inPAINT Magazine Oct/Nov 2017

Page 1




Restoration and Recovery WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE IT RIGHT


Chase Profit, Not Dollars Effective Onboarding Pros Talk Favorite Concrete Stains



At Sherwin-Williams, our job is to make your job easier.



PPC Magazine


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Pro e-newsletter

Paint Pro Alerts

Recent hurricanes have devastated whole communities, flooding and destroying homes. We will rebuild, but only with your help.

Learn more at

Oct/Nov 2017 | inPAINT


Bend the sanding rules. This abrasive takes on any shape to make detail and flat sanding easy. And the unique film backing resists punctures, tears and creases. It’ll change the way you think about sanding.

Š 3M 2017. All rights reserved. 3M and PRO GRADE PRECISION are trademarks of 3M. U.S. patent pending.


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017

Ultra Flexible Sanding Sheets and Rolls


Strong Under Pressure










When you need a professional finish in a flash, 3M™ Wall Repair Fiber Reinforced Compound stands up to the test. Use it on drywall or plaster for holes up to 5 inches. The one-step fill is easy to sand and dries fast, so you can fix it, paint it and get on with the job.

*Compared to other 3M spackles. © 3M 2017. All rights reserved. 3M is a trademark of 3M.




I saw a poster last week that read, “The difference between good and great is 5%.”


Kathryn Heeder Hocker Martha MacGregor COPY EDITOR

Cindy Puskar


immediately thought to myself, “Whoever said that isn’t a painter. Or at least not a very good one.” In the world of coatings, the difference between good and great is often a lot less than 5%. Sometimes it’s literally just 1 mil. In this issue, we take a look at some of the small details that can make a big difference in how successful you are in a number of aspects of your business—from finding qualified candidates and making sure their first few days with your company are positive, to choosing the right brush or roller and making sure you’re laying down the right amount of paint. As always, we welcome your input and suggestions, and extend our thanks to all the pros and experts who took the time to contribute to this issue, as it’s their input that pushed this issue from good to great. Cheers!

Amanda Haar Amanda Haar Managing Editor, inPAINT


Stephanie Conner Stacey Freed Jake Poinier Meghann Finn Sepulveda Brian Sodoma Jim Williams SOCIAL MEDIA

Jillian McAdams PUBLISHED BY

REM Publishing Group LLC 8924 E Pinnacle Peak Rd Suite G5 #575 Scottsdale, AZ 85255 ADVERTISE


Thanks to this issue’s contributing experts Benjamin Blanchard Prestigious Painting & Resurfacing Bess Cadwell Govig & Associates John Calderaio Dow Chemical Co. Marianne Cusato HomeAdvisor Bob Cusumano Coatings Consultants, Inc. Dan DiGrazio, Jr. R & R Coatings, Inc. Kevin Godfrey Heritage Restoration, Inc. Amy Hirsch Robinson Interchange Consulting Group Melanie Hodgdon Business Systems Management, Inc. Rick Holtz H.J. Holtz & Son, Inc. Josh McBrayer MC’s Painting & Decorating, Inc.

Marcelo Orchon Purdy Ron Ramsden Ramsden Painting Andy Roe Roe Painting Nick Slavik Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co. Greg Spotts LA Bureau of Street Services Justin Stolba Complete Concrete Systems David Stovall David Stovall & Associates Chuck Violand Violand Management Associates, LLC Ben Waksman Corona Tim Yates Wooster

©2017 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. 6

inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017

Ciro Affronti Operations Manager/Field Supervisor, Affronti Property Solutions, LLC Christine DaSilva Manager of Administrative Operations, The Larkin Painting Company, Inc. Cliff Hockley President, Principal Broker CCIM, CPM, Bluestone & Hockley Real Estate Services Mike Kelly VP & General Manager, Crestwood Painting Mary Kay Liston President, Five Star Painting Scott Lollar Director of Operations, Catchlight Painting Tom Lopatosky Founder & President, LOPCO Contracting Jim Norman Owner, Norman Construction Art Snarzyk Owner, InnerView Advisors, Inc. Emma Souder AIA, GGP, GGA, Principal and Owner, Red Iron Architects


© 2017 Home Depot Product Authority, LLC. All rights reserved.



inPAINT® Oct/Nov 2017



14 The News

A fast look at the forces at work in our industry

Industry ins and outs

11 Trend in Focus Overcoming the labor shortage

12 Ask a Pro How do seasons impact your choice of product and approach to painting?

26 Work Smart Onboarding done right

36 Tools of the Trade What’s in today’s professional toolbox?

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

39 Bottom Line Chase profit, not dollars



Thick or Thin


Innovative Applicators

Why mils matter

What's new in brushes and rollers

22 Restoration

and Recovery What it takes to make it right (and make a profit)

30 Pro Picks Pros talk concrete stains

34 The inPAINT Interview

Painting contractor: student housing 8

inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017




3 M ™ r e s pir at o r s wit h co o l f l o W ™ va lv e t e chno l o gy

Get proven protection with long-lasting comfort. A patented valve design helps reduce heat and moisture inside the respirator for cool comfort and easier breathing. So you can keep your cool on the job.

3M™ Respirator with Cool Flow™ Valve — 8511

3M™ Respirator with Cool Flow™ Valve — Paint Project Quick Latch 6502QL

DIY/HOMEOWNER: Use ONLY in non-harmful environments. OCCUPATIONAL/HAZARDOUS USE: Use under an OSHA regulated respiratory protection program. WARNING: Limitations apply; MISUSE MAY RESULT IN SICKNESS OR DEATH. See product packaging and insert, or call 3M in U.S.A. at 1-800-243-4630. In Canada, call 1-800-267-4414. © 3M 2017. All rights reserved. 3M and Cool Flow are trademarks of 3M.

