THE MAGAZINE FOR PROFESSIONALS | FEB/MAR 2016
Building Green The Tower at PNC Plaza
Caulk this way What property managers want from paint contractors
Winning work in the education market
[ CUTTING IN ]
With this issue of inPAINT you’ll see some changes that we incorporated based on a few of the lessons we’ve learned along the way and feedback we’ve received.
Amanda Haar ART DIRECTOR
Martha MacGregor DESIGNER
Kathryn Heeder Hocker COPY EDITOR
As with any business venture, when you start out, you have an idea of what you think you need to do to be successful. Then experience and exposure steps in to teach you a thing or two. But if you’re open to it, those lessons can guide you to do what you do even better. With this issue of inPAINT you’ll see some changes that we incorporated based on a few of the lessons we’ve learned along the way and feedback we’ve received. Far from an overhaul, the changes represent more of a refinement to how we develop and present stories so that they better suit the needs of you, our reader. To begin with, we’ve added a new department titled ‘Workforce.’ In it, we’ll look at the challenges of managing a staff and crew. From hiring and firing to addressing bad habits and respecting cultural differences, we plan to pack it with ideas you can readily apply to your own situation. In addition, we’ve tweaked our ‘Business Profiles’ department. In the past, we looked at different businesses and their trajectories. Beginning with this issue, we’ll alternate between business profiles and project profiles. The latter will offer an in-depth look at a given project including the players involved, products used, unusual requirements, etc. We hope you’ll find it both informative and inspirational.
COVER: Photo Courtesy of PNC Bank
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
Our ‘Ask a Pro’ column also got a mild rework. The questions we’ll be putting to pros will now alternate between specific challenges (e.g., Should you charge for estimates?) to bigger-picture thinking and industry observations (e.g., If you were going to start a paint company today, which markets would you target and why?). Finally, something not so obvious as a new department but that will be reflected in every issue is the creation of an Editorial Advisory Board. We’re happy to have access to the insight and experience of 10 individuals representing different segments of our readership and geographic regions of our country to ensure that the topics we cover are relevant and the approach is on target (see page 6 for a list of advisory board members). Even if you’re not on the Editorial Advisory Board, we’d love to hear from you. If there’s a topic or story you’d like to see covered, just let us know. We value your input and will use it to continue to make inPAINT valuable and relevant to our readers. Cheers,
Amanda Haar Amanda Haar Managing Editor, inPAINT editor@inPAINTmag.com
Cindy Puskar CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
Paula Hubbs Cohen Debra Gelbart Soraya (Morgan) Gutman Jake Poinier Dave Siegner Brian Sodoma Jim Williams Noah Winkles SOCIAL MEDIA
Jillian McAdams PUBLISHED BY
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THE WORK ISN’T.
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Paint Pro Alerts
inPAINTÂŽ Feb/Mar 2016
Making the Grade
Caulk This Way
Striking a balance between adhesion, flexibility, durability, paintability and cost
Pros' most-valued perks from paint manufacturers
It's good to be green
What paint manufacturers are doing on the green scene
Friend or Foe?
Working with the competition
16 + 20 24 28
6 The News
Industry ins and outs
The Tower at PNC Plaza
A fast look at the forces at work in our industry
Common sense advice that any crew will respond to
9 Trend in Focus
41 Upcoming Events
Boomers promise to be a boon to contractors and remodelers
The what, where and when of the industryâ€™s leading events
10 Ask a Pro If you were going to start a painting company today, which markets would you target and why?
42 Bottom Line Pitching to an HOA
12 Work Smart Getting your foot in the door with property managers
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
Photo Courtesy of PNC Bank
Winning work in the education market
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BECAUSE EVERY JOB MATTERS
Dec 2015/Jan 2016 inPAINT
[ THE NEWS ] EasyPaint.com Expands to San Francisco and New York City T Beginning February 2016, online paint contractor and customer matchmaker EasyPaint.com will roll out in its second and third markets—the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City. Originally launched in the D.C. area in 2014, EasyPaint partners with individual paint companies to connect them
WestJet Introduces Second Disney Custom-Painted Theme Plane T Canadian airline WestJet unveiled a Frozen-theme airplane in late October. The company’s second Disney-themed plane, the Boeing 737 features characters from the popular film on the tail portion, dreaming of a warmer destination, which is depicted on the front of the craft. The transformation was completed in 21 days by a crew of six working in 12-hour rotations. The project required 170 gallons of paint and an untold number of sparkles. The inside of the aircraft has decals and headrest covers that mimic the cold-to-warm theme pictured on the exterior.
with customers in need of work. According to company founder Marty Cornish, “Interior designers, general contractors and real estate agents love working with us because we seamlessly provide direct access to qualified paint contractors that match their project needs, including size, budget and schedule.” Cornish, who previously managed a paint store, says EasyPaint streamlines the bid process for pros. “In return, paint contractors get projects that fit their schedules and qualifications without any hassle. It’s a win-win,” he explains. After San Francisco and New York launch, the company plans to roll out in Los Angeles and Dallas later in 2016. To learn more visit EasyPaint.com
inPAINT ® Establishes Editorial Advisory Board
Glidden Paint Featured in New Interactive Color Experience at Epcot T Walt Disney World Resort’s Epcot Center recently unveiled a new part of the park’s ‘Innoventions’—an exhibit area designed to highlight the latest technology and products from companies around the world— called Glidden’s ‘Colortopia,’ featuring a narrated tour with interactive activities. “Pairing the magic of the park experience with the magical role color plays in our lives
is an exciting opportunity for the Glidden brand,” said Mark Lancia, senior brand manager, Glidden, a brand of PPG Paints. “We’re excited to share the Colortopia experience with the park’s visitors from around the world.” The paint manufacturer has an existing relationship with Disney via its licensing deal with Disney paints sold at Walmart: Disney.Glidden.com
T It is with great pleasure that inPAINT magazine presents the members of its first-ever Editorial Advisory Board. These professionals represent the different segments of our readership and will provide valuable input and insight in shaping our content in the year ahead. They include: 0 Tara Carter, managing director, Luxe Residential Services 0 Paul Dunkman, project manager and VP, Dunkman Paint & Wallcovering, LLC 0 Kevin Godfrey, owner, Heritage Restoration 0 Tony Hady, principal, PacificWestern Commercial & Residential Painting
0 Mike Kelly, owner and general manager, Crestwood Painting
0 Carolyn Liedtke, marketing director, Fresh Coat Painters 0 Scott Lollar, general manager, Precision Painting & Decorating 0 Judy Mozen, president, Handcrafted Homes, Inc.; president NARI 0 Carolyn Noble, ASID, NCIDQ, interior design manager, VeenendaalCave, Inc. 0 Kris Toth, owner, Toth Painting Solutions
Superhydrophobic Coating Brightens Rainy Days T Launched late last year, Rainworks Invisible Spray offers a way to make rainy days more interesting. Completely nontoxic, environmentally safe and biodegradable, the superhydrophobic coating can be applied to concrete and dries clear. Images are revealed when the surrounding concrete becomes wet. Rainworks does not change the texture of the concrete and lasts approximately three months, depending on traffic and weather conditions.
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
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[ TRENDS ]
Falls Top the Charts
For the fifth straight year, fall protection remains at the top of OSHA’s Top 10 most frequently cited workplace violations.
The top-selling interior blues from six major paint manufacturers KELLY-MOORE PAINTS
BLUE DOLPHIN PPG1041-4
BEHR PROCESS CORPORATION
SOURCE: OSHA Today, October 2015
JEAN JACKET BLUE S510-4
PALLADIAN BLUE HC-144
NAVAL SW 6244
Remodeling Goes to the Dogs More than one-third (35%) of dog/cat owners have made petrelated upgrades to their home in the last two years. Of those:
RECONFIGURED ROOM LAYOUT
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
SNOW LODGE DE5799
IMPROVING WITH AGE Over half of 60+ households are planning to age in place, and many are modifying interiors with this in mind. SOURCE: Overview of U.S. Renovation, Custom Building & Decorating in 2014: Houzz & Home, June 2015
A POSITIVE SIGN OF RECOVERY FOR AMERICA’S BUILDING INDUSTRY According to a recent report from CreditSafe that analyzed approximately 1.7 million construction companies in the U.S., the high-credit-risk category is now 5.8% smaller than the previous year and the low-credit-risk category has grown by 1.7%. SOURCE: Creditsafe.com
[ TREND IN FOCUS ]
Boomers Promise to be a Boon to Contractors and Remodelers AGE-IN-PLACE REMODELS REPRESENT UNPRECEDENTED OPPORTUNITY
Whether you call them ‘boomers’ or the ‘silver tsunami,’ the growing number of adults 65 years of age or older represents one thing to contractors and remodelers: opportunity. Work to be had According to Mark Hager, CEO of Booming Your Bottom Line, “In terms of scale of opportunity in their lifetime, business owners are never going to have another one like this again.” Given that 20% of the population will be over 65 by the year 2030 and that nine out of 10 seniors want to grow older in their home, it’s hard to argue with him. Hager breaks down the projected number of seniors (72 million by 2030) to a local opportunity scale this way: “If 10,000–12,000 people in your area reach age 65 by 2030, every one of them is going to need something. It could be a slight remodel, it could be major, but there will be work and plenty of it.” More than grab bars Deborah Pierce, a founding partner and project architect at Pierce Lamb Architects in West Newton, MA, and the author of The Accessible Home: Designing for All Ages and Abilities (The Taunton Press), urges pros to educate themselves on the needs of aging adults and the options that exist. “In the past, an age-in-place remodel was a matter of grab bars and maybe a ramp,” she says. “But today, there are a number of ways to address needs that are not only far more functional, but are also more aesthetically pleasing.” As she notes, “Knowing the requirements for accessibility under the Americans with Disabilities Act and state building codes is a must. But really, they only address minimal and maximal conditions, not optimal conditions. Plus, they’re largely geared toward people in wheelchairs. That’s not all that helpful for people with other challenges such as arthritis in their hands, or vision and hearing loss.” She encourages pros to go to building materials and plumbing shows to see what’s new in the way of accessibility. “This is a great way to expose yourself to what’s available,” she says. “Then, when you make a suggestion such as a paddle-handled faucet that doesn’t require a strong grip, you gain the trust of the customer.”
