inPAINT Magazine June/July 2016

Page 1



SURVEY RESULTS ARE IN! Find out which brands your peers prefer!


Health Care Market + Pro picks for sprayers

Tips for coating exterior stucco Contract clauses that save the day

. t i t a e w s r e v e , r e v e n t u B With the SuperDeck® premier deck care system, you can tackle every job confidently. From stripping to staining to sealing, SuperDeck gives you products for every phase. So it’s quick and easy to give your customers a great look every time. To learn more, visit or contact your local Sherwin-Williams store or representative. ©2016 The Sherwin-Williams Company



Recently, a friend asked me an intriguing question: When’s the last time you did something for the first time?



Martha MacGregor

It’s an interesting question on many levels and it forced me to recognize how easy it is to fall into a rut. Doing or going with what you know is typically the safest and easiest route to just about anything. But by sticking with the tried and true, you sometimes miss out on opportunities and chances to learn. Of course, when you’re trying something new in business where the stakes are higher than, say, trying a kale smoothie for the first time (skip it), it’s helpful to have good reason to make a change. In this issue, we present the results of the first-ever inPAINT online survey and, with it, the opinions and views of hundreds of pros like yourself. From their go-to sprayer and sander to their preferred economy paint and favorite company for customer service, they offered up their honest thoughts and preferences. No doubt you’ll find yourself agreeing with some of the results but maybe, just maybe, you’ll have reason to think twice about some of the choices you’ve been making on the job, and will consider trying something new in the future. As for the last time I did something for the first time … it wasn’t work-related but I recently helped a friend and local farmer turn a herd of cattle out to their first spring pasture. Happier cows I’ve never seen. And all because they were trying out some new grass.


Kathryn Heeder Hocker COPY EDITOR


Steve Burnett Stephanie Conner Stacey Freed Jake Poinier Meghann Finn Sepulveda Brian Sodoma Jack E. West SOCIAL MEDIA

Jillian McAdams


Amanda Haar


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

Amanda Haar Managing Editor, inPAINT


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

0 Carolyn Liedtke, Marketing Director, Fresh Coat Painters

0 Scott Lollar, General Manager, Precision Painting & Decorating

0 Judy Mozen, President, Handcrafted Homes, Inc.; President NARI 0 Carolyn Noble, ASID, NCIDQ, Interior Design Manager, VeenendaalCave, Inc. 0 Kristopher Toth, Owner, Toth Painting Solutions

©2016 REM Publishing Group LLC All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of content in any manner without written permission by the publisher is strictly prohibited. Opinions expressed in signed columns and articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Publisher assumes no liability for any damages or loss of any kind that might arise from the use, misuse or inability to use the materials or information contained in this publication. All material and information appearing in this publication is distributed and transmitted ‘as is,’ without warranties of any kind, either express or implied, and is subject to the terms and conditions stated in this disclaimer. Jun/Jul 2016 | inPAINT


inPAINT® Jun/Jul 2016


FEATURES Survey Says!

inPAINT magazine’s first-ever online survey

Pro Picks

Pros talk spray guns


18 22

Prep School


6 The News

40 Workforce

Industry ins and outs

Rewards and retention: keeping your best employees on for the long haul

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

What’s in today’s professional toolbox?

15 Trend in Focus Changes to overtime rules create extra work for employers


42 Tools of the Trade

16 Ask a Pro

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

How you can mitigate OSHA citations

46 Bottom Line

34 Work Smart

Three strategies for winning more work from existing customers

Contract clauses that save the day

+ 38 Project Profile Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square

Photo Courtesy of Titan Tool

Finding a Healthy Bottom Line in the Health Care Market



Tips for Coating Exterior Stucco What’s new in interior surface prep


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

STIX PRIMER STICKS TO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING. STIX bonding primer adheres to your customer’s most challenging surfaces. Glass, tile, even robots. No matter the problem, INSL-X® has the solution. Visit ®


World’s Largest Painted American Flag Unveiled T Internationally renowned artist Wyland recently completed the world’s largest painted American flag mural on the roof of Legendary Marine in Destin, FL. An impressive 3.8 acres in size, the mural required 2,475 gallons of paint, two sprayers, and 315 hours of man power. The paint was donated by Sherwin-Williams. The awe-inspiring 555' x 299' flag honors United States military armed forces and first responders, and is being considered by Guinness World Records for designation as the ‘World’s Largest Painted American Flag.’ Photo: The Wyland Foundation

PDCA NAMES NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR T Steve Skodak has been named the new executive director of the PDCA. Most recently serving as the executive director and CEO of the Optimist International Foundation, Skodak brings with him years of leadership experience with nonprofit organizations with membership ranging from a few thousand to 70,000. The PDCA search committee noted that they were, “singularly impressed with Steve’s insight into the challenges and opportunities facing small nonprofit associations. He consistently answered every question put to him with clarity, understanding and thoughtfulness.”

Removable Interior Latex Launched T Off the Wall Paints

Prosper Marketplace Partners with HomeAdvisor to Help Consumers Find More Cash for Home Improvements T Prosper Marketplace, a leading online marketplace that connects borrowers and investors, has formed an exclusive partnership with HomeAdvisor, a leading nationwide online home-services marketplace. Under the multiyear agreement, Prosper Marketplace will be HomeAdvisor’s exclusive partner for

providing homeowners access to homeimprovement financing through the HomeAdvisor web site. The partnership also provides the professional contractors in HomeAdvisor’s prescreened network the ability to offer their customers a consumer-financing option at the point of sale, making this a first for the industry.

(OTW), a start-up headquartered in Cedartown, GA, recently launched the first-ever line of fully removable interior latex paint. The product, which acts and performs like a traditional paint, can be applied to a sealed and primed surface, making it ideal for settings such as classrooms or children’s bedrooms, where the decor may change frequently. Unlike traditional paint, OTW paint can be easily

Make Way for Flying Robots on the Job Site T If Bob Dahlstrom, CEO and founder of Apellix, has his way, paint contractors on scaffolds and ladders will soon be replaced by flying robots. Dahlstrom, who paid his way through college painting houses, has developed a robot called Worker Bee that uses a tethered work-platform drone and a 3,000 PSI air compressor to spray paint large manufacturing facilities. A mobile base station includes software that allows the operator to control when, where and how much paint is applied. While Dahlstrom is still looking for a partner to help make the flying robot a reality, he is already considering other applications including window-washing skyscrapers, deicing planes, and cleaning commercial ships. To view a video of the Worker Bee at work, visit YouTube and search ‘Apellix Worker Bee Demo.’ 6

inPAINT | Jun/Jul 2016

removed with a clear, odorless remover solution. Applied to the paint with a brush or roller and allowed to sit for 15 minutes, the remover allows you to wipe or roll the paint off the wall with no damage, trace or residue. OTW paint can be matched to any color, and is available in quart, gallon and five-gallon containers. To learn more, visit

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

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


RESULTS OF OUR FIRST-EVER inPAINT® ONLINE SURVEY Last month, we reached out to 15,000 of our most engaged online readers of inPAINT magazine’s monthly e-newsletter and asked their opinions on everything from their go-to exterior paints and tapes to sprayers and rollers. We’re happy to share the results with you here, as well as a few of the comments they had to offer in relation to the survey questions.

TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED IN OUR SURVEY We want to thank all of those who participated in our survey! Manufacturers want to know your preferences so they can continue to work toward building better products and earning your business. The following survey participants were randomly selected from all respondents to each receive a $250 Visa gift card:


inPAINT | Jun/Jul 2016

- Paul Bauer Bauer’s Home Improvement, LLC Ann Arbor, MI

- Joe Campbell Arizona Painting Company Phoenix, AZ

- Richard Carta Smart Painting Austin, TX

- Glenn Targac Fix Your Home San Antonio, TX

About the participants In order to help you better appreciate the survey responses, we asked participants to answer a few questions about their businesses. For these questions, respondents could select more than one answer, thus some percentage totals exceed 100%.

Which marketing channels do you currently use? Referrals


Web site


Online services




Print advertising


The number of employees in your company? 1–5










In which business segments do you work the most? Residential: single family


Residential: multifamily


Commercial: office


Commercial: retail


Health Care








Below are some of the services survey respondents are considering adding in the next 18 months:

You’ve never seen a tape like this. Introducing ScotchBlue™ PLATINUM Painter’s Tape for quicker and easier tape prep and removal.* 90-degree tear for faster corner prep.* Durable 3M poly material helps stop paint seepage for ultra sharp paint lines. Pulls off in one piece with no tearing or slivering, saving you time. Prep smarter. Paint better. Finish stronger.

- Swimming pool painting S



- Wallpaper removal in hospitals and offices



- Electrostatic spray


- Soft-wash cleaning


- Replacing rotting door frames with PVC frames


it h


pr oo

f o f p u rc

or your money back.




