THE MAGAZINE FOR PROFESSIONALS | DEC 2015/JAN 2016
LET US SPRAY Finding the right pressure washer
How to handle nonpaying customers What pros are using for concrete and masonry
Tackling water and smoke damage—and mold
[ CUTTING IN ]
Making the right choices is key to your success on many levels. And often, the key to making the right choices is information.
Amanda Haar ART DIRECTOR
Martha MacGregor DESIGNER
Kathryn Heeder Hocker COPY EDITOR
Every day is filled with choices. From what to put in your coffee first thing in the morning to what to consider the last task of the day on the job site or at your desk, you make hundreds of decisions every day. Some decisions (i.e., how much sugar to put in your coffee) are relatively insignificant, but others (i.e., how much to pay yourself) are significant. Make that very significant. Making the right choices is key to your success on many levels. And often, the key to making the right choices is information. In this issue of inPAINT, we talked to nearly two dozen pros about the choices they’ve made along the way to building the business they want. From suing nonpaying customers and charging for estimates to picking products for post-disaster recovery situations and tackling challenging masonry jobs, we did our best to cover both the big stuff and the small. And recognizing that not every choice is right for every individual or situation, we provided different viewpoints and positions for many of the choices presented. The aim is to help you learn from the experiences of others, both good and bad, so that you can make better choices for your business and yourself. One choice we do hope you’ll make is to read this issue of inPAINT and share with us what resonates with you, and what you’d like to see more of in the future. From products to feature and business challenges to explore, your input ultimately helps us make better choices and build a magazine that works better for you and your business.
Lynn Bicknell Linnea Blair Sally J. Clasen Stacey Freed Debra Gelbart Paula Hubbs Cohen Aaron O'Hanlon Jake Poinier Brian Sodoma SOCIAL MEDIA
Jillian McAdams PUBLISHED BY
REM Publishing Group LLC 6501 E. Greenway Pkwy., Suite 103–273 Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Amanda Haar Amanda Haar Managing Editor, inPAINT editor@inPAINTmag.com
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
advertise@inPAINTmag.com inPAINTmag.com ©2015 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.
FOR THE PROS. SMOOTH APPLICATION FOR FASTER RESULTS. Ultra Spec® 500 is formulated for the professional. With smooth application and a fast dry time, Ultra Spec® 500 helps your interior commercial projects move quicker, while delivering the quality finish and color expected from a professional job. • Exceptional application properties • Quick dry and re-coat time • Excellent hide and easy touch-ups • MPI approved • Qualifies for LEED® and LEED® v4 credit © 2015 Benjamin Moore & Co. Benjamin Moore, Ultra Spec, and the triangle “M” symbol are registered trademarks, licensed to Benjamin Moore & Co.
Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
inPAINT® Dec 2015/Jan 2016
Transformative Films & Finishes
6 pros on their most-trusted concrete and masonry products
What all goes into determining and creating color trends
Finding the right pressure washer
Insight and advice for achieving the looks customers want today
Tackling water and smoke damage, and other restoration work
6 The News
34 Business Profile
Industry ins and outs
Dan Brady Painting & Wood Restoration
36 Tech Edge
A fast look at the forces at work in our industry
Is Google making a move toward pay-to-play?
9 Trend in Focus
38 Tools of the Trade
What’s in store for independent paint stores
Back- and labor-saving tools
10 Ask a Pro
41 Upcoming Events
Should you charge for estimates?
The what, where and when of the industry’s leading events
12 Work Smart
42 Bottom Line
How to handle nonpaying customers
Calculating your own pay
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
SW 6959 Blue Chip
It puts the blue in blue ribbon.
Emerald. Another word for best in class. Discover whatâ€™s new in Emerald Paint and Primer in One from Sherwin-Williams. Now available in a true flat sheen that has the same exceptional washability, durability and burnish resistance as the matte and glossier sheens, plus accent colors with newly enhanced hiding power. Learn more about Emerald at swemerald.com. Emerald Interior Acrylic Latex has achieved GREENGUARD GOLD certification. GREENGUARD Certified products are certified to GREENGUARD standards for low chemical emissions into indoor air during product usage. For more information, visit ul.com/gg. Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
[ THE NEWS ]
Sherwin-Williams Launches Handheld Color-Matching Tool T Sherwin-Williams recently introduced Mobile Match, a handheld tool that essentially eliminates the guesswork of color matching. Available for less than $60 and weighing just five ounces (with batteries), Mobile Match lets you match colors from virtually any surface —existing paint, fabrics, photos, etc. With a simple point-and-press approach, users position the viewfinder over the color, press down, listen for ‘start’ and
NFL Selects Eco Chemical TempLine Field Coatings for Super Bowl 50 Celebration T The National Football League (NFL) has approved Eco Chemical TempLine Celebration colors for field markings to honor Super Bowl 50. Every NFL team will exhibit the specified celebration markings on their field for each game leading up to Super Bowl 50, scheduled for February 7, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. The TempLine Celebration colors, including Celebration Gold, Celebration Charcoal, and Celebration White, were specifically designed and developed for the NFL Super Bowl promotion. TempLine products are formulated to use on both natural grass and synthetic turf, without causing buildup or negatively impacting field-play characteristics. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to show off our line of high-quality paints in conjunction with the Super Bowl’s golden anniversary,” explains Eco Chemical’s VP of marketing and sales, Jim Brady. “Our TempLine system
has already established itself as the number one choice with several NFL teams, with its superior appearance and performance, low-VOC formulations, and ease of removal. We hope that other NFL field managers will take this opportunity to discover why TempLine should be their choice for superior field-painting results.” Eco Chemical’s 20 years of expertise in precision paint chemistry led to a collaboration with the Seattle Seahawks in 2002 to develop a removable, waterborne marking system for synthetic turf fields. The resulting TempLine system of field conditioners, products, removers, and equipment has since grown to become a leading choice for professional and college sports facilities across North America. Eco Chemical is offering NFL teams a 10% discount off individual Celebration color orders, and 15% off orders that include all three Celebration colors.
‘finished’ beeps, then view the top-three nearest Sherwin-Williams published paint colors, along with an indication of match accuracy. “The strength of Mobile Match is in its accuracy, portability and simplicity,” said Jeff Winter, director of marketing, residential repaint at Sherwin-Williams. “We’re pleased to offer this affordable, time-saving device to our professional customers.” Manufactured by Color Savvy Systems Limited, it is available exclusively at Sherwin-Williams stores. For a listing of stores, visit: Sherwin-Williams.com/store-locator
San Francisco Introduces Urine-Repellent Walls T San Franciscans who think it’s OK to urinate in public alleyways may be about to receive a rude awakening. The city is experimenting with a special coating for walls and other outdoor surfaces that will repel liquids back from whence they came. Dubbed ‘Ultra-Ever Dry,’ the urine-repellent coating is produced by UltraTech International, Inc., a Florida-
based chemical cleanup and waste-management company, which describes it as, ‘a revolutionary hydrophobic that repels water and refined oils using nanotechnology.’ As of late summer, the city had coated 10 walls with it. A spokesperson for the city’s Public Works department said the cost of coating the walls is much lower than sending out workers to clean urine-saturated areas.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral Prettied Up for the Pope with Benjamin Moore T The iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral completed a three-year renovation project at the end of August, just weeks ahead of Pope Francis’ visit. From the 330 spires to the boreholes 2,000' below the ground, no part of the cathedral went untouched during the massive project. That includes the cathedral’s vaulted ceiling. While the creamy ceiling looks like Caen stone, it’s actually a wood framing and timber construction covered in lath and plaster. Once repairs to the plaster were made, artists used three subtly different shades of Benjamin Moore paint to recreate the faux stone look. Photo: Used by permission of Royal Bobbles
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
Unsurpassed Product Lineup / Strong Spec Position / Expert Service The World Leader in Paint & Coatings / Available at More Than 2,400 Locations Nationwide Visit ppgpaints.com to make a positive change for your business.
© 2015 PPG Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. PPG PAINTS™ is a trademark of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc. SPEEDHIDE® and Because Every Job Matters are registered trademarks of PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc.
BECAUSE EVERY JOB MATTERS
Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
[ TRENDS ] PAINTING A ROSY PICTURE FOR PAINT STORES
Framing Lumber Prices Fall in 2015
According to IBISWorld’s Paint Stores in the U.S., industry revenue for paint stores is projected to increase at an average annual rate of
A comparison of the first nine months of the year, per 1,000 board feet:
2.8% over the next five years to $13.8 billion in 2020. SOURCE: IBISWorld Market Research Report NAICS 44412, Paint Stores in the U.S., IBISWorld.com
January............... $375 February............. $358
WOOD PROTECTION COATINGS & PRESERVATIVES DEMAND
STEADY WORK AHEAD
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’
Employment Projections program, employment
of painters is projected to grow 20%
from 2012 to 2022, faster than 2018
SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook
SOURCE: rlpi.com, Random Lengths (used with permission of publisher)
1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 (million of dollars) Preservatives
WOOD COATINGS PRIMED FOR GROWTH According to The CHEMARK Consulting Group, Inc. demand for wood-protection coatings and preservatives will continue to see steady growth in the decade ahead and beyond. SOURCE: ChemarkConsulting.net
You Say Tomato … How five major paint manufacturers
perceive and produce tomato as a color. Or is it ‘tomahto’?
RED TOMATO SW 6607
BEHR PROCESS CORPORATION
RED TOMATO 170B-7
PAINT: It’s What’s Going On in the Bedroom
SUN DRIED TOMATO C36-5
CRUSHED TOMATOES PPG13-09
Trends Study, an overwhelming majority of
homeowners who are renovating or deco-
PPG ARCHITECTURAL COATINGS
NEW FINISHES IN MASTER BEDROOM UPGRADES*
According to the 2015 U.S. Houzz Bedroom
rating their master bedroom are upgrading
Clay or plaster
wall finishes—and doing it with paint.
*Percentages reflect proportion of homeowners who are upgrading wall finishes as part of their completed, current or planned master-bedroom projects.