Pierce is also a big advocate of the National Association of Home Builders’ Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) program. “Getting CAPS certification not only adds to your credibility, it expands your understanding and knowledge tremendously,” says Pierce. She describes the three-day training as a ‘consciousness-raising course’ that provides an in-depth look at demographic trends, insight into how to find prospective customers, and tips for dealing with both caregivers and seniors. Establish yourself as the expert Hager agrees that education is essential—not only to the contractor, but to the customer, too. “In our coaching program for contractors looking to tap this market, we put a huge amount of emphasis
“In terms of scale of opportunity in their lifetime, business owners are never going to have another one like this again.” — MARK HAGER, CEO OF BOOMING YOUR BOTTOM LINE
PERCENT OF TOTAL HOME RENOVATION EXPENDITURES BY AGE OF HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD People age 55+ spent roughly $90 billion on home renovations last year =47% Age 55+ =25% Age 45-54 =19% Age 35-44 =9% Under 35 SOURCE: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard 2015; Age Wave Calculations
on educating customers in every interaction,” he says. “If you can share helpful information every time you have contact, you establish yourself as an authority, and people won’t feel like you’re just trying to sell them something they don’t need.” Hager adds, “This age group does not like to talk about getting old. You have to speak to them in a way that resonates with their goals, be it independence or health and wellness.” Pierce adds, “Pros need to appreciate that when you’re talking age-in-place, you’re really talking about preventive accessibility,” she says. “The goal is to make a home safer to live in so falls are less likely and, should a fall occur, the house will be ready if a person finds themselves disabled either short or long term.” Feb/Mar 2016 inPAINT
[ ASK A PRO ]
If you were going to start a painting company today, which markets would you target and why? Q:
A: The simple answer is that I'd focus on the same
market―mainly commercial―that we did when we started the company 25 years ago.
DAVE SIEGNER and his partner Maureen Siegner are in the final stages of selling Siegner and Company, Commercial Painting & Wallcovering Contractors to their son and daughter. Although largely retired, he remains involved as CEO, and plans to always be available to provide assistance as needed.
Unlike so many others, I didn’t start painting houses in the summer, or to put myself through college. I started as an apprentice in 1972 and over the years I became a journeyman, a foreman, a superintendent, an estimator, and a project manager. I had done virtually everything there was to do. Working in upper management taught me a lot about what to do and what not to do, and I was prone to searching out mentors, which is a key thing. In 1991, my wife and I decided to start our own company. If I were to start a new company today, I’d place the same kind of emphasis on the commercial marketplace, and specifically in tenant improvements. That’s a lowinvestment area to start out in. You don’t need a whole bunch of equipment. There’s low-risk exposure and it can help facilitate an even cash flow for a young, underfunded business. Also, residential painting companies spend a lot more money on marketing. Commercial painting is built oftentimes—especially successful ones—on relationships. In residential painting, you might spend 10% of your revenue on mailers, fliers and marketing efforts. Commercial painters can have 50 painters working on any given day with 10 of them working on several jobs for the same customer. Residential painters might have one job going on at a time and not see those customers again for several years. They have to have a volume spread out among a lot more customers than in commercial. It’s not that commercial painting is necessarily better; it’s simply what I am familiar with and where my contacts are.
It’s how you play your team to their strengths to benefit all of them and the company that really is a key to success in the field.
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
To stay afloat, you have to diversify quickly and develop and implement processes and systems that are proven and stay true to them. That will keep you out of trouble. It’s important to understand job costing and to have access to financial information as quickly as possible so you can make changes quickly if the train starts going off the tracks. Develop personnel and recognize that everyone is different. It’s like a football team. You don’t take someone who may be a real hard worker and put them in place of the person who has a more cerebral approach to managing a job site, just as you wouldn’t play a defensive guard as quarterback. It’s how you play your team to their strengths to benefit all of them and the company that really is a key to success in the field. Before you go into business, though, it’s important to know the exact reasons you’re going into business. There’s more to it than, “I want to be my own boss.” It has to be more thought out than that. To borrow from Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the number 2 Habit is ‘Begin with the end in mind.’ That will guide you through as you make decisions, and keep you on the road to success as defined by your goals. When we started, our specific goals were these: To make a lot of money and do so with a reliance on and respect for the Golden Rule—which in this business can be challenging. I told our people in 1991 that to be competitive, I wanted to have the best painters doing the best work and making the most money with the best benefits in the most productive fashion. That was my philosophy. I think we’ve accomplished that.
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[ WORK SMART ]
GETTING YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR WHAT PROPERTY MANAGERS LOOK FOR IN PAINTING CONTRACTORS
Your next painting job might come from anywhere, and networking could be the key. Many painting contractors have discovered that property-management companies can be a source of steady work. If you’ve been wondering how to build relationships with residential property managers, keep in mind there’s an art to getting onto a list of preferred painting contractors.
BY DEBRA GELBART
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
Not surprisingly, you’ll find more opportunities with interior painting projects than exterior. “Exterior paint jobs will usually be scheduled well in advance during nicer weather,” said Ed Shaffer, director of maintenance operations for HHHunt, a Blacksburg, VA-based apartment property-management company that manages 15 properties in four states. “But interior paint jobs may be needed on very short notice, and that’s where property managers can really use the help of a good, reliable painter, so we can get an apartment ready as quickly as possible for the next tenant.” Some of the industry representatives we interviewed indicated they may want to put a painting contractor on retainer; others said they prefer to hire for one project, or a group of projects at a time.
Get connected To connect with property managers, go to the events they go to. Think about attending trade shows and taking part in local fundraisers sponsored by— or popular with—property managers, suggested Tara Carter, the managing director for Luxe Residential Services, an asset management and consulting firm in Richmond, VA. If you connect with a property manager at one of these events, ask for a meeting and be willing to offer your services for the first job with that property manager at a discount, Carter said. Carter also suggests contacting your local affiliate of the National Apartment Association and Institute of Real Estate Management, an international community of real estate managers, to inquire how you might become one of the organizations’ preferred vendors. Many property managers rely on referrals—from other property managers, real estate agents, home inspectors, appraisers, and other contractors—to find painters, said Steve Schultz, the 2016 president-elect of the National Association of Residential Property Managers and the designated broker for Blue Fox Properties, LLC, a residential property-management company in Tucson, AZ.
