL OF LAW
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
But once you reach a certain revenue level, you can find tax benefits by becoming an LLC with an S corp election through the IRS, Mitchell notes. “You only move from a sole proprietorship once your net income is $50,000 or more; then it’s worth it to move to an S corp,” she explained. An S corp election allows you to pay yourself a salary so that you are paying taxes throughout the year and are not surprised with a high tax bill later. But the greatest S corp tax benefit comes with the net income your company posts after your salary and other expenses are paid. Under an S corp, these funds are not subject to the IRS’ 15.3% (12.4% to Social Security and 2.9% to Medicare) self-employment tax. So, for example, if you have $140,000 in total business revenue, but material and labor costs are $25,000; your payroll is $50,000 and there are overhead (business) expenses of $15,000, you would have a net profit of $50,000 that would be taxed at your personal income tax rate. If you were operating as a sole proprietorship, however, that $50,000 would be subject to the additional 15.3% tax. S corps, however, come with some limitations. The entity must have fewer than 100 shareholders and the members of the S corp must have payroll processed with taxes taken out and paid during the year, or at least twice during the year, not just at year-end. C corps C Corps are an entity that is taxed separately from its owners. Because a C corp has two levels of tax—on the income it earns and on the dividends to shareholders—it is usually not preferred by most business owners. Most small businesses and family businesses are operated as S corps. It’s very uncommon to see a contractor operating as a C corp, says Chris Coleman, a partner in RubinBrown LLP’s Construction Services Group. The consultant does, however, sometimes see smaller contractors operating under this structure. It is usually a case where the entity was formed as a C corp a long time ago and new leaders may not yet understand the benefits of switching to an S corp. “You’ll see some legacy institutions where inertia has gotten the best of them and they have not converted yet,” he added.
After setting up the LLC, make sure you open a checking account for the business and maintain all business expenses and revenues separately from personal finances. —KAREN MITCHELL, CPA AND AUTHOR
Partnership trip ups Franklin cautions small-business owners with partnerships. In order for an entity to become a general partnership, no written agreements are required, he explained, which “brings with it legal defaults with potentially dire consequences,” he noted. For example, two people could have an oral agreement to be partners, then open a storefront or lease space together. If one partner does not fulfill his financial requirements, the other person may be left paying the whole bill without much of a chance at recourse. “I think a lot of people form a general partnership without knowing it,” Franklin said. He adds, “You can have a partnership hoisted on you based on action and agreements without signing anything.” Franklin recommends creating internal documents like operating agreements that clearly divvy up expenses, decision-making authority, and other responsibilities. W.W. Nash is a good example of how partnership documentation can really work to keep every member on the same page about their responsibilities to the business. For more information about business structures, tax benefits and corporate documents for partnerships, contractors can also visit the U.S. Small Business Administration at SBA.gov; and valuable tax information can also be found by searching IRS.gov using key words like ‘S corp’ and ‘C corp.’ Nash says his team consults with attorneys and accountants when company documents are added or changed. Mitchell said many legal or accounting experts are open to doing free initial consultations. “Most accountants and attorneys will spend half an hour free just to go over some of this stuff,” she added.
Saving time and money just got easier. 3M™ Hand-Masker™ Straight Cut Blade Make prep work faster and easier with the new blade assembly that keeps the cutting edge and film roll parallel for a straight cut — even on long, hard-to-cut films. That means less time and materials, better coverage and increased accuracy.* Together with the 3M™ Hand-Masker™ M3000 Dispenser, it’s the do-it-all masking tool.
Visit 3M.com/HandMasker. *Compared to the standard 3M™ Hand-Masker™ Film Blade (FB12). © 3M 2016. 3M, Hand-Masker and the BLUE color of the tape are trademarks of 3M.
Aug/Sep 2016 | inPAINT
TRADE ADS 1/2 PG ISL AD
The paint market offers many low- or zero-VOC coatings that are both durable and aesthetically pleasing for commercial environments. As a paint pro, you may be looked to for guidance on the best products, tints or color schemes for a space. In these situations, sometimes leaning on a familiar brand isnâ€™t enough, particularly in office environments where, depending on the tenant, paint product needs can vary from room to room or
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
Photo Courtesy of IdeaPaint. Photo by Culton Photography
THINK OUTSIDE THE CUBE: COATINGS FOR OFFICE SPACES
BY BRIAN SODOMA
hallway to hallway. Sparking up a conversation with a building owner or manager about what coating is best for certain situations can help you rise above the competition. Keep the following insights in mind when it comes to suggesting the best coatings for office environments. Talk about pain Rick Williams, VP of Williams Professional Painting in Alexandria, VA, says it’s important to be proactive when walking an office repaint job. Williams wants to know how many people typically use a space, where the high-traffic areas are, and he has his eyes and ears open for any unique problem areas. “Use your common sense when seeing a space, and think about what product is best for walking that line between cosmetics and durability,” he added. “Flat always looks best but it doesn’t hold up the best. There tends to be a sweet spot with eggshell.” Kristin McNamara, Sherwin-Williams’ director of wholesale marketing for homebuilder and commercial products, adds: “A great question to ask is what their biggest challenge is when it comes to their current space. This is often much more insightful than asking ‘what is important to you?’ because it helps the owner or manager really narrow in on the biggest pain point that a pro can solve.” Most ‘pain,’ whether it’s excessive touch-ups or high-traffic-area needs, can be solved by choosing the right paint, McNamara adds. “A comment like ‘this lobby will likely be a space where there will be people leaning against walls, so I recommend a coating that offers more durability and will withstand repeated washing’ is powerful in that it shows that you understand the challenge and can offer a solution,” she also noted. Working the job site and VOCs It’s also important to understand what the job site will look like when the paint crew is there. Will people still be working in the space when your team is trying to hit its work deadlines? Will you need to schedule crews for off-hours? These are all important questions that not only impact payroll but also product decisions, added Brian Osterried, PPG Paints’ product manager. “If it’s going to be occupied while painting, zero-VOC paints should be a part of the conversation,” he added.
Some jobs may still require epoxy coatings for door jams or handrails—some of which may be solvent-based—Williams noted, which could impact scheduling. Osterried said PPG’s BREAK-THROUGH!, a low-VOC, waterborne acrylic paint, is a popular alternative to solvent-based paints for high-durability situations. It’s also fast-drying and brings very little odor for those jobs that require painting while a company’s staff is still in the building. “You’re not sacrificing anything as far as durability,” he added.
Understanding the end-user’s needs, preferences and budget is key to finding the best coatings and colors for their workspace. —DEE SCHLOTTER, PPG PAINTS
PRO GRADE PRECISION
ULTRA FLEXIBLE SANDING SHEETS AND ROLLS
SHAPE 3M™ PRO GRADE PRECISION™ Ultra Flexible Sanding Sheets and Rolls
Available at The Home Depot.
Available in multiple grits.
Get your hands on 3M™ PRO GRADE PRECISION™ Ultra Flexible Sanding Sheets and Rolls. Perfect for flat surfaces, spindles, trim and other hard-to-reach areas. Lasts 15x longer* — plus, it’s clog resistant and can be used wet or dry. The tough film backing resists punctures, tears and creases. Works great for both interior and exterior surfaces.
*Based on backing life during hand sanding when compared to 3M conventional sandpaper of comparable grit. © 3M 2016. All rights reserved. 3M and PRO GRADE PRECISION are trademarks of 3M. U.S. patent pending. This Old House is a registered trademark of This Old House Ventures, LLC. Used by permission. The Home Depot is a registered trademark of Homer TLC, Inc.
PRODUCTION Job# PROG-16-1391
AD INPAINT HALF PAGE ISLAND Aug/Sep 2016 inPAINT AE: TS PM: SC AD: RS CW: MB PA:| SD PUBLICATION: InPaint Magazine ISSUE DATE: JUNE 2016
Breathe easy about air quality Green products have come a long way in the past decade, most paint pros admit. Today, most pros also know the customer doesn’t need to go with a highdollar paint to get low or zero VOC along with great hide and coverage. “Five years ago, if you wanted zero VOC, you had no choice but only the higher-end products, and it could really run the budget up,” Williams added. “Fast forward to today; zero VOC doesn’t mean you have to spend $60 a gallon. In the past, you’d have to explain it’s more expensive and you’d get pushback. Now it’s not a negative; everyone wants it and expects it.” Williams turns to Sherwin-Williams’ ProMar 200 Zero-VOC Interior Latex Paint as well as McCormick Paints’ Revo Paint + Primer in One, a true zero-VOC waterborne interior latex paint, for many office jobs.