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
OLYMPIC PAINTS & STAINS
TOMATO RED WV38014
the average for all
6% 3% 3% 1% 2% 2% 8% 5%
Renovating (+/- decorating) Decorating (stand-alone)
[ TREND IN FOCUS ]
Shaking Up Sales in the Paint World PAINT STORES LOOK FOR WAYS TO EARN—AND KEEP—CUSTOMERS
ndependent paint stores haven’t had it easy over the past five years. The cost of raw materials skyrocketed in 2010 and 2011, which in turn, led to increased product costs. Add to that the increased pressure and price competition from big-box home-improvement stores and it’s no surprise the number of stores dropped from 9,443 in 2006 to 8,783 in 2015 (IBISWorld’s Paint Stores in the U.S.). However, not everything related to the industry is painted blue. In the same report, IBISWorld predicts revenue for paint stores is projected to increase at an average annual rate of 2.8% over the next five years to $13.8 billion in 2020. A healthy economy offers hope and opportunity A rebounding economy and housing market both bode well for paint stores. According to Phil Merlo, president of the Paint & Decorating Retailers Association, as the economy improves, homeowners who had been taking on paint projects as DIY efforts will turn to professionals to help with projects. “Professional painters account for the largest amount of revenue for independent paint stores,” says Merlo. “They choose products based on quality and performance instead of price, as many consumers do. Plus, they tend to be brand loyal. This is good for independent retailers as we often carry the brands you can’t find in the big-box stores.” Going outside the box with service Merlo admits that competing against big-box stores is a challenge. “It’s hard to compete when big-box stores are selling product for just slightly above what you’re buying it for,” he explains. “That’s why it’s important for independents to differentiate themselves on something other than price. If you go for just price, you can’t win.” Among some tactics that independents are successfully using to attract and retain customers are Painter Days, job-site delivery, job-site lunches, and in-store demos. Merlo, whose family operated Merlo Paints has been in business for more than 60 years, recently brought back Painter Days to his operation. Essentially a customer appreciation day, Merlo brings in sales reps for the day, provides complimentary breakfast or snacks, and provides giveaways. “The point is not to sell products at a deep discount. It’s about building a relationship with contractors …
to have them recognize that we have the product, the knowledge, and the resources to help them get the job done right,” says Merlo. Toward that end, Merlo makes sure that his staff always responds to contractor calls for job-site deliveries. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a gallon of paint or a roller cover, if they call and they need it to get the job done, we’re going to bring it to them. I don’t think you’ll find any big-box going out of their way at that level.” Other independents are finding their way to contractors’ hearts with, you guessed it, food. Job-site deliveries of lunch or late-day pizzas are not uncommon and certainly one way retailers are making themselves welcome at the workplace. Specialization and expertise earn loyalty In recent years, many retailers have begun carrying industrial and other specialty coatings not carried by large chains. “Having what’s needed is certainly one way to get them in the door,” says Merlo, “But it’s really the expertise an independent can offer that keeps people coming back.”
“… it’s important for independents to differentiate themselves on something other than price.” —PHIL MERLO, PAINT & DECORATING RETAILERS ASSOCIATION
Merlo notes that when a contractor is using a new product or tool for the first time, they need to feel confident the information and advice they’re getting is correct. “It’s important to make sure your staff is current on new technologies and tools,” says Merlo. “Trade shows are a great place to do that. It may cost you a little, but it can give you a distinct advantage over other stores. The paint may be cheap at big-box stores, but you won’t get the knowledgeable service. And real pros know it.” Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
[ ASK A PRO ]
Q: Should you charge for estimates?
A: For me, $20 is the right amount to simply
screen out the price shoppers.
LYNN BICKNELL established Bicknell Painting Inc. in 1981. His talented team focuses on residential custom repainting— providing customers with a consultative approach to highquality, painless repainting and light-carpentry services. Prior to starting his business, Bicknell worked as a realtor for nearly 12 years and served in the U.S. military before that. He has a B.A. in history and political science from The University of Vermont. Visit BicknellPainting.com
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
When you are working with potential customers, you encounter a wide range of people. You might be working with professional property managers, or you could be dealing with someone who has never hired a contractor before. Regardless of a prospective customer’s experience, though, there’s one thing I know: My target market does not include price shoppers. We love to paint, we’re experienced, and I know we do it right. But if someone is shopping based exclusively on price, I’ll almost always lose that job. When I’m working with someone for the first time, I like to have a conversation about the job and their previous experience with a painter. I’ll ask why they aren’t going with the painter they hired the last time. Eventually, many will say they’re trying to find out how competitive their painter is. That’s a price shopper, and those aren’t the types of customers that are a good fit for my business. And that’s a big part of why I charge for estimates. We charge just $20 for an estimate. We’re typically bidding on large, expensive jobs, and if a customer doesn’t think my estimate is worth $20, then I know we won’t be a good match. They’ll know it too—and they’ll opt out of the sales process, saving us all a lot of time and aggravation. Someone once asked me why I picked $20. I said: Because there’s no $25 bill. Honestly, it’s kind of an arbitrary dollar amount because if you look at
what we provide in an estimate, it’s worth far more than $20. And that’s what I tell our customers. I explain that it’s a two- to three-hour process, at the end of which we provide a detailed spreadsheet that breaks down the costs and shows the level of service we provide. Of course, this works well for my business because we have a lot of leads coming in, so we have the luxury of being a little pickier about our jobs. Not everyone is in that position. If you don’t have a lot of leads, you might not feel you can charge for estimates. (You might also need to spend more time on your marketing efforts to increase those leads.) That said, when business is slow—for many of us, that’s November to April—you might want to lay off charging for estimates. You need to be smart and make sure your painters are taken care of and your business thrives. I also waive the estimate fee for a repeat customer. But if you do have a lot of leads and you’re getting frustrated because you’re spending a lot of time doing a lot of estimates and those customers are going elsewhere, then I suggest charging for estimates. It doesn’t have to be enough to totally compensate you for your time. I’ve been told I should charge $200 to $300 for an estimate, but at the end of the day, for me, $20 is the right amount to simply screen out the price shoppers and allow me to focus on genuine prospects.
P D C A N AT I O N A L C H A M P I O N S
Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
[ WORK SMART ]
HANDLING NONPAYING CUSTOMERS USING CLEAR COMMUNICATION, STRAIGHTFORWARD CONTRACTS AND ASSERTIVENESS TO GET WHAT’S DUE YOU While pursuing a mechanical engineering degree from Louisiana State University, Ben Blanchard spent summers working for a property management firm that oversaw several Baton Rouge apartment complexes. He became a top leasing agent, and also started a painting business that leveraged that relationship— helping to turn over units for the landlord and earning him extra money on the side.
BY BRIAN SODOMA
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
But that seemingly sound relationship took a turn for the worse when, looking to grow his paint business, Blanchard took on a $25,000 job. It was a quick turn that required extra man power and some impossibly long days. The young business owner made good on his promise, but unfortunately the management company didn’t come through with its pay. “That was my first business lesson. We got burned on our first job,” he said. “It took them a year to pay us.” For Blanchard, now in the painting business for nearly a decade, the $25,000 owed to him at the time was a choke hold. He had to pay employees and extra laborers who helped him complete the job; and as a fledgling company, he barely hung on. Today, the co-owner of Prestigious Painting in Baton Rouge says the experience shaped his business contracts and his approach to collections. He’s assertive, even bold, when it comes to dealing with nonpayers and has filed a few suits to date. And he has always gotten paid. “Some painters think you’re going to get a bad reputation if you sue. I disagree with that. I think, personally, that means you’re serious about your business,” he added.
He, along with a few other paint- and service-industry professionals, offered up some solid advice on how to deal with nonpayment—and always come out on top. Contracts, invoices Today, Prestigious Painting has about 20 painters who turn about 3,000 apartment units a year, among other work. After getting burned on his first job, Blanchard then addressed his contracts, invoicing procedures, and other paperwork. He has used the same one-page contract for years. It clearly outlines that payment is due within 30 days of completion, that 18% interest is charged per annum on late accounts, and lists a very important $30-per-month late fee on all invoices. The contract also stipulates his right to collect attorney fees. Perhaps more important to his process now is HOW Blanchard invoices customers. He gives the example of a job for 200 apartment units needing paint. He sends one invoice per unit, whereas in the past he may have sent an invoice with several units on it. With each invoice bringing $30 a month in late fees for a nonpayer, late charges can escalate quickly. “It isn’t necessarily foolproof. There’s a lot of gray areas in there,” he added. “A judge could rule either way. But all of these situations have been settled out of court and I have waived those fees a lot of times. And I have always gotten my money, plus attorneys fees.” While the tough approach may seem to run counter to relationship-building, Blanchard said it works for him. “Most states only allow 18% – 20% interest to be charged. If someone owes $100,000, that’s only a few thousand dollars over a few months. But if there’s $30 a pop for each late invoice, that’s another $6,000 a month (in the case of 200 invoices). … It certainly gives them more incentive to settle the bill,” he explained. Another important document for Blanchard is what he calls his ‘work completed’ form. It’s what a supervisor signs after job completion and a thorough walk through. The document also restates the late fees and attorney fee policies. Up-front communication Dan Nocchi, owner of Hometown Painters in Mt. Prospect, a Chicago suburb, hasn’t had to toe a hard line with collections often. Reaching out to the customer and clearing up miscommunication resolves most matters.
“I always say it’s important to self-analyze,” he said. “Where is the disconnect in the situation? What’s driving the customer here? Is it an honest communication disconnect? Or do they want to renegotiate the contract?” Nocchi says it’s important to set the right expectations from the outset. In his contracts, he highlights the PDCA standards his business subscribes to when it comes to prep and coverage. He wants to make sure both parties are on the same page about the work being done before he starts the job. Mike Agugliaro, co-owner of Gold Medal Service, a $30-million-per-year plumbing, HVAC and electrical
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Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
“Some painters think you’re going to get a bad reputation if you sue. I disagree with that. I think, personally, that means you’re serious about your business.” —BEN BLANCHARD, PRESTIGIOUS PAINTING
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
service provider in New Jersey, is also a business coach to small service-industry businesses like painters. To him, “a lack of clarity and alignment” is the problem in most nonpayment situations. “Make sure they know the service level being delivered and that it’s all written and signed off on. … When you have clarity and alignment, accountability just happens,” he noted. The service industry pro says busy paint pros often don’t take the time to put clear systems in place for collections. “It’s about finding a simple system to do the very best practice,” he added. “Pay attention to the little pieces … take five minutes to map it out so you can have a healthy business for you and your customers.” The money talk Art Snarzyk, CEO of InnerView Advisors, Inc, a business that helps companies hire the best employees, says many paint pros need to learn to be more comfortable talking about money and job specifics up front. “Oftentimes, painting contractors are afraid to talk about money and how it’ll be collected,” he said. “I think you have to overcome that. Make a payment schedule, get a credit card on file, or get a check up front.” Getting a credit card or down-payment check up front could, depending on your state’s laws, bring future advantages if nonpayment becomes an issue. Snarzyk, who himself ran a paint business for nine years, took a customer to small claims court for several thousand dollars past due. He won the case and then quickly learned that in Missouri, where he operated, he was allowed to use the checking account information on hand to garnish the customer and pay off the rest of his contract. Even still, the former paint pro said he’d rather not have to take matters to that level. He utilized a
payment schedule for his contracts and always preached open communication with the customer as the job went along, especially as it came closer to completion. With customers who are tough to please and may be looking for ways to bring down the price late in the game, Nocchi said sometimes it’s worth tending to a slightly longer punch list to keep the customer happy. “It can come down to this: do you want to make them a satisfied advocate, or an adversary? The negative guys will bad mouth you to anyone around at any given chance,” he added. Lien power Paint pros can also use liens to get the attention of an evasive payer. Nocchi uses an online service called Zlien that allows him to process a notice quickly and also offers a platform to track demand deadlines. “You really shouldn’t think twice about it. It’s something that really has teeth,” Nocchi said. “It lets that person know you’re not messing around.” With many paint pros looking to the multifamily market to build their business, owners of those properties have a vested interest in a clean title, according to Blanchard. Some states even have laws that allow a creditor who imposes a lien to pursue foreclosure. “A lot of multifamily investors want to buy an asset, lease it up better and refinance it once it’s worth more. They’ll pull out the cash and invest in the next complex. With a lien, you can’t refinance,” Blanchard said. Build reserves, payment schedules Experts agree it’s critical to build up enough reserves over time to cover late payers. For Agugliaro’s company, he takes the approach of incorporating nonpayment into its annual budget.