Preparing for a first meeting Experts in the property-management industry agree there are several steps you can take to make an initial meeting with someone in a position to hire you more productive. Once you’ve targeted who you’d like to work with, set up an appointment ahead of time with a property manager. If you just show up at a property manager’s office without prior arrangement, you probably won’t be able to meet with the person on that visit, Carter said. Before you meet with a property manager, set up a professional-sounding email address and voice mail greeting. Create a business card and appealing marketing materials that you can leave with the property manager, Carter advised (more on that later). And make sure your cell phone’s ringtone isn’t something silly or offensive, she said. Show up for the appointment on time and wear proper attire. “You need to dress appropriately when you’re meeting with a property manager, especially for the first time,” Carter said. You don’t have to wear a business suit, but you should avoid paint-spattered coveralls, she said, adding that a polo shirt, khakis and business-casual shoes typically are on target. During the meeting, be honest. If you learn that the available work isn’t a good fit for your skills or interests, say so, said Emily Howard, the community manager for The Reserve at 4th and Race, a downtown luxury-apartment community in Cincinnati, OH. If a painter can’t deliver, for whatever reason, they should decline the job up front, echoed Paul Rhodes, the national
“… I recommend, based on marketing studies, that a painter contact the property manager up to 10 times.” —STEVE SCHULTZ, 2016 PRESIDENT-ELECT, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY MANAGERS maintenance and safety instructor with the National Apartment Association Education Institute in Arlington, VA. Don’t allow the job to go forward without first letting the property manager know of concerns or issues, he said. If you decide to move forward with the interview, the industry representatives advise being prepared to answer the following questions: - Why should we hire you? - How many years have you been doing residential painting? - How long will it take you to paint this apartment? - Do you charge a flat rate or by the hour? - Are you able to touch up a unit instead of a full paint? - What are the ballpark cost estimates for both? - Does that price include paint and supplies? - Do you have your own equipment? - Are you experienced with drywall repair? - What do you do to prep the apartment—remove light switches, caulk, etc.? Feb/Mar 2016 inPAINT
“Being slow to respond kills us in the propertymanagement business. Time is money and, often, we’re up against the clock, especially for move-outs.” —STEVE SCHULTZ, 2016 PRESIDENT-ELECT, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY MANAGERS
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
- What is your workload now and would we be your priority? - Do you have additional staff for times when you have a heavier workload? - Do you have references we can contact? (Be prepared to provide names and contact information at the interview.) - Do you offer a discount for volume business? - How long should the paint job last after you’re finished? - How much lead time do you need before starting this project? - What associations do you belong to? Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau? Leave the best impression If you don’t get hired as a result of that initial meeting, don’t assume you’ll never get hired, the industry representatives say. There are ways to help the property manager remember you. Leave-behind marketing materials—a business card or a flier that trumpets your skills and experience, and possibly even a small brochure that details your areas of expertise—may help the property manager recall meeting you months later when a job opportunity presents itself. These materials should be professionally designed and written, many of the experts suggest. One way to find communications and design professionals is to find a company—it doesn’t even have to be a paint company—whose marketing materials you like, and ask who they worked with to produce them. Don’t let months go by before contacting the property manager again. Contact once a month or so will be acceptable to most managers, Carter said. “But never stop by a property on a Monday or Friday or on the first of the month,” Howard said. “And when you do stop in, don’t take up too much of the property manager’s time.” An easy way to connect with property managers is through gatherings sponsored by the local
apartment association, Howard added. “Join the association and come to meetings and mingle,” she said. “Most contractors will try to meet with a property manager once and move on,” Schultz said, “but I recommend, based on marketing studies, that a painter contact the property manager up to 10 times,” with each contact coming about every four weeks, he said. Get hired again When you do get hired, the most important step to take to ensure you get hired again by the same property manager is to show up ready to work on time with all your supplies in tow, unless they’re being provided for you. “Wow the property manager with service above and beyond,” Carter said. “Do something nice for the maintenance team, not just the property manager, such as bringing a gift for the holidays.” Being able to communicate via email is vital, Schultz said. “The ability to invoice accurately and promptly is also important,” he said. “Most property management work-order tracking systems go through email. The days of calling in work orders or sending via fax are over.” Howard suggests offering a discount on other services related to painting, and offering to buy the staff lunch in exchange for referrals. If you’re contacted by the property manager, respond as quickly as you can, Schultz suggests. “Being slow to respond kills us in the property-management business. Time is money and, often, we’re up against the clock, especially for move-outs.” Shaffer said his company’s policy is that an apartment that’s been vacated must be readied for the next tenant in five days. Respect the residents in nearby apartments, Rhodes said, by keeping noise and odors to a minimum. “Ensure that each paint crew has at least one person who speaks the language of the apartment community.” Follow through on your estimates without, “looking to nickel and dime small charges,” Rhodes said. Do quality work on time and on budget, Shaffer advised. “We expect our contractor to act as if he’s on our payroll and treat our residents with the same level of respect as we do.” Be available for last-minute needs, Howard said. Rhodes said the first impression a painting contractor should make is that he’s organized and knowledgeable about his trade. The continuing impression, he said, should be one, “of integrity, speed of completion, and the completeness of the job.” All of these steps not only can lead to repeat jobs with the same property manager, but can lead to referrals to other property managers. “Fellow apartment managers know firsthand the quality and timeliness of painting contractors’ work,” Howard said.
P D C A N AT I O N A L C H A M P I O N S
MAKING THE GRADE EDUCATION MARKET LUCRATIVE BUT NOT WITHOUT ITS SHARE OF RISKS, PROS SAY BY BRIAN SODOMA
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
About one-third of Bob Connor’s multi-million-dollar book of business comes from work on educational institutions—
company has similar relationships with other private-school corporaeverything from elementary schools on up to colleges and tions with multiple campuses in universities. It’s a sector he began pursuing about 15 years the Indianapolis area as well. ago by getting to know various facilities managers and “We might be in a dorm room and only paint one wall. … but school officials at a wide range of enterprises. then we get the summer painting, The president of Indianapolis-based Connor Fine too,” he said. “This has developed over time to where Painting often gains business through referrals and I know there’s enough money in it to do it; yet it allows long-time relationships. When it comes to education them to manage their costs too. Some might say a $325 work, facilities managers that he has known for some job is a pain in the butt, but we look at it as part of a time now see Connor as a go-to guy for quick-turn $300,000 account.” work that keeps their campuses and buildings looking polished. Scheduling, logistics “The administration, students and parents are all Education facilities inherently bring their own potential headaches for a facilities guy. If you can keep scheduling challenges. Holiday breaks, spring break and a facilities person out of trouble, the more valuable you summer break, times when many people are planning are to them,” he said. vacations, are higher-volume time windows for paint Connor, however, understands his limits when pros on educational campuses, since there is far less foot it comes to seeking out education jobs. He avoids traffic in buildings. This type of scheduling also brings bidding on new-school construction, a wildly differa downside. ent—although potentially quite profitable—animal that “Most of our guys are tied up in schools and are not requires unique bidding strategies, heavy documentagoing to be doing a lot of other stuff in June and July or tion, and its own way of scrutinizing production rates before August 15,” Connor noted. and schedules. Scott Kuperman, owner of Paint Platoon USA, a “There’s a whole art to trying to make money with Cary, IL-based painting contractor, also says jobs in the those kinds of contracts,” Connor admits. “There are education arena require a keen eye for dry times and a lot of tricks to maintaining margins on big jobs like odors. He’ll often order low-odor or low-VOC prodthat. … When you have a business that’s built on longucts for education jobs, but likes to stay mindful of dry standing relationships like ours, that doesn’t always times, especially if he knows children may be back in a translate well into new construction.” room or space within a few hours. Whether you’re a pro considering education-arena “You want employees who are familiar with safety repaints, or you’re eyeing new construction opportuniand how to keep everyone else safe, and who can be ties, there’s plenty to consider before taking the leap. conscience of the fact that there are kids coming here every day,” he said. “Lead-based paint, for buildings Small to large built before 1978, is another concern. You have to be For Connor to get into the repaint side of education really careful about proper containment.” work, it’s not unlike building a business relationship with a customer in other commercial sectors. He Coating considerations, ceilings happily takes on the small jobs with the hope of Tim McCahill, owner of McCahill Painting Company, them bringing bigger, more profitable, projects later. in Chicago, says coatings for education jobs must be That’s the approach he’s taken for the past 15 more durable than typical formulations used on resiyears with Butler University, a private institute dential jobs. with about 5,000 students. Even today, some In Illinois, painters are still allowed to use some Butler jobs, like ones that involve covering up water industrial urethane enamels and solvent-based products damage in a small wall section—or others that may if odors aren’t a problem. If the situation is right, simply require updating paint on a single wall in a McCahill will use these paints on trim and railings. room—only require a few man-hours. But showing Above all, he says it’s important to indicate on MSDS that he can be counted on for the seemingly petty work forms the type of paint being used and to have a has also built loyalty between customer and contractor, discussion with school officials about potential odors and each year, Connor sees large summertime repaint before the job starts. projects as well. In any given year, Butler brings in “I’m still from the school of solvent-based paints, about 100 work orders for Connor Fine Painting. The although they are coming up with good crossovers,”
“ If you want a classroom to look brand new, then overlooking the ceiling can be a bad move.” —TIM MCCAHILL, MCCAHILL PAINTING CO.
Feb/Mar 2016 inPAINT
he added. Connor looks to zero-VOC paints as much as possible. “If we can use water-based epoxy, we will use that on the walls. We do use a good amount of single-component, pre-catalyzed epoxy on walls and ceilings, too,” he noted. McCahill is also seeing more use of unique products like Sherwin-Williams’ Dry Erase Coating and similar multicomponent formulations that serve as a dry-erase board after drying. Other products—like Rust-Oleum’s Magnetic Primer, which creates an actual magnetic surface after application—are also popular in schools. “Those are some of the creative things you’re seeing in these environments,” he added. McCahill has also carved out a small niche in school repaints by focusing on preserving acoustical ceilings
Dunkman recommends having at least four months of working capital to pay overhead like labor, equipment and materials before submitting a new-school construction bid. and their grid systems. He favors ProCoustic from ProCoat for these types of jobs, but also knows how to effectively fix old ceiling tiles. “If you want a classroom to look brand new, then overlooking the ceiling can be a bad move,” he said. “Priming, painting and fixing the grid system and tiles is more work, but it still makes a huge difference. These coatings allow the ceiling to retain its fire rating and acoustical values, too.” Brave new construction world Paul Dunkman, president of Orlando-based Dunkman Paint and Wallcovering, LLC, focuses on new-education-facility construction. He also 18
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takes on his share of new-construction health care, public works and multifamily jobs as well. New-commercial construction work requires plenty of due diligence before ever submitting that first bid, he advises. These projects, whether they are in education or any other sector, require much more cost analysis than a typical residential bid, and job sequencing is a big factor when measuring production rates. For example, for a new school, a contractor must know which trades will be in the work area on the day the primer coat is applied. “There are a multitude of variables the residential painter would have no idea about, and they just might apply a cost analysis by square footage of the building. You really have to understand how the work is performed and in what sequence, to accurately price and get into the market,” he explained. Dunkman’s father started the family painting business almost 20 years ago, after spending years working for a paint manufacturer. That experience helped him understand the materials side of a new-construction bid, but labor costs became a trial- and error-experience for both he and his son. “To be honest, I really didn’t figure it out until after I was in the business for about eight years,” Dunkman admitted. Part of that learning process involved becoming more familiar with PDCA estimating guidelines and standards. But PDCA’s commercial forum, which includes a host of experienced commercial contractors who are willing to share insights from their experience, was the real game changer for Dunkman. “It was instrumental in the growth of our business,” he said. “After eight years of struggling, I made three contacts from different areas of the country during one forum. After three or four 15-minute conversations, I had a clear idea of what I needed to do differently going forward.” Being properly capitalized is another critical element to succeeding in new-school construction, he added. Payment time lines can become extended very easily in new-construction scenarios. For example, his team completed a nearly $300,000, six-week job and full payment wasn’t received for another four months. Dunkman recommends having at least four months of working capital to pay overhead like labor, equipment and materials before submitting a new-school construction bid.