- Gutter cleaning - Acoustic panel fabrication and installation - Popcorn removal - Paint business coaching services - Roof coatings - Wallpapering

Get it now at paint retailers nationwide.

What are your biggest business challenges? Finding qualified workers


Managing expenses and payroll


Winning business


Delivering bids in a timely manner


Pull Off a Better Paint Job *Compared to 3M paper-backed masking tapes. © 3M 2016. All rights reserved. 3M, ScotchBlue and the BLUE color of the tape are trademarks of 3M.

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DESCRIP: Platinum Pro Ad – PUBLICATION: InPaint Magazine ISSUE DATE: June, 2016 1/2 Page Island



THE RESULTS Preferred Brush

Readers’ pro brands of choice Editor’s Note: For the purpose of this survey, product lines and brands such as Glidden, Minwax, FrogTape, Sikkens, etc. are included under their manufacturer’s name. The ‘Other’ category includes all brands receiving a response less than 5%.





Corona Other

9% 15%

Preferred Roller Purdy

Preferred Interior Paint Sherwin-Williams


Benjamin Moore


Behr Process Corporation


PPG Paints


Dunn-Edwards Paints Other

5% 12%

Preferred Exterior Paint Sherwin-Williams


Benjamin Moore


PPG Paints


Behr Process Corporation


Dunn-Edwards Paints




Preferred Primer Kilz






PPG Paints


Benjamin Moore




Preferred Stain Sherwin-Williams




PPG Paints


Behr Process Corporation


Old Masters




Preferred Tape


inPAINT | Jun/Jul 2016












Preferred Sanding Equipment Festool
















Preferred Paint Sprayer Graco








Preferred Pressure Washer Honda










Preferred Work Vehicle Ford










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



Which manufacturer provides your favorite line of: Economical Paint Sherwin-Williams


PPG Paints


Behr Process Corporation


Benjamin Moore Other

9% 22%



Benjamin Moore


The Home Depot


Dunn-Edwards Paints


PPG Paints


Behr Process Corporation



Mid-Range Paint




PPG Paints


Benjamin Moore


Behr Process Corporation




“The [Sherwin-Williams] folks work really hard for me and help more than I’d ever expect.”



“Behr Paints 100% hands down. Great service and pricing.”

Benjamin Moore


Behr Process Corporation


Premium Paint

PPG Paints




BIG PRAISE FOR THE ‘OTHER’ GUYS While we can’t list every company that fell into the ‘Other’ category, there were a few that garnered some noteworthy praise from pros. We thought it worth sharing those company names and comments regarding their customer service with you here.

PRO QUOTES “Valspar. Easy access to Lowe’s and good hours of stores.” “Rodda Paint, because their service and prices cannot be beat, and their product quality is very good.” “Mi-T-M. Human answers phone ’stead of machine.” “Ryobi. Fixes tools with no hassle.”


Which manufacturers provide the best customer service (doesn’t have to be a paint manufacturer)?


“Home Depot because they have the best hours. Open early and close late. Seven days a week.” “Dunn-Edwards. Always fully staffed.”

Considering service, price and product quality, which paint manufacturer would you choose if you could only buy from one? Sherwin-Williams


Benjamin Moore


Behr Process Corporation


PPG Paints


Dunn-Edwards Paints Other

5% 17%

PRO QUOTES “Benjamin Moore. We have a good relationship with the owner and the whole line offers all the versatility we want and need.”

“Rust-Oleum/Zinsser. Outstanding products and customer service. Old-school reps that keep their word.”

“Sherwin-Williams. Great product, great staff and locations are everywhere.”

“Rodda Paints. Simply the best in customer service in our area.”

“PPG. I have been using Pittsburgh Paint products for over 20 years. They stand behind their products. I rarely buy a different brand.”

inPAINT | Jun/Jul 2016

Reputation is everything. Excellent hide and exceptional coverage has made KILZ ® Primer the choice of professionals for over 40 years. Primer for doing things right.


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[ TRENDS ] IT’S PRIME TIME FOR OVERTIME Effective July 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor will guarantee overtime pay to most salaried workers earning less than an estimated $50,440 per year, a hefty jump to the previous salary threshold of $23,660 per year.



Going Rates

According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, remodeling activity in the U.S. grew in 2015, and is projected to grow even more in 2016.

According to, the average hourly wage for a painter in the U.S. is $15.44. Experience and skill set, specifically those related to spraying and safety compliance, can push wages up, although geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group.



10% 25% $10 $13


75% $15


90% $25



2016 $299.8 (Q2)

Here are the top-selling sun-inspired yellows from five major paint manufacturers:

2016 $294.9 (Q1)



2015 $285.4 (Q4)









2015 $285.4 (Q3) 2015 (Q2) 2015 (Q1)



$280 $285 $290 $295 $300 $305

Homeowner Improvements Four-Quarter Moving Totals, Billions of $ SOURCE: Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University


inPAINT | Jun/Jul 2016

WE’RE HIRING (OR NOT) According to the 2016 Houzz State of the Industry report U.S. Residential Renovation and Design, here’s how reporting specialty building and renovation firms (including paint pros) experienced changes in the number of employees in 2015. SOURCE:

= Shrank by 1—2 Employees

= No change = Added 1—2 Employees = Added 3+ Employees


Changes to Overtime Rules Are Nearly Upon Us PROACTIVE BUSINESS OWNERS CAN PREPARE FOR CHANGES IN A WAY THAT PROTECTS THEIR BOTTOM LINE By the time you read this, the U.S. Department of Labor’s final regulations on overtime rules will either be in effect or very close to it. Among the most significant proposed changes is an increase in the minimum salary for an employee to be considered exempt from overtime eligibility. The change pushes the minimum salary to approximately $970 per week ($50,440 per year) from $455 per week ($23,660 per year). The high price of change According to the National Small Business Association, the new overtime rule could cost a small business an average of $100 to $600 in direct costs and $320 to $2,700 in new payroll costs per employee within the rule’s first year. In addition to straight payroll costs, the change will likely lead to additional administrative costs related to scheduling and monitoring the increased number of employees who are now overtime-eligible. Remain calm, then respond Gary Klotz, a shareholder at Butzel Long PC and an employment attorney, advises employers not to panic. “The truth of the matter is that this may not be that big of a deal for some employers,” says Klotz. “It’s only the exempt employees currently making between $23,660 and $50,440 who will be impacted. This will have no effect on hourly people who are non-exempt.” Klotz suggests employers first determine how many of their employees fall into that category. “Once you know how many people you’re talking about, you can consider your options.” Weigh the options There are a number of ways employers can respond to this rule change. The first is to look at your current workforce and determine if there’s a way to reduce or even eliminate overtime. Can you hire more employees? Can you reassign duties to higher-level employees who are clearly exempt? Or can you reassign lower-level duties to those who are non-exempt? A second option is to bump up the salaries of currently non-exempt employees to the new exempt level.

A third option involves changing the status of currently exempt employees to make them non-exempt hourly employees who are eligible to receive overtime pay for any time worked over 40 hours per week. Another option, and one that Klotz doesn’t advise, is to reduce salary levels so that, with overtime, the employee maintains their pay level. “While the Department of Labor has offered up this option,” says Klotz, “I personally think it’s an employer relations disaster waiting to happen.” Jamie Hasty, VP at SESCO Management Consultants, agrees that there are a lot of creative ways to structure pay plans. “No one method is perfect for every organization. The key is to customize an approach that works within your budget while enabling the ability to meet client needs and remain compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act.” Compliance is key Hasty cautions that there’s a lot of liability involved in being noncompliant. “Should the employer receive an audit by the Wage and Hour division of the Department of Labor, they must be prepared for the auditor to review the previous two years of payroll for both terminated and current employees,” she says. “They’re going to scrutinize all employees paid on a salary basis, and whether or not those employees meet both the salary and duties test of ‘white collar’ exemptions. Any evidence of misclassification of exemption, nonpayment for overtime, miscalculation of time cards, short meal periods, child labor issues … the auditors will identify the error and dollar value associated with the Wage and Hour noncompliance. This means the employer may pay out substantial amounts of back wages to both current and previously terminated employees.”

“The truth of the matter is that this may not be that big of a deal for some employers.” —GARY KLOTZ, BUTZEL LONG PC

EDITOR’S NOTE: At the time we went to press, the DOL had not determined if non-discretionary bonuses and incentive payments would count toward a portion of the standard salary-level test for overtime exemption, thus we were not able to address it in this article. Jun/Jul 2016 | inPAINT



What types of programs can companies Q: implement to mitigate OSHA citations? A: OSHA regulations are the bare

minimum standards to be legal.