“Gray is the new neutral.” —LISA REYES, WILLIAMS PROFESSIONAL PAINTING
Sherwin-Williams’ ProMar 200 line has long been a fixture in office environments, added McNamara noting this line is affordable, too, usually ranging in the $20 to $25 per gallon range. PPG’s workhorse office product is its zero-VOC Pure Performance line, Osterried noted. The premium paint is mold and mildew resistant and is usually priced in the $40 per gallon range. 18
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
Sam Carrillo, Dunn-Edwards Paints’ senior product manager, says its EVEREST ultra-premium zero-VOC line, a higher-end product, is often requested for office jobs. It is self-priming and also ethylene glycol-free. The company’s SPARTAWALL product is also popular for office environments, offering ultra-low-VOC coatings in the $40 to $45 range with good hide and durability at a more competitive price. Some other premium coatings like Sherwin-Williams’ Paint Shield, which is the first EPA-registered microbicidal paint, can even improve overall indoor air quality by killing certain bacteria, McNamara noted. “Paints that contribute to improved indoor air quality are great in new construction or renovation where there may be other materials that are releasing formaldehyde,” she said. “Paints that kill bacteria are great for high-traffic spaces in office settings like hallways, elevators, lobbies and kitchens, where people often touch and lean against walls.” Color and coatings trends If a pro is pressed for color recommendations for an office space, Lisa Reyes, interior designer for Williams Professional Painting, says it’s important to remember that “gray is the new neutral.” Gray offers a modern touch, and is especially popular in lobby areas. She also encourages accent walls with blues and reds. “You don’t want to make a space feel cold; you need those pops of other colors,” she added. Dee Schlotter, PPG Paints’ senior color marketing manager, says with certain companies trying to attract millennial workers, some offices attempt to create more of a campus or village feel. These unconventional environments also lend themselves to grays. Schlotter also likes to pull in nature colors like greens and purples on accent walls, especially at the end of hallways. “It delights the eye and gives that little twist to the brain after all that soft neutral,” she explained. With the drive for more collaborative environments, Williams also sees more whiteboard requests—and not your run-of-the mill hanging whiteboards either. IdeaPaint, a coating available in either clear or white, that serves as a whiteboard surface after it dries, is his go-to product for these situations. “We’ve taken entire conference rooms and had nothing but whiteboards for the walls,” he added. For paint pros, office environments bring a variety of unique needs and situations. Rarely is it a case of choosing one or two paints. Understanding the end-user’s needs, preferences and budget is key to finding the best coatings and colors for their workspace.
Primed for the toughest jobs. Excellent hide and exceptional coverage has made KILZ ÂŽ Primer the choice of professionals for over 40 years. Primer for doing things right. KILZ.com
CONTINUING EDUCATION 0PPORTUNITIES FOR PROS TRAINING AND RESOURCES TO EXPAND YOUR SKILLSâ€•AND YOUR CUSTOMER BASE BY JIM WILLIAMS
Photo Courtesy of Valspar
THE GOOD NEWS: Painting pros are in demand. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of painters to grow 7% through 2024, with expectations for overall job prospects and opportunities for industrial painters and coaters to continue to be excellent in coming years. THE BAD NEWS: Many pros are missing out on opportunities to differentiate themselves in a crowded industry marketplace through training and resources offered by some of the country’s top manufacturers.
HERE’S A LOOK AT WHAT SIX MANUFACTURERS OFFER:
Training Opportunities: Valspar offers several options for the pro. Through ValsparPRO SOLUTIONS, the company offers several continuing education classes that can range from color theory and the basics of painting, to more advanced problem-solving classes. ValsparPRO SOLUTIONS also conducts Productivity Assessment with Valspar customers, training to make pros, property managers, builders or crews more productive on site. “Investing in training for our team is very important,” said Steve Wiezorek, Valspar director of pro product marketing. “Valspar has a national training team and training facility available for our employees, pros and our retail partners. This directly translates to our team being confident in partnering with our pros.” Training is arranged through Valspar retailers and sales reps to meet pros’ training needs; there is no set schedule and classes are free. Contact a Valspar sales rep or call 877-VALSPAR.
Training Opportunities: The PPG Paints brand initially developed its free training program called Pro Partner for its residential repaint customers, which not only offered training on product and application techniques, but also provided ways to make color selection easier, Aug/Sep 2016 | inPAINT
ATTENDEES AT SASHCO’S ZERO FAILURES SEMINAR, LEARNING THE FINER POINTS OF MEDIA BLASTING LOG WALLS.
Photos Courtesy of Sashco
as well as information on other tools available that help to support business owners. The program has since expanded to include customer segments outside of residential repainters. PPG’s Pro Partner training for the commercial contractor primarily focuses on products and application techniques. Pro Partner training for the livable spaces segment— multifamily, student housing, senior living, and government housing—is geared toward maintenance supervisors and maintenance personnel, and provides training on common issues that they may frequently face. “PPG is committed to providing the highest-quality educational resources to professionals,” said Terri Guenthenspberger, PPG’s senior segment marketing manager. “Their success is our success, and PPG equips professionals with the right training, events and classes to further their opportunities and knowledge.”
Pro Partner training programs are free, offered in various regions by city or by a group of cities, and take place periodically throughout the year. Contact a PPG sales rep or reach out to store personnel at a PPG Paints retailer.
Training Opportunities: Sashco offers a Zero Failures Seminar on log finishing and maintenance every spring. Held in its Brighton, CO facility, the intensive two-day seminar focuses on the science of log- and wood-home finishing, maintenance and restoration. Attendees perform hands-on work on their own log wall, practicing the principles they learn during classroom time. Subjects covered include: media blasting, the pros and cons of different stain types, proper sealant application, and more. “The finishing and maintenance of log homes is a highly specialized craft fraught with many opportunities for costly mistakes,” said Nick Burch, Sashco’s brand manager. “Educating contractors on a variety of finishing techniques is critical to achieving our shared goal of providing log-home owners with the longest-lasting stains and sealants for their home. Over the course of 15 years, more than 700 contractors and retailers have graduated from the Zero Failures Seminar. Our goal is to equip attendees with the knowledge they need to go out into the field and make educated decisions at each job. Painters, in particular, have come away with the knowledge they need to expand their business into the log-home-finishing market.” Sachco offers the course two or three times each spring. There is a $700 fee for contractors, which includes all classroom materials, take-home reference manual, transportation between the host hotel, and meals. For more information, call 800-767-5656 or visit Sashco.com
“Our goal is to equip attendees with the knowledge they need to go out into the field and make educated decisions at each job.” —NICK BURCH, SASHCO 22
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
Training Opportunities: Benjamin Moore offers individuals both product and application training by its sales reps, as well as hosting larger events that include true business training such as how to increase your digital presence and broaden your marketing reach. “We recognize the direct connection that a professional’s success has on our own so, to that end, we see education to be a critical focus for us going forward,” said Craig Bunting, director of national account sales and end-user engagement. “Benjamin Moore sells more paint to contractors than to any other customer segment by a very large margin, so the professional is, without question, our priority. We continue to look for new and innovative ways to help propel the professionals’ businesses forward—whether that be through our best-in-class product portfolio or training that helps make them become even more successful than they already are.” Training sessions vary in each market and are free to pros. Contact your local Benjamin Moore sales rep for upcoming opportunities in your area.
has partnered with a leading EPA-certified training provider to bring RRP refresher training to many local markets around the US. These training classes have certified more than 34,000 contractors since 2010. “As the leading paint supplier to pros across the country, we take our commitment to educating pros very seriously,” said Jeff Winter, VP of residential marketing for Sherwin-Williams. “We use the relationships at our local stores to understand the unique training needs of the pros
Training Opportunities: Sherwin-Williams offers three different kinds of training. The first is product-focused, which offers training on Sherwin-Williams’ new and existing products and the ways to achieve the best results from them. Additionally, Sherwin-Williams has relationships with national equipment suppliers like Graco, Titan, 3M, Purdy and Werner to offer local training on their unique product lines. The second type of training helps pros improve their business model. Sherwin-Williams is a National Champion sponsor of PDCA, who it has partnered with to bring industry expert speakers to the markets it serves. Topics include estimating for profit, how to build a team culture, and recruiting and retaining talent. The third type of training is an RRP refresher certification course. Sherwin-Williams Aug/Sep 2016 | inPAINT
ON THE WEB
Looking for a specific training course or to learn the latest industry best practices from your home or office? The Master Painters Institute, Inc.