Litigation, documentation Dunkman has also seen his share of legal disputes. Expect them, he said, if you plan to pursue school construction. Seek legal help for any area of a bidding contract that doesn’t make sense, the pro adds. “This is all about contract terminology and manipulation. The GC can use the contract to put you in default for work not properly executed if they deem that necessary, and they can try to exhaust your working capital with litigation strategies,” he added. Dunkman recently recovered $450,000 in disputed revenue. He says peer resources, like contractors involved with PDCA’s commercial forum, were key to him winning the legal judgment. Extensive documentation also helped. “If you do not document on a daily basis, you do not get paid. I’m talking recording man power counts; daily reports; weekly safety toolbox talks; proper notification of additional cost impacts; and email correspondence on a daily basis,” he added. For Kuperman, his biggest sticking point with new-construction work comes with how paint specs are written. “You’ll see stuff where it says to apply a coating to the SP6 standard. Then later on the page it’ll say SP3,” he cautioned. “That is a problem. Nobody really notices it until the time comes when the painter says he’s done and it doesn’t look good and he can’t get paid. With repaint work, we’re not at the whim of some poorly written specs. We’re the guys that write the specs and make the recommendations.”
expensive lessons as a result of audits, and the need to maintain specific bookkeeping practices for these jobs. “That’s why we choose not to do prevailing-wage work most of the time,” McCahill noted. While some see an allure to expanding into education, most pros agree that starting with small repaint work to test the waters is a safer approach. Then larger —hopefully more profitable—jobs may come. “That’s the way a lot of guys do it,” Kuperman added. Then you’ll likely need to tap some old-school wisdom before setting sights on that first new-school construction project.
Prevailing wage Those new to working with municipalities or public agencies like school districts may also be faced with a bidding scenario that requires paying what is referred to as a ‘prevailing wage.’ The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 is a federal law that stipulates a prevailing wage, or common wage for the area, be paid on public projects. States and municipalities have interpreted the act in different ways. Some have added minimum bid requirements and others require the prevailing wage to be those established by a local union entity. In these states, you can expect new-school construction bids will specify using union labor. These situations can bring considerable added administrative costs, too, McCahill said. He notes that if a painting contractor has no history of working with a union, there can be some Feb/Mar 2016 inPAINT
CAULK THIS WAY PUTTING THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY AND FORMULATIONS When it comes to caulks, it’s a matter of striking TO WORK FOR YOU
e’ve all been there. You walk into the caulking and sealant section of your preferred vendor, and are confronted by
a monolithic wall of cartridges—only to choose the same brand and type that you always buy.
BY JAKE POINIER
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
Formulas for success Among many painters, acrylic latex caulks are the workhorse for their jobs because of its paintability, broad compatibility with substrates, ease of use, and fast-drying, low-odor formulation. The downside is that, since they’re water based, they’re also prone to shrinking, which can result in cracks. “They’re formulated for places that aren’t exposed to water,” says Amy Burgess, senior channel manager, GE Consumer Sealants. “Prolonged exposure to moisture will tend to dissolve them, and UV exposure will cause
Photo Courtesy of Henkel
“Paint pros tend to like what they like, and end up sticking with something they know rather than experimenting with the new high-end chemistry,” says Jason Toth, technical customer service advisor at DAP. “But there are newer formulations, often for the same price or a small increase, that work under conditions where general-purpose sealers cannot. These sealants dramatically increase performance and help you avoid common problems like cracking and loss of adhesion.”
a balance between adhesion, flexibility, durability, paintability and cost. Across the board, caulk technology has advanced a lot in the past 10 years—with better performance and fewer VOCs and toxic chemicals—but still, the correct caulk selection for the job requires an understanding of the substrates you’re dealing with and the environmental stresses on them.
the latex to yellow. In a cold environment, the water in the sealant can freeze and the bead may break or lose adhesion.” Burgess notes that some of today’s siliconized acrylics, another water-based chemistry, have been engineered to be more paint friendly, and won’t cause the paint to crack or change sheen. High-performance silicone caulks offer good bonding strength and water resistance, but they can be tricky to work with and may cause issues with repairs down the line. In areas that demand significant flexibility, it’s time to consider an elastomeric caulk. “The difference is that an elastomeric will expand, contract, and recover 100%,” says John Becker IV, president of Creative Material Technologies, Ltd., which manufactures the DynaSolv line of products. “They have memory of where every molecule was when it cured, and when thermal stresses are removed, everything reverts back into perfect alignment. That’s how you get very long-lived caulking compounds.” John Degirolamo, marketing manager, product application for Henkel, is an advocate for the new generation of silane-modified polymers (SMPs). “SMPs greatly reduce the chances of using the wrong product for the application,” he says. “They don’t contain a solvent, so they’re 100% solid and won’t shrink. They’re also paintable very quickly—even within an hour—and are highly water resistant, right from the start. Plus, you can gun them anywhere from 0º to 140º F and they’ll flow the same.” For trouble areas with adhesion problems, Becker suggests looking at polyurea caulks and sealers, which are two-component materials. “On a southern exposure, you have a lot of movement, and most caulks will crack,” he says. “It may sound impossible, but the chemistry of new products allow hardness with flexibility.”
bead of that kind of caulk, you can feel the texture and it will break if you pull on it. A higher-quality product with more polymer and less filler will elongate before it breaks.” Best practices For painters, the main issue is usually, “How soon can I get my first coat down?” Like a paint job, however, a successful caulking procedure requires proper prep work and application:
When it comes to caulks, it’s a matter of striking a balance between adhesion, flexibility, durability, paintability and cost.
- CLEAN THE JOINT AND THE SUBSTRATE. Without a clean surface, you will inevitably end up with delamination and poor bonding. Unless you’re sure what the existing
What’s in the cartridge? Reading labels isn’t anybody’s idea of a good time, but it’s essential to understand the basic components of the most common caulks, too. Not surprisingly, the cheaper the caulk, the lower the quality of ingredients used, which can lead to problems like shrinkage. Latex-based products can shrink a lot or contain larger amounts of cheap filler such as calcium carbonate, limestone or marble dust. “It’s about the ratio,” Degirolamo says. “At the low end, some may have 70% filler, which means less adhesion and flexibility. If I give you a cured Feb/Mar 2016 inPAINT
Photos Courtesy of: Left: Henkel Top right: DynaSolv.com Bottom right: FloorMaxCoatings.com
The correct caulk selection for the job requires an understanding of the substrates you’re dealing with and the environmental stresses on them.
material is, remove everything down to the bare substrate before priming or caulking. - KILL THE MOLD AND MILDEW. The north side of a house is a ripe environment for cultures trying to grow, especially if the old caulk has failed. In addition to brushing or spraying a biocide into joints and gaps and letting it dry, you need to consider the formulation of the caulk itself. “You want to look for products that contain a ‘two-pack biocidal system,’ formulated against the biological growth (referred to as ‘bugs’) that can grow in the cartridge as well as after it’s on the surface,” says Becker. “If I have a biocidal material in an acrylic caulk designed to kill bugs before application (while it’s still in the package), and then I apply it, I also need something to prevent surface mold and mildew from forming. But those chemicals need to migrate to the surface—so be aware that enabling that migration through the polymer film may mean you compromise the caulking compound’s waterproofing qualities.” - PRACTICE YOUR BEAD TECHNIQUE. “We’re all taught to tool the bead to make it look pretty, but the tendency is to tool too much,” says Degirolamo. “On the outside of the house, you want a full ³/8" bead with ¼" adhesion on each surface. On interior jobs, you can get away with smaller beads because it’s more about aesthetics. The main thing is to think of it as shaping the bead, rather than removing and wasting a lot of material. The best contractors I know go right off the gun, pushing the bead in with the tip—they don’t want to tool because it takes more time.”
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
- THE RIGHT CAULK IN THE RIGHT PLACE. If you’re using 20 cases of caulk on a project and there are two cases of highend product, it needs to get used in the right place. “Applying elastomeric caulk to a chair rail doesn’t always give you a good return on performance,” says Toth. “If everything is reasonably well anchored, it’s not going anywhere.” Save the elastomeric for the more demanding applications, such as crown molding, where it’s needed. - AVOID DUST. If you’ve got a semi-tacky finish and one of the other tradesmen on site is using a saw, those particles are going to get imbedded into the sealant. Make sure to communicate on scheduling. - READ THE LABEL. “Yes, we really mean it,” says Toth. “Labels and formulas change from time to time, so the dry times and other specs might be different from the last time you used the product.” When in doubt, call the supplier to ask questions if you are uncertain about product selection or application. Final thoughts “A lot of our customers are now considering themselves coating contractors,” says Becker. “When you go with higher-performance products, you set yourself above the lower-end competition that drives your profits down.” Degirolamo concurs, “Premium contractors need to know the technology that’s available, because their reputation is staked on it.”
Buy right. Use it up. Recycle the rest. PaintCare is the non-profit product stewardship organization established by the American Coatings Association to represent architectural paint manufacturers. Weâ€™re working to provide environmentally sound and cost-effective paint recycling programs in states with paint stewardship laws.
Rhode Island 2014
Recycle with PaintCare
www.paintcare.org â€˘ 855-724-6809
Take Your Pick of Perks! 9 PROS ON THEIR MOST-VALUED PERKS FROM PAINT MANUFACTURERS We recently asked several industry experts to talk about their favorite paint manufacturer perks. While there was a wide range of responses, one theme was constant: paint pros appreciate quality customer service, the opportunity for team-building and camaraderie, and a constant flow of up-to-date information.