“I’d like to say 10% of our customers have the same level of integrity we have … but you have to look at losses and build that into the budget every year to help lessen the blow,” he said. Scheduled payment plans throughout the course of a job are also popular. For larger jobs, Blanchard makes sure he has enough payment in hand by a certain point in the process to pay his staff for the entire job. Agugliaro used to allow 30 days for payment, but now he usually takes a 25% deposit and sets a scheduled payment plan, where final payment is due at the completion of the job. Due diligence Paint pros and service professionals bring different approaches to assessing a customer’s ability and/or willingness to pay. Blanchard likes to look at leasing levels for multifamily units. “Anybody who has less than 70%, I won’t touch it,” he said. For Nocchi, it’s about developing what he calls a ‘sixth sense’ when it comes to a customer’s expectations. Sometimes, for example, customers will want to just paint over areas that should be repaired first and may have expectations that it will look new. Some nonpayers will use these situations to withhold pay because of perceived poor workmanship. “You have to listen to what they tell you and how they are responding. If there’s a disconnect and you can’t seem to get on the same page, you need to walk,” he said. And if there’s a bad payer in a region, it’s important for paint pros to let each other know, Blanchard emphasized. “We all talk. The supply is limited. You don’t want to be the customer who has five people you can call [for paint work] and all of them don’t want to do business with you. It’s important for customers to understand that,” he said. Calling a lawyer, second chances Nocchi isn’t too quick to seek out legal help for those rare nonpayment situations. Sometimes, there may not be enough money to collect to justify the expense, he says. Blanchard, however, has found some attorneys willing to work on contingency for the roughly one time per year that he deals with the issue. “Unfortunately, it’s all a numbers game. You don’t want to spend $2,000 to collect $2,300,” Nocchi added. “You only contact a lawyer if the numbers work.”
What is surprising about Blanchard is his willingness to do business with the same people he has filed lawsuits against in the past. “My attorney thinks I’m nuts … but I know they have the money,” Blanchard noted. Agugliaro, however, isn’t as quick to rekindle those relationships. “I take it situation by situation. I’m a big karma guy. If someone is honest and they lost their job and they’re in a pickle, that’s one thing. But I don’t like abuseADVANCED on EDGE LOCK AD HALF PAGE ISLAND any level. You take advantage of me, we’re divorced,” AE: TS PM: JA AD: RS CW: XX PA: SJ PUBLICATION: InPaint Magazine he said. ISSUE DATE: Dec 2015/Jan 2016 TRIM SIZE: 4.792” x 6.708” INK: 4c
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Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
6 PROS WEIGH IN ON THEIR MOST-TRUSTED CONCRETE AND MASONRY PRODUCTS BY PAULA HUBBS COHEN
We recently asked several industry experts to talk to us about their go-to concrete and masonry products. Here’s what they had to say:
ABOUT OUR PRO & HIS PRODUCT PICK: James Alisch is the managing director of WOW 1 DAY PAINTING in Vancouver, BC. He’s been in the professional painting business for 17 years and says that he likes Sherwin-Williams’ All Surface Enamel Latex Primer. WHY HE LIKES IT: “This product offers excellent adherence to concrete and masonry surfaces, plus it provides a high degree of breathability—especially allowing water to breathe out from the product.” Alisch adds that, as an enamel-based product, All Surface Enamel provides excellent elasticity, which is an important factor when working with concrete because it expands or contracts, depending on the weather. “It’s very durable and is less likely to wear down if exposed to high-volume foot traffic. It dries to a slip-free surface, but because it is oil based, settles nicely to a smooth finish. It also has a high resistance to elemental damage, and is less likely to peel or fade.”
HIS BOTTOM LINE: “It’s a high-quality product that provides excellent value for its price and comes in a variety of colors. I use it in any situation when I am trying to add color to concrete or masonry surfaces such as steps, concrete patios, foundations of a home, cement house sidings, and for industrial construction purposes.” 16
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
ABOUT OUR PRO & HIS PRODUCT PICK: Joel Hamberg is the owner of Joel Hamberg Painting, in Portland, OR. Hamberg has been in the painting business for 38 years and tells us one of his go-to products for masonry is CTS Cement’s Rapid Set WunderFixx.
WHY HE LIKES IT: “WunderFixx is a fastsetting, durable, one-component, premium-grade hydraulic cement/polymer patching product. It can fill areas up to ½" and feathers out super-smooth. For patching concrete/stucco surfaces that need to be painted, the product mixes with ease and dries within an hour. The bonding ability and cleanup properties are outstanding.” Hamberg says he uses WunderFixx for any type of patching on concrete, stucco, steps, porches and floors. “It can be mixed with aggregates to blend in with any texture, and the strength of the material is achieved in an hour. In addition, it can be primed with any acrylic primer/sealer and, since it has a low pH, there’s no need to wait days for the pH to drop, or to have to use special high-pH-resistant primers.”
HIS BOTTOM LINE: “The product is a go-to/ must-have on all our projects. Many other trade contractors watching this product used by us on jobs have also been moved to obtain and use it themselves.”
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ABOUT OUR PRO & HIS PRODUCT PICK: Noah Winkles is VP of New Life Painting in Santa Maria, CA. He’s been in the painting business since 1978 and has been running the company for the last seven years. One of his favorite go-to products is Sherwin-Williams’ Loxon Concrete & Masonry Primer. “In addition, if the job calls for waterproofing, we use Sherwin-Williams’ SherLastic Elastomeric Coating, and if it doesn’t
call for waterproofing, a good 100% acrylic paint like Sherwin-Williams A-100 or SherwinWilliams’ SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex Paints will do the job right.” WHY HE LIKES IT: “When the contractor is pouring concrete, they have probably added release agents so the concrete won’t adhere to mold. Sherwin-Williams’ Loxon Primer is key to getting the building or concrete
free of contaminants before painting because, more than likely, there are moldrelease agents still present in the concrete. HIS BOTTOM LINE: “After wash and prep, we prefer to use Loxon Primer for new and bare masonry because it tolerates the high alkalinity levels that are common in new concrete, goes on at a few mils thick, and has great uniformity while applying.”
ABOUT OUR PRO & HIS PRODUCT PICK:
ABOUT OUR PRO & HIS PRODUCT PICK: Sam J. Cicero Sr. is the founder of Cicero’s Development Corporation in Plainfield, IL; the company is a commercial general contractor that specializes in renovation and restoration projects across the U.S. Cicero has been in the painting business since 1970 and is also a Sherwin-Williams fan. Specifically, for this application, he likes Sherwin-Williams’ Loxon Block Surfacer.
WHY HE LIKES IT: “This product is amazingly versatile for use with every type of finish we’ve ever used, interior and exterior,” says Cicero. He notes it fills and seals pores in fresh mortar extremely well, yet is very lightweight and easy to apply. “We use it with fresh mortar—it can be applied just a week after being poured.”
HIS BOTTOM LINE: “We have had the most success in dealing with the larger manufacturers, and working with them by narrowing in on each product, in each climate, with the specific conditions of each project.”
Steve Weakly is the director of production for Brush Masters in Maple Grove, MN. Weakly has been in the painting industry for more than 25 years and is a fan of SherwinWilliams’ Loxon Concrete & Masonry Primer.
WHY HE LIKES IT: “I use this product for a few reasons. It is self-priming so there’s no need for a separate product, while some other products need a primer. In addition, the price point is where we need it to be, and it can be tinted in various colors.”
HIS BOTTOM LINE: “I’ve never had one of our many painters—upwards of 150—say they did not like the performance or application.”
ABOUT OUR PRO & HIS PRODUCT PICK: Dan Ross is president and owner of Ross Painting in San Rafael, CA. He started painting 43 years ago and has owned Ross Painting for 29 years. For work over concrete, he likes Rudd Company, Inc.’s SkimStone.
WHY HE LIKES IT: “Our company has a couple of focuses: very high-end remodels and new custom homes where we are subcontractors—and high-end work where we work directly with homeowners. We have occasion to work over concrete for special effect, and for those situations, I like SkimStone, which is an overlayment that completely changes the nature and look of the surface it is applied to. For basic designs, it is easy to use, and the finished product can be very dramatic and change the whole look and feel of a room or area. It is durable, has multiple applications, both interior and exterior, and it can also be applied over wood on, say, a countertop.”
HIS BOTTOM LINE: Ross says that an example of when he would use SkimStone would be over concrete floors where a garage was converted into a family room. “The process fills/repairs cracks and chips in the floor, and creates a beautiful and interesting finished floor that does not require the added expense of installing carpet, wood or tile.” Photo: Rudd Company, Inc. 18
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
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Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
TREND SETTING WHAT ALL GOES INTO DETERMINING AND CREATING COLOR TRENDS Paint manufacturers’ color marketing experts who, every year, identify paint color trends, wear more hats than you might imagine. They’re well-versed in social science, demographics, pop culture, technology, spirituality, art, and even weather patterns—because these create or influence societal trends. It’s those trends that they then try to translate into color.