(MPI) offers professional online training and accreditation courses for a nominal fee. Three levels of training are available, with all course material and exams online. LEVEL 1—Essentials of Paint & Paint Technology provides the basic theoretical knowledge of paints and coatings required for the industry. This includes chemistry, manufacturing, principles of color, application methods, safety, specifications, environmental regulations and compliance
in that market, and then we fill those needs with the appropriate training resources. Our long-time National Champion partnership with the PDCA is another illustration of the commitment Sherwin-Williams has to educating pros. We not only provide training ourselves, but we provide support to organizations like the PDCA that are in the business to train and educate.” All Sherwin-Williams’ training is coordinated by its district leadership teams and occurs in local markets, offering hundreds of training sessions each year for its customers across the country. Each Sherwin-Williams market will generally offer several product-focused training sessions each year at no cost to pros. Contact a Sherwin-Williams sales rep at one of its retail stores via Sherwin-Williams.com/contact-us/sales
practices. Upon successful completion of the course, participants earn the accreditation of ARCHITECTURAL COATING TECHNOLOGIST. LEVEL 2—Coatings Specialist Training is a two-part training program that focuses on mastering the substrates encountered in architectural/commercial painting, and addresses both new construction and repaint projects. Best practices for the 25 most common substrates, surface evaluation and preparation, quality assurance and inspection practices are just some of the topics covered. Upon successful completion of the program, participants earn the following accreditations: MPI LEVEL 2A–Architectural Painting Course: ARCHITECTURAL COATING SPECIALIST MPI LEVEL 2B–Maintenance Repainting Course: MAINTENANCE COATING SPECIALIST LEVEL 3—The third inspection level is an advanced course based on the inspection and quality aspects of the paint and coatings industry. Included is information on how to write detailed paint specifications for both new construction and maintenance projects, protocols for inspection, documenting job quality and specification adherence, and problem identification. Upon successful completion of this course, participants earn the accreditation of PAINT QUALITY ASSURANCE and have the chance to apply for the Professional Education and Knowledge Assessment to obtain the accreditation of MASTER, PAINT QUALITY ASSURANCE and the designation of MPI CERTIFIED ARCHITECTURAL COATINGS INSPECTOR. For more information, visit MPI.net/mpitraining
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
Training Opportunities: ShurTech Brands regularly offers Crew Tape education sessions, which provide an overview of different tape technologies and their applications. They also offer job-site consultation to assist crew, crew leaders and project managers with tape-application decisions. “We are very committed to educating and serving this key segment,” said Diane Walsh, director of market development. “These contractors work hard to deliver professional results to their customers and we want to make their jobs easier, and better in the process. We strive to look for new ways to educate and communicate with pros on not only our products, but best practices for the entire painting industry. One example of our commitment to this segment is that we are currently updating the FrogTape.com web site to include a contractor page so that they can come and get product details that are relevant to their needs and will also help their businesses be more efficient.” One or two free education sessions are scheduled per month or by contractors’ needs. Contact ShurTech at 800-321-0253.
Connect with engaged customers Because your work is your craft, and our craft is highlighting your work.
Get Started Today! Visit angie.li/paint-pro or call 1-888-576-3323
$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $ $ $$$$ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $$$$ $ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $ $ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$$ $ $ $ $ COULD HOME-IMPROVEMENT $ $ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$$ $$$$$ $$$$$ $ $ $ $ LEAD-GENERATION $$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $ $$$ $ $ SERVICES $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $TO $$$$ $ $THE $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $ BE $ KEY BOOSTING $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $YOUR $ $ $BUSINESS? $$$$ $$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $$$$ $ $$$$ $ $$$ $ $$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $ $ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$ $$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $$$$ $ $$$$ $ $$$ $ $$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $ $$ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $Painting $ $ $professionals $ $$$ $ $ $ $ $ $use $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $ who online lead-generation $ $ $ $ $ $ $ tens $$$$ $$$$$ $ $ $ $may be able $$$$ $ $to$earn $ $ $ $ $ services $ up to $ of thousands $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $month $ $ $ $ $of$dollars $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ a if they’re willing to do what it takes $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $ $affiliating $$$$ $ $ $ $ to be$ $successful $$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $ with$ $these $ $services. $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $when $ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $ $ BY DEBRA GELBART $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $$$ $$$$ $ $$$$ $ $ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $
MATCH MAKER, MONEY MAKER? “I pay for being one of three painting pros referred in more than 200 zip codes in eight counties in New Jersey and Pennsylvania,” said Gary Weller, owner of Gary Weller Painting in suburban Philadelphia, of his relationship with Porch.com, which helps homeowners connect with home-improvement professionals. The names of three painters per zip code are provided to consumers who inquire, he said. “I always follow up immediately when I’ve been notified that a potential customer has contacted Porch,” he said. “A customer often will do business with the first pro to contact them after their inquiry.” For being
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
one of three pros available in 200 zip codes, Weller pays about $3,000 a month. But that exposure generates about $40,000 a month in revenue, he said. Porch.com is one of many such services that vary in procedures and approach, but all are intended to connect pros with more customers by extending the professionals’ marketing efforts. Other painting contractors who have used online lead generation say it’s worth the investment. “Realize that you must spend money to make money,” advises Alex Houghton, owner of Tera Painting in Seattle, WA. He said he receives up to 40 leads per month by affiliating with Porch.com How different lead-generation services operate Most home-improvement lead-generation sites connect consumers with contractors in all kinds of fields, including painting. At least two companies specialize exclusively in providing painters to
$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $ $$$$ $ $$$$ $$$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $ $$$ $ $ $ $$$$ $ $$$$ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$$$$ $ $$$$ $ $ $there are$strategies $ $ outside $ $ $ $ $“$We$feel $ $$$$ $ $ $$$$ $$ $ $ $ of online lead generation that $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $ any $ $ $ $ $ $ $be$done alongside $ $ $ $should $ $ $…” $$ $ $ $development $ $ digital business $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$ $$$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $$$$$$$ $$$$$$ $$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$$$ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $$ inquiring customers, because painting is an increasingly sought-after service. One company reports that its professional painter network has grown by 25% in the past three and a-half years, almost twice as much as its overall network of pros has expanded in the same time frame. Recruitment and verification practices, as well as fee structures, vary widely among online lead-generation companies. Some lead-generation companies, including HomeAdvisor, recruit home-improvement professionals in various metropolitan areas, require them to pass a background check, and encourage them to affiliate with the company for a fee. The typical painting pro who signs up with HomeAdvisor pays about $400 each month for connections with potential customers. Angie’s List focuses on consumers driving traffic to contractors in cities across the U.S. through online reviews, but has begun connecting customers with pros through a service called LeadFeed, which costs a painting pro $30 per interior project lead and $40 per exterior project lead. Porch.com encourages pros to sign up with the company and offers the option for the contractor to become a verified, endorsed provider. The service, called Porch Guarantee, is only available to subscription pros and is part of the services they receive. Subscription rates for painters start at $250 per month. At least one company, Thumbtack, lets a pro sign up and then charges the contractor through what are known as ‘credits’ to provide quotes to potential customers. The typical cost to provide a quote for each painting project is about eight credits, or $13.36 ($1.67 per credit, available at a lower cost when credits
—MIKE RUSSELL, PAINTZEN
are bought in bulk). If a painter submits a quote, say five times a week, his or her monthly expenditure with Thumbtack would be approximately $267. The painters-only site Paintzen.com doesn’t charge either painters or customers to connect. Rather, the company takes a commission on the labor cost, which it prices based on a customer’s answers to specific questions about a prospective job. The commission ranges from 15% to 25%, depending on the complexity of the project.