PHIL CASTO is assistant VP, senior risk consultant for the Risk Services division at Chicago-based Hub International, a global insurance brokerage. He works with contractors on workers compensation issues, helps them maintain OSHA compliance and reduce experience modification rates, and is authorized by OSHA to teach general industry and construction safety courses.

Contractors with stellar safety and health plans aren’t trying to do the minimum; they’re working to develop a program that makes sense for their employees and make it something their employees can believe in. There is no silver bullet; it’s more about your overall approach to safety and health in the workplace. To do it right, you need to create a plan, train employees, audit your program, and do follow-up. - Take a team approach. Develop a written safety and health program that includes how the plan will be implemented, who is responsible for implementation, what rules or OSHA regulations will be adhered to, and how the expectations will be communicated to everyone on-site. This is a team approach. Ask yourself how your company can do a particular project safely and in compliance with OSHA. Train employees on the program so they are aware of expectations. You might do a weekly safety talk or send your foremen to annual or monthly training classes, then have them disseminate the information through the ranks. Trade associations (like PDCA and ACA) have educational tools and offer safety updates. OSHA’s QuickTakes online newsletter can also keep you up to date. Every contractor will have a different approach because any program they develop needs to be based on their schedule and business size. - Define the safety-profitability proposition.

Part of setting expectations is communicating why safety precautions are worthwhile. The cost of injuries and overall workers comp rates will affect profitability, 16

inPAINT | Jun/Jul 2016

which a lot of employees don’t understand. Get buy-in by helping your employees to see a connection between company profits and their own salary or bonuses—or the ability to buy new equipment. Not only will it help them understand how it impacts the bottom line (both the company’s and theirs), they’ll also be reminded that you care enough about them to train them in how to be safe on the job. - Stay vigilant. Audit your program to see if there is good retention on the items your employees have been trained on and if they’re being practiced in the field. Conduct a site safety inspection, or take a photo of something unsafe and ask employees to identify the hazards. If you’ve defined expectations up front, it will be easier to audit for compliance. Follow up by continuing to improve your program over time. Utilize a system to track your program’s performance and see if it is achieving the goals that were set for it. Remember, too, that as the painting contractor on a project, you will be responsible for the job site as well as for your employees. At the end of the day, it’s a much better approach to have an educated workforce with expectations and accountability than it is to have a less-educated workforce and a compliance officer that goes around playing ‘gotcha.’ If that’s your solution, your job site will be safe for just a day, but if you’ve educated your employees on safety and shown them how to fulfill expectations, they will maintain those expectations on their job site every day.

This is where it all begins.

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BY STEPHANIE CONNER A LOT OF PAINTERS LIKE THE TRIED AND TRUE —the brush and roller. But large jobs and rough textures are great opportunities to bring in the big guns: spray guns. When working with spray guns, proper prep and cleaning are essential. It’s also important to find one (or a few) that work for your particular job types. We asked five painters about their choices.



Joel Hamberg Painting


inPAINT | Jun/Jul 2016

Joel Hamberg is a long-time fan of spray guns. “I’ve been using them since 1977 and they’re definitely money makers” he says. “Guys who are brushing and rolling are missing out.” Hamberg, who started Joel Hamberg Painting in Portland, OR in 1984, has a few different favorites depending on the project. “It all comes down to what you’re applying and where you’re applying it,” he says. “No two jobs are the same.” For spraying a deck finish, lightweight stain, or water-based finish—where a small pump is called for—Hamberg prefers the Titan Impact 440. “It has consistent pressure, which you can also dial way down if you need to,” says Hamberg, who is on the national board of directors for PDCA. For everyday projects like exterior painting, Hamberg likes the Airlessco ProSpray 606. “I’ve probably had mine for close to 20 years,” he says. “It has a very strong motor and consistent, strong pressure.” For heavy-duty commercial work, he recommends the Graco GM 3500 Airless Paint Sprayer. “With that, you can run two guns, and it has a gas pump, which is handy if you’re at a job site where you don’t have power,” he says. “It’s easy to move around and is great for high-production exteriors or interiors. It’s just a fantastic sprayer.”


CertaPro Painters of the Main Line

FreshCoat Painters of Santa Barbara


CertaPro Painters of the Main Line


Photo: Titan Tool


Like a lot of painters, Claiton De Araujo has more than one go-to sprayer. With 11 years on the job at CertaPro Painters of the Main Line, De Araujo is a crew chief for the Philadelphia-based company. He likes the Graco FinishPro II 595 PC Pro. “The reason I like that one is that it has different options,” he says. “You can do nice finish trim work or big exterior walls and stucco with the same sprayer.” It also works well for cabinets and window trim. “You can control the pressure, and it rarely over-sprays,” he says. “Plus, the finish is perfect.” For fine-finish work, he opts for the Titan Capspray 75 HVLP. He says this air-assisted spray gun is small but extremely powerful. “It’s perfect for anything metal,” he notes. “The finish is unbelievable.” And these two spray guns have something in common that De Araujo also finds valuable: “They’re really easy to clean.”

FROM OUR PRO: Bill Harrison

started A&S Painting (named after his daughters, Amanda and Sydney) in Chicago about 10 years ago. Harrison doesn’t use spray guns very often, but knows that some jobs are simply too big—and some surfaces are too challenging—to roll. When he does turn to a spray gun, he’s a Wagner fan. For smaller jobs, he says, the Wagner Power Painter is the way to go. “I use the Power Painter mostly for staining,” he says.” The handheld spray gun holds one quart. “When you’re staining, that goes a long way,” Harrison notes. He also appreciates how easy it is to change the direction of the spray—it’s as simple as turning the tip, he says. And, Harrison adds, it’s easy to clean. “One of the reasons I often avoid spray guns is the setup and cleanup,” he says. “But this one is really easy to take apart and clean.” It’s also very affordable, he says. When he needs a sprayer for a bigger project, he opts for the Wagner ProCoat. The 2800-PSI electric-piston pump spray gun has the versatility of a one-gallon or five-gallon pail. “This is a nice option when you’re working outside in the heat and you don’t want to have five gallons of paint sitting outside,” Harrison points out. Plus, easy cleaning earns it a gold star in Harrison’s book.







Conventional sandpaper

SHAPE 3M™ PRO GRADE PRECISION™ Ultra Flexible Sanding Sheets and Rolls

Available at The Home Depot.

Available in multiple grits.

Get your hands on 3M™ PRO GRADE PRECISION™ Ultra Flexible Sanding Sheets and Rolls. Perfect for flat surfaces, spindles, trim and other hard-to-reach areas. Lasts 15x longer* — plus, it’s clog resistant and can be used wet or dry. The tough film backing resists punctures, tears and creases. Works great for both interior and exterior surfaces.

*Based on backing life during hand sanding when compared to 3M conventional sandpaper of comparable grit. © 3M 2016. All rights reserved. 3M and PRO GRADE PRECISION are trademarks of 3M. U.S. patent pending. This Old House is a registered trademark of This Old House Ventures, LLC. Used by permission. The Home Depot is a registered trademark of Homer TLC, Inc.




With so FROM OUR PRO: Portability,“durability and many heavy-build, affordability are the keys for David Hovey, a FROMofOUR PRO: For 14 years, Fabio Silva has worked as a painter for one-coat-coverage type paints 20-year industry veteran. The operations manager



CertaPro Painters of the Main Line in Philadelphia, managing a wide variety at FreshCoat Painters of Santa Barbara likes the of jobs interior and exterior, residential and commercial. In his time in the Graco Ultra 395 PC and the Titan Impact 440. industry, Silva, a crew chief, has become a Graco guy. Both machines, he says, are great for small jobs “For interior work, I use the Graco FinishPro II 395 PC and 595 PC Pro; for spraying stains, enamels, latex, and other lowthe 395 for small jobs and the 595 for bigger jobs,” he says. “Both give me a and medium-viscosity materials. smooth finish, especially when I’m doing cabinets or really fine woodwork.” “They’re even great for lacquers,” Hovey says. For interior walls and ceilings and exterior woodwork, he turns to the Graco And while Hovey likes the small sprayers forToth, Toth Painting Solutions ­—Kristopher Ultra Max ll 695 or 795 Electric Airless Sprayers. their portability, sometimes you need a bigger “I like them both equally,” he says. “They are both very powerful, and I like sprayer. that I can run two hoses at the same time, which makes my job twice as fast as “If you’re going to be spraying all day, you don’t other machines that have just one hose.” want to fry your pump,” he says. “For commercial He has other, larger Graco spray guns for exterior work and roofing, too. projects where you have the trigger down all day, Silva says that at least half of his spray guns are more than 10 years old. you’ll need the bigger pump.” “They’re still working as well as the new ones do,” he says. And when someThat’s when Hovey reaches for the Titan thing does go wrong, fixing them is a breeze. Impact 740. “One reason I use only Gracos is that it’s really easy to find parts, and I can “I’m really satisfied with it because I can spray easily fix them myself,” he says. fine finishes with it, but it’s also strong enough to spray an elastomeric. So it’s pretty versatile,” he says. “Plus, it can sense the viscosity of the paint and will adjust the rate at which it pumps.”

out there now, SuperPaint still works the best on multiple-coat types of situations.”