From product demos to on-site consultations, here’s what they had to say:
ABOUT OUR PRO: Jimmy Zeski is the owner of Fresh Coat of Charleston, based in Summerville, SC. He’s been a paint pro for six years.
HIS FAVORITE PERK: Pro Days. “These usually include giveaways and lunch. I also appreciate newproduct free trials, call-ahead ordering, on-site consultations with my customers, and discounted prices on work shirts that have our company logo, since that markets our company.”
HIS BOTTOM LINE: “Demos and trials help us stay up on the newest technology in paint and painting, while consultations allow for proper product recommendations and advice. Having an expert on site alleviates customers’ concerns on difficult projects, and call-ahead ordering really saves time … and time is money.”
BY PAULA HUBBS COHEN
ABOUT OUR PRO: Carlos de León is VP of The León Group, LLC, in Bridgehampton, NY. He’s been in the paint business for 20 years.
HIS FAVORITE PERK: Partnerships with manufacturers, and a diligent service rep. “This is where the manufacturers become your most valuable tool. They are the arbiters of knowledge concerning the products we will be using to conduct our business. In addition, an active and conscientious service rep often separates one manufacturer from the next. A great service rep is available to answer any and all questions as to what paint should be used and on what surfaces. This is extremely important, as the industry is constantly changing with new paint products and new surface materials.”
HIS BOTTOM LINE: “As the industry grows, it changes and new products are released. By having a partnership with manufacturers, we are invited to attend prerelease shows and educational sessions. This is helpful because companies that have the most knowledge concerning products and their performance will have more success than those who have little.”
ABOUT OUR PRO: Courtney Tamulevich is VP of marketing and customer experience for ProGroup Contracting, a licensee of CertaPro Painters, in Fairhaven, MA. The company has been in business for more than 25 years; she has been involved in the paint industry for three-plus years. HER FAVORITE PERK: Support for the company’s community outreach projects. “Specifically, monetary support given to the events we put on yearly that raise funds for charities that we support.”
HER BOTTOM LINE: “It is important to our company to give back to the community. Without the support from our vendors, our fundraising efforts would not be nearly as successful as they have been.”
Photos Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams 24
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
Product Solutions for Every Need / On-Time Delivery / Project Records / Industry-Leading Color Program The World Leader in Paint & Coatings / Available at More Than 2,400 Locations Nationwide Visit ppgpaints.com to find out how we can make your job easier.
© 2015 PPG Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. PPG PAINTS™ is a trademark of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc. MULTI-PRO® and Because Every Job Matters are registered trademarks of PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc.
ABOUT OUR PRO: Noah Winkles is the owner and operator of New Life Painting in Santa Maria, CA. His company has been serving customers for more than 35 years.
ABOUT OUR PRO: A painting profes-
HIS FAVORITE PERKS: Contributions
consultations. “Every once in a while, a project will pop up where I find myself somewhat unsure of the best procedure and/or product to use. An example was a customer wanted to repaint an asphalt driveway that had stamped inlays in addition to stampedlooking stone. One call to my local Sherwin-Williams rep and we met the next day with the customer. Interestingly enough, the customer decided to do the job on his own and, though it took him over two months to complete, he did appreciate the pro advice.”
for company events, and special deliveries. “Kelly-Moore Paints will deliver for us if we request a special delivery. They also provide shirts, sweatshirts and hats, and have invited us to golf tournaments and sports games. And when we have company events, they are always asking if they can contribute in any way.”
HIS BOTTOM LINE: “They really focus ABOUT OUR PRO: Dan Brady is
“ … manufacturers become your most valuable tool. They are the arbiters of knowledge concerning the products we will be using to conduct our business.” —CARLOS DE LEÓN, THE LEÓN GROUP, LLC
president of Dan Brady Painting & Wood Restoration, a company he founded in 2000.
HIS FAVORITE PERK: Contributions for charity projects. “Pittsburgh Paints (through their distributor Northwood Paint & Supply in Traverse City) provides paint for my charity projects. We’ve done charitable painting projects for Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan, our local Goodwill Inn homeless shelter, and many other worthy nonprofits. Pittsburgh also provides paint at no charge for the ‘Painter for a Day’ gift certificates I give to nonprofit auctions.”
HIS BOTTOM LINE: “Their generosity allows me to do some nice charity projects for groups that do good work in our community.”
on keeping our business, and also thanking us for the business. We love the conversations about paint prices for special projects, and when it comes to price increases, they really communicate well with us. They make us feel like our business is important to them.”
ABOUT OUR PRO: Matt Shoup is president of M&E Painting in Loveland, CO. He’s owned the company for 10 years and has been in the business for 14 years. HIS FAVORITE PERK: Taking his team members to sports games. “This makes us feel valued—plus the games are always fun to attend.” HIS BOTTOM LINE: “This creates a fun and exciting team-building environment within my company. And the networking opportunities with other vendors, paint contractors and Sherwin-Williams team members are very valuable.”
ABOUT OUR PRO: Beverley Kruskol is president and owner of M.Y. Pacific Building, Inc., in Tarzana, CA. She’s been a painting pro for some 22 years.
HER FAVORITE PERK: Personal contact and service by our sales rep. “It helps when we need items or when we need help with getting job scopes written up to give to our clients. Another thing I appreciate is not having to wait for hours to get products or to get color matches; and also when they come to the office and give us special sales prices on items that we use a lot.”
HER BOTTOM LINE: “These services save money, which is always most important since it helps with the bottom line of the job.” 26
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sional for five years, Jerry Fancher is the owner of Fresh Coat of Eden Prairie, MN.
HIS FAVORITE PERK: On-site
HIS BOTTOM LINE: “The professionalism and value added by my rep certainly helped in this instance because I subsequently was able to go back and land their home exterior paint job.”
ABOUT OUR PRO: Randy Fornoff is president of MTS Painting and Property Service, Inc. in Mesa, AZ. Fornoff has been in the painting business for more than three decades. HIS FAVORITE PERK: Wet color samples. “Also drawdowns, lunch, product samples, color renderings, pro shows, education seminars, hats, shirts, calendars, and job referrals. In addition, web portals are now excellent for billing and accessing product data sheets, MSDS, color tools, and training videos.”
HIS BOTTOM LINE: “These things help us in the field and in the office to increase our professionalism, education and training systems, and they make it easier for us to serve our customers.”
MOBILE TIME TRACKING FOR PAINTING PROS
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O T D O O G IT’S GREEN BE ILLIAMS W M I J BY
HOW PAINT MANUFACTURERS ARE RESPONDING TO THE CALL TO GO GREEN Not since prehistoric painters adorned their cave walls with a mixture of mashed fern leaves and flower petals has paint been so environmentally friendly. But even those club-waving cavemen would feel pretty out of place in today’s billion-dollar coatings landscape.
The LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) green building certification program recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. 28
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
The U.S. paint and coating manufacturing industry includes about 950 companies with a combined annual revenue of about $27 billion; globally, revenue tops $130 billion, according to the World Paint & Coatings Industry Association. That’s big business. But many of the major players in the industry are chasing a different kind of green these days, showing more concern for Mother Earth than padding the bottom line. For Chris Connor, executive chairman and CEO at Sherwin-Williams, creating products that are good for the planet is vitally important. “Sherwin-Williams is committed to global leadership and excellence in environmental health and safety throughout our operations, businesses and products,” he said. “In order to fulfill this commitment we develop, implement and work to continually improve our global management systems, EHS standards and performance measures.” Those words also echo loudly for Robert Wendoll, director of environmental affairs at Dunn-Edwards Paints, who says his company, “is firmly committed to the green principle of eco-efficiency, which we define as the ability to satisfy human needs in ways that mini-
mize adverse impacts on energy and material resources, environmental quality, and human health and safety … We believe this commitment is in the best interests of our workers, customers, and the public at large.” Growing green Paint has not always been warm and fuzzy with the environment. However, the movement by manufacturers to be more environmentally sensitive has been picking up steam in recent years. The history of the green movement started way back in the early 1960s, says Davis Kyle, executive VP of the Master Painters Institute. “There was a book that was titled the Silent Spring (author Rachel Carson, 1962), and it has been credited for launching most of the green-movement concerns of the environment,” Kyle says. “Even in the late ’60s, there was this move toward, ‘our world is a precious commodity and we have to look after it.’ We had things like the smog issues in LA that led to the whole concept of studying what VOCs (volatile organic compounds) were doing to the environment. With that came a real desire for the regulation, which covered those areas. And the rest of the world is starting to catch up.” “Historically, the industry has made tremendous progress,” says Wendoll. “During the past 50 years, architectural coatings have gone from being 95% solvent-borne to 95% waterborne, and the VOC content of waterborne paints has been drastically reduced; white lead carbonate and other toxic pigments have been entirely replaced with safer alternatives; mercury biocides and many other potentially hazardous ingredients are gone. And yet, the performance of coatings is generally as high, or higher, than any time previously.” Kyle feels performance is an important factor sometimes lost in the green discussion. Certified green So, how green is green? Today, coatings manufacturers are clearly labeling their products for ecofriendliness—low or zero VOCs—with independent certification and LEED (see sidebar) compliance coming from organizations such as Green Seal, GREENGUARD, Scientific Certification Systems— and MPI, which sets the standard for the U.S. government’s paint program. MPI’s Extreme Green Standard is the most rigorous environmental standard in the world. “At Sherwin-Williams, we have made some major strides in the reduction of VOCs in our architectural formulations with < 50 g/L VOC,” says Rick Watson, the company’s director of product information & technical services. “We manufacture our own colorants (ColorCast Ecotoner), meaning VOCs will not be added to any Sherwin-Williams product tinted with them,
and the colorants are GREENGUARD Gold certified. We also take into consideration LEED, South Coast Air Quality Management District, California Air Resources Board, and all of the environmental regulations applicable to the marketplace.” Many of Rust-Oleum’s Sierra brands are Green Seal certified to the GS-11 standard. “A Green Seal certification means the product works well, reduces waste by using recovered material, and protects both the environment and human health,” says Nathan Ferraro, product manager at Rust-Oleum. “Our Sierra brand products also meet requirements for achieving credits under the LEED rating system, like indoor air quality—along with meeting USDA requirements for incidental food contact.” Pay it forward For Kyle, it comes back to performance. “The industry believes that low VOC is the answer. Period,” he says. “You need to have a low-VOC product, undoubtedly. But it has to be a product that is going to actually work. It falls on us, the manufacturers, to educate end users on the fact that quality isn’t cheap.” Wendoll agrees. “Paints and coatings are formulated for specific performance characteristics to meet the demands of different situations; different substrates, exposure conditions, functional requirements, economic needs, etc. In our view, products that are less durable do not qualify as green, no matter what they do or do not contain, because performance is the key characteristic of green paints. Coatings are not merely decorative, but are also protective of building substrates—and this provides enormous environmental benefits through conservation of energy and material resources.” What’s new One new eco-star from Sherwin-Williams is Harmony Interior Acrylic Latex Paint. “We’ve embraced technologies for eliminating odor and reducing formaldehyde,” Watson says. “Harmony paint’s odor-eliminating technology helps reduce common indoor odors, and its formaldehydereducing technology helps improve indoor air quality by reducing formaldehyde and aldehydes from possible sources like insulation and carpet, cabinets and fabrics. The length of time Harmony paint actively reduces odors and formaldehyde depends on the concentration, the frequency of exposure, and the amount of painted surface area.” Watson says Harmony paint is also certified to GREENGUARD Gold standards for low chemical emissions into indoor air during product usage.