Aug/Sep 2016 | inPAINT
Another painters-only site, EasyPaint, provides a quote for a job online or in person, assigns the job to a licensed, background-checked, insured and experienced painter, and manages the transaction, paying the painter within 48 hours of job completion. For these services, the company takes a commission of 10%–20% per project, depending on the project’s complexity. Painters don’t pay a membership or subscription fee. More about each company HomeAdvisor professional recruits undergo a criminal and financial background check prior to joining the company’s network, said Brooke Gabbert, VP of corporate communications for the company. “Once they’re approved, they pay a membership fee to be part of the network, as well a project fee, which varies by task.” By the end of this year, Angie’s List will have eliminated its paywall for consumers wanting to access verified reviews and replaced it with a ‘freemium’ model. Access to contractor reviews will be offered at no charge, but consumers still will be charged for what the company calls ‘premium’ services, such as an emergency hotline that guarantees a prequalified handyman in your home within hours of a call. With LeadFeed, said Cheryl Reed, director of external communications for Angie’s List,
CAVEAT CONTRACTOR Some sales experts aren’t fans of the ‘one size fits all’ leadgeneration concept. Bernie Heer, who helps businesses boost sales with his proprietary sales-growth system (BernieHeer.com), contends that online lead generators are concerned mainly with attracting eyeballs to their sites. They “seek to develop a flow of leads to themselves—with little to no focus on lead quality—then ask contractors to pay for access to their lead traffic,” said Heer. “To build the traffic they need, they have to be attractive to
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
people who are looking for contracting service,” he said. “Their role is not to help contractors, it is to serve shoppers and buyers of contracting services. As such, they almost all focus on price— low prices—as the factor that buyers should base their decision upon. They are essentially saying that all painters are the same, the results the buyer gets are the same, the customer experience is the same, so you might as well choose the lowest price. And then negotiate it even lower.” “Professional painting contractors’ best way to find customers is to use the money they could pay the online lead-generation
participating contractors appropriate for a project are messaged, “signaling that there’s a job available if they want it. The first one to accept it is matched with the consumer. It’s essentially a way to fill capacity at a very small price point.” Porch.com offers two ways for professionals to access homeowner project requests—a subscription model and a brand-new non-subscription payper-lead model for which pricing was still being developed at press time, said Jessica Piha, director of communications for the company. “For professionals willing to make a monthly commitment, they have access to volume discounts and additional perks,” Piha said. Porch.com is the exclusive instore and online resource for Lowe’s across the U.S. Thumbtack is a pay-per-quote system where pros buy credits and use them to send quotes to customers, explained Marideth Post, director of consumer communications. “Pay-per-quote means you only pay to quote, so we don’t charge commission on jobs you complete or on future projects with the same customer,” she said. All Paintzen.com contracting candidates must complete a 15-question painter’s exam before even being considered for a project, explained CEO Mike Russell. They must also clear a criminal background check and provide three solid references. “Once candidates have successfully cleared these checkpoints,” he said, “they’re sent out on
companies to do their own marketing,” Heer said. “They should have a great web site built and spend some money with a knowledgeable SEO consultant to optimize it, so that potential customers searching for them online will find them before they find the lead-generation companies’ sites. Established companies with a significant customer base are best served by focusing their marketing dollars on driving more referrals from prior customers and other referral sources, such as email marketing, customer appreciation events and the cornerstone of every referraldriven business, a paper-and-ink newsletter.
a job with an established crew to demonstrate their professionalism. When candidates have been approved by a crew, they’re able to take on projects of their own.” “We have a company mission of building the world’s most trusted and convenient paint contracting experience available,” said Marty Cornish, CEO of EasyPaint. “We do a significant amount of research on existing solutions, but the overwhelming majority of what we offer comes from our team’s innovations.” Decisions, decisions So is it a good idea to sign up with one or more of these sites? If your business is relatively young and you’re trying to build a customer base, it may be worth it, as Weller and Houghton maintain. “Our leads have doubled since joining Porch.com in April of 2014,” Weller said. But you must be willing to respond quickly to a quote request or other type of customer inquiry, he said. And you should be willing to travel to several zip codes and spend a lot of time providing project estimates to potential customers, unless the service you sign up with creates the estimates for you. Houghton advises signing with more than one initially. “Once you find your niche, I recommend developing your profile with the site that works for you, and cultivating that community and their needs,” he said, adding that cost is the biggest drawback to signing with lead-generation companies. “Word of mouth is the cheapest and best referral, but when you need to grow, be prepared to spend money on marketing.” Do the work to get the work The CEOs of the painting-focused leadgeneration sites make it clear that painting pros must do more than simply sign up with their companies to market their businesses. “The painting industry is traditionally done off-line,” said Paintzen’s Russell, “so in our experience, many consumers are still comfortable with more old-fashioned ways of finding painters. We feel there are strategies outside of online lead generation that should be done alongside any digital business development, so that we don’t miss those users. Working to generate more wordof-mouth and general awareness of a painting service and how it can make customers’ lives easier is important to capturing a wider range of customers.” “It helps to have multiple channels for acquiring customers,” Cornish said. “That diversification, rather than a single source, tends to
be the winning strategy. That being said, we are seeing some of our partners getting close to 100% of their business from EasyPaint, and a lot of company owners across the country I’ve spoken with have had success on Thumbtack, Angie’s List and others, so there’s no question companies are leveraging technology to grow. No matter what comes from the technology revolution that is happening in paint contracting now, word of mouth will always be the best way to get customers, so it remains critical to do great work and let your customers speak to others on your behalf.”
“It helps to have multiple channels for acquiring customers. That diversification, rather than a single source, tends to be the winning strategy.” —MARTY CORNISH, EASYPAINT
I joined Summit in 2009. Since then, our revenue has grown over 400% and I have a solid team around me. Summit is, by far, the best money I’ve invested in my business. - Sean Kennedy, Owner Kennedy Painting St. Louis
Find out how other painting contractors are growing their business & profits with Summit. • Personal Coaching • Peer Groups • Hiring Help • Sales Training • Build Systems • Crew Training and much more...
For more information, contact us at
summitservicesinc.com or (610) 449-0960
Aug/Sep 2016 | inPAINT
UNDERAPPRECIATED APPLICATORS ROLLERS AND BRUSHES YOU MAY BE MISSING OUT ON
Let’s face it: We’re all creatures of habit. It’s easy to find tools that you trust after years on the job, sometimes to the point that you ignore other options that might make jobs go easier or faster. inPAINT® asked four industry experts about the unsung heroes of the applicator world … read how they answered on page 32.
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
BY JAKE POINIER
THERE’S A FINE LINE BETWEEN PASSION AND OBSESSION. AND WE CROSS IT WITH EVERY STROKE. We admit that our desire for perfectly crafted paint tools can border on the extreme. But when your customers get their hands on our professional brushes and experience the exceptional performance and outstanding balance, they’ll be glad that we are the way we are. Obsessive? Maybe. Well worth it to satisfy your customers? Absolutely.
FOR MORE PASSIONATE SALES, CONTACT YOUR CORONA REP OR CALL 800.458.3483.
THE WOOSTER BRUSH COMPANY
Wooster’s Pipe Painter adjusts to paint different diameter pipes.
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
“Immediately, what comes to mind is the Wooster Jumbo-Koter series, which are like mini-rollers on steroids,” says Russ Taylor, a manufacturer’s representative for The Wooster Brush Company. Unlike normal mini-rollers, which embed the roller mechanism in the roller itself, the Jumbo-Koters are a series of frames and 4-1/2" and 6-1/2" covers that correspond with the company’s regular roller naps. “Mini-rollers were originally designed to get into small spaces, like behind a fridge or toilet, but they’ve evolved into a trim tool,” Taylor says. “Wooster’s design, 25% bigger in diameter than most mini-rollers, gives the greater paint capacity to be a true trim tool, plus it matches up with all the standard roller fabrics we have.” The wider array of nap options enable you to get the same stipple on the trim as the body of the wall, while also providing better mechanical performance. Rollers are available with fabric-wrapped ends to get into corners, as well as closed ends. The Jumbo-Koter frames have plenty of options within the line. The Flip Frame model adjusts in 90˚ increments to paint in challenging areas, such as fascia boards, while the Pipe Painter features dual cages to paint different diameter pipes.