BY DEBRA GELBART
These color specialists develop new color-trend palettes annually to generate buzz in the interior design community and feed consumer passion for the latest and greatest. Why this matters for painting pros “Some painting contractors have more interest than others when it comes to color selection,” said Jackie Jordan, the director of color marketing with SherwinWilliams. “But no matter their interest, having some level of knowledge about the newest trend colors helps them become a trusted resource for their customer. Including color information on their business web site can guide customers and assist with how they speak about color with their customers. Staying on top of industry trends shows that they care and are willing to take that extra step to research what matters to their customer. This can help contractors attract repeat and referral business.” Where color inspiration comes from “We get inspiration everywhere,” Jordan said, “whether it’s from a cultural or art movement, national and international trade shows, hot travel destinations, or nature. We scour the globe to find those things that are resonating and driving color in new directions. We have subscriptions with the world’s leading trend organizations that provide us with think tank conversations that cover topics such as the economy, science and technology, innovation, and trade show reports. We also read countless blogs and web sites looking for the unusual, or a new movement that may influence our color selections.” Erika Woelfel, the VP of color marketing for Behr Process Corporation, finds inspiration in fashion, annual
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
workshops held by the Color Marketing Group (the international association whose mission is to create colorforecast information for color-design professionals), DIY blogs, interior-design web sites such as Houzz.com, and social media sites like Pinterest. Dunn-Edwards Paints’ Color Marketing Manager Sara McLean said inspiration comes from travel; restaurant and art gallery openings; exhibitions that spotlight architecture, furniture, fashion and product design; movies and television; world events such as the Olympics; robotics; and socioeconomic shifts. Translating trends into color “Color trends are designed with two things in mind —the lifestyle of today’s homeowners and how we, as a group, connect to color emotionally,” explained Sue Kim, a color strategist with Valspar Paint. “When we observe trends and cultural influences throughout the year, we’re constantly translating them into sentiments. When we’ve identified the most prevailing current cultural movements, we assign a set of descriptors and adjectives, and curate a mood board of inspirational imagery that embodies the aura of the trend. We then align the visuals and words with the color personalities and assign hues accordingly.” Pictures that illustrate trends can be key to converting those trends into color, said Dee Schlotter, senior color marketing manager with PPG Architectural Coatings. “What’s happening in society translates into the colors that show up everywhere—not just in paint, but in fashion and home decor,” she said. The process of choosing colors The process varies among companies, but most create multiple high-concept themes targeted to the design community. Each theme has its own paint color palette, reflective of a variety of trends. There is at least some commonality among most of the manufacturers’ themes. Some of the paint companies, like Sherwin-Williams and PPG, identify a single stand-out color among the dozens of paint colors they tap for the year’s design palettes. Others, including Behr, Dunn-Edwards and Valspar,
don’t pick a lone top color. But in every company, the process of developing color-trend palettes is multifaceted and thorough. PPG organizes a three-day meeting for its 20 international color experts to analyze design trends, consumer preferences and priorities across regional, cultural and global markets to determine factors that will influence future color choices. Color styles from multiple industries are considered, including automotive, architectural, aerospace, and consumer products markets. On the first day, each expert presents a year’s worth of preparation, mood boards, magazine cutouts and Pinterest boards for inspiration. Their color ideas are based heavily on cultural and demographic trends from their region and market. By the third day, final color-trend selection and refinement is at hand. The color stylists collaborate to define the overarching idea behind each color-trend palette and debate the Color of the Year. The trend-forecasting process at Valspar, “starts with searching the topics that impact consumers’ lives and inspire new projects,” Kim said. “We use a little bit of art and science to gather a range of colors to ladder up to the emotions associated with the story.” Then, she said, “with a lens of livability for the consumer,” they pare down to a, “cohesive collection of easily understood colors.” Edgy, contemporary themes Almost always, the result of the research is a trend report wrapped around the selected colors.
McLean developed five themes for Dunn-Edwards’ 2016 Color +Design trends report. The themes emphasize vintage romanticism; simplicity and authenticity; exotic travel and street entertainment; playful family vacations; and a mix of digital and spiritual interests. A palette of 10 to 12 colors is linked to each theme. For their latest forecast, entitled 2016 Global Color and Design Trends: Odyssey, PPG’s color experts generated four distinct themes and palettes that focus on celebrating unique, yet flawed, beauty; the digital, powerful and unconventional consumer; growing consumer interest in stress-free, mindful living; and a desire for more protection and privacy. For each theme, the team chose a palette of 22 or 23 colors trending within it to fully represent the trend. For Sherwin-Williams’ 2016 Colormix forecast, a collection of hues selected from among hundreds of the manufacturer’s paint colors, Jordan also developed four themes: renewed emphasis on health and wellness, natural healing and unplugging; rediscovering the enjoyment of in-person social engagement; an appreciation for quality craftsmanship and small-batch production; and new technologies and space-age materials that create endless possibilities for the future. Six to 10 colors have been selected to represent each theme. Behr’s Woelfel created four themes for their Trends 2016 that capture an appreciation of contemporary residential living: blending bright colors with dark tones to activate the senses; luxury spaces that feature gold detailing and geometric patterns; classic
COLORS FOR 2016: Below are the Color of the Year choices and partial palettes from several major manufacturers
BENJAMIN MOORE Color of the Year:
Pink Wink 1006-2C
Blaze Orange 1008-1A
Golden Meadow 3008-3B
Green Goddess 5008-6A
Laguna Green 5007-10B
Pacific Pleasure 5009-10
Simply White OC-117
SHERWIN-WILLIAMS Color of the Year: Alabaster SW 7008
—SUE KIM, VALSPAR PAINT
BEHR: Blurred Boundaries
Modern Mint T16-12
Raw Copper T16-14
VALSPAR: You Do You
PPG Color of the Year: Paradise Found PPG1135-5
“Color trends are designed with two things in mind—the lifestyle of today’s homeowners and how we, as a group, connect to color emotionally.”
Charcoal Plum T16-15
DUNN-EDWARDS: An Island to Myself Pacific Blues DET586
Mythical Blue DE787
Summer Solstice DET492
Harbor Mist Gray DET515
Boat Anchor DE6377
Dolphin Tales DET600
Morro Bay DET571
Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
homeyness with subtle color combinations; and warm, inviting spaces with bright lighting. Five brand-new colors are part of each theme. “Each year, the trend colors are special limited editions,” Woelfel said. The idea is ‘get trends while they’re hot.’” Valspar’s conclusion is a bit different. “We see the color trends in a continuous movement rather than an abrupt interruption,” Kim said. “We focus on how the colors shift in tone and shades that represent lifestyle, rather than changing colors just to be different for the following year.” Valspar’s 2016 Color Trends offers four muted mid-tones to counter-balance busy living; essential grays that pair with almost everything; crisp brights; and rich, artisan tones. Six coordinating colors are associated with each trend. Confidence in color Most color managers don’t gut-check their color selections with focus groups. “We don’t vet the color with professionals and consumers after we make the final selection,” Jordan said. We believe we have enough support and validation in our choice that we are confident in its appeal and application.” “While we do a great deal of research on consumer insight,” said Kim, “we don’t conduct traditional consumer research on trend colors.” “Each trend palette and the colors within it are carefully chosen based on characteristics revealed by the extensive research conducted,” Schlotter said. Color of the year? Sherwin-Williams and PPG announce a Color of the Year, but Behr’s, Dunn-Edwards’ and Valspar’s color managers opt not to. “Behr purposely does not release a color of the year like some other paint companies,” Woelfel said. Instead, the 20 trend colors, “are handselected to be new and unique. The trend colors do not repeat from the Behr core palette or any other Behr collections at The Home Depot. “I believe there’s so much personalization with color these days that it’s hard to name just one ‘it’ color for that year,” McLean of Dunn-Edwards said. Sherwin-Williams announced its 2016 Color of the Year: Alabaster, (SW 7008), a soft white with faint warm undertones. “It provides an oasis of calm, simplicity, spirituality, and less-is-more visual relief,” Jordan said. “Alabaster is neither stark nor overly warm but, more exactly, an understated and alluring white.” PPG announced its Color of the Year: Paradise Found (PPG1135-5), “a serious green that is nurturing as well as sturdy and protective,” Schlotter said. “It provides a sense of strength and organic energy reminiscent of militia style and natural environments.” PPG also owns the paint brands Olympic Paint & Stain and Glidden; each has its loyal fans, Schlotter said. The Olympic Color of the Year is Blue Cloud (D48-5), “a celebratory blue that’s self-expressive and glamorous,” she said. Glidden’s Color of the Year is Cappuccino 22
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
White (45YY 74/073), a “calm, sensitive, creamy neutral that creates a sense of delicacy and graceful design.” Making sense of the rainbow “I liken [having several colors of the year] to fashion,” Schlotter said. “There is always a big pool of colors that’s trending and there’s room for all of the colors of the year. There is a clear lineage from one year to the next in the evolution of the colors and, often, the trend stories themselves, too. Our trends are not fleeting colors or palettes; these have tenure. The colors and palettes chosen will still be usable three to five years or more from their launch so consumers need not worry that our trends will date themselves.” “I don’t just change a palette for the sake of making it different from the year before,” McLean said. “Most likely, the colors shift to different undertones and values drop off, or come up on the radar through the research on trends. Overall, you do want color shifts to keep people interested in color and design. Colors and trends tend to cycle over the span of around seven to 10 years, so you’ll see some similarities or colors you remember but are modernized for today’s consumer.”