Oct/Nov 2017 | inPAINT



Young Owners + Older Homes = Opportunity According to the Improving America’s Housing 2017: Demographic Change and the Remodeling Outlook report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, the expanding stock of affordable, older homes is leading to greater improvement expenditures by owners under the age of 35. AVERAGE SPENDING FOR OWNERS UNDER AGE 35 IN 2015 (DOLLARS)

vL o s e r





2,000 1,000

And the Winner Is …



For the sixth year in a row, Fall Protection remains at the top of OSHA’s Top 10 most frequently cited workplace violations.

1,520 After 2000


Before 1980

All Homes



Age-in-Place Options Continue to Dominate Older homeowners will continue to dominate the remodeling market as they make investments to age in place safely. Expenditures by homeowners age 55 and over are expected to account for more than three-quarters of market growth in the next 10 years.

Here are a few of the colors that paint manufacturers hope will spark interest in 2018:








According to The Associated General Contractors of America, here’s how its members are responding to the shortage of qualified workers:




SOURCE: JCHS Improving America’s Housing 2017: Demographic Change and the Remodeling Outlook

Help Wanted








OONN 07/000


In-house training Overtime hours Subcontractors Engage with career-building program Interns Executive search firms

47% 39% 37% 35% 25% 0%







Overcoming the labor shortage through creativity M

arianne Cusato, HomeAdvisor’s housing expert and associate professor at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, describes the current labor shortage as the result of the ‘perfect storm.’ “First, there’s a massive push to get kids to go to college instead of considering the trades. That creates a negative stigma that leads to fewer young people pursuing trades even though they’re often a much better fit for some,” she says. “Second, the economic downturn in 2008 cast a lot of workers out of the trades and, while the economy has turned around, those workers have not come back. The result is an aging workforce that’s retiring at a rate faster than young people are coming in, plus the void where a large number of people dropped out and didn’t return. It’s not the best of times for hiring managers.”

CREATIVE SOURCING While Cusato thinks the ideal solution is to change the stigma, she also recognizes that kind of change is a long-term project and the need to find help is very real and now. She suggests pros get creative with sourcing. “I think the source with the most potential is retiring veterans.” She explains, “Here’s a group that is used to working hard, they want to be a part of something bigger, and they like to be hands on.” To find vets, she suggests you reach out to local veteran’s groups, the VA and, if you’re lucky enough to have one nearby, a local base. “They have programs to help vets make the transition from the military to the civilian working world. It behooves you to make sure that the person running that program knows about the opportunity a career with your company might offer.”

WHERE ONE PRO FOUND HIS ‘WOW!’ Throughout the 17 years running his paint company, Ramsden Painting, Ron Ramsden has hired nearly 100 pros. Even with that experience, he still has ‘WOW!’ hiring moments. His most recent moment was when he discovered Job Corps. The largest job-training program for young adults, Job Corps is a free education and training program that

helps young people learn a career, earn a high school diploma or GED, and find and keep a good job. Ramsden notes, “Not only do they house students and train them in lots of different trades while helping them get their degree, they also have a zero-tolerance policy. If you’re late, you’re out. If you miss school, you’re out. It’s exactly the kind of training I want my new painters to have.” Ramsden recently visited the painting program at a local Job Corps site (there are 125 federally funded sites across the country) and found 15 students being trained in the various disciplines of painting. “They were painting furniture, cutting in on a faux building, and doing exterior prep, sanding and caulking,” he says. “They’re coming out with the skills and discipline I need. Plus, once they graduate, Job Corps will let me put them on my crew for a six-week trial period, and the program will pick up their workers’ comp for that stretch. I’m pretty excited about the potential for this source.”

“Until mom can brag about her kid going into a trade rather than college, there’s going to be an issue.” —MARIANNE CUSATO, HOMEADVISOR

LOOK TO THE PAST FOR THE FUTURE Another new source for Ramsden is previous employees. “I’d never done this before but, recently, I called a few guys who have worked for me in the past and left for various reasons,” he explains. “I wasn’t sure it would work but with my first call, I got a former—and really great—crew leader back. He was ready for a change and I offered it. All it took was a call.”

DO YOUR PART TO CHANGE THE STIGMA While Cusato agrees creative sourcing can help with short-term issues, she thinks the negative stigma associated with trades will continue to be an obstacle. “Until mom can brag about her kid going into a trade rather than college, there’s going to be an issue.” She advises, “Whenever you get a chance, you need to convey the merits of a career as a painting contractor … there are jobs to be had, and it can be very lucrative and rewarding. Changing the stigma won’t happen quickly but every positive message you can put out there is one step closer to making it happen.” Oct/Nov 2017 | inPAINT



Q: A:

ANDY ROE knows about working in all seasons and types of weather, having owned a painting business in Hawaii and now in Idaho and Nevada. Roe grew up around painting, he says; he’d accompany his dad, who was a firefighter, on painting side-jobs. In his late teens, he worked for his older brother, who had struck out on his own. Roe started Roe Painting in 2000 in Kauai, HI, and moved to Idaho in 2005 to be closer to family. He has between 20 and 40 employees, depending on the time of year. Roe Painting specializes in residential, commercial and industrial coatings. 12

inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017

How do seasons impact your choice of product and approach to painting?