“I still see a lot of painters using the cheap mini-rollers to do these same jobs, but they’re not up to the task in the field,” Taylor says. “They’re typically imports; the rolling mechanism and cover will freeze up—and instead of a nice imprint, you get a smear. Spending just a little more on the frame and these covers, you get a consistent look, and they carry enough paint that you’re not constantly dipping in the bucket.” MICHAEL WAKSMAN
CORONA BRUSHES, INC. “The underused brush of ours that comes to mind is the Mt. Dora,” says Michael Waksman of Corona Brushes, Inc. “It’s a huge time-saver compared to a smaller brush for areas where a roller can’t be used, or where you need to have the control of a brush. It’s built to hold a lot of paint and, with Corona’s hand-formed chisel, it’s going to cut sharp as a knife. The Mt. Dora really is a beautiful brush and would do well right alongside a painter’s trim brushes and rollers.” The bristles on the Mt. Dora are 100% solid-round-tapered DuPont Tynex nylon for maximum durability, proper flex, and paint pick up and release, with deep flagg tips created in-house for smooth paint finishing. Waksman also notes that the unlacquered hardwood grip handle detaches for use with an extension pole to get to those hard-to-reach areas.
PROFORM TECHNOLOGIES, INC. Carrie Lefforge, director of operations at Proform Technologies, Inc. makes a pitch for the company’s Picasso line of brushes. “For hundreds of years, every paintbrush has been made pretty much the same way,” she says. “You have a handle and a knot, held together with a ferrule, a stainless steel piece that has screws or something to hold it together. But there’s nothing to hold the handle to the knot other than the ferrule.” The Picasso, which came on the market in 2009, uses a patented interior construction with a primary epoxy that binds the filament, and two set screws embedded in additional epoxy that fills the gap between the handle and the brush knot. “There’s no space inside the Picasso, which has what we call a hardline interior—it’s a solid piece from tip to tip, so it can’t come loose between the handle and the knot,” Lefforge says. “It makes it more durable. In fact, the ferrule on ours is totally cosmetic—you could take it off and it would function the same.” The unique construction also offers a side benefit: When using a brush after it’s been cleaned, we’ve all had the water or solvent trickle back down our arm. There’s nowhere in the Picasso for liquids to pool up—so no more drips.
bristles by mechanically putting split ends on every tip of the filaments to hold more paint and deliver a smooth and even release. “Being more efficient means you’re making more money,” Schneider says. “When I’m training people, I use this illustration: Say that spending $3 more on a better tool can save you 15 minutes a day. If you work 225 days a year, that totals up to almost 60 labor hours—or almost 600 hours if you’ve got a crew of 10. When you’re looking at the top line and bottom line—and labor costs that can be $50 an hour in some markets— that’s a substantial return on investment.”
Corona’s Mt. Dora is “… a huge time-saver for areas where a roller can’t be used …” —MICHAEL WAKSMAN, CORONA BRUSHES
Using the right minirollers makes painting so
PURDY “For us, it’s the Pro-Extra brush line,” says Bruce Schneider, marketing manager and training coordinator at Purdy. “It’s specifically designed for pros—a little larger than the other brush families and holds more filament.” In addition to holding more paint, the three filaments in Pro-Extra brushes offer a unique blend to maximize the benefits of different filament types, too. “All of them are DuPont fibers,” Schneider says. “First, you have Tynex, which is the original nylon from the ’50s used in synthetic brushes, and that makes it resistant to wearing down from abrasive surfaces. The next is a polyester bristle, Orel, which is a good additive to help stabilize and add rigidity to the brush when heat and humidity are higher. Then, the final type is Chinex, which simulates China bristle. By combining them, it’s a way of getting the best of all three worlds.” In addition, Purdy employs a proprietary flagging process, trying to imitate China
Jumbo-Koter system ®
It’s the original that others have tried, but failed, to copy. Smooth-spin cage frames delight, never drag. Every frame in the line works with both 4½- and 6½-inch Jumbo-Koter miniroller sizes, made with Wooster branded fabrics. For faster cut-in and invisible blending, the Jumbo-Koter miniroller system is the ultimate treat.
The Wooster Brush Company • 800-392-7246 • woosterbrush.com
Aug/Sep 2016 | inPAINT
1 FROM OUR PRO:
Skip Byers, owner of Log Home Maintenance and Supply in Denver, CO, has worked with wood for more than 25 years— including staining and restoring log homes. Since 2008, he’s been in the business of selling products to contractors and homeowners to care for their log homes. His top stain pick? Sashco’s Transformation Stain, Log and Timber. “I have it on the exterior of my own log home,” he says. Byers likes the stain’s look and the wide array of color options available. “It shows the grain nicely,” he says. “It has a glossy sheen, but it’s not too shiny or fakelooking.” The durability is a factor as well. “Most of our customers are high in the Colorado mountains, and there’s intense sun at those high elevations,” he says. “Nothing lasts longer than this.”
SIX PROS ON THEIR GO-TO EXTERIOR STAINS BY STEPHANIE CONNER DEPENDING UPON YOUR LOCATION, wood exteriors can take a beating: snow, wind, strong sun, heavy rains. And every project is different. Siding, decks and railings—never mind different types of wood—may call for different stains, so it’s wise to study up on the stain characteristics that will work best for your project.
OUR PROS: 1 SKIP BYERS
3 LUIS DOMINGUEZ
Careful Painting, Inc. CarefulPainting.com
4 RAY RAHNI
5 TOM LOPATOSKY 6 MATTHEW SMITH
Paint Track Painting Services PaintTrack.com
2 MARK LANGE
Log Home Maintenance and Supply LogHomeMaintenanceandSupply.com
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
LOPCO Contracting LopcoContracting.com
Dominguez Expert Painters (970) 406-0314
Chameleon Colors, Inc. ChameleonColorsInc.com
2 FROM OUR PRO:
Mark Lange pulls no punches about his favorite stain. “I’m a Benjamin Moore guy,” says the owner of Minnesota-based Careful Painting, Inc. With 37 years in the industry, Lange focuses on highend residential work. For most exterior projects, Benjamin Moore’s ARBORCOAT Waterborne Exterior Stain (solid) is Lange’s go-to. He appreciates that it doesn’t leave lap marks. “With a lot of stains, you’ll see overlap—a double-coated area—when you start and stop,” he explains. “Arborcoat doesn’t do that. That’s extremely important, especially with dark colors.” Plus, it sprays well … and he likes Benjamin Moore’s range of colors, he says. “And three to four years later, it touches up well,” Lange adds. “That’s rare for a stain.” Moreover, it’s a good value for the money, he says. For deck work, Lange typically turns to Benjamin Moore’s ARBORCOAT Classic Oil Finishes (semi-solid). The Arborcoat, Lange says, doesn’t peel the way some stains do. “I also like that I can usually do one coat,” he notes. “And it lasts longer than the semi-transparent.”
©2016 Benjamin Moore & Co. ARBORCOAT, Benjamin Moore, Paint like no other and the triangle “M” symbol are registered trademarks licensed to Benjamin Moore & Co.
IF IT CAN OUTLAST
SEASONS OF WEATHER AND WEAR...
The stain designed to endure. Only at Benjamin Moore retailers.
3 FROM OUR PRO:
Luis Dominguez of Dominguez Expert Painters in Colorado has been painting for more than 15 years and handles a lot of log-home projects. For those projects, he has a few go-to stains: Sikkens’ ProLuxe Cetol Log & Siding, Sikkens’ ProLuxe Cetol SRD, and Sascho’s Capture Log Stain (used with the Cascade Clear Coat). Their easy application and durability help these products rise to the top of his list. Dominguez handles exterior and interior residential and commercial projects and relies on referrals for business, so choosing the right stain is key.