WHAT COLORS DO THE COLOR PROFESSIONALS PREFER? Color marketing specialists spend their work lives immersed in the spectrum of hues, tones and shades. So what colors do they personally gravitate to in their offices? Sue Kim of Valspar purposely surrounds herself with a 3 4 neutral color. “I spend most of my time in a color work room 1 that’s painted a true gray (Valspar’s Hazy Stratus 4004-1C) so I can see colors more accurately without additional influ5 6 ences. The gray also provides a palette cleanser, if you will, to refresh and recalibrate my eyes in between curating color 7 8 palettes.” Sherwin-Williams’ Jackie Jordan prefers neutrals, too. Her 2 , a yellowhome office is painted Wheat Grass (SW 6408) 9 10 ish green, “that’s a magnet for me. It’s my favorite color.” Her office at the paint company is coated in Ancient Marble 3 , a very light grayish green. “Honestly though, if (SW 6162) 11 12 I could, I would change my office at work to Alabaster (SW 4 , her pick for 2016’s Color of the Year. 7008) 13 Dee Schlotter of PPG Industries loves that her office is 5 , a rich dark gray that her dressed in Zombie (PPG1010-7) 6, son Jack named, and one wall is accented with Blue Paisley (PPG1238-6) her choice for PPG’s 2015 Color of the Year. Sara McLean of Dunn-Edwards is also surrounded by a soothing gray, but would love a more definitive color. “The corporate office marketing area is 7 and I’m in a cubicle. What I wish my office painted Pigeon Gray (DE6214) would be painted—I’m really loving some of the new blues in the ‘Then, Now 8 , Surf’s Up (DET583) 9 & Forever’ collection—is either Blue Velvet (DET559) 10 . These bright, saturated blues would be great or Postwar Boom (DET584) to be enveloped in.” Erika Woelfel of Behr enjoys three paint colors on the walls of her office: 11 ; Dark Pewter (PPU18-4) 12 and Maple Glaze (PPU3-16) 13 . Bolero (PPU1-12) 1
“There isn’t a lot of light in the space, so these colors warm it up.”
Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
FINDING THE RIGHT PRESSURE WASHER
painting business’ needs is a matter of striking balances between a number of different factors: the types of substrates you most frequently encounter; the amount of prep work you do on a weekly basis; portability needs; and your budget—to name just a few.
BY JAKE POINIER
“You hear constantly that time is money, but customers expect the job to be done right,” says Bill Fischer, VP industrial sales at The FNA Group, which manufactures Simpson pressure washers. “You can be the best painter in the world, but if you’ve got a peeling substrate, there’s nothing you can do. Paint prep is key—especially given the cost of paint, and no other tool can accomplish the same task better than a pressure washer.” Key factors to consider While there are literally thousands of different options when it comes to choosing a pressure washer to remove dirt and scaling paint from surfaces, the choice really comes down to deciding between a few basics:
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
… experts say the dividing line is around 20 or 30 hours of continuous use per week that would indicate the belt drive is the better bet. with 6.5 horsepower beats that performance by more than 50%.” It’s also important, however, to look at the specific engine. You’ll see the same brand names—Honda,
Photo: Mi-T-M Corporation
Like most equipment, finding the pressure washer that fits your
- Direct drive vs. belt drive Years ago, based on the way pressure washers were designed, belt drive was the only way to go in a professional application. Belt drives turn the pump at a lower number of revolutions per minute (rpms), whereas direct drives run at the same speed as the engine: around 3500 rpms when under load. “The reputation was that direct-drive pumps simply didn’t last as long,” says Fischer. “But the pump designs nowadays are much better, so it’s a matter of looking at trade-offs.” If it’s a suitable option, direct drive offers a number of advantages: lower cost, easier pump replacement, and lighter, less-cumbersome units—easily loaded and unloaded into a service vehicle by a single person. On the negative side, direct drive transfers more heat from the engine to the pump, which shortens its life. An engine failure or pump failure, which would simply break the belt in a belt-drive machine, can cause a more significant—or even catastrophic—problem in a directdrive machine. The exact figures depend on the make and model of pressure washer you choose, but experts say the dividing line is around 20 or 30 hours of continuous use per week that would indicate the belt drive is the better bet. - Pressure ratings and gallons per minute These two factors need to be considered in relationship to each other, according to Don Holdridge, national paint division manager at Mi-T-M Corporation. “It comes down to a mathematical equation,” he says. “You take the pressure per square inch (psi) and multiply that by the gallons per minute (gpm), and that gives you a quantifiable number to compare how much surface you can clean.” For example, if you make a side-by-side comparison, a machine rated at 4000 psi and 3.6 gpm is capable of cleaning more than twice as much area as one that’s 3000 psi and 2.4 gpm. - Construction and components For most painting contractors doing exterior work, gas engines win by a landslide over electric. “Hands down, gas is preferred,” says Terry Connett, director of sales and marketing at Pressure-Pro, Inc. “Using a regular 110-volt socket, the best performance you’re going to get is 2 gpm at 1500 psi—that’s the max. Even a small gasoline unit
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Ultimately, it comes down to the substrate: Are you cleaning stucco in Phoenix or old cedar siding in New Hampshire?
So, how do you decide? Not surprisingly, a contractor-grade pressure washer that cleans twice as much surface area in the same time
Add-Ons A few accessories to consider when purchasing a pressure washer: - Additional hose “At a minimum, if I’m a contractor, I’ll want 50' of hose, but I’ll probably buy another 50' so I’m not having to move the washer around,” says Holdridge. “We sell a 100' length, but a 26
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
lot of pros like to have the quick-connect 50-footers.”
“But you can’t use it on wood or vinyl.”
allow the use of detergents for extra cleaning power.
- Different nozzles In general, patterns range from a pinpoint to a much wider 40° fan spray, and what you choose will depend on its purpose. “A rotary nozzle or turbo nozzle is very popular for hard surfaces—any surface you don’t have to worry about damaging, it will strip very quickly,” says Connett.
- Telescoping wands Telescoping wands, which extend from 12' to 24' long, are very popular for reaching higher parts of a building from ground level without needing a ladder.
- Protective features Connett advises that engines with a low-oil alert and thermal relief valves can be helpful to prevent damage to the engine and the pump.
- Detergents Some pressure washers may have built-in or quickconnect attachments that
- Pressure-adjustable wand While most pressure washers are adjustable at the unit, Simpson’s Dial-N-
Wash adjustable pressure regulator attaches to the wand and enables the user to decrease or increase pressure instantly. - Hot water If you can fit hot-water capabilities into your budget, it offers the most versatility of all as far as cleaning power—but these units may be many times more expensive and heavier than a cold-water unit.
Briggs & Stratton, Kohler—and even the same horsepower ratings, but a paint contractor will want to make sure they’re getting the commercial-series engine, not the residential. The same principle applies to the pump you choose. “There’s a dramatic difference in life duty between the axial cam, which is the residential level in direct drive, versus the plunger type or crankshaft type,” says Fischer. Aluminum frames have become increasingly popular. “They’re lightweight and won’t corrode,” says Holdridge. “Not that powder-coated steel is inferior, but contractors want aluminum.” - Warranties In general, the further you go up the commercial ladder, the better and longer the warranties that are available—particularly compared to the homeowner units. For high-end washers, it may include several years’ coverage on the pump and engine and a lifetime warranty on the frame, for example.
may be quite a bit more expensive as an initial investment. “Over the course of its life span, the more expensive, bigger machine—depending on your jobs —is going to save you time,” says Fischer. Ultimately, it comes down to the substrate: Are you cleaning stucco in Phoenix or old cedar siding in New Hampshire? Using too much pressure or getting the nozzle too close can result in damage repair rather than a quick, efficient cleanup; too little pressure means poor efficiency and wasted time. As a result, you need to consider the size and application, as well as the duty cycle. A top-end, contractor-grade unit will clean just about anything out there—and can always be dialed back— whereas a 2000 psi machine hits its limit early. (In addition, many lower-end units can’t be adjusted.) “The most popular type of washer in our market is gas-powered, with 4 gpm water usage and 4000 psi,” says Connett. “Hands down, that’s the leading specification in many styles. But even more than the amount of power, you need to make sure you’ve got the bestquality components, because it’s an investment in your business.” Having trouble choosing just one? Some painting pros solve that by having a main workhorse unit with highend specs—and a lower-powered backup unit for smaller jobs or jobs where less pressure is more appropriate.
Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
INSPIRING & CONNECTING HOMEOWNERS TO INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS
ACHIEVING THE LOOKS CUSTOMERS WANT BY STACEY FREED Your customers are online right now at Houzz and Pinterest, gathering design ideas for their walls, floors and ceilings. They’re finding out about metallic paints and faux plasters; sandstone finishes; and artisan finishes like crackle with an aged-metal patina.
A tufted trompe l’oeil harlequin pattern adds depth and interest to a wall.
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
They’re oohing and aaahing over Venetian plaster or brushed-suede accent walls. While DIY might be all the rage, your customers know that the best possible outcome will happen only if they call you. But there are, “an infinite number of distinctive finishes that could be applied to an infinite number of hard surfaces,” says John Bubenik, owner of The Color Craftsmen in St. Louis, MO, which does custom interior refinishing work. Some design options may be easy for you to create, but there will be many for which you, like your customers, will need to call in a specialist—a decorative artist. Choices, choices Narrowing the options will be one of your biggest challenges. Bubenik’s goal is to help people achieve their objective, but he finds there’s often a communication problem. He spends a lot of time asking customers about their lifestyle, their likes and dislikes. “If they say they want a ‘rustic look,’ we’ll brainstorm. I’ll throw out words to see how they react—natural wood, stone, brick, timbers. Knowing what they like might help me think in terms of stains versus paints versus textures,” he says. If they say they like stucco, “I need to narrow that down to whether they’re looking for the texture and feel or just something with visual interest. Some of the Euro plasters have subtle movement visually but no real texture.” For many finishes, all the major paint companies have numerous ready-made options. Many even offer step-by-step instructions on their web sites, detailed supplies’ list, how-to videos, and more.
Popular techniques Here are some popular techniques and methods for doing them successfully:
STRIÉ Relatively simple, but time-consuming, strié (a French word meaning ‘streak’), can make the painted surface look as if it were hand done by brush centuries ago. Start by rolling on a base coat, then glaze (a mix of paint, glaze and extender) and paint over it with a wallpaper brush, for example, to wipe away the glaze. With the glaze, Bubenik says, “you want a long open time. You don’t want it to set up too quickly.” It’s difficult to do this on large swaths of wall, so you can tape off one section, paint, and then flip the tape and do the next section. “You don’t want to have a line across the wall,” Bubenik says. He suggests trying the effect with different types of brushes, “maybe one with notches cut out of it every quarter inch,” or using a horsehair brush with 7"-long bristles.
STENCILS Patterns, such as paisleys, are popular on a wall, or a medallion on a ceiling where a light might hang, or even a faux Oriental rug on a concrete floor. For these designs, you can use stencils. These can be created out of a plastic sheet that will hold its shape and adhere to a surface with a spray adhesive, or there are premade, one-time-use stencils, which have an adhesive backing to keep paint from seeping underneath. “It’s not difficult for painters to lay out a stencil, but there can be a lot of math involved,” says Wendie Laurel-Croston, owner of Refined Walls in Lima, NY. For a ceiling medallion, “You have to find the center of your wall and work out from there so each side is equal.” A good stencil can cost $100 or more—she recently purchased one for $1,300—and, “you may need to purchase more than one if, for example, you’re troweling mica through it and you have to keep cleaning it.”