The main concerns with late-season painting are daylight, temperature, moisture and wind. Because of these, you have to understand the limits of the products you’re using and you have to be prepared so you can be flexible with your schedule. Know your products I take advantage of the supplier sales reps in regard to their submittals [products they provide] … I let them know what time of year I’ll be applying a coating and the temperatures I’ll be dealing with. We used to be limited to working with a lot of alkyds or oil-based paints, but the technology has advanced over the last 10 to 20 years and there are a lot of paints that will work in low temperatures; some that can actually survive freezing and thawing. I make sure to do my homework and read the product cut sheets. It’s important to know what your coatings’ limitations are. Be prepared For smaller jobs, we may be able to tent and heat an area. And I have to make sure our team has the appropriate PPE [personal protective equipment] if they’re working in an enclosed area with higher-VOC products such as alkyds, or with temporary heat. In the early days, I used small tricks of the trade to have materials ready and warm enough so I didn’t waste time once I got to a job: I have sat on tubes of caulking and put tape on the floorboard of the truck to stay warm so it was sticky enough to adhere to cold surfaces. Now, we have a warehouse where we store materials. If you don’t have a warehouse, ordering only the paint you

can apply the same day is a good idea. And we never leave products outside in the weather where they could be compromised. A hair dryer or heat gun is a great way to warm up surfaces so someone can be taping them. We also use bucket warmers that we buy at farming supply stores to warm water for when it’s time to clean pumps. Be flexible We don’t have a particular line in our contract about late-season starts, but we do manage client expectations verbally. We let homeowners know that due to weather we may not get their job done and will have to schedule it for the following spring. But we also let them know that if the weather is cooperative and we have a schedule change, we’ll fit them in. It’s more important to them that the job is done well. For general contractors, where we have less control, we include in our estimates that if heat is required, the GC will have to provide it. We do a lot of work on mountain cabins … one day can be beautiful and the next, you wake up to a foot of snow. I plan out sections of a house that we can work on in the event that moisture comes in but the temperatures are high enough to continue working. For instance, there might be a breezeway or soffit that we can work on, or do south-facing exposures first. If bad weather is in the form of strong winds, I may reschedule a job. We can’t apply coatings then, and it can be dangerous to be on ladders. People are pretty understanding that the weather is out of our control. Take advantage of the great weather apps and forecasts that are available online, but also remember to use your eyes and look to the skies.



If you’ve got a job, we’ve got a duct tape to tackle it. Strong hold in just about any condition. These duct tapes are ready when you need them.

3M is a trademark of 3M. ©2017, 3M. All rights reserved.

Find your tape at Oct/Nov 2017 | inPAINT



Golden Paintworks Launches New Textured Finishes T Offering clients uniquely textured

Photo Courtesy of Golden Paintworks

Could LA Get Any Cooler? Apparently So. T Los Angeles is testing a reflective coating designed to lower pavement temperatures and reduce the heat island effect (built-up areas that are hotter than nearby rural areas) in the city. Over the last year, the city applied CoolSeal by GuardTop, LLC, an ultra-high-performance asphalt-based seal coat to the streets of 15 different neighborhoods. According to Greg Spotts, assistant director of the City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Street Services, in some instances, the surface temperature of the coated street tracked about 11–13˚cooler than non-coated streets in the same neighborhood. “We’re eager to find ways to reduce the heat island effect in the city,” says Spotts. “CoolSeal is the first product we’ve tried. Currently, we’re using it in conjunction with our Rubberized Emulsion Aggregate Slurry. By placing CoolSeal over existing slurry seal, we get the full maintenance benefits, while achieving lower surface temperatures. Additionally, both sealants contain recycled materials, which supports our efforts in creating a more sustainable city. We are interested in testing other existing or prototype cool-pavement products.”

PANTONE HONORS PRINCE WITH LOVE SYMBOL #2 T PANTONE paid tribute to late musical artist Prince with the

introduction of a new shade of purple called Love Symbol #2. Inspired by the artist’s custom-made purple Yamaha piano, which was scheduled to go on tour with the performer before his untimely passing at the age of 57, the color’s name refers to the iconic emblem Prince featured on his 1992 album cover. 14

inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017

Photo Courtesy of GuardTop, LLC

walls just got a little easier, thanks to a new line of finishes from Golden Paintworks. The Lifestyle Finishes line includes 18 interior decorative finishing applications ranging from fresco to sandstone and metallic slate to glass bead. Textures can be applied with a brush, roller or trowel, and can even be sprayed. The dry time is within the range of standard interior paint, and most applications can be achieved in two coats.

T AkzoNobel’s Powder Coatings recently intro-

duced an Android app that enables purchasing of powder coatings from mobile phones, tablets and computers. Found on the iTunes (Apple) and Android app stores under the name Interpon, the app gives AkzoNobel customers the ability to search the comprehensive catalog of ready-to-ship (RTS) products, and sort products by color, chemistry, specification or performance criterion. Product data sheets, stock locations, and pricing are also available for each of the 400+ products included in the catalog.



‘Work with the Best’ Sweepstakes! T Here’s your chance to win $3,500 worth of power tools and possibly a 2018 work truck

valued at $45,000. The Angie’s List ‘Work with the Best’ Sweepstakes is open to any contractor— you do not have to be a registered Angie’s List pro. Enter by December 31, 2017.

VALSPAR ROLLS OUT FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND REGIONAL EXTERIOR PAINTS T In an effort to address the different types of climate conditions Mother Nature dishes out around the country, Valspar has developed three new formulations of their Reserve regional exterior paint. Dubbed Valspar Reserve Extreme Weather Paint + Primer, the region-specific versions include SunStopper Technology (for desert areas), RainRelief Technology (for humid and rainy regions), and SeasonFlex Technology (for areas that experience hot summers and extreme winters). Products are currently available exclusively at Lowe’s in the regions for which they were designed.


New App Simplifies Powder Coating Purchasing


JOB TOO TOUGH Find your tape at 3M is a trademark of 3M. ©2017, 3M. All rights reserved.