“We formulate our products based on what the customer is looking for, as well as specific projects or jobs,” Watson says. “We designed our Pro Industrial product series for higher performance characteristics. We have a high-performance epoxy specifically for areas that are wet and moist. We have acrylics—the Pro Industrial Acrylic Coating and DTM Acrylic Coating—that are GREENGUARD Gold certified. And our Pro Industrial Pre-Catalyzed Water-Based Epoxy is also GREENGUARD Gold certified and is chemical resistant and washable. Not only can it be used in hospitals, it can be specified in surgical suites.” New from PPG are WONDER-PURE Zero-VOC Interior Latex Paint and WONDER-PURE Primer products, which offer durability, low odor, and good hide and coverage. This line is ideal for environments such as schools, hotels, hospitals and offices. Another zero-VOC line from PPG is SPEEDHIDE Interior Acrylic Latex Paint, a low-odor paint perfect for painting occupied spaces, while its quickdry formula allows for a fast recoat and a uniform, scrubbable finish. This product provides good hide, touch-up and application properties for interior walls, ceilings and trim. Ferraro says Rust-Oleum has just released several new eco-friendly gloss sheens for its commercial/industrial-grade products, which provide more aesthetic options for institutional applications. “These products fall under the Sierra brand and are designed for schools, hospitals, etc., which are committed to sustainability,” Ferraro says. “Commercial/industrial products are typically used with glossier sheens than residential. Industrial environments require a tougher resin to withstand higher traffic, chemical exposure, and wash-downs. We are seeing increased interest in using the more durable industrial-grade products in institutional settings for longer times between repainting. Benjamin Moore’s Natura Waterborne Interior Paint continues that company’s commitment to providing the most environmentally friendly products available with zero VOCs and zero emissions. Natura was voted 2015’s Product of the Year by 40,000 consumers in a national representative survey conducted by consumer research partner TNS. Wendoll says Dunn-Edwards has several exciting new products in the works. “We continue to work on the paint industry’s Holy Grail: nonhazardous waterborne paints that perform in all respects as well as, or better than, traditional solvent-borne alkyd paints.” “The scope of green products is essentially a continuum,” Ferraro says. “The paint industry has made a lot of progress in the last 50 years, but much more will be done in the next 50 and beyond.”
Sherwin-Williams’ Harmony reduces common indoor odors and improves air quality.
PPG Paint’s WONDER-PURE answers the demand for durability and low odor.
Benjamin Moore’s Natura offers zero VOCs and zero emissions.
Feb/Mar 2016 inPAINT
Rise from the Rubble
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
THE CITY THAT CRIED GREEN
Among Midwest lush rolling farmlands, in an area ominously known as Tornado Alley, folks have grown accustomed to warning sirens and funnel clouds. It’s part of life. However, even the most seasoned tornado watchers would be stunned by the sheer fury of the storm that screamed into their lives on a warm spring night on May 4, 2007. Measuring 1.7 miles across and pushing winds more than 200 miles per hour, a killer Category F-5 tornado slammed into Greensburg, KS, leveling more than 95% of this quaint city of 1,400 residents. The deadly twister, which killed 11 and injured 60 more, was one of the most powerful to ever touch down in the U.S. Suddenly, the plight of this tiny Kansas city gained a national audience,
and President George W. Bush declared Greensburg a disaster area. Then, city leaders and residents decided to do something truly remarkable: rebuild Greensburg from the ground up to be one of the greenest places in America. Nearly nine years later, Greensburg is the world’s leading community in LEEDcertified buildings per capita. The town is home to a half-dozen LEED Platinumcertified buildings, including its city hall, K-12 school, and hospital. Renewable energy powers the entire community, and the streetlights are all LED. Many across the country learned of Greensburg’s unique green initiative, including the Price family, who operate Virginia Lime Works in Madison Heights, VA. Owner Jimmy Price read of Greensburg’s story and felt compelled to help out. So he and his son Jeff drove cross-country to donate a pallet of environmentally friendly lime-based paint, which is nontoxic—and actually absorbs carbon dioxide from the air. Price says the lime paint comes from 6,000-year-old technology, and gives walls a kind of whitewashed effect. Today, Greensburg continues to set the standard for eco-friendly. Now other cities can be green, too … with envy!
With half a dozen LEED Platinum-certified buildings, Greensburg leads the world in the number of LEEDcertified buildings per capita.
Top to bottom: Greensburg City Hall, Kiowa County Memorial Hospital, Kiowa County Commons, and Kiowa County School. Photos Courtesy of Greensburg Greentown
Photo: Greg Henshall, FEMA Feb/Mar 2016 inPAINT
Friend or Foe?
PAINTERS FIND FRIENDSHIP BETTER FOR BUSINESS THAN CUTTHROAT APPROACHES Dan Ross and John Busick are painting contractors with long histories in the San Francisco Bay Area. Ross, founder of Ross Painting, has been in business since the 1970s, and Busick represents the fifth generation of family leaders for Bob Kunst Painting Inc.
BY BRIAN SODOMA
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
The two contractors met at a NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) conference eight years ago. While they are indeed competitors, they have also established a strong friendship over the years. The pair can be found at one moment bidding against each other for work, then grabbing lunch to talk shop; and oddly, they’ll even request to bid against each other at times as well. Outsiders may see this as strange practice, but the paint-industry veterans argue that if more paint pros were friendly with each other instead of trying to outduel one another in business, everyone would prosper even more.
Tell us a little about your unique relationship and how you compete, but help each other as well. JOHN: When we get really busy and start turning work away, I will refer customers to him. I don’t want to refer anyone that’s going to make me look bad, and I know Dan and his company do a really good job of servicing customers. It only benefits me to recommend someone good. DAN: We share a couple niches, too, like residential repaints. The largest part of our business comes from working with a select group of general contractors. There’s also some overlap in that. Some of the contractors we’d like to work with, John works with. I think fear of competition is based in an insecurity of your abilities. Before you transition from being a painter to being a painting contractor you need to understand what that means and get yourself up to speed. If you do a good job of this, you should feel confident in your abilities so that you can welcome competition and not fear it.
“I don’t want to refer anyone that’s going to make me look bad, and I know Dan and his company do a really good job of servicing customers. It only benefits me to recommend someone good.” —JOHN BUSICK, BOB KUNST PAINTING, INC.
It’s one thing to have good customers, but from a manager’s perspective—and running a company— I learn a lot more by having that experience with Dan and other contractors on how to run my business. Also, when I send my guys out for training, I think they get more out of it from seeing other painters with other companies—just little tricks of the trade. We tend to do things one way at our company but there are plenty of other ways to do them, and sometimes they’re better than what we’re currently doing.
How does the friendship help you run your business better? How do you handle bidding against each other? DAN: Over the last 12 years or so, I realized I had to quit bidding to get a job; what I mean is, I had to quit trying to guess the magic number. Because that has nothing to do with what it’s going to cost me to do what I need to do on a job. If I give you your magic number and I can’t afford to work for that price, then I’m in trouble. … Once I realized this, it allowed me to sit down with my competitors and even share shoptalk without really worrying. After that, my life got a lot better. JOHN: I’ve learned that in the painting industry, as a contractor, you tend to stay involved in your own little world a lot. You don’t really talk to your competitor unless it’s on a job walk. I’d rather be friendly with competitors. I agree with what Dan’s saying, but I would take it a step further … when I get a call to bid a project, I’ll ask who else is bidding the project. If Dan is bidding it, that’s good because then I know they’re looking for quality. I don’t know Dan’s prices or costs, but I know we typically fall in the same range, and that does help me.