Photos: Wendie Laurel-Croston
Transformative Films & Finishes
Preparation is key to stencil work. “Make sure the surface is well-sealed,” Laurel-Croston says. “If there’s any dust under your layers of paint, when you remove the one-time-use stencil you’ll remove the paint down to the drywall.”
PLASTERS This is a great look when your customers want texture. While there are synthetic options available, most professionals avoid them. “To the untrained eye they look okay,” Laurel-Croston says. But they don’t harden as well and can wash off with water. Bubenik likes to use traditional lime plaster that comes in a variety of colors or can be tinted. “As soon as it loses its glisten, you work it with the trowel to line up all the platelets (fine particles) to reflect light differently and create the subtle color shift,” he says. “It’s a technique that’s hundreds of years old. That’s part of its romance.” But plaster can be difficult to work with. “A true Venetian plaster—really any of the decorative techniques with troweled micas or plaster— really needs to be done by a professional,” says Laurel-Croston who analyzes a surface before plastering. “Prep is extremely important to a level-five Venetian plaster. Any nick in the drywall or gypsum, any seam not completely smooth, is going to telescope through with your trowel.” There are also many types of plaster, each offering something different, says Laurel-Croston. “In marble-based plaster, you can make it rough, shiny, embed a design, put it on thickly, or incorporate different layers of glazes. In metallic plasters, there are different ways to apply it to bring the sheen up or down. You can make it look like velvet on the walls. There are sandstone plasters for an old-world look. And there are clear plasters you can mix with other plaster for a different layer of translucency.”
If you want to learn more, many colleges have decorative painting classes. The International Decorative Artisans League (IDAL) offers education and advocacy, and hosts a yearly convention. Both pros say it can’t hurt to try these techniques on your own, but if you’re in doubt, call in a decorative artist. Bubenik suggests getting the names of the decorative painters in your market before going ahead with a new project. But keep in mind that it’s a two-way street. “I have painters I call for different projects and they do the same for me,” Laurel-Croston says. “A good, talented painter makes my work look good by getting the walls ready for me. A bad painter is my worst nightmare”
A stenciled medallion adds an elegant flair to an otherwise plain ceiling.
Try it and see To create the different looks, you’ll need to invest in a few tools such as stainless steel trowels, a wide selection of cheap brushes and artist’s brushes, and stippling and glazing brushes. Bubenik suggests investing in, “a couple of different products on sample boards and … some nontraditional tools,” he says. “You might roll on a sanded product and don’t think it looks interesting, but you draw a wallpaper-smoothing brush through it and you like the striated texture. Or you could put a glaze on top, and where it pools in the pits and grooves, it will be darker —and on the high peaks, not show at all. Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
RESTORING ORDER TACKLING WATER AND SMOKE DAMAGE—AND OTHER RESTORATION WORK
hen Bob Mazzant moved to Beaver Falls, PA to take a job as a police officer in the 1970s, the small town had all the elements of a thriving
American community, complete with a booming main street and plenty of civic pride. But the population was made up of predominantly steelworkers, so when Pittsburgh mills began closing, the economic ripple effects were clearly felt in Beaver Falls.
BY BRIAN SODOMA
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
Shortly after his arrival, Mazzant decided to start a small painting business to supplement his income —however, with a declining population, the demand for professional painting sputtered, too. But he was eventually able to establish a niche in disaster recovery work, thanks in part to his police work.
As an officer, he often encountered water losses and fires. A poorly maintained furnace would catch fire or a building not properly winterized yielded a broken plumbing pipe that would cause serious water damage in a home or business. Through time, Mazzant met the adjustors and insurance company representatives who assessed these situations in Beaver Falls and nearby communities. The insurance industry then began turning to Mazzant. “We started picking up insurance work. There were two or three companies that liked us,” Mazzant said. “My background as a policeman helped. People trusted me.” He expanded his business, Mazzant Painting & Disaster Restoration, to include general contracting and, today, he has two carpenters on staff, a drywall finisher, and he subcontracts out most electrical, HVAC, and plumbing work. His team also answers calls for board-ups after fires or floods. Each year, insurance companies cut billions of dollars in checks to contractors for disaster jobs. Any
painter can get in on this potentially lucrative line of work, but not everyone is cut out for all aspects of the job. Some simply stick to the paint side of the situation while partnering with a general contractor like Mazzant to earn a piece of the pie. Either way, disaster work brings a consistent learning curve and plenty of trial and error— along with the potential for some serious business. Assessing the job Will Sheils, owner of Blue Star Paint & Property Services, LLC in Annapolis, MD, has relationships with several general contractors who specialize in disaster work. For a paint pro, some details can go easily overlooked on disaster jobs, he says. “I think the main thing is to look everywhere. You need to really check all your surfaces,” Sheils said. “Water travels far. You might think it’s isolated in one section, but you should check in one room, then the other side of that wall, and wherever there might be peeling paint.” Nick LoGrasso, owner of SNL Painting Inc. in St. Louis, MO, pays particular attention to basements on water-loss jobs. Like Sheils, he too partners with general contractors on jobs, but sticks to his area of expertise: paint. “You need to see what’s lurking behind walls, especially if it’s drywall in a finished basement,” he said. “If a pipe breaks or a sewer backs up in those spaces, problems can be hard to spot.” When digging behind the walls of a fire situation, assessing what needs to be replaced is also critical, adds Mazzant. Removing as much smoke- or fire-damaged material without compromising structural integrity can be a balancing act. “With smoke, you want to try to remove as much as you can that is contaminated,” Mazzant noted. “The more you can get out, the less you need to clean.” If an area of a home has severe fire or smoke damage but can’t have many studs removed, that’s where sealing
with heavy primers comes into play. Both Sheils and LoGrasso have been called on for that work, too. “The hardest ones are kitchen fires,” Mazzant said. “We really try to over-kill it on those. The problem is that if you think you’ve got everything covered, people can still come in and fire up the furnace and that’s when they’ll smell the smoke. Then you’ve got a problem.” Mazzant will also use heavy hydroxyl and ozone machines to combat fire residue and smoke odors. Even still, he says, patience is a requirement. “It’s a process. We’ve been working on one for three months now. Every day it gets a little better. The more you can air it out and seal things, the closer you’re getting to the end,” he said. Primers, safety Any pro involved in disaster renovation swears by certain primers to help seal off stains and smells. Alcohol- or shellac-based primers are the best for fire losses and most oil-based primers should seal out water stains without much problem, said LoGrasso. The paint pro, whose father also worked on restoration jobs, looks to Zinsser’s B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer for smoke- and fire-damage jobs. “If you’re trying to seal odors, B-I-N will stick to anything,” he said. It’s not uncommon to see B-I-N used for water situations as well, he noted. He also likes to use Zinsser’s Cover-Stain Oil-Base Primer to cover up water, and says it also works well on jobs where he must overcome heavy cigarettesmoke odors. “People still try to use water-based latex primer, but they really won’t hide water damage,” Sheils added. The pro likes to use PPG’s oil-based SEAL GRIP Acrylic Universal Primer/Sealer to seal out water stains on his jobs. Mazzant recommends ProRestore’s Unsmoke System for covering fire damage behind the walls, and has also found success with Sherwin-Williams’ White
Any painter can get in on this potentially lucrative line of work, but not everyone is cut out for all aspects of the job.
PRODUCTS FOR MASTERING DISASTER
Zinsser’s B-I-N ShellacBase Primer Fast-drying; blocks stains, odors and knots
PPG’s SEAL GRIP Acrylic Universal Primer/Sealer Blocks water, nicotine, smoke, ink and tannin stains, and can be recoated in four hours
Sherwin-Williams’ White Synthetic Shellac Interior Stain-Blocking Primer Blocks odors and stains like shellac, but without shellac
ProRestore’s Unsmoke System This two-part system contains particulates and dust, and protects against mold, mildew and bacterial growth
Zinsser’s Cover-Stain Oil-Base Primer Seals stains from water, smoke, fire, nicotine and tannin bleed
Synthetic Shellac Interior Stain-Blocking Primer, a unique product that performs like a shellac but doesn’t actually have shellac materials in it. The raw materials for shellac-based primers are becoming limited, so the product is seen by some as a long-term solution if shellacs suddenly become unavailable. Shellacs and oil-based primers require safety gear like gloves and respirators for proper application. “It’s killer stuff to work with. You really need those respirators. Some smell like perfume when it dries, but that’s if you can survive putting it on,” Mazzant said, kiddingly.
Having a flexible enough schedule that allows you to be consistently available for these jobs could be a critical factor in getting the work. LoGrasso ventilates a structure as much as possible when using sealers and primers; and in rare cases where the owner is still living in the home, he says residents and pets should be removed from the site. For painters, he recommends only using NIOSHapproved (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) respirators with charcoal filters. Replace the filters after every use. Avoid simply using dust masks; they’re not strong enough to filter out fumes and will leave you with a headache, he added. Emotions run high If you’re thinking of expanding your business offerings to take on entire disaster jobs, keep in mind that disasters are not planned and jobs can arise unexpectedly. Having a flexible enough schedule that allows you to be consistently available for these jobs could be a critical factor in getting the work. Mazzant, who will answer to a disaster call in the middle of the night to dry out or board up a site until adjusters can get there later, says it’s also important to remember the emotional toll on residents and building owners. “You go into a situation where someone was married for 50 years … you can’t replace those photographs and valuables. Take it a step further where a life was lost, and it’s that much harder,” he added. Often times, Mazzant’s team also takes responsibility for keeping some of a person’s belongings. For example, his company will have clothing salvaged from a site professionally cleaned, stored, and then returned to a resident. Families can be displaced for months, adding tension to the situation.“You have to think about it. 32
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
You have a family that’s now in a hotel, the kids are going to school … you want to get them back in the house as quickly as possible,” he said. Weighing mold, certifications Mold remediation is one area some painters may seek to expand their business. When dealing with water losses, it’s not uncommon to come across mold as well. Mazzant is certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) for Water Damage Restoration, Odor Control, and Fire & Smoke Restoration. Mazzant has not pursued MRS (Mold Removal Specialist) Certification from IICRC or any other entity because to insure his business to take on that line of work, it would cost him between $30,000 and $40,000 per year, he says, and he doesn’t see enough business volume to justify that expense. So he is happy to contract out moldremediation services to other professionals when it comes across his job scope. For Sheils, whose company does some drywall work and light carpentry, Maryland law allows him to remediate a section of mold smaller than three feet wide or three feet high. Like Mazzant, he doesn’t see enough potential work in mold and looks to outside mold-remediation companies in most cases. Insurance companies, finding the work If you are up for taking on the entire scope of a disaster job, like LoGrasso and Sheils, many paint pros will partner with a general contractor to cover the paint side of jobs first. From there, they can learn more about the work and obtain certifications to gain credibility. Trade associations like the National Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters (NAIIA) and the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) may also offer networking opportunities for paint pros looking to meet those in need of quality professional contractors. And many states’ Department of Insurance have lists of adjusters. However, it’s important to note that working on disaster jobs may also mean learning how to use insurance estimating software. Xactimate is today’s standard for the insurance repair industry, and learning the basics of it can only help those looking to get into disaster work. Mazzant says the program’s estimates also factor in the going rate for work and materials in a given zip code, and rarely does he have conflicts with insurers over a scope of work or estimate. “We work with some of the big insurance companies—State Farm, Erie, Nationwide—and we’ve found the adjusters to be pretty sincere. They want to make the situation right,” he added.