Oct/Nov 2017 | inPAINT



THROUGH THICK OR Experts give the lowdown on paint thickness—and why mils matter

“The opposite is true when it is hot. The viscosity will decrease and the paint film tends to be thinner. This will also tend to make the paint run.”


Determining coating thickness

ˇ Paint thickness or,

more accurately, dry mil thickness, is one of the most important factors in any paint project. And it’s probably one of the most misunderstood.


n the world of professional painting, the difference between success and failure can come down to something as miniscule as the thickness of a human hair. “When there’s a paint failure, what’s the first thing that someone checks? Yes, you’ve got it; they measure the thickness of the paint you applied,” Bob Cusumano, president of Coatings Consultants, Inc., wrote in a recent blog. Cusumano should know. He has been immersed in the coatings industry for more than 30 years, first as a painting contractor and now as a consultant. His Florida-based consulting firm analyzes paint failures, writes specifications for various coating projects, and provides expert witness testimony. He is also the former national president of the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America, as well as the principal author of the PDCA Cost & Estimating guide.

Environmental factors Before we talk about paint application, it’s important to note how environmental factors can influence dry-film thickness. Cusumano says the temperature of both the air and the substrates can definitely be factors. “The viscosity increases when it is cold, therefore, the paint will tend to be thicker,” he said. High humidity also works against a fresh coat of paint by reintroducing water into the incompletely dried paint film. Combine high humidity with low temperatures, and condensation develops on the freshly painted surface, which can mar the paint job.


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017

“DRY mil thickness is only half the equation. What you want to focus on is WET mil thickness,” said Nick Slavik, owner of Nick Slavik Painting & Restoration Co. in New Prague, MN. Slavik is the host of Ask a Painter! Live, a weekly Facebook broadcast, and has 24 years of experience as a craftsman, painter, decorator and restorationist. “Wet mil thickness is when the paint goes onto something, how thick it is applied,” Slavik said. “One mil is equal to one human hair, give or take. Every product has a technical data sheet that describes how thick to put it on; and they describe it by wet mil thickness.” To figure out how thick the coating should be, Slavik recommends consulting the technical data sheet; take the listed wet mil thickness and multiply it by the percentage of solids in the paint. “It’s less important when you’re doing exterior stuff because when you’re brushing, you’re really only going to put so much on till saturation,” he said. “But when you have something like Benjamin Moore’s ADVANCE or cabinet enamels and you’re spraying, the temptation by contractors is to give it one super-thick coat, thinking it will be durable and save a little time. But you’ll run into problems down the line.” For example, explained Slavik, Benjamin Moore’s ADVANCE is 39% solids, and the recommended wet-film thickness is 3.6 mils. “When it dries, multiply 3.6 x 39% and that gives you a dry-film thickness of about 1.4 mils. So really, in the end you’re laying down what is only [equivalent to] 1-1/3 human hairs. Use that for a reference when you’re thinking about coatings,” he said.

One mil equals 1/1,000 of an inch

John Calderaio, exterior exposure station manager for Dow Chemical Co., offers another formula for determining proper mil thickness. “It’s easy for paint scientists in a lab using scales, but for contractors, they should use some easy math. Calculate the square feet of a room you’re going to paint. Just multiply the height by the width of each wall, then add the walls together. A 10' x 10' room with standard 8'-high walls will be about 320 sq. ft. If you’re going to apply two topcoats, you’ll need to cover 640 sq. ft. Normal recommended spread rate by a manufacturer is 400–450 sq. ft. per gallon. So, if you’ve applied two coats of paint in this 10' x 10' room and you have leftover paint from one gallon, you’ve put it on too thin. You’ll need about 1.5 gallons to have the proper film thickness. You don’t have to be precise like a paint scientist is, but you do want to be close.”

Thick isn’t always slick “Everyone thinks thicker is better … more is better,” Slavik said. “But the problem, especially when you’re using waterborne alkyds and coatings that have a lot of chemistry going on, is you can actually trap solvents and things that need to evaporate down into that finish. It will either take longer to cure, it won’t cure at all, or it won’t cure to full hardness. The worst part about that is that you can have delamination; coatings peeling off, coatings not adhering well, and coatings that don’t go through the correct process. It can be a completely horrible process.” Cusumano agrees. “I think that’s one of the biggest misconceptions; that more is better,” he said. “Permeability is lessened with excessive thickness. There are also many film defects related to film thickness. Excessive thickness can result in runs, sags and ‘mud cracking.’ However, insufficient thickness can result in erosion of the substrate, holidays, and incomplete coverage and hide.” “I think some painters think that if it looks okay, the paint is thick enough,” said Calderaio. “But they’re only considering hide. Also, they think the natural spread rate is fine. For interiors, film thickness is not as critical as it is for exteriors. With too thin an interior film, you could see problems in bathrooms and kitchens; think poor scrub and more mildew issues. But with exterior applications,

the risk is greater. So you want to protect your biggest asset.”

Commercial vs. residential projects Cusumano says paint thickness is more of an issue in most commercial or industrial situations as opposed to residential painting. “Although there are some exceptions, the main goal of residential painting is quality of the aesthetic appearance,” Cusumano said. “If the coverage is complete and consistent, then the main objective has been met. On many commercial and industrial projects, the main goal of painting is protection of the substrate. Therefore, coatings with greater dry-film thickness are often utilized.” That noted, substrate still rules the day, explained Calderaio. “Whether it’s commercial or residential, if it’s a new, unpainted surface, the best procedure is primer and two topcoats,” said Calderaio. “Metals, because of the threat of corrosion, require special maintenance coatings. These coatings must be applied at the thickness specified by their manufacturers, which are typically thicker than architectural coatings.”