Photo: Graco


inPAINT | Jun/Jul 2016


Legends are made, not born. For 30 years, the Titan 440 has kept paint professionals at the top of their game. Revolutionary design. Legendary reliability. No wonder it’s still the number-one selling sprayer in its class.

For exclusive offers throughout the year, visit

Tips for Coating Exterior Stucco The term ‘stucco’ is used to describe portland cement exterior plasters in a wide variety of textures. While the cement creates a strong finish, the challenge is that it can also be susceptible to hairline or larger cracks—and the resulting problems from water intrusion.


As with all paint jobs, successful coating of stucco is a matter of prep work as well as material choice and application. Larry Baker, owner of Think Stucco in Minneapolis/St. Paul, emphasizes that painters need to think of stucco as a system, not just a surface to be coated. “One of the big problems with painting stucco is that it’s rather airtight,” he says. “When vapor barriers were installed on the inside of walls in the 1970s, half of the breathability was taken away. You want moisture to be able to leave a wall cavity, otherwise you end up with mold, mildew and rot.” Structural prep Surface prep starts with a structural examination. Cracks larger than the thickness of a credit card, pits or other minor damage can be repaired with a sealant that’s compatible with masonry and concrete. Blending a larger patch is an art, according to Mark Fowler,


inPAINT | Jun/Jul 2016

“ I like elastomeric the best because in my climate, everything is shrinking and expanding, heaving and settling.” —Larry Baker, Think Stucco

executive director of the Stucco Manufacturers Association. “To fill larger holes with a fast-setting cement, you need to start by shaving the surface to below the existing texture,” he says. “The sand size is critical for a good texture match, and 20/30 fine or 16/20 medium are the most common. For a cement finish, wet the base patch and then stipple it with a stiff brush to match.” He cautions against patching by using drywall compounds, spackle or non-cement-based products that aren’t specified for masonry surfaces. 24

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Surface cleaning After completing any needed repairs, the cleaning process partly depends on the age of the stucco surface. “Old stucco is going to be more fragile, so you need to use additional care,” says Brendan Steidle, brand manager of primers and specialty coatings at Rust-Oleum. “You should use a compatible commercial cleanser, applied with a push broom, or a light scrub brush to get the crevices clean. If there’s evidence of mold and mildew, you want to apply a biocide with a hose-mount scrub brush, or sponge. If you’re dealing with new stucco, you can use a pressure washer and an appropriate cleanser.” If you run into a chalky substrate, especially where old paint has flaked off or blistered, be forewarned. “A few decades ago, it was a common practice to apply a white-wash, which is basically just portland cement with water and maybe some pigment,” Baker says. “Once you go that route, the only solution is to continue whitewashing, because this chalky substrate is not going to be a sound surface for paint to stick to. If that’s what you find, the only answer is to sandblast it.” Patience before paint When dealing with old stucco, you absolutely must wait for the surface to be fully dried—at least overnight—before applying primer or paint. New stucco is trickier, and requires additional patience because it’s a matter of chemistry as well as moisture. It may feel dry to the touch long before it’s fully cured, which may take a week or even a month, depending on climate. “When you first mix plaster, it’s very alkaline, with a high pH,” says Baker. “If the can of primer or paint says to wait 28 days before going over plaster or cement and you paint sooner, you’re going to have a bonding problem, maybe quickly or maybe in a few years.” The exception to the 28-day rule is if you choose to use a so-called ‘hot’ primer. “One option is a block filler, which addresses the high-alkaline surface and allows you to apply prior to full cure, but it’s a thick coating and takes away from the stucco effect,” says

“ You should never use elastomerics to solve waterintrusion issues. It tends to only postpone a problem … which usually comes down to flashing issues.” —Mark Fowler, Stucco Manufacturers Association Steidle. “If you want to retain the stucco texture, you’re better off going with a basic, masonrycompatible primer.” The primer also serves to bind up residual pigments that can’t be removed by washing.

order to achieve a full coat, but Steidle recommends using a thicker nap to accomplish that. “Most of the concerns we see are in application,” says Steidle. “The store personnel will be able to advise you on the best products and application methods in a given circumstance.”

Choosing a coating For breathability, experts recommend choosing an alkaline-resistant acrylic or vapor-permeable elastomeric coating for stucco. (Consult the manufacturer for specific limitations or recommendations on surface conditioners or primers.) Acrylics are a little less expensive, while elastomeric may be a better bet for surfaces with a lot of hairline cracks. “I like elastomeric the best because in my climate, everything is shrinking and expanding, heaving and settling,” says Baker. “There’s not a stucco structure around that doesn’t have hairline cracks.” Fowler cautions against thinking that elastomeric coatings are a cure-all, however. “You should never use elastomerics to solve waterintrusion issues,” he says. “It tends to only postpone a problem, and it’s always better to fix the problem—which usually comes down to flashing issues. If water gets behind the coating, it can bubble and blister as it tries to escape out as a vapor.” Flat to semigloss paints are generally the best for stucco in Fowler’s opinion. “Fast-food places like gloss enamel because it’s easy to clean,” he says, “but that’s not really recommended anywhere else because it kills the texture.” Application tips An airless sprayer is ideal for stucco surfaces because it helps get primer and paint into nooks, crannies and crevices. “An airless gets the job done quickly,” says Steidle. “The PSI forces the coating into the crevices most efficiently. You can go toward the higher end of the range of what’s on the label, but don’t go higher than that.” If you’re rolling, a thick nap of ½" or thicker can help get the coating into the crevices. When using a roller, it may be tempting to think that you need to apply a lot of pressure to the roller in Jun/Jul 2016 | inPAINT



It’s common industry knowledge that the key to a great paint job is the prep work. Prepping not only saves money and time, but it creates a quality final finish.


Today, there are many products on the market—from power tools and adhesion tapes to specialized primers and coatings—that are available to assist pros with interior surface prep work. Best practices Recognizing that approximately 90% of the total job is the prep, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) instructors spend a lot of time teaching apprentice journey painters about the importance of prep work.

Photos courtesy of FrogTape brand painters tape 26

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“We try to stress that painting is really secondary to the overall preparation, which is what makes a quality paint job,” said Michael Krawiec, instructor at the Chicago-area IUPAT. “If you don’t start out with a good base, it’s not going to go well from the very beginning. Paying attention to items like caulking, proper priming, and fine sanding between coats are critical to delivering a job well done.” As evidence of IUPAT’s emphasis on prep, Krawiec notes that as part of their training, apprentice journey painters complete 960 hours of classroom training, including an 11-day course dedicated solely to prep. Cleaning, caulking and patching As Jenny Burroughs, senior product manager for PPG Paints notes, “The process for cleaning walls before painting is largely dependent on the surface and the use of the room. If you are painting a kitchen, it is common for areas around the stove to be exposed to cooking grease, which must be removed to ensure the new coating will adhere.”

According to Burroughs, this can be done with warm, soapy water in some cases, but depending on the area, may require a diluted vinegar or trisodium phosphate (TSP) and warm-water solution. “Another example of walls that require heavy cleaning before painting includes homes or rooms that have been exposed to smoke,” Burroughs added. “Nicotine creates a yellow residue on the surface that must to be removed before painting. Using a TSP and warm-water solution works very well for removing this residue.” For surfaces that are damaged and in need of patchwork, industry experts like Krawiec suggest dividing the wall into three sections—top, middle and bottom—so nothing is missed. “Start from the bottom and work toward the upper center and then to the ceiling line to hit all the spots that may be hiding,” Krawiec said. Products are available to help pros when caulking between dissimilar surfaces, fill cracks or make repairs. “For holes that are smaller than the diameter of a pencil, minimal tools are required,” said Michael Provenzano, product manager for PPG specialty products, including the Homax brand. “Simply use a drywall knife to apply spackle, such as Homax Spray Spackling or Homax Nail Hole Patch, over the hole.” These products make patching and repair easier with less mess. As opposed to traditional spackle, Homax provides a smooth, less visible patch. Medium to large-sized holes usually require sanding, and additional drywall may be required. If the wall has a textured surface, an aerosol product may be most beneficial. Power tools While experts stress the need for sanding as part of prep, the resulting dust can create a whole new set of problems if not dealt with properly. Without the right tools, dust management can be very time-consuming. Dust extractors are one power tool that’s proving very effective at not only tackling dust and

“We estimate that pros using our system will see a 30% to 70% in time saving on surface preparation.”

debris removal, but also at increasing workflow through faster cleanup. “We estimate that pros using our system will see a 30% to 70% in time saving on surface preparation,” said Johannes Frick, business development manager at Festool. Designed with ease of use and efficiency in mind, Frick notes, “The Festool system including sanders, dust extractors, storage and organization options work together,” allowing you to keep the job moving along instead of switching out from one device to the next. In addition, Festool drywall sanders are expandable and can be extended or reduced in length to reach every surface, meaning you don’t have to stop your cleanup to move your ladders in and out of place. 66813 FT 2016 in Paint half page

—Johannes Frick, Festool 1


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Jun/Jul 2016 | inPAINT


FrogTape from ShurTech has virtually eliminated the issue with its patented PaintBlock technology. PaintBlock is a super-absorbent polymer that reacts with latex paint. As soon as you run your brush or roller over the tape Photo: Homax edge, it instantly forms a gel, creating a micro-barrier that seals the edges of the tape and prevents paint bleeds. As Michigan-based pro Dan Brady of Dan Brady Painting & Wood Restoration, and a FrogTape brand ambassador, attests, “For us in the field, we all know that you can’t cut a line as straight as you can tape it. With this product, I can pull the tape and be left with a razor-straight line every time.”