[ BUSINESS PROFILE ]
By the time Dan Brady entered Central Michigan University, he had already worked as an apprentice under a master painter. BY SALLY J. CLASEN
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
So it made sense to tap into those skills and start his own company during college to pay for his education. What he wasn’t so knowledgeable about at the time, however, was finances. “As a student, I would have to give myself a C-minus grade,” says Brady, who is the owner and president of Dan Brady Painting & Wood Restoration in Traverse City, MI. After earning a degree in business administration in 1995, Brady’s ability to grasp and manage numbers improved dramatically. He set out on a successful corporate career as an account executive in the computing industry, first working in Detroit and then Grand Rapids. “I was making great money, but that came at a price of being moved farther and farther away from home. I came to a fork in the road,” he says. After five years, Brady left the suit-and-tie world and took the route back home to northern Michigan for the drop cloth business. Once there, he started a kitchen and bath resurfacing company with his brother in 2000, Brady Specialty Coatings. Three years later, Brady began to rethink the family venture. “I realized that we were
not good partners. I thought it was best that we remained brothers and not business associates, so I started my own painting company.” His new career path combined his newfound experience in coatings with his painting acumen. At first, Brady did cookie-cutter repaint house jobs, but eventually expanded into reviving wood structures and surfaces. Today, his company offers interior and exterior painting, staining, wood restoration of commercial and residential buildings, and also drywall repair. A star is born Though Brady lives in a city with 15,000 residents, it hasn’t stopped him from looking for unique opportunities to promote his services and expertise, both locally and nationally. He’s appeared on the HGTV show Carter Can and TLC’s Trading Spaces, an experience that motivated him to see what type of amateur video advice was available for consumers on the Internet. What he discovered was basic and fragmented resources. “When I tried to find videos on the best way to tackle jobs, there was nothing good out there,” he says. “From techniques to the best products to use, no one was putting the advice all together.” So, in 2007, Brady hired a video and editing team and developed Tricks of the Trade, his signature series of painting videos and DVDs that help homeowners get professional results in any painting or wallpapering project. In his 17-chapter DVD, Learn How to Paint a Room Like a Pro Today!, Brady doesn’t just teach viewers how to tape a room or use a brush properly; he provides start-to-finish instruction in an HGTV-style format that covers the entire painting process, from color selection to interior design. Though the initial target audience for Tricks of the Trade videos and DVDs, which are shipped throughout the United States and Canada, was the DIY crowd, they have become an effective training tool for others in the industry as well, according to Brady.
“The original concept wasn’t to market to other painters. And I really wasn’t worried about my competition when I created the videos, quite frankly,” he says. “But many have been ordered by companies who want to do learn to do something better or be more efficient in their business. Eight years later, the content is still relevant and people are still talking about them.” Tricks of a trade professional Brady has tried the gamut of marketing strategies, but the Tricks of the Trade video series has been the most critical tool he’s used to gain credibility. “It really has opened doors and established me as the local expert,” he says. Brady also credits the videos for helping land his gig as the technical spokesperson for FrogTape in 2011. Plus, he costars in Revibe, a two-minute DIY segment that airs on Fridays on the NBC affiliate in Traverse City, in which Brady and a local interior designer repurpose everyday items. He understands that not everyone will have the resources to develop a series of videos and DVDs or appear on TV, but Brady says that opportunities exist everywhere for painters to put themselves in a position of authority. “You have to find ways to make yourself an expert in your community and differentiate yourself. … It could be as simple as having Facebook posts, having a good web site, or doing speaking engagements,” he says.
“You have to find ways to make yourself an expert in your community and differentiate yourself.” “Most painters are great conversationalists, even if they aren’t experienced speakers. The most important thing to do is to get out of your comfort zone and set yourself apart from all other painters in town.” He points out that many painters aren’t even taking advantage of the low-hanging fruit to promote themselves. “At the minimum, painters should have a truck with their company logo, print some business cards, and put their company sign in the yard or on the project site.” Always the student Though Brady, a master painter, has etched a notable niche in the painting field, he continues to network, learn, and be involved in industry developments. He’s a member of several professional organizations, including PDCA, and has served in various leadership capacities to help shape the direction of his chosen craft.
Stats COMPANY NAME Dan Brady Painting & Wood Restoration FOUNDED 2002 Brady also regularly attends regional and national painting conventions and trade shows to stay on the cutting edge of the latest equipment, preparation and application techniques, and the newest trends and products in the market. “I reach out to peers in the industry and I talk to my competitors. And I’m more than open to talk and share.” he says. “That’s where organizations like PDCA come into play. You learn how to handle job situations and where you find the cream of the crop—the who’s who in painting. Reach out and be a joiner. Look for peers and mentors instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.” In fact, interacting with industry types resulted in Brady hiring Nolan Summit Services to help push his business to the next level—and redefine his role in the company. “They are helping me hire a salesperson, a job which I currently do myself. And the next step is to bring a full-time operations person onboard. I can’t get operations fine-tuned because I’m in the field doing five bids,” he says. “If I want to grow to $1 million or $2 million, I have to get out of the sales role.” The bottom line In spite of Brady’s success, his experience as a professional painter and business owner has not been without failures. “I’ve picked the wrong products, haven’t spot-checked properly, and I’ve lost good guys because they were offended by something I did. I’ve also trusted without verifying,” he says. “But I’ve learned to ask a lot of questions, and I make certain to show up on a job site and do a thorough walk-through.” And while he originally thought he wanted to be a banker or a real estate investor, Brady doesn’t regret pursing an education that eventually gave him a solid foundation to run a paint business. “It didn’t come naturally for me, but I wanted to challenge myself and understand finances,” he says. “I knew it was important.” “Many painters focus on the money in and money out, but don’t focus on the profit at the end of a job,” Brady adds. “You have to be able to monitor a job’s expenses and think about how you can bring it in on budget as the job is happening. I’m able to do this because I know my numbers.”
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES 10 SERVICES OFFERED Interior and exterior painting and staining; wood restoration of commercial and residential buildings; drywall repair ASSOCIATIONS • Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA), member • Home Builders Association of the Grand Traverse Area • Traverse Area Association of Realtors • Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce • BNI Grand Traverse Region, past president • PDCA Grand Traverse Region • ShurTech, advisory board member • PDCA Residential Forum, board member • Traverse Bay Area Credit Union • Michael’s Place • Habitat for Humanity, local affiliate, former board chair AWARDS 2015 PDCA Industry Award, Residential Exterior Restoration TOTAL ANTICIPATED BILLINGS IN 2015 $750,000 CONTACT Dan Brady Painting & Wood Restoration (231) 943-0161 DanBradyPainting.com
Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
[ TECH EDGE ]
Is Google Making a Move Toward Pay-to-Play? BETA-TESTING INDICATES THE DAYS OF FREE LISTINGS MAY BE OVER
FOR YEARS NOW, Google has been an affordable place for home-improvement contractors to generate their own leads.
BY AARON O’HANLON
The introduction of the ‘Local Places’ section allowed contractors to be displayed high on the first page with only their business information needed. You didn’t even need a web site to promote your business on Google. As someone who has been involved in search engine optimization for the past 18 years, the past few months have definitely been disappointing. There have been
The seven-pack has now been reduced to just three.
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
some changes in the way Google is currently displaying their search results, as well as a possible new service, which would put them on par with HomeAdvisor or any other lead service. Google now only displaying three ‘local places’ listings This past summer, Google went from their sevenpack of local map listings down to three. That means if your company was in the 4–7 slot, you are no longer on the first page of search results: Fig. 1. Another change is a link to ‘More Professional Painters’ has been added. Also, by clicking on the company’s business name, it no longer takes you to their Google+ page, but instead, takes you to a ‘Local Finder’ page that shows detailed information about the company. This just fuels the rumors that Google may soon be abandoning their Google+ product. The theory behind the ‘click to call’ button is for Google to now track clicks. With this approach, Google has limited the amount of information a company can display as well as the number of companies that are displaying. Why would Google do this when, historically, they wanted to display the best results for the user? Google beta testing lead service That’s right. Google could be heading toward charging home-improvement contractors for leads. Just like HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List and the other lead services, Google is beta testing their Home Services Ads service in the Northern California area. For example if you do a search for a plumber in San Mateo, you will see the following results: Fig. 2.
Local listings are now replaced by sponsored listings.
These are sponsored listings that completely replace the ‘Local Places’ listings. Also of note, Home Services Ads push Google Adwords ads to the righthand column of search results. Meaning that even with pay-per-click enabled, these new Home Services Ads will take the top positions. The ads include a photo of the home-improvement contractor, their location and phone number, along with any ratings —and what look like call-out promotional text that details qualifications and service qualities, and offers such as BBB A+ or emergency services. Users can click the profiles for more details, which is not pulling data, but rather, is user-implemented. Meaning, in order to be listed in this area, you need to be paying Google. In addition to having to provide all of your business information, licenses, insurance, etc., Google has the typical user form, which allows them to sell leads. If you click on the link ‘More Plumbers,’ you are taken to the following page: Fig. 3. As you can see, Google will be allowing users to select the typical three contractors to contact, thus following the typical practice used by lead companies. While Google’s Home Services Ads are currently only available for plumbing and locksmith homeimprovement contractors selected by Google in Northern California, I see a connection between them and the larger changes to Google’s ‘Local Places’ section. Though Google’s Home Services Ads are currently in a testing mode, don’t fear that it will take over. I don’t think users really enjoy the limited three-contractors contact approach. Also, how is Google going to handle issues when the user isn’t satisfied with the three contractors, or the contractor doesn’t believe that the leads are worthy?