4 FROM OUR PRO:
Understanding your material and substrate is key to picking the right stain, says Ray Rahni, owner of Paint Track Painting Services, based in the greater New York area. In business since 2004, tackling an array of residential and commercial projects, Rahni typically gravitates toward Benjamin Moore’s ARBORCOAT Premium Exterior Stain. “I prefer the semi-solid, because it’s lower maintenance and there’s less chance of peeling,” he says. “If you have new, untreated wood, I always recommend a thorough sanding followed by a coat of the semi-solid. You can apply a coat every three to four years to horizontal surfaces such as a deck, and seven years on vertical surface such as siding. The stain holds up really well.” However, if the surface is very old or has been previously painted, Rahni often chooses the solid finish. For hard or exotic woods (mahogany, cedar or redwood, for example), Rahni prefers DEFY’s Deck Stain for Hardwoods, a synthetic, semitransparent deck stain specifically formulated to penetrate these dense woods. It’s hard to find stains that last more than a year on these hardwoods, Rahni says. “But Defy holds up better than the rest,” he says. “Just make sure you do a maintenance coat every year.”
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
5 FROM OUR PRO:
In Tom Lopatosky’s experience, home exteriors and decks have different needs. Lopatosky’s company, LOPCO Contracting, focuses mainly on residential jobs in Rhode Island and southern New England. For a solid stain on a home’s exterior, he likes Benjamin Moore’s ARBORCOAT Waterborne Exterior Stain (solid or semi-solid). “Arborcoat,” he says, “is a solid system. We find it to be more fade resistant than many other stains on the market.” Plus, Lopatosky is a huge fan of Benjamin Moore’s Gennex colorant system, which boasts durability, excellent fade resistance, and zero VOCs. While he sometimes uses Arborcoat for decks as well, he has found that C2 Paint has a stellar option as well. “C2 Guard, C2 Paint’s clear water protectant, is the best clear protectant out there if your sole purpose is guarding a bare-wood deck against moisture,” says Lopatosky, who started his business more than 20 years ago. This deep-penetrating product is available for both wood and masonry. It’s designed to go on a bare surface, he explains, noting that in addition to the clear option, the semi-transparent line offers 15 stain colors. “Be sure not to use it over a previously coated surface,” he says. “It’s best used with natural, bare wood.”
6 FROM OUR PRO:
Matthew Smith, owner of Chameleon Colors, Inc. primarily works on waterfront homes on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle. “They’re prone to extreme conditions and exposure from all sides,” he explains. And there’s a lot of cedar wood. For exterior vertical wood surfaces, Smith turns to Sikkens’ ProLuxe Cetol Log & Siding, which has a high-performance, translucent, satin finish. He also likes Sikkens ProLuxe Cetol Door & Window, which is designed to prevent weathering. “To me, it’s a proven product line,” Smith says. “I’ve used it for almost 20 years now; I know it’s durable, and I know what it’s going to need five, 10 and 15 years down the line.” For a painter with a lot of repeat business, understanding of—and confidence in—his product is key. “Some of the first houses I painted on the island I still maintain,” he says. Painting, he advises customers, is labor-intensive. “About 85% of the cost of a good paint job is labor,” he says. “So, for that remaining 15%, I want to use the best material I can. Although Sikkens stains are almost twice the cost of other stains, they last longer. They’re the most durable product.”
PROLUXE . ™
For a flawless look, ask for SIKKENS® ProLuxe Wood Finishes by name. Our time-tested formulas amplify the natural beauty of wood with exceptional results. It’s a difference you can see.
Demand the trusted original: Sikkens ProLuxe finishes. perfectwoodstains.com A product of PPG Architectural Coatings. Cetol and Sikkens are registered trademarks of AkzoNobel. ProLuxe is a trademark of PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc. The PPG Logo is a registered trademark of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc. © 2016 PPG Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
[ BUSINESS PROFILE ]
aking over the family business can be fraught with land mines. But by creating systems and processes, brothers Steve and Jeff Hester have been able to weather a recession, add a commercial division, and double their company’s sales.
Three generations of Hesters keep the family business thriving and growing.
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
Successful succession Tom Hester started Hester Painting & Decorating in 1968. He saw a need in the Chicago market for goodquality, high-end residential refinishing. Wearing all the hats—sales, estimating, accounting, running jobs, labor relations—Tom worked 80- to 100-hour weeks and made a name for his business. Thirty-five years later when he was thinking about retirement, he developed a three-year succession plan that included a gradual lessening of work until his two sons, Jeff and Steve, took over in 2007. That planning allowed the brothers to take over in a systematic way, developing ownership and raising the level of accountability in the company. With the full support of their father, they felt comfortable that they would be able to take the business to the next level. Jeff began working in the company in 1979 while finishing a three-year apprenticeship program with Washburne Trade School. He is now Hester’s VP and an estimator and superintendent. Steve, who got his MBA and worked in real estate finance before coming into the family business in 1996, is president. “It’s a perfect marriage,” Jeff says of their division of labor. “I don’t want to do what Steve does and he doesn’t want to do what I do.” From practice to pro While Hester has always had a stellar reputation, for many years, the company remained more of a practice than a business. As Jeff and, later, Steve began to develop more systems and processes, Hester grew in size and volume and became more professional. For example, in the early 1980s, the company “started dabbling in decorative finishes,” Jeff says. “We did a lot of work, but we didn’t have a way to show it off or sell it.” He helped develop a showroom with full-sized walls where designers and homeowners could “see all the things you can do with glazes and decorative finishes. This separated us from the average painter and helped establish us as a well-known finishing company.”
Stats But, Steve says, “from the business side, we didn’t have any negotiations on supply costs, didn’t have computerization of the office, there was no job tracking for cost versus revenue, and we had only word-of-mouth marketing.” He initiated a series of changes such as how they worked with suppliers who were charging Hester “whatever was in their system for a normal markup,” Steve says. He made a list of the supplies used on a majority of jobs and what they had in stock, and he saw that because of Hester’s size, it had buying power to get pricing down. He began issuing a more formal request for bids from each supplier. Then he developed a spreadsheet to keep track of jobs and make sales and field employees more accountable. “There was a little pushback,” Jeff admits, but he spent time educating employees. “Our guys didn’t realize all the factors that went into cost. Once they got used to the system, they realized it made their lives easier.” They also increased sales with a new marketing plan that includes direct mail, press releases, a web site, sales follow-up procedures, designer events at the showroom, charity, and community volunteering. “We now reach out to customers regularly throughout the year,” adds Steve, who stresses the importance of giving their marketing materials a high-end look. “We don’t cut corners in our craftsmanship and we don’t cut corners in our marketing efforts.” Further growth There were two other things the Hester brothers did that helped boost revenue—begin a commercial division, and acquire several smaller companies. The challenge of rising labor costs was one of the reasons they branched out into commercial work. The Hesters are committed to using union employees, but that made it difficult to continue competing against other Chicago-area residential painters, most of whom don’t use union labor, and many don’t carry the proper insurances. “In Chicago, residential work is primarily non-union and in commercial it’s the opposite. We saw it was in our best interest to get into that area,” Steve says. Since Steve had a background in property management, he already had contacts with several companies. Hester hired someone from the outside to start the commercial division. “[ John Jacob] understood how different it was from running a residential division. He understood production rates, scope of work, and the ins and outs of the commercial world. If we had done it with our residential team, we wouldn’t have been bidding properly or doing the work properly,” Steve says. When developing the commercial division, Steve and Jeff knew the importance of having their financials
in order. “In the initial few years, the cash flow from residential helped with the lag of payments in the commercial work,” Steve says. Some residentials pay within 30 days. In commercial, most often it’s 90 to 100 days. “If you open a commercial division, you need your own cash flow or a line of credit.” With overall sales recovering to Hester’s prerecession levels, Steve says, commercial sales are now 65% of the company’s annual revenue. The brothers also realized they could grow by acquiring other companies and did so: two commercial and two residential. “Not only do those companies bring their customers to help boost sales, but they brought along a few great painters who have joined our team,” Steve says. “The acquisition of talent is equally as important as the acquisition of customers.” Plus, some of those companies’ owners have joined Hester’s sales team, bringing valuable insight and management experience. Next generation Growth means growing pains, and there were some difficult times, perhaps none more so than the death in 2001 of their brother Dan, who ran the downtown Chicago residential area. “It was a devastating time for the whole company,” Steve says. “Dan’s death could have easily caused the company to stumble,” says Steve, “But our management team, who are just like family to us, took control of things for us until we could come back to work again. I’m not sure how the company could have made it without them.” Most recently, Jeff’s two sons began working in the company. Christopher as controller and Jonathan in the field. “This is a family business and it’s great to have the family running it,” Steve says. “It gives me more confidence knowing the people handling our checking accounts and payables are family rather than someone outside.” The cycle continues.