So you prefer to bid against each other? DAN: We get calls and go out to a job and the customer sometimes asks sheepishly: ‘Should I get three bids? Can you refer a couple of names?’ In that case, I want to refer someone I consider an equal. I want a level playing field where the other painter will not lowball the job. Referring John is an easy call.
Can and should all pros be friends? DAN: Some painters go on job walks and are fairly standoffish. Sometimes you can see resentment that you’re there, which is unfortunate. But there’s also a small group that are like John, who I also have relationships with. I’d like to create some sort of quasi-informal group that gets together on a regular basis for breakfast or lunch. JOHN: I’m involved with the local PDCA and I meet with two other contractors regularly too. My father told me a long time ago you can’t be successful alone. You need to develop those relationships in order to learn more, and I feel grateful to have them … I think all the savvy ones are doing it. It makes us all better. 34
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
JOHN: A lot of our cost side—worker’s comp, employee pay, liability insurance—bouncing that stuff between each other is good shoptalk. I like to know where we fall in the industry. Those are all good things to know when you’re running your business. Systems too. We all want to grow, and in order to do that you have to have the right system. Sometimes you need to figure out what that system is for you, and talking to someone in the industry that could have a better idea can help get you there. DAN: It also helps you solve problems, too. We had an issue with a home that had a mold problem. It was showing up even on the sunniest side of the house where I wouldn’t expect mold to be. So, knowing other people in the business that I can call really helped. Another company I deal with just called me for advice. They were looking at a job outside their comfort zone. They really wanted it and we spent about 45 minutes looking at the details of the project so that they knew the pitfalls and what they were getting into. In that scenario, I could go and get that job myself, but they need to trust other contractors, too. … That’s a really risky and scary situation for them, especially if it’s a younger guy who’s starting out. They also need to get the information from someone locally. With the PDCA, I can get information from people around the country, but they certainly don’t know my market.
Why should other pros consider forming friendships? DAN: I think people run their business out of fear. They think that competition is something bad. If they would quit worrying about the competition, their business could improve. JOHN: I sit on the national board for ShurTech Brands, LLC (manufacturers of Duck Tape and FrogTape). I really enjoy it because I get to talk to other painters from 12 different areas of the country and we share ideas and systems. I’m developing a cloud-based software solution called Workglue, designed to save painting contractors time and money by streamlining all of the necessary functions like CRM, project management, payroll, accounting, and other systems. Being on the frontlines of innovation wouldn’t be possible without these relationships. I agree with Dan. On a more local level, I wish there was more competitor interaction going on.
[ PROJECT PROFILE ]
The Tower at PNC Plaza 300 Fifth Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15222
THE PLAYERS Architect: Gensler Building Contractor: PJ Dick Paint Contractor: Patrinos Painting Sustainability Consultant: Paladino and Company Structural & MEP Engineer: BuroHappold Engineering Design: ESI Design Coatings Provider: PPG Paints
BEHR CONNECT ARCHITECT 36
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
Photos Courtesy of PNC Bank
Coatings & Colors PPG PAINTS 0 SPEEDHIDE Interior Latex Quick-drying Sealer 0 SPEEDHIDE Interior/Exterior Masonry Latex Block Filler 0 PERMA-CRETE Interior/ Exterior Alkali Resistant Primer In the case of coatings, paint contractor Patrinos Painting had a long history working with PPG and was well aware they had the products that would meet and, in several cases, exceed the required LEED 2009 standard. The Project When it opened on October 1, 2015, The Tower at PNC Plaza added more than an interesting landmark to the Pittsburgh skyline; it demonstrated how green technology could effectively be incorporated into commercial design without compromising aesthetics. Home to the commercial office headquarters for PNC Financial Services Group, the $400million, 33-story tower incorporated a number of unprecedented technologies, helping the building to achieve LEED Platinum status and the title of the greenest office building in the world. Innovation from the inside out Purported to be 50% more energy efficient than similar buildings, The Tower integrates both passive and active design strategies and systems. From the double-skin facade designed to help the building naturally ventilate, and a water recycling system that collects and reuses rain water, to a smart chandelier that monitors and reports energy usage, and windows that actually open (even on upper floors), every element of the 800,000-grosssquare-foot building’s design was selected for its potential environmental impact. According to Dan Passinault, associate director, innovation, products and commercialization at PPG Paints, “From the beginning, the building owners indicated they wanted to achieve LEED Platinum status, which means from furnishings to coatings, every component has to meet certain standards.”
Coordination was key Rick Schademan, field superintendent for Patrinos said, “The goal of the project was to build the greenest building in the world and PPG not only had the product, they had the ability to deliver it as it was needed.” According to Schademan, painting the high-rise in the center of Pittsburgh was no small feat. “We had two shifts going at most times with up to 25 guys working at a time.” Schademan estimates they used somewhere between 6,000 and 7,000 gallons of coatings over the course of the nearly threeyear-long project. “From the first job of painting the water-recycling tanks to the final spraying of 34 stairwells, it was a massive job. But in the end, we got it done according to plan and schedule. It’s really an impressive accomplishment for everyone involved.” Performance beyond paint Rich Finoli, business development manager at PPG Paints was intimately involved with the project. “When you’re working on a project of this magnitude, there are a lot of moving parts and people to keep track of,” he says. “We had to stay on top of where everyone was and when product was needed … and where. Some days, we made two or three deliveries to the job site. We tracked inventory to make sure we always had what was needed on hand. As with any project,” he says, “time is money. We respected that and did our best to anticipate needs so that paint was never the cause of a delay.”
0 MANOR HALL Interior Eggshell Acrylic Latex Paint 0 SPEEDHIDE ZERO Interior Zero-VOC Latex Flat Paint 0 PITT-GLAZE WB1 Interior Eggshell Pre-Catalyzed Water-Borne Acrylic Epoxy Coating 0 PITT-TECH Plus Interior/ Exterior Satin DTM Industrial Enamel Coating
INTERIOR COLORS Walls/Trim/Doors: 0 Seagull PPG14-03 0 Field Poppy PPG1195-7 0 Delicate White PPG1001-1 0 Gray Stone PPG1009-4 0 Asparagus PPG1222-6 0 Dover Gray PPG1001-5 (note: used with only 75% of coloring to meet owner and architect preferences) 0 Plus numerous custom colors and matches Ceilings: 0 Delicate White PPG1001-1
Feb/Mar 2016 inPAINT
[ WORKFORCE ]
5MANAGE LESSONS THAT WILL HELP YOU A MULTICULTURAL CREW COMMON SENSE ADVICE THAT ANY CREW WILL RESPOND TO
If you’re like most project managers, you face a challenge that didn’t exist years ago—managing a multicultural crew. BY SORAYA (MORGAN) GUTMAN
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
The landscape of construction staffing has changed significantly and many cultures now cross paths on painting projects. And like most project managers, you probably struggle to manage these diverse teams. Maybe the communication barrier in a crew that doesn’t speak the same language fluently is difficult to break through. Maybe it’s a struggle to get a crew of diverse cultures to bond and function together as a team. Maybe the daunting challenge of motivating a crew of different cultures is overwhelming. Maybe you have no idea how to manage conflict in a multicultural crew. Add in the stress of looming completion dates, full project schedules, working around and over other contractors, meeting safety regulations, customer expectations, and all the other demanding aspects of project management, and you have a challenge on your hands. The good news is the challenges of managing a multicultural painting crew can be overcome. I was born into a family of immigrants. My father is first-generation Egyptian, my mother a first-generation German, and my husband a first-generation Russian (who is also Jewish). They showed me that bridging cultural gaps isn’t impossible, and being raised in this
multicultural environment taught me important lessons in how to bridge those gaps. Because learning the language, or the multitude of languages of crew members in just a few days isn’t possible, it’s important to find ways to connect with them that go beyond language from the onset. While the following lessons work with crews even of the same culture, they are particularly helpful in developing and demonstrating respect for and understanding of multicultural crews.
Mirror the other person’s body language and speech Body language is powerful—it shapes how you see others, and how they see you. So when meeting someone for the first time, mirror what the other person is doing with their body and speech while being conscious of your own body language and speech patterns. For example, if that person is standing, you should be standing. If they speak using simple words, you should use simple words. If they make a lot of eye contact, you should as well. In business, sales training often emphasizes this technique as a way to simply make the other person feel comfortable by mirroring them.
Focus on being humble, not right, during conflict When there is conflict—or even a simple miscommunication—between people of different cultures, tensions can run even higher than they might normally because of cross-cultural challenges. Especially if it’s during the ‘getting-to-know-you’ phase with someone you haven’t connected with yet. But there are four little humble sentences you can use to diffuse tension and help everyone relax. They are, “I may be wrong. I am often wrong. I want to get it right. Let’s go over the facts.”
It doesn’t need to be big to be motivating Regardless of their culture, everyone—absolutely everyone—likes recognition and encouragement. And it’s an easy thing to give. Something as simple as a weekly ‘Employee Spotlight’ awarding a $5 Dunkin Donuts gift card for performance can do the trick nicely. Take 15 minutes out of your week to recognize the employees who are demonstrating the performance you want from everyone. Tell your crew why that employee is being recognized, including the specific behaviors and reasons they are a good example to follow. Remember to keep your speech and language simple if there are communication barriers. But don’t rotate through employees for the sake of fairness. Everyone who is meeting (or exceeding) your expectations should be in the spotlight every week. The goal here is to eventually get everyone in the spotlight every week and have them stay there by telling them what your expectations are, and recognizing them for meeting those expectations.