Primers Innovative new primers are now on the market including Zinsser’s Mold Killing Primer, a water-based fungicidal protective coating that can be used to paint over all existing mold, mildew, moss, fungi, odor-causing bacteria, and any other fungal organisms. The product is an EPA-registered antimicrobial primer that can be found and tinted at most home-improvement retail stores across the country. Rust-Oleum plans to introduce an aerosol version of it this summer. “For professionals who need to remove mold, this is a great option that does not require the use of bleach or any other harsh chemicals,” said Brendan Steidle, brand manager, primers and specialty coatings at Rust-Oleum. Other new primers such as Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Start primers, which come in latex and oil-based formulations, ensure the best possible results by providing the proper foundation for every finish coat. “Our Fresh Start line includes seven specialty products that solve problems with stains, moisture damage, tannin bleeding, and other common issues,” said Carl Minchew, VP of color innovation & design at Benjamin Moore. Painter’s tape As every painter knows, paint bleeds can be timeconsuming, costly, and downright annoying.


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Prep school Because products and processes related to prep are constantly evolving and improving to save you time and money, it’s important to stay current on training. Members of PDCA have access to a number of education and training courses. Prep to Finish ( also offers several top-notch training programs and workshops for both newcomers to the industry and seasoned pros that focus on all aspects of prep from new tools and equipment to industry tips and best practices. Pros also shouldn’t hesitate to ask manufacturers’ reps what they can do to support your desire to keep crew members up to speed on the latest innovations in prep products and processes. Many manufacturers sponsor training programs in a number of forms that may just offer the information you need.

Pros shouldn’t hesitate to ask manufacturers’ reps what they offer in the way of prep training.

Turn to the PQI FYI Interior, exterior, hardboard, stucco, plaster, new and painted, old and painted, to be stained, and on and on … the number of surfaces you might face on a daily basis is daunting. It was with all the potential possibilities in mind that the Paint Quality Institute (PQI) developed its online how-to guides for prep, prime and paint. Found under the ‘Advice and Tips’ tab at, the guides provide exacting detail for every possible painting surface in every possible condition. Debbie Zimmer, spokesperson of the PQI says, “This is a great site for contractors to not only reference but also use as supporting information to educate consumers on the scope and nature of work that needs to be done to achieve a quality finish.”

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HEALTH CARE MARKET A good contractor knows which crews to trust for complicated jobs; however, there are some jobs that may not be technically difficult, but require a crew with great people skills to handle a tough customer.


Jim Guthrie, senior project manager for Hester Painting & Decorating, near Chicago, IL, has one of those crews, and recently used the team to pull off a touchy job at a psychiatric ward. Tasked with painting new dry-erase boards in rooms, the team had direct contact with psychiatric patients and staff at times. “The patients were very curious about what we were doing and were asking a lot of questions. Then you had to keep an eye on your tools, all while being polite, of course,” Guthrie said.

It’s one example of how health care work brings some unique challenges. But for paint pros, it can be an arena that produces steady, profitable work over the long haul. It has done just that for Hester Painting & Decorating, and helped the company through the recession from 2008 to 2012. “We saw a lot of private construction in the health care market, which seemed to weather things really well for us,” Guthrie noted. He and other paint professionals recently shared insights on some of the unique situations that arise on health care jobs, and how you can stay competitive and profitable in this high-demand niche. Isolation, odor Jeff Brew, senior sales and marketing director for San Jose, CA-based national painting contractor Schaper Company, says isolation—particularly keeping crew’s projects isolated from patients—is a frequent topic in health care job bidding. He notes it’s important to walk a job thoroughly before bidding. “Many of these facilities are very sensitive to environmental change. You have to encapsulate and

isolate areas and you need an experienced staff that knows what to do,” he said. In addition, he notes, “You also need to make sure you know when products needs change from one building or floor to the next.” And while green products with low- or zero-VOCs are a given in these environments, odor is another factor. Often, a low-VOC product may be spec’d but it may still have an odor. Dry time and ventilation could be major concerns, too. You must factor into the bid that crews may need to work evenings or overtime to keep fumes away from patients. Nathan Ferraro, a Rust-Oleum product manager, is quick to direct pros to the company’s Sierra Performance product line for winning health care jobs. The zero-VOC, zero-HAPs (hazardous air pollutants) product is a hit in this environment specifically because of its low odor. “You don’t have to clear out a wing of the hospital. … It basically allows for continuous use of the space without having the offending odors that might be associated with new paint,” he added.

Scheduling, security For new-construction and renovation work, Guthrie says it’s important to understand the schedules of other trades, and how they can shift and change. The paint pro’s job usually has a smaller time window than other trades that may be overhauling or building actual rooms in buildings, he adds. It’s particularly important to keep an eye on schedules for jobs being done in phases. In these

“Make sure you understand what’s being expected of the coating ... if it needs some performance characteristics in some areas, you need to know that.” —Nathan Ferraro, Rust-Oleum

Know your manager For health care facility repaint work, it’s common to find facilities managers more heavily involved in the product spec process, whereas in the past, architects and engineers were often the point people, according to Robert Ryan, president of Troy, NY-based Frank J. Ryan & Sons Painting. The long-time commercial painter says it’s a welcome change, as facilities managers are closer to major decision-makers. “In the end, you want to make the owner happy. Being able to deal directly with his facility people is advantageous to us,” he said. Brew says it’s important to keep in mind that a facilities person can often be overwhelmed by taking bids while tending to other daily requirements of their job. “They’re dealing with flooring, windows, landscapers, etc, and they’re getting bids for each. … You want to make everything as seamless as possible for them.” Brew also takes the time to study a company’s decision-makers or facilities people that solicit bids, before working with them. He will look people up on LinkedIn and do online research to best understand the manager’s needs before meeting the person and submitting a bid. “I use the best and highest resources I can to identify a decision-maker,” he added. Jun/Jul 2016 | inPAINT


Learning about a specific health care environment may take more research than usual. Expect to spend more time listening to the client. —Jeff Brew, Schaper Company


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situations, a paint crew may be on-site for one section of the job, then have to completely demobilize while another area of the project is built out, only to come back later. “You want that same crew on the next phase, if possible, but you may have them on another project when the next phase is ready. New guys may need new badges and have to go through safety training, which you’ll often see for health care jobs. That’s all time and money,” Guthrie said. Products that perform in health care environments When doing your due diligence for a health care job, Ferraro recommends paint pros familiarize themselves with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and ask if the customer is seeking certification. If the building owner uses a low- or zeroVOC product, they may be able to earn credits toward LEED certification and see valuable tax breaks that may come with that designation. A paint pro could help a building owner better understand these requirements and potential benefits. Pros don’t need to go it alone when it comes to recommending products either. Tap company reps to walk jobs and offer guidance. Ferraro also says, if a job does not have a specific brand spec’d and a facility manager is looking to the pro for guidance, look for third-party inspected products. For example, Rust-Oleum’s Sierra Performance line is Green Seal certified. The line also has the only Green Seal-certified epoxy on the market, Ferraro added. It’s a green product that can be used in areas that require a durable product—specifically surgery rooms and other spaces that are frequently washed down. Ferraro says understanding the uses of certain rooms is critical, too. “Make sure you understand what’s being expected of the coating,” he added. “If it’s going to just be put on