COMPANY NAME Hester Painting & Decorating NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 67 SERVICES OFFERED 0 Residential repaint and new-construction custombuild projects 0 Commercial repaint and new construction 0 Wallcovering installation 0 Faux and decorative finishing 0 Cabinet and furniture refinishing ASSOCIATIONS 0 PDCA member 0 FCA (Finishing Contractors Association); Jeff is president of the local Chicago chapter 0 YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization), member 0 Professional Contractor Alliance, member AWARDS 0 2013, 2014, 2015 Best Painter, Make it Better magazine, a local magazine/web site reader survey 0 2014, 2015, 2016 Best of Houzz, service category CONTACT Steve Hester, president Jeff Hester, vice president (847) 677-5130 HesterDecorating.com
[ TOOLS OF THE TRADE ]
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
Sashco Capture® and Cascade® Semi-Transparent Stain System What if you knew how a semi-transparent stain would perform before you ever applied it? With Sashco’s Capture® and Cascade® semi-transparent stain system, you can. Side-by-side tests done in Sashco’s mile-high outdoor lab prove that Capture’s unique elastic formula moves as wood expands and contracts to provide durable protection and lasting beauty (not to mention happy homeowners). Download the full Competitive Stain Report, get FREE stain samples, and find where to buy at: LogsAintWood.com/capture-log-stain
The 3M Pro Grade Precision Ultra Flexible Sanding Sheets and Rolls TM
Sanding can be a hassle, so 3M created a sanding sheet to help make your job easier. The 3M™ Pro Grade Precision™ Ultra Flexible Sanding Sheets and Rolls can fold, roll, shape or twist to sand spindles, trim and other hard-to-reach areas. They are great for flat surfaces too. Plus, the tough film backing resists punctures, tears and creases. 3m.com/sanding
Wooster Bravo Stainer Brushes TM
For back-brushing or staining decks, siding, and fences, Wooster Bravo Stainer™ gets the job done fast. Threaded hardwood handle removes for extension pole use! Great option for flooring and hardto-reach areas. Metal bucket clip reduces mess. Bristle/polyester blend (item F5119) provides quick, even coverage with all stains, waterproofing sealers, and wood toners—water-based or oil-based. Original white bristle (F5116) delivers the smoothest results with oil-based products. Both high-production Wooster Bravo Stainer brushes are available in 4-, 4 ¾- and 5 ½-inch sizes. WoosterBrush.com
Aug/Sep 2016 | inPAINT
[ WORKFORCE ]
Secrets to Success as an HR Department of One
When I am traveling the country working with my clients and teaching classes on HR, I always get questions on what are the most important things to remember as an ‘HR Department of One.’ BY OGINGA CARR
I relate to that feeling because I was in corporate America as a manager, and the organization that I worked with changed to what they called a ‘smallbusiness concept.’ That meant we would have to start taking care of our own HR responsibilities within each of our own offices, and my position changed from being a manager to the manager/ HR/payroll/janitor/babysitter/etc. So I understand what it’s like to run your own business and be faced by the many compliance issues. If you don’t stay on top of it, legal compliance can be difficult and costly. I want to break down for you the ‘5 secrets to success as an HR Department of One.’
Understand employees vs. contractors One of the big tripping points for small- to mediumsized businesses is in classifying workers. In order for a worker to be a contractor, they have to be able to pass a three-prong test called the ‘ABC’ test. The A portion of the test signifies control or direction of the work. If you tell a worker when to show up, when to take a break, how much you are going to pay
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
them, etc., then they are probably an employee. (See box on next page for further clarification of employee vs. contractor.) The B portion of the test refers to whether or not the service is outside your usual business or usual location of business. For example, if you contract with a plumber to do some work in a bathroom before you paint, that would be an outside service. The C portion test declares independent business or trade. Does your worker have their own workers’ compensation insurance or a waiver? Do they have their own business license? You would need to answer yes to those questions to be able to safely answer yes to portion C. In general, for a worker to be considered a contractor, they must pass all three of these tests and you must be able to prove it. Some states only require the worker to pass two of the three, but every state has requirements. If the worker does not pass the ABC test, then they are an employee, which means they must meet all of the standards and requirements of an employee. The fines for misclassification can be hefty.
Understand exempt vs. nonexempt Once you classify a worker as an employee, you then must classify what type of employee they are. You have two options: exempt or nonexempt. Nonexempt employees must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in a seven-day work week. Exempt employees do not have to be paid overtime, but have to pass specific tests in order to be exempt. The two tests are the salary basis test and the duties test. They must both be passed in order for the employee to be exempt. You should indicate exempt or nonexempt in the job description. It is a great idea to review your employees’ status with an employment attorney or an HR consultant to make sure that your organization is abiding by these regulations.
Understand record retention Keeping the records of your employees can be confusing. For most businesses that do not have direct governmental oversight, a simple process will keep you compliant. Keep personnel files seven years after termination. Examples of personnel information would be handbook acknowledgement pages, employee discipline, employee reviews, and general employee information. You also need to keep medical files six years after termination. Medical files would include doctor’s notes, reasonable accommodations, drug test results, workers’ compensation cases, and anything that speaks to your employees’ medical history. Medical files must be kept at the ‘level of negligence.’ For paper files, this means in a locked room and in a locked file cabinet. Medical files must also be kept separate and distinct from personnel files. This means in a separate file drawer than the personnel file, if you are keeping them as paper files. It is also vital to remember that sensitive information must be kept in a locked room, in a locked file cabinet, or in a passwordprotected folder if it is kept electronically. Sensitive information would be any information that includes identifying information on your employee like social security numbers or driver’s license numbers.
Know the policies and procedures of your organization As someone with HR responsibilities, it is vital to know the handbook for your organization. You have to be able to coach and counsel employees when there is a handbook issue. You have to be able to recognize when a handbook issue is unfair to your employees and take steps to adjust the policy. Remember, you can make any policy you’d like in your organization as long as it is legal and applied evenly. This means that your policies can be as strict or as lenient as you would like; they just have to be consistent. When policies are consistent, the same type of employees have the same rules.
Understand the importance of job descriptions Many times, we can trace productivity issues in organizations to a lack of clarity in job descriptions. If you do not describe the employee’s job fully, it doesn’t protect you legally or help your productivity. How can you expect your employee to do their job if they don’t fully know what their job is? You must be clear in your explanation of job responsibilities. A clear job description would include every recurring duty that your employee would have. This means your description could be 1, 2, maybe even 5 pages. But this would allow for your employee to truly understand what is expected from them in the position. By being clear in the job description, it will help you in the hiring process. You can hire more employees that are capable of doing the job and have an understanding of what is expected. Follow these 5 simple steps and you will start to really control the HR in your organization, and create a company that functions much better and produces more. At my company, we believe in productivity through structure. The better organized we are, the more productive and profitable we can be!
Employee vs Contractor Trap Here is the most common issue that bites business owners as it relates to making someone a contractor: A worker does a duty for you for one year. You have told them when to show up, when to take breaks, and directed them in their duties. You have told them that they are a contractor and are paying them on a 1099 basis. After a year, you get angry at them for a mistake they make on a project and fire them. The worker goes to unemployment and files for benefits. Unemployment will contact you and ask if the worker was an employee. When you claim they are a contractor, they would ask for you to prove how the worker passed the ABC test. Since you controlled the duties of the worker, it could be ruled the worker was an employee and is subject to unemployment benefits, as well as you being charged heavy fines to your business.