There are two types of personalities I believe there are two specific sets of characteristics that most people fall into—they either do not adapt well to change or they thrive on change. And each type needs a different approach. Type 1 personalities are steady, deliberate people who do not like to be rushed. They are careful, cautious, and objective thinkers who have very high standards. When interacting with a person who has these characteristics speak slowly, discuss facts and data, and be deliberate. You’ll find your communication with this type can be improved by approaching them in a direct way, taking your time, providing solid and tangible actions you expect, and sticking to business.
What you should not do with a this type of personality is put them in a sloppy work environment, make small talk, or socialize before the main issue to be discussed—or interrupt them while they’re focused. Type 2 personalities are results-oriented, rapid thinkers who make quick decisions and challenge the status quo by initiating changes. I’ve found that most painters are in this category. When interacting with a person who has these characteristics, speak at a rapid pace, be stimulating and fun-loving, and keep things moving at a fast pace. You’ll find your communication with this type can be improved by leaving time for socializing, asking about their passions, talking about the rewards of doing the job, sharing tales of success of people they see as important, and clarifying any parameters in writing. What you should not do with this type of personality is focus on facts or figures, or hesitate to deal with the situation when they confront you.
Regardless of their culture, everyone— absolutely everyone—likes recognition and encouragement.
Everyone smiles in the same language People of any culture will be more productive in a positive environment than a negative one. As a leader, a positive attitude is critical to successfully managing your crew; it sets the tone for the environment. Sometimes, something as simple as a smile is the perfect opportunity to connect with someone. It’s a universal symbol of a humble, positive attitude and is hard to misinterpret or misunderstand even when the communication barrier is a big one. And it builds the foundation of trust between you and the other person. But make sure you aren’t putting on a false positive attitude. Because smiling is a universal language, it’s also pretty universally understood when it isn’t sincere. Finding ways to connect with your crew—no matter where they’re from—is key to mutual happiness and success. Knowing that ahead of time, you can better plan and prepare. These five simple lessons could be the difference between frustration and stress—and a productive crew that engages with each other on a consistent basis.
Soraya (Morgan) Gutman is the president of Executive Services of Brand Launcher: BrandLauncher.com
Feb/Mar 2016 inPAINT
[ THE LIST ] PRODUCTS AND TOOLS HIGHLIGHTED IN THIS ISSUE To learn about being featured in an upcoming issue of inPAINT, email editor@inPAINTmag.com
0 Natura Waterborne Interior Paint, p 29
Creative Material Technologies, Ltd
0 DynaSolv, p 21
0 WONDER-PURE Zero-VOC Interior Latex Paint, p 29 0 WONDER-PURE Primer, p 29 0 SPEEDHIDE Interior Acrylic Latex Paint, p 29 0 SPEEDHIDE Interior Latex Quick-drying Sealer, p 37 0 SPEEDHIDE Interior/Exterior Masonry Latex Block Filler, p 37 0 PERMA-CRETE Interior/ Exterior Alkali Resistant Primer, p 37
0 MANOR HALL Interior Eggshell Acrylic Latex Paint, p 37 0 SPEEDHIDE ZERO Interior Zero-VOC Latex Flat Paint, p 37 0 PITT-GLAZE WB1 Interior Eggshell Pre-Catalyzed Water-Borne Acrylic Epoxy Coating, p 37 0 PITT-TECH Plus Interior/ Exterior Satin DTM Industrial Enamel Coating, p 37
0 ProCoustic, p 18
0 Invisible Spray, p 6
0 Magnetic Primer, p 18 0 Sierra Paint, p 29
ADVERTISER INDEX ALLPRO CORP AllProCorp.com Page 21 CLOCKSHARK ClockShark.com Page 27 FESTOOL FestoolProducts.com Page 7 HABITAT FOR HUMANITY Habitat.org Page 44
LATEX AGENT BY CROWN (PSC PACKAGING SERVICES CO.) LatexAgent.com Page 19 MI-T-M CORPORATION MiTM.com Page 13 MILEBUG MileBug.com Page 35 PAINTCARE PaintCare.org Page 23
PDCA PDCA.org Page 15 PPG PAINTS PPGac.com Pages 5 & 25 SHERWIN-WILLIAMS Sherwin-Williams.com Page 3 THE WOOSTER BRUSH COMPANY WoosterBrush.com Page 11
0 Dry Erase Coating, p 18 0 Harmony Interior Acrylic Latex Paint, p 29 0 Pro Industrial Acrylic Coating, p 29 0 Pro Industrial DTM Acrylic Coating, p 29 0 Pro Industrial Pre-Catalyzed Water-Based Epoxy, p 29
ShurTech Brands, LLC
0 Duck Tape, p 34 0 FrogTape, p 34
[ UPCOMING EVENTS ]
What, Where & When JUNE
F E BRUARY 1
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 3
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 Conference, New Orleans, LA pdcacraftsmanshipforum.com/events
A PRIL 6
6 1 8
7: Builders & Remodelers Show, Minneapolis, MN batcbrs.com
4 5 3
12–14: American Coatings SHOW 2016, Indianapolis, IN american-coatings-show.com
M AY 8
4–6: National Hardware Show, Las Vegas, NV nationalhardwareshow.com
19–21: AIA Convention 2016, Philadelphia, PA convention.aia.org
Builders & Remodelers Show Themed the ‘19th Hole,’ this year’s Builders & Remodelers Show will take place April 7 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The largest building-industry product show in the upper Midwest, the event will feature more than 200 vendors sharing the best products and services, as well as extensive educational and networking opportunities.
TO REGISTER, visit batcBRS.com where you’ll also find an interactive floor plan under ‘2016 Exhibitors.’ Feb/Mar 2016 inPAINT
[ BOTTOM LINE ] WINNING WORK IN THE WORLD OF HOAs
We have used our process to win multiple HOA jobs where we were not the least expensive estimate, proving that dealing with HOAs is not just a numbers game.
NOAH WINKLES is the owner and operator of New Life Painting. For more than 35 years, his company has provided quality craftsmanship and outstanding customer service to residents and business owners in California’s Central Coast. New Life Painting was recognized with the 2014 Angie’s List Super Service Award.
inPAINT | Feb/Mar 2016
There is a myth among the painting industry that HOAs always go with the lowest bidder for painting projects. While this is sometimes true, holding onto the belief that they always choose the lowest bidder can cost you opportunities. As someone who has made a conscious effort to pursue HOA projects, I know that HOAs do not always go with the lowest bidder, and some things you do (like attending HOA board meetings) can improve your odds of winning these valuable contracts. Here’s my approach to HOAs—and New Life Painting’s formula for success. Consciously pursuing HOA projects HOA projects are usually coordinated by a property manager, and we’ve gotten our foot in the door by actively pursuing property-management companies. Start out with some research to identify the HOAs and property-management companies in your area and then select a few to target. After that, it’s about getting your name on their radar. Some things we did include: - Dropping off gifts, such as Starbucks gift cards or popcorn - Sending letters asking if they need anything, and offering our help - Sponsoring company lunches and events These efforts got us on the radar of a few propertymanagement companies, and we began to get requests to provide estimates on HOA projects. At this point, we reinforced our interest by sitting down with the property manager to share more details about our company, and requesting to present our company and estimates directly to the HOA’s board. Presenting to HOA boards Well-run HOAs have paint schedules and a plan for painting projects either every year or every couple years. Typically, a board has one or two board meetings where they review estimates. With no other information to go on, it makes sense that these boards would choose the lowest estimate—but, as a new contractor, you can shift the balance of information in your favor by attending HOA meetings to establish rapport, set a vision for the project, and answer questions. How to prepare To prepare for the meeting, thoroughly review your bid and any extra notes you took while walking the job—for example, there might be stucco repair, dry
rot, peeling paint, or other factors that have impacted your estimate. In addition to discussing the specific job and estimate, the board may ask some more general questions about your company, such as, ‘What is your preparation process?’ and, ‘What materials will you use?’ These are the same sort of questions you get asked during residential estimates, so there is nothing too difficult or unusual about HOA board meetings. Be prepared to explain your processes and why you chose those materials. Standing out in the HOA board meeting When you go to the HOA board meeting, your goal is to present all the other important things about your company and the work you perform that cannot be represented in a number estimate alone. HOAs (like homeowners in general) are interested in not just the lowest price, but also the quality of work performed, the ease of working with your company, and the overall process. Some things we like to talk about when we address the board: - Our goal is to make life easy for them, and it’s our job to make the project run as smoothly as possible. - Our projects are led by an experienced New Life Painting crew leader. - All employees have been with us a long time; we ensure them there will be no loud music, cursing, shirts off on the job, etc. - We believe in open communication, such as sending notices to the property managers for each phase of the job. The goal of every HOA presentation we give is to get a ‘next-step agreement’ or ‘last look,’ where we take one extra look at the job to see if we can adjust the price to win the contract. We don’t dramatically drop our prices, but having an agreement or ‘last look’ does allow us to get into budget discussion where we can try to find a compromise that accounts for what they want and what’s required to achieve it—a win-win situation for everyone involved. We have used our process to win multiple HOA jobs where we were not the least expensive estimate, proving that dealing with HOAs is not just a numbers game. The ability to establish rapport, answer questions, and discuss your company’s values can make you stand out from the competition. Our presentations have established us as industry experts, and a painting company that can be trusted on important HOA projects.
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