a wall and needs to be zero odor that’s great, but if it needs some performance characteristics in some areas, you need to know that. Maybe it’s going to be next to a window and you need it to be good for UV. It’s all good information to have so that the right products are selected for the job.” Sherwin-Williams’ Paint Shield is a newer green coating gaining popularity in the health care market. It’s touted as the first EPA-registered microbicidal paint that kills more than 99.9% of Staph, MRSA, E. coli and other bacteria within two hours of exposure to the painted surface. “By killing these specific bacteria on painted surfaces, it offers customers an important new tool to help prevent the spread of bacteria that can cause hospital-acquired infections,” said Rick Watson, Sherwin-Williams’ director of product information and technical services. The manufacturer’s Pro Industrial Water Based Catalyzed Epoxy, Harmony, Emerald, and ProMar 200 Zero VOC paints are other popular requests for health care jobs, Watson added. When walking the job, Ryan also suggests pros look closely at the process required to apply a coating. “You need to understand if there are any specialty coatings on the project. Some require lengthy, fouror five-step processes and you need highly skilled guys to install it; things like an epoxy-mat system in an operating room, for example,” he noted. Less selling, more learning Brew also says learning about a specific health care environment may take more research than usual. Expect to spend more time listening to the client. “I would just say ask good questions, listen and respond based on what they tell you,” he said. Brew also likes to ask questions about what a previous paint team did right and did wrong. “You can learn about the facility manager or the owner’s hot-button issues. I ask about what a previous contractor lacked. They’ll say things like ‘Well they filled up my dumpster with their stuff.’ That’s really important to understanding the job,” he added. Like other commercial work, building relationships with owners and their representatives can take time. For that reason, Ryan prefers to work directly with an owner and is selective about which general contractors he works with, too. “If you can build a relationship with an owner and are responsive to their needs, they’ll be loyal to you,” he said. “With a general contractor, if he’s not performing or other subcontractors aren’t performing, you have to be careful because you can be brushed in with the same broad brush.”




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Many paint pros have seen this scenario play out. A customer calls, asking for touch-ups on ‘just a few spots’ on a job you just completed. When you arrive at the site, you find an endless run of inch-long blue painter’s tape pieces in a room that you and your team wrapped up yesterday. There are so many, it looks like entire walls need to be repainted. But when you remove the tape, you strain your eyes to find the imperfections. Frustrated, you reach for the brush and roller to solve the problem, adding hours to the job and losing profit. But let’s revisit the scene and change the script a bit. This time, instead of repainting walls, you remember something quite valuable. You recently added the PDCA standards to your contract, and instead of cowering to the

potential unending demands of the customer, you choose to enforce the contract both you and the homeowner signed. You remind the customer of PDCA Standard #6, which specifically states that acceptable work for a wall covering is determined ‘when viewed without magnification at a distance of 39" (or one meter) or more, under finished lighting conditions and from a normal viewing position.’ Okay, maybe you find a middle ground and do some of the requested painting for the customer. But knowing you have a contract with teeth can indeed change the way you do business going forward. PDCA standards are just one of many contract clauses that have saved paint pros time and money. Here are some others that can help you keep the peace, get paid on time, and keep customer expectations realistic.

The foundation: PDCA standards Ron Yarbrough, owner and project manager for Pro-Spec Painting Inc., a New Jersey-based commercial painting contractor, admits to learning his share of contract lessons through the years. Yarbrough says, “including PDCA standards by reference” is a must for all commercial and residential work. “It’s a best practice that will enable you to collect if you have to do damage repair work,” he said. “It can help cover you, and if work is out of sequence, you can be compensated for that. … PDCA standards need to be included because, many times, they are not included in the technical specifications.” Including them ‘by reference,’ Yarbrough explains, means the standards take precedence over broad and ambiguous language. The standards cover subject areas where misunderstandings between painters and customers often occur. Some of those areas include: levels of prep, application standards, and compensation to contractors if their work is damaged by others. Visit to learn how best to include the standards in your contracts.

Parkhurst recommends understanding state laws that may impact your contracts. Customer responsibilities Marge Parkhurst, owner of Painting By Marge, Inc. in Colebrook, CT, says paint-contractor contracts rarely address the customer’s responsibilities. It’s a topic she learned of early in her 30-plus years in the business, and it has saved her time and money by getting her customers to better understand their role in the process. “We always talk about the contract as far as terms, but we forget about the customer’s responsibilities,” the residential paint pro added. “We’re so caught up in making sure we’re going to get paid. Then we get out there and the customer doesn’t have a color picked, and you have five guys standing around waiting.” Parkhurst’s customer responsibilities section covers several key aspects of every job. For one, a color has to be chosen at least one week prior to work starting, and a color change can bring added charges. The section also indicates alarms need to be turned off and homeowners must vacate the premises. Andrew Amrhein is a senior business coach with Pennsylvaniabased Nolan Summit Services, Inc., which counts nearly 100 contractors as clients. To minimize contentiousness that may result from asking customers to vacate the premises, the consultant says language in this section should emphasize safety. Parkhurst also highlights specifically which fragile and other personal items need to be removed by the homeowner before work starts. The section also includes a closet exclusion: her team does not paint them unless they are specified in the contract. “People think it’s just a closet, but there’s probably more work in there than some average-sized rooms with all that shelving— and they can be hard to clean out,” she added. Legal action, arbitration clauses For years, Parkhurst’s early contracts did not include language dealing with arbitration or legal proceedings. Now, she has a conJun/Jul 2016 | inPAINT


tract clause that specifically states who will be responsible for legal fees, if legal action is needed. Yarbrough includes court and arbitration clauses in his contracts as well. When working with large general contractors, his clauses will go so far as to stipulate which court jurisdiction will hear the dispute. That said, Yarbrough adds that paint pros should still use caution before acting on anything in those clauses. “I’ve learned to make the phone call to try and resolve the dispute with a decision-maker first” he said. “I always try to talk with a key individual in hopes of averting disputes. I’ve saved a lot of time and money by being able to understand the other side’s concerns.” Disputes occur when one side expects more than what the other believes is within the scope of the contract, he explained. Most disputes are over money, and the owner or payer may feel they have the power in the situation, especially if a contractor seems desperate for funds to cover expenses incurred by the job. Yarbrough says resolving disputes requires you bring a balance of assertiveness and attentiveness to the details that arise in any given job situation. Amrhein also looks at legal clauses from a sales perspective. “I would say be very careful about including them,” he added. “People start to think, ‘Why is that in there?’ You can leave yourself open to attack from a sales standpoint.” Schedules, other trades All three experts highlighted the importance of including clauses that address scheduling in a contract. Newconstruction jobs usually have a trade schedule from the start. Renovation jobs requiring multiple contractors will also have set schedules. Weather and other issues may cause delays. The PDCA standards can also help a contractor who deals with work being done out of order that negatively impacts the painter.

THE ‘SAME PAGE’ SIGNIFICANCE OF A CONTRACT While most painters structure their contract to protect themselves, it’s important that customers also appreciate the protection it provides them. “Before I provide a contract, I make sure the customer knows it’s coming,” says Randy Fornoff, president of MTS Painting & Property Service, Inc. in Mesa, AZ. “I’ll tell the customer what the contract will include—written details about the scope of work, materials to be used, payment terms, warranty info, etc. I also share with them that, once signed, this is the document the crew will reference on the job. The fact that we’re all working from the same page provides some comfort to the customer that the job’s being done right even if I’m not there.”

Amrhein also recommends a ‘free from other trades’ clause. Regardless of the shifting schedule, he says it’s critical that other trades are not working in your area when you are. If other trades are in place, it’s important to NOT start working, Parkhurst adds. “We make sure the customer knows the job is not ready for us,” she said, emphasizing that once you start working in an environment that is not free of other trades, it’s hard to go back and make your case if problems arise. “Once you start working with the surface, you own it.” State laws, estimates Parkhurst also recommends understanding state laws that may impact your contracts. In Connecticut, where she operates, for example, a customer has the right to cancel within three days of signing a contract, so she never starts a job until three days after a contract is signed. “It allows me to double check with them and make sure it’s all a go; to make that call to say, ‘Hey we’re coming out now, are you ready?’” she noted. Amrhein also says estimates should come with a 30-day expiration clause and executed contracts should have an ‘unforeseen conditions’ clause as well, which can be particularly beneficial when dealing with removing wallpaper. “Unforeseen-conditions clauses have wallpaper written all over them,” he added. “If you’re asked to take down wallpaper, you have no clue what could happen. One area may be fine and another may be impossible to get off.” Clauses as sales strategy Amrhein encourages contractors to stipulate painting two coats in a contract unless otherwise noted. It can help differentiate you as a professional when being compared to someone who may be unlicensed. Payment schedules and a description of your warranty are other critical clauses, he adds. He also says a clause about additional work orders can let a customer know it’s okay to add to work, and can actually be seen as a sales opportunity. “You’d be surprised at how many customers are afraid to ask to add more to the job,” he said. Always learning Yarbrough says contracts bring a learning curve. Through the years, he has attended seminars through PDCA and colleges that cover contract best practices. “I’ve always sought out seminars and implemented the top five DOs and DON’Ts,” he said. “Often, there are only two or three contractors in the room; the rest are lawyers, which I find interesting.” Parkhurst is surprised to learn how many professional painters operate without a contract in place. Some smaller shops may operate on a handshake. “Sometimes we get very familiar with a customer and we’ll just go ahead and do things. But that’s only okay until something goes wrong,” she said.