Available tools Cusumano says all painters should know how to use a wet-film gauge and know how to calculate the resultant dry-film thickness of the paint. “There are many different types of gauges to measure the dry-film thickness of coatings, depending on the type of substrate,” he said. “There are nondestructive gauges for ferrous metal (steel), nonferrous metals and other substrates such as wood, concrete and gypsum wallboard. There are also destructive tools that measure thickness including Tooke Gauges—and viewing paint cross-sections using a microscope with a reticle.” -

FREE ONLINE HELP IS HERE! FLIPBOOK & VIDEO: Measuring Coating Thickness According to SSPC-PA 2 —Bill Corbett, COO, KTA-Tator, Inc.




JOB TOO TOUGH Find your tape at 3M is a trademark of 3M. ©2017, 3M. All rights reserved. Oct/Nov 2017 | inPAINT



Proper applicator selection is a matter of striking a balance between painting accuracy, speed and finish quality with durability and overall cost of materials and labor. Here’s a brief overview of the newest brush and roller cover offerings from some of the industry’s top brand names:

PURDY: Clearcut Elite Brushes & Marathon Roller Covers Purdy’s latest brush offerings are in the Clearcut Elite line, which is designed with a stiffer formulation for low-VOC coatings and to enable precise lines for cutting in around molding, trim, corners and ceilings. Clearcut Elite has a different bristle formulation to provide a stiffer brush 18

inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017

for a brush with increased rigidity,” says Tim Yates, communications and multimedia manager at Wooster. “Our new Gold Edge brush line is a direct response to that demand.” Utilizing a filament blend of 100% CT (chemically tipped) polyester means that Gold Edge paintbrushes are able to offer super-smooth finishing capabilities. They are also built with added firmness, which allows Gold Edge brushes to push paint farther—increasing production. Gold Edge enters the paint applicator market as one of Wooster’s largest lines— 22 SKUs in all, as well as a variety 3-pack. “This is the first Wooster professional paintbrush line to include the new semi-

Purdy’s Clearcut Elite line is designed with a stiffer formulation for low-VOC coatings and to enable precise lines for cutting in around molding, trim, corners and ceilings. fabric and are available in the same naps to allow for consistent stipple patterns. These durable covers won’t mat down on large painting jobs—allowing one cover to be used for the entire project. The company claims Marathon roller covers paint 20% farther per dip on drywall and have 33% less lint than the leading competitor. “The advantage of the Clearcut Elite semioval angle and sprig styles and the Marathon covers is increased production,” says Orchon. “They hold more paint, cover more surface, and allow painters to get the job done faster with high-quality results.”

WOOSTER: Gold Edge & Silver Tip Brushes, and Micro Plush Roller Covers Wooster’s newest product offering is its Gold Edge paintbrush line. “Over the years, some painters who are fans of our Silver Tip line, have expressed a desire

oval angle sash style in its launch, which is quickly gaining popularity with painters across the U.S. and in Europe.” says Yates. Wooster has also added four semioval angle sash brushes to its Silver Tip line. The company says Silver Tip semioval angle sash brushes blend the benefits of three paintbrush styles into one; they carry paint like an oval brush, cut like an angle sash brush, and offer increased precision like a thin angle sash brush. The new Silver Tip paintbrushes are available in four sizes; with the addition of these new brushes, the Wooster Silver Tip line has grown to nearly 25 different SKUs. Wooster also recently expanded its microfiber roller cover offerings by adding a 9" x 5 ⁄16" nap roller 3-pack to its Micro Plush line. Constructed with a soft-white microfiber fabric, Micro Plush rollers deliver a uniform, even finish that’s a good alterna-


than the company’s Clearcut line, making it particularly suited for applying very heavy coatings or for use in hot, humid environments. “Because there’s a high need for productivity with professional painters, we expanded our offering in our Clearcut Elite family to include semioval angle and sprigstyle brushes,” says Marcelo Orchon, Purdy product manager. In the roller cover realm, Purdy’s new full line is its Marathon covers, which are also geared toward productivity. The company has continued to expand the Marathon series with a variety of nap and roller cover sizes ranging from mini-rollers to 18." All are made with the same


JOB TOO TOUGH Find your tape at 3M is a trademark of 3M. ©2017, 3M. All rights reserved.

Oct/Nov 2017 | inPAINT


tive for painting pros who typically use mohair or foam rollers for application of paints and enamels. Because of their ability to achieve spray-like results, Wooster Micro Plush roller covers are also a popular choice for applying varnishes to surfaces such as cabinets and doors, as well as other smooth-surface applications.

Wooster’s Gold Edge brushes are a direct response to pro painters’ desire for a brush with increased rigidity. PROFORM: Void, Contractor & Picasso Roller Covers Proform’s high-end offering is its distinctive orange-with-gray-stripe Picasso roller cover, which the company recommends pairing with its patented Picasso roller frame with Headlock cores for maximum productivity. The Picasso line enables painters to paint accurately and quickly while reducing prep work, time and labor costs. The Picasso roller cover employs Italian fiber milled for excellent absorption and precision, while resisting matting and minimizing shedding. The fiber is thermally adhered to a long-lasting core that is both solvent and water resistant. Proform describes its new Contractor series as an affordable, dependable line of roller covers for use with all paints and for all applications. These are white, woven-fiber rollers with a phenolic core that is completely solvent resistant. The company’s Void line is another new


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017

price-conscious offering, with a yellow, medium-density polyester that offers precision and affordability in the application of all paints.