Either way, contractors are going to have to be on top of their online game. Since the ‘Local Places’ listings are shrinking and many listings have been knocked off the first page, contractors are going to need to focus on Google’s requirements, as well as have a budget, to compete for the first-page results.
Is Google heading toward charging home-improvement contractors for leads?
Aaron O’Hanlon is the managing director of Footbridge Media, LLC, a contractor marketing firm specializing in the home-improvement industry. It is his mission to educate, inform, and assist contractors on taking over their online presence. FootbridgeMedia.com
Google’s Home Services Ads give you the option to contact just three contractors.
Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
[ TOOLS OF THE TRADE ]
Back- and labor-saving tools
If you have a product that you think other pros should know about, let us know: editor@inPAINTmag.com 38
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
In the heavy-lifting world of painting, a bad back is bad news. Given that, for this issue we picked two tools specifically designed to reduce the wear and tear on your back.
While neither is new to the market, we’ve heard enough good things
about them that we thought they were worth sharing with those who might not be familiar with them.
The HANDy Ladder Pail saves time— and your back
The HANDy Ladder Pail and liners are available in most paint and hardware stores and can be ordered online via Amazon.com
Holding a bucket of paint on a ladder takes a toll on your hand and your back and—as we all know— climbing up and down a ladder to refill your brush or roller is a time-consuming pain. Thanks to a clever design, the HANDy Ladder Pail solves both of those problems. Using a patented bracket that securely attaches to standard step and extension ladders, this rugged pail holds more than a full gallon of coating. Plus, a built-in magnetic brush holder offers a convenient place to store your brush up and out of the coating—and out of the way of your roller. The Ladder Pail works with up to a 9-1/2" roller. A built-in paint grid lets you regulate the amount of paint on the roller and provides a handy place to hook your roller when not in use. And between uses, the Ladder Pail sits flush and level on the floor. Disposable liners (sold in packs of two) are available to save you time on cleanup, and to make switching colors easy. The HANDy Ladder Pail is proudly made in the U.S.A.
The Bucket Buggy eliminates the heavy lifting of moving buckets It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it, at the end of the day, lifting and lugging buckets is hard work. Enter the Bucket Buggy to make the job a lot easier. The Bucket Buggy was built with pros in mind. Made with non-marring rubber wheels, it lets you move buckets loaded up to 85 pounds effortlessly—and it even rolls up curbs and stairs. Designed with a lock-in-place strap and a built-in fender brake, you never have to worry about tipped or runaway buckets again. The handle articulates, allowing you to easily haul your coatings where you need them, then adjust the handle out of the way while you do your work—and even move the open bucket of paint—without worry. And should you need to lift it, the handle can be positioned over the center of the bucket to provide easy, spill-proof lifting. The handle telescopes and the entire device folds flat, making it easy to lift, transport, and store. The Bucket Buggy features an all-steel frame and a fiberglass-reinforced polymer construction built to last. The Bucket Buggy is available via HomeDepot.com, ebay.com and Amazon.com
Dec 2015/Jan 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
Rudd Company, Inc.
0 Rapid Set WunderFixx, p 16
0 SkimStone, p 18
0 Dial-N-Wash, p 26
0 A-100, p 18 0 All Surface Enamel Latex Primer, p 16 0 Loxon Block Surfacer, p 18 0 Loxon Concrete & Masonry Primer, p 18 0 Mobile Match, p 6 0 SherLastic Elastomeric Coating, p 18 0 SuperPaint Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint, p 18 0 White Synthetic Shellac Interior Stain-Blocking Primer, p 31
UltraTech International, Inc.
0 TempLine Celebration Colors, p 6
HANDy Paint Products
0 HANDy Ladder Pail, p 39
PPG Architectural Coatings
0 SEAL GRIP Acrylic Universal Primer/ Sealer, p 31
0 Unsmoke System, p 31
ADVERTISER INDEX 3M 3m.com Pages 13 & 15
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY Habitat.org Page 19
PAINTCARE PaintCare.org Page 25
BENJAMIN MOORE PAINT COMPANY BenjaminMoore.com Page 3
LATEX AGENT BY CROWN (PSC PACKAGING SERVICES CO.) LatexAgent.com Pages 27 & 29
PDCA PDCA.org Page 11
CLOCKSHARK ClockShark.com Page 43
MI-T-M MiTM.com Page 23
PPG ARCHITECTURAL COATINGS PPGac.com Page 7
GRACO, INC. Graco.com Back Cover
MILEBUG MileBug.com Page 33
SHERWIN-WILLIAMS Sherwin-Williams.com Page 5
0 Ultra-Ever Dry, p 6
Umbro Tool Corporation
0 Bucket Buggy, p 39
0 B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer, p 31 0 Cover-Stain Oil-Base Primer, p 31
[ UPCOMING EVENTS ]
What, Where & When JA N UARY 1
19–21: NAHB International Builders’ Show, Las Vegas, NV buildersshow.com
4–6: National Hardware Show, Las Vegas, NV nationalhardwareshow.com
F E BRUARY 2
16 & 17: NAA Student Housing Conference & Exposition, Chicago, IL shce-naa.naahq.org
6–11: 2016 Society of Decorative Painters Conference & Expo, San Diego, CA decorativepainters.org
17–19: International Roofing Expo, Orlando, FL theroofingexpo.com
25–28: BOMA 2016 International Conference & Expo, Washington, D.C. bomaconvention.org
M A RC H 4
9–11: 97th Annual Associated General Contractors Convention, San Antonio, TX agc.org
9–12: PDCA Painting and Decorating Expo, New Orleans, LA paintinganddecoratingexpo.com
12: PDCA 2016 Craftsmanship Forum, New Orleans, LA pdcacraftsmanshipforum.com/events
7 2 9
5 6 4
A PRIL 7
7: Builders & Remodelers Show, Minneapolis, MN batcbrs.com
12–14: American Coatings SHOW 2016, Indianapolis, IN american-coatings-show.com
PDCA Craftsmanship Forum Held in conjunction with the PDCA Expo, the PDCA 2016 Craftsmanship Forum will take place Saturday, March 12 in New Orleans. The daylong event will feature presentations on: identifying craftsmanship niches within the field of painting; techniques and best practices; how to use craftsmanship to differentiate yourself in marketing, and more. In addition, Art Snarzyk of InnerView Advisers, Inc. and chair of the Hiring Craftsmen Committee of the Craftsmanship Forum, will present on how to define the attributes of a craftsman; how to craft ads that attract them; how to effectively identify them in the interview process; and how to train and retain them. The discussion will be followed by a roundtable led by Art and Forum president, Rich O’Neil.
TO LEARN MORE, VISIT: pdcacraftsmanshipforum.com/events or contact the Craftsmanship Forum at Info@PDCACraftsmanshipForum.com or (954) 214-4447 Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
[ BOTTOM LINE ] CALCULATING YOUR OWN PAY
Just like you pay your employees on a regular basis for their services to your company, you need to pay yourself too.
LINNEA BLAIR, owner of Advisors On Target, is a business coach and small-business expert. She works with contractors to develop best-practice business management and marketing strategies for a sustainable business. Linnea can be found at AdvisorsOnTarget.com or on Twitter@AdvisorOnTarget
inPAINT | Dec 2015/Jan 2016
Paying yourself last is a strategy to get by, not a strategy for success Many painting contractors (and other smallbusiness owners) end up paying themselves by what’s left over at the end of the month after other expenses are paid. By paying yourself that way, you often end up with a big swing in your monthly take-home pay, with some months being very lean and some months being fat. This may work for a young, single guy with a more flexible lifestyle, but it doesn’t work so well for the small-business owner who has a family and a mortgage, and needs more stability. Besides, you started a business to make a good living, right?
each month. Just like you pay your employees on a regular basis for their services to your company, you need to pay yourself too. Then you can make a plan to pay yourself extra amounts in your most profitable months to make up the difference between your necessary income and your desired income.
Start with a plan to pay yourself first I coach every business owner to create an annual profit plan and budget. Why is this so important? Because creating a detailed annual plan that shows your projected income and expenses for each month helps you to see if what you are setting out to accomplish is reasonable to achieve, and if it will produce the results (profit and cash flow) that you need in order to compensate yourself appropriately and invest in your company.
Best practices I have a metric that I like to use called: Net Operating Profit Before Owner’s Compensation. I believe that 20% – 25% is a good result for most contracting businesses between $300,000 and $3,000,000 in revenue. Out of this profit comes the owner’s compensation. In the low end of this revenue range, about 15% – 20% of revenue is reasonable for owner compensation. For example, at $1,000,000 in revenue, this would amount to $150,000 – $200,000 in owner’s compensation. A higher percentage is needed for the lowest revenue range to produce an adequate living compensation, and a lower percentage is needed for the higher end of the range, since there is a larger need for bigger companies to invest in growth and infrastructure while still compensating the owner well for his or her investment in the business.
What’s an appropriate amount for owner compensation? First, it starts with your needed and desired personal income. If you take time to do your personal financial planning and budgeting, you’ll know what you need each month to provide for your personal lifestyle. Beyond your normal monthly needs, you may also have a desired income amount that you’d prefer to bring in from the business for investments, travel, etc. It’s important to know these numbers and to factor them into your budget/profit plan for the year. Not every similarly sized business will have the same number. Your personal financial needs and desired income are your own. One business owner with a $600,000 business may be satisfied with $90,000 in compensation, while another needs $200,000. The business model and structure, not to mention future vision, may look very different for these two individuals. Make a plan to pay yourself at least the necessary amount to meet your monthly personal income needs
Methods for paying yourself There are different requirements for how to take owner’s compensation from your business, depending on what your legal entity is. It is a good idea to consult with your business attorney and tax advisor to understand the tax laws regarding how you take compensation, and to make the best decision for you. Typically, if your company is an S corporation, you need to take a ‘reasonable’ salary as a W-2 employee and then take the balance of your compensation in draws or distributions, while LLCs and sole proprietors usually take their entire compensation as a draw. There are tax ramifications for each, so be sure to consult with your CPA. The real bottom line is that you started a business to create a better life for yourself, and usually that life includes a comfortable level of compensation that enables you to live the lifestyle you desire and to provide for your retirement. Achieving this takes vision, planning and implementation of your strategy to grow a profitable and successful business, however you define success.
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Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
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