Contractor Spotlight

“I worked for another painting contractor for ten years. I had no college education. I started my own business in 1995, working from my home as a one-man show. We now have 10 full time employees, an established shop location, 10 company vehicles, 2 lifts, and more equipment than you can shake a stick at.” — Don Lamb

Shortly after starting his own company, Don saw an advertisement in a painting magazine and realized he was not alone in his struggles as a painting contractor and business owner. He joined the PDCA and maintains the most valuable benefit has been networking with fellow members. At a forum conference several years ago, a first-time attendee said he was very impressed but didn’t know if he could afford to attend again. Don’s answer: “I told him I couldn’t afford to miss a PDCA event.” “The PDCA has given me all the information necessary to build a successful business. Using the COPs, Standards, estimating procedures, and technical help in the business area has helped me become a leading painting contractor in my area. As the only PDCA accredited contractor in South Dakota, my reputation has been the driving force of my success, thanks to PDCA and my great crew.”

Mission The Painting and Decorating Contractors of America is dedicated to the success of painting and decorating contractors through ethics, education and excellence. PDCA provides painting contractors with the cutting-edge training and networking they need to grow their business.

Over 200 online business and technical training videos New podcasts and LIVE training every week offering Q&A with experts Ask-A-Peer network for contractors to problem-solve together Listing on

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Contractor College Accreditation with promotional materials …and MORE!

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Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square 300 W. Station Square Dr. Pittsburgh, PA 15219

THE PLAYERS Property Owner: Pyramid Hotel Group Project Management: North American Construction Enterprises, LLC Paint Contractor: THOMARIOS Coatings Providers: Zinsser and PPG Paints


Photos courtesy of the Starwood Group/Sheraton


inPAINT | Jun/Jul 2016

The project Situated on the banks of the Monongahela River, the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square was long overdue for a makeover when North American Construction Enterprises, LLC (NACE) put the project out to bid. Mike Beaugrand, owner of NACE, recalls, “We were asked to oversee this project on behalf of the Pyramid Hotel Group, including the hiring of all the trades. This was a big project with a lot of specific needs. Winning the work wasn’t a matter of simply bidding low. We needed a company that had both the capabilities and the skills.” After interviewing and reviewing bids from several contractors, NACE selected THOMARIOS to handle the renovation. THOMARIOS’ project manager, Kevin Andrews, says, “We were really excited to win the job. We had actually worked on this property in the past so we were well-aware of what we’d be taking on.” What they took on a was a nine-month renovation including 399 guest rooms, 21 suites spanning 15 floors, the lobby, a restaurant, an indoor pool area, fitness center, 12 banquet rooms, 26 meeting rooms, and a 9,750 s.f. ballroom. Timing is everything Upon winning the bid, Andrews’ first task was to establish a plan and schedule for renovating the space so that the hotel could meet all of its commitments to guests for meeting rooms and guest rooms. “In order to keep the promised occupancy available, we needed to tackle the building from the top down,” he says. “We started on the top floor. When we were halfway done with that, we shut down the next floor and got started there. When we were halfway done with that floor, the top floor was finished and we’d shut down the next floor down. We just paced ourselves all the way down, two floors at a time: scheduling drywall finishers, painters and wall-covering teams so they wouldn’t overlap and would be done on schedule for the carpet layers, who came in last.” Andrews notes that his paint supplier, PPG Paints, was also key to maintaining the schedule. “I’d typically get my needs list to them the week before,” he says. “There wasn’t a day we were without what we needed. And we needed a lot.” Moving parts, materials and labor THOMARIOS’ materials list for the project was impressive. It included 450 gallons of drywall sealer, 1,300 gallons of drywall surfacer, 1,500 gallons of paint, 900 gallons of wall-covering

Coatings & Colors ZINSSER 0 Shieldz Universal Wallcovering Primer 0 GARDZ Problem Surface Sealer

PPG PAINTS primer, 455 gallons of wall-covering paste, 40,000 yards of wall-covering, and more. In addition, they had to install 30' of staging over the filled indoor pool in order to paint the ceilings and walls. “Initially, they had intended to drain the pool but at the last minute opted not to,” says Andrews. “We had to cover it to prevent materials from getting in the water and move extra carefully around the area to avoid going for an unwanted dip.” “At times, we had crews of 30 and 40 guys working 12 to 14 hour shifts, sometimes on weekends, just to ensure we got the job done,” says Andrews. Triumph over challenges As with any job of this size, the THOMARIOS crew came to expect the unexpected. THOMARIOS’ VP of operations, Don Pistorius, recalls when they discovered the damage a roof leak had done to the drywall on the top two floors of the hotel. “It wasn’t pretty,” he says. “The mold had to be remediated, the compromised drywall needed to be sealed, then we had to skim 100% of it—and keep to the schedule.” It wasn’t long until trouble found them again. Just as they were finishing hanging wallpaper on the top two floors, it was discovered that there was a flaw in the design of the wallpaper. “At the point that it was realized, the rooms were rented for the following days,” he says. “We ended up finishing up with that paper and then going back later when each room became unoccupied and redoing it.” On time and on point In the end, the hotel was completed on schedule, and with stunning results. “We’re very pleased with the final result,” says NACE’s Beaugrand. “THOMARIOS did quality work and the property really looks fantastic.”

0 PITT-GLAZE WB1 Interior Pre-Catalyzed Water-Borne Acrylic Epoxy Coating 0 SPEEDHIDE Interior Latex Sealer, Quick-Drying 0 SPEEDHIDE Interior Enamel Latex Eggshell Paint 0 BREAK-THROUGH! 50 Interior/Exterior Satin Water-Borne Acrylic Paint 0 SPEEDHIDE Interior Flat Latex Paint

INTERIOR COLORS: Blue Thistle PPG1162-3 Angel Food PPG1088-1 Delicate White PPG1001-1 Sand Fossil PPG1098-3 Pacific Pearl PPG1011-1 Prairie Winds PPG1111-1 Warm Wassail PPG1062-7

Jun/Jul 2016 | inPAINT



REWARDS AND RETENTION: Keeping Your Best Employees on for the Long Haul BY JACK E. WEST


inPAINT | Jun/Jul 2016

Many business owners train and mentor employees only to have them leave in two or three years. If you’ve experienced the loss of a promising employee then you know the costs related to turnover are high, and getting higher as jobs become more specialized. You probably offer the usual employment benefits, perhaps even a retirement plan, but even that may not be enough to retain top talent. Younger workers, in particular, don’t want to wait until retirement for a bonus—they often think in shorter terms. You may want to reward certain key employees and let them know how special and important they really are to your operation. What you’re looking for is a shorter-term benefit that can work well at retaining key employees. Evaluate your employees and your offerings When considering shorter-term benefits, there are a number of questions you first need to answer in relation to your existing talent pool and your offerings: - Who keeps the business running smoothly when I am here? When I am not here? - Do I want them to stay until their retirement? Or until my retirement? - What is keeping them here: Job satisfaction? Financial security? A relationship with me or other employees? - Will they stay because of their current benefits? If not, what will it take to keep them? - Is there a way, without raising their salaries now, to give them an incentive to stay? - Can I offer an additional benefit only to specific employees without offering it to all my employees? Spoiler alert: the answer to the last two questions above is ‘yes.’ Time bonuses to your budget An employee-specific bonus plan is one way to give key employees a reason to stay. Essentially a carefully thought-out promise to pay a selected key employee specified bonus amounts at specified times for continuing employment with you, it rewards loyalty and provides incentive to stay. While these plans can be structured and scheduled any number of ways, a typical sample schedule of an offering, called an Employee Private Bonus Plan, may include: a $5,000 bonus after five years, $7,500 after 10 years, and $10,000 after 15 years of employment. This type of bonus works for both the employer and the employee, as the bonus is tax-deductible to the business, and the employee doesn’t have to wait until retirement to reap the rewards of longevity—an especially important factor for younger employees just starting their careers. Plus, you can design the plan as you desire to get maximum retention value. This

type of agreement states that if your employee is not employed with you at the time of a scheduled bonus, no payment is made. Financing bonuses One of the easiest ways to finance a bonus plan of this nature is with a universal life insurance contract. While the value of life insurance to keep a business operating in the event of the death of an owner or key employee is obvious, many business owners aren’t aware of how it can also be used to fund a bonus program. Here are a few things to understand about this approach: - When using life insurance as a funding vehicle, the business is the owner, payer, and beneficiary of the policy. - Cash values are owned and controlled by the business, are shown as an asset on the books, and generally grow tax-deferred. - Insurance premiums are not tax-deductible to the business; however, the bonus is tax-deductible when paid to the employee once the employee has fulfilled the required number of years. - The life insurance proceeds can be used to hire and train a replacement, and to replenish lost profits during the transition period. A common variation includes offering a percentage of the death benefit to the employee’s beneficiary through a written Endorsement Split-Dollar agreement. This approach provides needed personal, tax-free death-benefit coverage to your key employees for pennies on the dollar. For this tax-free death benefit, a small-term insurance cost is reported on your employee’s W-2 each year.