Proform’s new Contractor series works with all paints, and is solvent resistant. CORONA: Corona Extra Long Performance Chinex Brushes Corona recently introduced two new models to their popular Performance Chinex family of professional brushes: the 2-½" and 3" Express angular sash brush and the 3" Atlas squareedge wall brush. These new extra-long brushes are designed to save time and effort by picking up more paint with each load. Fewer reloads means less time dipping and more time on the surface which, in turn, contributes to greater productivity. Both the Express and Atlas brushes are handmade with a full stock of extra-long, custom-formulated, 100% Dupont Chinex filament, and provide great performance with oil and latex paints, especially modern, highviscosity acrylic coatings. “While we believe painters will like them for a variety of reasons, right now the leading factor is great coverage,” said Corona President Ben Waksman. “It’s a significant time-saver.” -

These new, extra-long brushes are designed to save time and effort by picking up more paint with each load.


WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE IT RIGHT (AND MAKE A PROFIT) BY JIM WILLIAMS A typical day for Ciro Affronti is anything but typical. Affronti is the operations manager/field supervisor at Affronti Property Solutions, LLC, a restoration and recovery company in Scottsdale, AZ. He spends his days immersed neck-deep in the misfortune of others. Sometimes his customers are simply victims of Mother Nature casting down her wrath in the form of lightning strikes, torrential rain, destructive winds, or major hail damage. Other times, it’s a busted pipe causing flooding; faulty wiring resulting in a fire; or the insidious work of toxic mold hiding behind walls.

F “Restoration and recovery is a very technical industry with a strong foundation in science.” —CHUCK VIOLAND, VIOLAND MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATES, LLC.


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017

or most, these would be extreme challenges. But for Affronti, it’s business as usual. “You really need to have your customer service and responsiveness running at a high level because a lot of these customers have been through a tough experience that damaged their home or business, and they need to be able to trust you to fix it for them.” The trauma factor Trust is key. Restoration and recovery companies are unique from other contractors, said Chuck Violand of Canton, OH-based Violand Management Associates, LLC, and president of the Restoration Industry Association (RIA). “To be in this industry, you have to understand the two sides of restoration and recovery—the technical side and the human side,” he said. “When there is trauma, a lot of emotions are involved. When you arrive at a job site, you meet customers who have experienced some sort of loss, and they may feel guilt, blame or fear of the unknown. Each situation requires an understanding of the technical requirements of the job as well as sensitivity to the emotional needs of the customer. They want to work with someone they can trust, who understands the situation they are in, and has the experience to perform the job. A successful restoration and reconstruction company

approaches each job professionally, from both the technical and the emotional sides.” Affronti agrees. “There usually is a trauma factor involved when working with restoration and recovery jobs,” he said. “Fire and floods seem to cause the most trauma, in my experience. We deal with those as delicately as we can and try to be sympathetic to the customer.” Affronti says his company approaches the job in two main ways. “The first would be to recognize the loss they’ve experienced and show support so they see you’re on their team; and the second would be to make sure we are communicating and documenting all details of the project, keeping the customer informed about our progress at key steps, and showing our competency and experience in dealing with this kind of work,” Affronti said. “The more professional we present ourselves, the more comfortable the customer can be, which helps combat that trauma factor.” The industry difference The Washington, D.C.-based RIA has been the voice of the restoration and recovery industry for more than 70 years. As the oldest and largest trade association representing this industry, RIA has more than 1,000 member companies from across the United States and Canada, as well as a growing membership in Australia and New Zealand. “Everyone defines restoration and recovery differently,” Violand said. “If you want to go into a historic building and restore it to its original condition, that’s much different than what restoration and reconstruction companies and RIA members typically handle. Most building contractors and remodelers are working on a planned project with a desired outcome based on a customer’s request … what makes this industry so unique is that the work we do is done on an emergency basis with little time for preplanning.” Violand said restoration and recovery companies are often thrust into people’s lives after a catastrophic event



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Oct/Nov 2017 | inPAINT


and must work without a plan to restore and remodel a building or room to its original form. “Often too, our customers do not have the funding to pay for our services and are seeking an insurance claim or settlement, which impacts how we do our business,” Violand said. “What also makes this industry unique is the science behind our work. Before we start a job, our professionals look at the contents, building materials and structure to determine the course of action: how we can clean and restore this site based on what works best for each specific material.” The general public might not see, or even comprehend, that not all contractors are created equal, says Kevin Godfrey, owner and president of Heritage Restoration, Inc., near Seattle. “Contractors and restoration companies—though our paths cross—the differences are night and day,” Godfrey said. “There are many types of contractors—commercial, new homes, and remodeling—however, most of these companies do not specialize in odor control, 24-hour responses, mold remediation or water extraction.” Tools of the trade If you’re looking to get into the restoration and recovery business, you’d best take inventory of your current equipment. Chances are, you’re not up to speed with what’s needed to do the job. “The restoration and recovery industry works with a lot of equipment unique to the business, including drying equipment, industrial air movers and dehumidifiers,” Violand said. “We also work with thermal foggers, cleaning apparatus, thermal imaging cameras, and forensics equipment. For each niche markets within the industry, different equipment is used, depending on the type of restoration and reconstruction, and the company must know what to use and how to use it, depending on each job.” Godfrey adds that you also need an odor-killing ozone machine, ultrasonic cleaners, and commercial washers and dryers. Specialized training Training in this industry is even more challenging, Violand said. “Restoration and recovery is a very technical industry with a strong foundation in science,” he said. “Professionals must know structural specifications, the physical integrity of different components, moisture content, and more. For example, wood is very different from other materials, and moisture content is critical. If you don’t know the criteria for moisture content in wood, you may think something is dry when, in fact, it’s not. This can cause mold, which can do more damage to the structure and room.” Violand said this industry also has more hands-on training than most, and a high emphasis is placed on practical application.