Oginga Carr is the CEO of Epiphany Consulting, LLC and the founder of the HR Success Academy. He travels across the country educating HR professionals and business owners. Find out more about the five secrets: OgingaCarr.com/5secrets Aug/Sep 2016 | inPAINT
[ THE LIST ] PRODUCTS AND TOOLS HIGHLIGHTED IN THIS ISSUE To learn about being featured in an upcoming issue of inPAINT, email editor@inPAINTmag.com
0 The 3M Pro Grade Precision Ultra Flexible Sanding Sheets and Rolls, p 41
0 ARBORCOAT Classic Oil Finishes (semi-solid), p 34 0 ARBORCOAT Premium Exterior Stain, p 36 0 ARBORCOAT Waterborne Exterior Stain (solid or semi-solid), p 34 & 36
0 C2 Guard, p 36
0 Deck Stain for Hardwoods, p 36
0 EVEREST Paint, p 18 0 SPARTAWALL Paint, p 18
0 Dry Erase Paint, p 18
0 Revo Paint + Primer in One, p 18
Olympic Paints & Stains
0 MAXIMUM Stain + Sealant in One, p 6
0 Mt. Dora Paintbrush, p 32 & 33
0 BREAK-THROUGH! Interior/ Exterior Paint, p 17 0 Pure Performance Paint, p 18
0 Picasso Paintbrushes, p 33
0 Pro-Extra Paintbrushes, p 33
0 Cascade Clear Coat, p 36 & 41 0 Capture Log Stain, p 36 & 41 0 Transformation Satin, Log & Timber, p 34
0 Paint Shield, p 18 0 ProMar 200 Zero-VOC Interior Latex Paint, p 18
0 ProLuxe Cetol Door & Window, p 36 0 ProLuxe Cetol Log & Siding, p 36 0 ProLuxe Cetol SRD, p 36
ADVERTISER INDEX 3M 3m.com Pages 13, 15, 17 ALLPRO CORP AllProCorp.com Page 23 ANGIEâ€™S LIST AngiesList.com Page 25 BENJAMIN MOORE PAINT COMPANY BenjaminMoore.com Pages 11, 35 CORONA BRUSHES, INC. CoronaBrushes.com Page 31
LATEX AGENT BY CROWN (PSC PACKAGING SERVICES CO.) LatexAgent.com Page 21 MASTERCHEM INDUSTRIES Kilz.com Page 19 Mi-T-M CORPORATION MiTM.com Page 27 PPG PAINTS PPGac.com Page 5 SHERWIN-WILLIAMS Sherwin-Williams.com Page 2
SIKKENS PerfectWoodStains.com Page 37 SUMMIT SERVICES SummitServicesInc.com Page 29 TITAN Titan-US.com Back Cover WOOSTER BRUSHES WoosterBrush.com Pages 7, 33
0 Vantablack & Vantablack S-VIS, p 6
0 Jumbo-Kotter Roller Series (Flip Frame and Pipe Painter), p 32 0 Bravo Stainer Brushes, p 41
[ UPCOMING EVENTS ]
What, Where & When AUGU ST 1
N OV E M B E R
Aug 29–Sept 1: NPMA National Education Seminar, Nashville, TN npmaconferences.org
2–4: Design-Build Conference & Expo, Las Vegas, NV dbia.org
15–18: PastForward: A Conference of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Houston, TX pastforwardconference.org
SE PTEMBER 2
7–9: CONSTRUCT 2016, Austin, TX constructshow.com
27 & 28: Home Improvement Research Institute’s Annual Fall Conference: Trends in Home Improvement, Chicago, IL hiri.org
28–30: PDCA 2016 Commercial Forum Conference, Rockport, ME pdcacommercialforum.org
5–7: Construction SuperConference, Las Vegas, NV constructionsuperconference.com
6: 32nd Annual TRENDS Rental Housing Management Conference and Trade Show, Seattle, WA trendsnw.com
O CTOBER 5
5–7: 2016 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, Los Angeles, CA greenbuildexpo.com
5–7: Remodeling Show | DeckExpo | JLC LIVE, Baltimore, MD remodelingdeck.com
3 10 5
16–18: Finishing Industries Forum, Orlando, FL lmcionline.org
8 1 2
MAKE YOUR BUSINESS THE MAINE THING The PDCA Commercial Forum Conference will be held September 28–30, 2016 at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, ME. Held annually, the conference provides education opportunities for painting and decorating contractors who work in the commercial segment of the industry. PDCA COMMERCIAL
FORUM The event will feature 'Hot Topic' roundtable discussions, peer presentations,
networking opportunities, and keynote presentations. An optional golf
outing will take place on the morning of Wednesday, September 28th. Email email@example.com to reserve your spot. To learn more or to register for the conference, visit PDCACommercialForum.org. 2016 PDCA
Registration is limited COMMERCIAL FORUM to 50 attendees. CONFERENCE
SEPTEMBER 28-30, 2016 SAMOSET RESORT,
Aug/Sep 2016 | inPAINT
[ BOTTOM LINE ]
Why You Should Be Tracking Your Digital Marketing Efforts
BRANDON DOYLE is the assistant general manager at Rank First Local, a fast-growing digital marketing company specializing in affordable Internet marketing solutions. Founded in 2011, Rank First Local focuses exclusively on helping small-business owners maximize their marketing budgets on the web. Brandon@RankFirstLocal.com (866) 330-2917
Tracking digital marketing campaigns— search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC), social media, email marketing, etc.—and truly understanding what type of return your web site provides is a subject most painters tend to gloss over, no pun intended. You might know how much it cost to build your web site, but can you answer the following questions? - How much money did you invest in digital marketing last year? - How many leads (phone calls or web contact forms) did your web site generate last year? - What’s your return on investment from the Internet? If you can’t answer any of the questions above, then keep reading. Why tracking is important When it comes to advertising on the web, it’s important to understand what’s working and what’s not. If you do, when next year rolls around you won’t need to ask yourself, “Hmm … was working with that SEO company actually worth my money?” Instead, you’ll have hard data that demonstrates if it was worth it. That same data will make it possible for you to make sound financial decisions about your business’ future. What to track Once you commit to tracking, you need to consider what to track. Here’s where I’d start: - Track how much you invested in a digital marketing campaign. - Track how many people visit your web site monthly and annually. - Track how many contact forms visitors filled out. Here’s why: Tracking the exact dollar amount you’ve invested in digital marketing is essential to evaluating your ROI. Tracking web site visitors provides insight into how many people are visiting your site on a monthly and yearly basis. If you’re investing in SEO or PPC, you should see year-over-year growth in total visitors. If you’re not, ask your digital marketing company why. FYI: When it comes to tracking monthly web site visitors, don’t expect to always see month-over-month gains. Painting is seasonal, so a surge in visitors during your busy season—April to September in most
inPAINT | Aug/Sep 2016
areas of the U.S.—and a decrease in visitors during the winter isn’t out of the ordinary. Tracking contact forms is the easiest and most direct way to determine ROI from your web site. Let’s say your average profit from a painting job is $1,000. If you invest $500 per month in PPC and receive 10 contact forms, that’s great! Now let’s assume your lead-to-sale close rate is 40%. Of those 10 contact forms, you won four new jobs. Each of those four jobs nets you $1,000 and voila … you profited $4,000 from PPC that month. Subtract your digital marketing investment ($500), and you still earned $3,500. That translates to an impressive 700% ROI. In that instance, it seems to me your digital marketing company is doing its job, and you’re seeing a healthy return as a result. But keep in mind, if your digital marketing or PPC company isn’t getting you any new jobs, you’ve lost $500. Multiply your loss by 12 and you’re staring at a loss of $6,000 for the year. Time to rethink your approach and/or your digital marketing partner. Dig into the details If you want to get granular and really dig into the ROI of your digital marketing campaigns, you’ll need to track more and gather more data. In my opinion, the best way to do that is through phone call tracking. Phone call tracking is similar to tracking contact form submissions, but with a higher level of detail. By using separate phone numbers for every marketing campaign you invest in—SEO, PPC, email, leave behinds, etc., you’re able to track how many phone calls each campaign generated and what campaigns generated the most leads and sales over the phone. Ultimately, phone call tracking adds another layer of detail to your ROI calculations and results in better decision-making for your company. Recap: TRACK EVERYTHING In the right hands, the web is a very powerful marketing tool. If you want to make sound marketing decisions for your painting company and maximize your ROI from the web, you need to track it all— track your investment, track your results—then adjust your strategies accordingly.
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.
TO KEEP RECEIVING inPAINT MAGAZINE, SIMPLY SUBSCRIBE. ITâ€™S FREE. To subscribe, visit inPAINTmag.com/subscribe
ALL IN FAVOR OF OUR ULTRA-LIGHT TRIGGER, RAISE YOUR TIRED, ACHING HANDS.
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. Visit SprayingRedefined.com/InPaint