Younger workers, in particular, don’t want to wait until retirement for a bonus—they often think in shorter terms.

Invest for the future You may invest countless hours and dollars training and mentoring young employees. Your talented employees will be more likely to stay if you challenge them with responsibility and offer opportunities that may not be available from competing employers. A scheduled bonus plan may help you get the best return for your investment in their future. This article is for general information only and should not be considered legal, tax, or financial advice for your particular facts and circumstances. Consult with independent professional advisors for advice unique to you and your business.

Jack E. West is a national account executive with Federated Insurance, PDCA’s exclusively recommended insurance provider for association members. Operating in 47 states, Federated’s representatives are familiar with the insurance needs of painting contractors. To meet with a representative to discuss your current policy and coverage options, call 800-533-0472 or visit Jun/Jul 2016 | inPAINT





inPAINT | Jun/Jul 2016

Jun/Jul 2016 | inPAINT


[ THE LIST ] PRODUCTS AND TOOLS HIGHLIGHTED IN THIS ISSUE To learn about being featured in an upcoming issue of inPAINT, email


0 ScotchBlue PLATINUM Painter’s Tape, p 43


0 ProSpray 606, p 18

Benjamin Moore

0 Fresh Start Primers, p 28


0 GM 3500 Airless Paint Sprayer, p 18 0 FinishPro ll 595 PC Pro, p 19 & 20 0 FinishPro ll 395 PC, p 20 0 Ultra Max ll 695 Electric Airless Sprayer, p 20 0 Ultra Max ll 795 Electric Airless Sprayer, p 20


0 Nail Hole Patch, p 27 0 Spray Spackling, p 27

PPG Paints

0 BREAK-THROUGH! 50 Interior/ Exterior Satin Water-Borne Acrylic Paint, p 39 & 43 0 PITT-GLAZE WB1 Interior Pre-Catalyzed Water-Borne Acrylic Epoxy Coating, p 39 0 SPEEDHIDE Interior Enamel Latex Eggshell Paint, p 39 0 SPEEDHIDE Interior Flat Latex Paint, p 39 0 SPEEDHIDE Interior Latex Sealer, Quick-Drying, p 39


0 Sierra Performance Paint Line, p 31 & 32 0 Zinsser GARDZ Problem Surface Sealer, p 39 0 Zinsser Mold Killing Primer, p 28 0 Zinsser Shieldz Universal Wallcovering Primer, p 39


0 Emerald Paint, p 32 0 Harmony Paint, p 32 0 Paint Shield, p 32 0 Pro Industrial Water Based Catalyzed Epoxy, p 32 0 ProMar 200 Zero VOC Paint, p 32


0 FrogTape, p 28


0 Capspray 75 HVLP, p 19 0 Impact 440, p 18 & 20 0 Impact 740, p 20


0 Power Painter, p 19 0 ProCoat, p 19


0 Chinex FTP Brushes, p 43

ADVERTISER INDEX 3M Pages 9 & 19 (INSERT between pages 8 & 9)









SHURTECH (FROGTAPE) Page 27 TITAN Pages 21 & Back Cover WOOSTER Page 17


What, Where & When J UN E 1

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


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


O C TO B E R 7

5–7: 2016 Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, Los Angeles, CA


5–7: Remodeling Show | DeckExpo | JLC LIVE, Baltimore, MD

N OV E M B E R 9

2–4: Design-Build Conference & Expo, Las Vegas, NV

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


7–9: CONSTRUCT, Austin, TX


16 & 17: WIA’s National Convention and Vendor Showcase 2016, Charlotte, NC


27 & 28: Home Improvement Research Institute’s Annual Fall Conference: Trends in Home Improvement, Chicago, IL


6 1







Greenbuild International Conference & Expo Greenbuild is a perfect opportunity to meet with green building colleagues, network with leading industry professionals, and learn from international representatives from around the world. Taking place October 5–7 in Los Angeles, the event features a robust trade show and educational opportunities, as well as Green Building Tours and the ‘GBCI Certification Work Zone,’ where you can meet one-on-one with GBCI reviewers and discuss specific projects, or learn more about GBCI requirements in general.

To register, visit Jun/Jul 2016 | inPAINT



Three Strategies for Winning More Work from Existing Customers We spend so much money and effort looking for new customers when we already have a list—many times a long list—of customers who already know, like, and trust us, and would be more than happy to give and refer us more work. But like all of us, they get busy and forget about us. For the past 20 years, as both a painter and a consultant, I’ve found the following three strategies work best for building relationships and winning more business through existing customer relationships.

STEVE BURNETT is a high school dropout who successfully launched not one, but two paint companies over an eight-year period. While running his second company, he made a conscious effort to actively build, and not just maintain, the company. Three years later, he had quintupled his book of business.

In 2014, he wrote a book

about his experience and sold his company. Since then, his focus has been on helping other pros achieve the same kind of success. Get his free estimating bundle at

STRATEGY #1 Stay top of mind The simple truth is that, no matter how much someone likes you or your work, if you’re not on their radar, you’re not going to be on their list of contenders for any job. One simple way to stay top of mind with current and past customers is to make sure you connect with them on Facebook or LinkedIn. Build on existing relationships with friendly and useful exchanges. You can recommend other groups or pages of interest, or simply share links to interesting articles or even events. Email is another easy way to stay top of mind. You can use Gmail or sign up for an automated and formatted program such as MailChimp, iContact or Constant Contact to customize the look of messages so they match your brand. But it’s not all about looks. The message is what really matters. Use email to send what I call G.I.E. emails: messages of Gratitude, Inspiration or Entertainment. Do not use email to promote sales, coupons or blogs. Again, it’s about building a relationship, not selling. And don’t forget about the value of snail mail. Sending a card every four months with a G.I.E message, is great way to connect with your customer base.

STRATEGY #2 The real ABCs of sales In the past, Always Be Closing was the ABCs of sales, but in our highly connected world, I’ve found a more effective ABC is Always Be Connecting. Local networking is one of the most effective ways I’ve found to Always Be Connecting.


inPAINT | Jun/Jul 2016

The three networking groups that have proven most useful to us are BNI (Business Network International), Chamber of Commerce, and Rotary. They each serve different purposes and are a great way to connect and stay top of mind to your community. Before you begin face-to-face networking, I recommend you read Bob Burg’s books: Endless Referrals and The Go-Giver (coauthored by John David Mann). As he outlines, the key is to always be looking for ways to give value and serve. If that, rather than getting a sale, is your focus, you will be well taken care of.

STRATEGY #3 Internet leads through blogging While I admit this was not our hottest lead source straight away, with work, we found a way to go from a 25% to 52% close ratio on quality Internet leads. Here’s how we did it—and without paying for SEO services: Start by writing a 300- to 500-word blog post each week. These can be short stories about current projects that you are working on. How about a before-and-after photo with explanations? It could also be a short post about how to properly prep and paint. A good blog not only demonstrates your skills and capabilities, it moves you up in local rankings and puts you in front of potential customers. Here’s just one quick tale of proof of this approach: At the start of this year, Ron Ramsden of Ramsden 1-800-PAINTING didn’t even have a web site. He built one and started blogging on January 30th. Since then, he has written a weekly post, and is now ranked on the first page of Google for niche city: ‘Interior Painting Methuen, MA’ and ‘Exterior Painting Methuen, MA.’ As he continues to blog weekly, Ron will soon own the top key words for his town. Build your business by building relationships While none of these strategies may be groundbreaking, they have the potential to help you break records in terms of sales. Plus, your past work experience together means both parties have reasonable expectations in terms of the work to be done and how it will be done, taking a good bit of the ‘work’ out of every job.

Recycle your leftover paint? Yes, you can!

PaintCare has set up more than 1,600 convenient drop-off locations in eight states where you can recycle leftover paint for free. Most locations are at paint retailers. PaintCare is the non-profit product stewardship organization established by the American Coatings Association to represent architectural paint manufacturers. We work to provide environmentally sound and cost-effective paint recycling programs in states with paint stewardship laws or those that pass such laws in the future. FIND A DROP-OFF LOCATION NEAR YOU: • (855) 724-6809 CALIFORNIA | CONNECTICUT | COLORADO | MAINE MINNESOTA | OREGON | RHODE ISLAND | VERMONT


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