“Managers must take academic knowledge and understanding of the science and theories behind the job— and business practices—and interpret them into practical application,” he said. RIA offers training programs and hands-on courses as part of its three certification programs. Individuals who take RIA courses and complete a certification are showing the industry and potential customers that they are well equipped to perform a job, and understand fully the science and technical elements that go into restoration and reconstruction. RIA certifications are: Certified Mold Professional (CMP), Certified Restorer (CR) and Water Loss Specialist (WLS). The insurance game For obvious reasons, restoration and recovery companies must work closely with insurance companies. It can be a complicated and cost-sensitive relationship, said Godfrey. “I am an independent restoration and recovery company,” he said. “My customer is the policy holder. The challenge is working with our customer while working with an insurance company. This can be delicate, and sometimes issues can develop. One of the hardest things to deal with is an inexperienced adjuster, or one that is unreasonable in what they feel needs to be done to make their customer whole again (pre-loss condition).” “As with any business, there are downward pressures on cost and it is no different in this industry,” Violand says. “Insurance companies may place downward pressure on restorers, and it’s our job to communicate with these companies what the job entails and the guidelines we are following. By clearly communicating the work and expectations up front, as well as having an open relationship with the insurance company during a project, it will run much smoother not only for us and the insurer, but for the customer as well.” -

inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017


A NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, it literally hit home for me. While I now reside in Arizona, I’m originally from Houston and know its people to be tough and resilient, even when faced with such devastation. The restoration and recovery effort is going to be a long one. And while I lack the skills and knowledge that many of our readers possess to make things right, I am in a position to help fund their efforts. So it is with respect and gratitude to all those who will swing a hammer and raise a brush to rebuild Houston that inPAINT donates $500 to the American Red Cross, dedicated to the Hurricane Harvey response. We hope you’ll join us in supporting the efforts in Houston—or any other location struggling with recovery.


“A successful restoration and reconstruction company approaches each job professionally, from both the technical and the emotional sides.”

Ed McAdams, Publisher




FEB 21-23

Join hundreds of painting business owners talking about what painting business owners want to talk about. Register Now E A R LY B I R D P R I C I N G AV A I L A B L E T H R U O C T O B E R 3 1 R E G U L A R R E G I S T R AT I O N O P E N T H R U F E B R U A R Y 2 0

2018 PDCA EXPO is the smart place to be. Estimating Procedures Operations Management Recruiting Techniques Peer-To-Peer Brain-Meld Sessions



New Tools and Tech Trade Show Industry Awards Expert Panel Discussions

PDCA sets the standards for the painting and decorating industry and has done so for over 130 years. While a number of resources are free, membership offers ongoing training, accreditation, insights and individualized business coaching. See everything PDCA has to offer from Member Exclusive Content to FREE contractor resources at

Not a PDCA member? Call 1-800-332-7322, or visit for more info.





t’s no secret that the trades are facing a troubling labor shortage. Many contractors are offering bonuses, incentives and other perks to land the right people. But once hired, that first week or month on the job can be a trouble zone for a lot of owners. Appearing disorganized, giving too much or too little feedback or, even worse, acting like you don’t care, can lead a new hire to believe your company isn’t the right fit. Then, turnover is costly and can add to growing frustration for business owners. “Most companies spend a lot of time trying to attract [talent] but they don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what will happen once the employee shows up ready to work,” said Amy Hirsch Robinson, principal of Interchange Consulting Group, which works with contractors on hiring and retention issues in the new economy. “It’s very counterintuitive.” Hirsch Robinson and other experts give insights into how to make a new hire’s first days on the job a win-win for both the business owner and employee.

MAP IT OUT, PAY ATTENTION Company owners must plan a new hire’s experience, experts emphasize. It does not need to be an overly formalized approach, but at least knowing which jobs or 26

inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017

situations he or she should see and experience in the first couple weeks is a step in the right direction. Bess Cadwell, VP of construction and Arizona markets for Govig & Associates, an Arizona-based executive recruiting company that works with contractors and other businesses, likes to break it down even further—into daily details. “Who is their go-to person if they have questions? Who will take them to lunch? These are important things to know. Their first week should be scripted out,” she adds. Cadwell also says owners should view potential employees as customers. “It’s not a matter of just interviewing people to get what you want, it’s to determine if they’re good for you. And if you’re not setting yourself apart with customer service and with helping someone feel connected to the organization, then if someone else comes along with a 50 cents an hour raise, that employee is gone,” Cadwell explained. Particularly in those early days, Hirsch Robinson says it’s important to pay attention to what that employee may be thinking and feeling. Ask yourself how you may be perceived, she adds. Some business owners may not even realize they look disorganized or that their comments make them appear as if they don’t care. That can lead to what

Hirsch Robinson calls ‘premature cognitive commitment,’ where an employee may come to a conclusion before all the data is gathered about a situation. “All new employees are in this really impressionable state, and what you do and don’t do can get magnified and calcified,” she adds.

“ If you don’t train people, then their last boss is your new trainer.” —ART SNARZYK, INNERVIEW ADVISORS, INC.

KNOW ‘YOUR’ WAY Art Snarzyk, owner of St. Louis-based InnerView Advisors, Inc., consults both worldwide and nationwide with contractors on hiring and retention issues. A former painting-business owner himself, he often helps an owner clarify their mission and philosophy in order to better communicate methods and strategies to employees and new hires. “Even when hiring an experienced person, everyone needs training. If you don’t train people, then their last boss is your new trainer,” he said. A new employee with experience may know how to do good work, but he or she will likely still be performing to the standards and practices taught in the past. “Be clear about what you mean when you talk about things like customer service. What does that mean at your company? It’s your responsibility to introduce them to that, and what you do and mean by that,” Snarzyk added. It’s also important to pair the new employee with a foreman or trainer who truly understands your company culture, Snarzyk noted. And owners should not hire someone with the hopes that he or she will do the job exactly the way the owner would do it. “Some think they want a ‘mini me,’ but most business owners don’t need that at all,” he said.

OFFERING UPWARD MOVEMENT, VARIETY Rick Holtz is the owner and president of H.J. Holtz & Son, Inc., a Virginia-based painting company that employs roughly 50 people. His team includes paint crews, designers, wallpaper installers, cabinet refinishers and administrative employees. In addition to good benefits and health insurance, the many types of positions and the upward movement potential in his company has helped him minimize turnover. Recently, Holtz worked with an employee whose priorities changed while with the company. He started as a painter and moved up to a foreman position, but then decided he preferred to learn how to hang wallpaper. So Holtz created a plan to transition the employee from one part of the company to another. “You really need to know where their interest lies and help them grow in that,” he said. “Certain people are 28

inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017

wrapped up in how much money they make in an hour. But for a lot, it’s not about more money, it’s about what they want; their likes and dislikes.” With new hires, Holtz makes sure the new team member is placed with a skilled foreman who can explain the company’s take on customer service and quality work. “Many of our people came here with no experience. We like a good mix. We hire somebody with a great attitude and drive, who really just wants to improve their situation and learn a skill,” he adds. Holtz likes to communicate daily with his foremen about a new hire. He also does a 90-day evaluation and insists he, himself, must come to the meeting with an open mind. “It takes longer than 30 days to get to know a person,” he said. “I really stress [that the 90-day evaluation] is not just a review of the employee. It’s a review for all of us.”

THE DETAILS Holtz provides his team members with uniforms and equipment, along with birthdays off with pay. Beyond the perks, he strives to be clear in communication with employees, especially new ones, letting them know that if certain goals are met, they can move up in pay or position. Cadwell also says it’s important for employers to remember all employee names, and heads of the company should greet new hires as much as possible. It even pays to know a little about them and their families. “It’s those little things that don’t cost you any money, but you have to think about it and care enough about it to engage in it,” she said. “Instead of ‘connection,’ the right word is ‘attachment.’ You’re building attachment. It doesn’t cost a lot of money, but it takes time.”

MILLENNIALS Hirsch Robinson sees how contractors can sometimes have challenges when hiring millennials. But they are the workforce of the future, she says, and studying what motivates them could be important for retention and onboarding. “Millennials have very different expectations and practices when it comes to work,” she notes. “Most people want the same things; they want purpose, connection, to be respected, empowered—but millennials, in addition, want opportunity, and they want to find a culture that fits … a sense of community. They’re really interested in having their workplace as their family/friends; many will quit a job because they don’t feel connected to the organization.” Hirsch Robinson suggests onboarding millennials quickly and offering a variety of experiences. Explain why what they are doing is important, too. Help them understand that they are not just paying dues; they are doing important work, and the job will become increasingly more challenging and rewarding as they learn more. Failing to do so is risky, she notes, “This is a buyer’s market and people can go elsewhere.”

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.




Concrete is no longer a boring surface to be covered—or ignored. Indeed, stained concrete has grown in popularity for outdoor surfaces, as well as interior floors and countertops in both residential and commercial settings. We asked five pros about their go-to concrete stains. Across the board, they noted that acid staining—while providing a beautiful finish—presents additional challenges in terms of safety and cleanup. They recommend looking into acetone- and water-based products. Here are their favorite product lines:

Photo Courtesy of 2017 Sika Scofield Sika Scofield



Complete Concrete Systems


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017


R & R Coatings, Inc.

LOPCO Contracting

MC’s Painting & Decorating, Inc.


David Stovall & Associates



With more than 25 years in business, Delaware-based Complete Concrete Systems tackles a mix of concrete-staining projects for residential and commercial customers, including floors, patios, pool decks and countertops. Owner Justin Stolba likes Increte Systems’ Vibra-Stain SB for interior work. Available in 20 colors, the powder dye mixes with acetone to create a semitransparent color. “It dries extremely fast, so you can get right on top of it and seal it,” Stolba says. “And it has a deep, rich color once it’s sealed.” For outdoor projects, he likes Increte’s Stone Essence Concentrated Transparent Concrete Stain, a water-based product that boasts the look of an acid stain, but without the cleanup fuss or environmental impact of acid.



R & R Coatings, Inc. in Salisbury, MD, works with customers along the midAtlantic, staining concrete floors in warehouses, hotels, schools, manufacturing plants and restaurants—with a smattering of residential projects too. R & R has two favorite stains, says Dan DiGrazio, Jr., the company’s VP. “For polished concrete, we use an acetone stain; we like AmeriPolish products,” he says. “Their depth of color is really great.” The company’s other go-to, he says, is Scofield Formula One Liquid Dye Concentrate, which mixes with acetone for a great interior concrete stain. Both AmeriPolish and Scofield offer great choices for color, he notes.“The variety of colors,” he says, “gives our customers the options they require to make their design dreams become realities.” For exterior projects, such as residential walkways and driveways, the company recently used H&C INFUSION Water-Based Semitransparent Decorative Stain, but also recommends H&C COLORTOP Solvent-Based Solid Color Concrete Sealer, which yields an appearance similar to a solid-color stain but has the added benefit of sealing.

“ The variety of colors gives our customers the options they require to make their design dreams become realities.”

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Oct/Nov 2017 | inPAINT



“[Increte System’s Vibra-Stain SB] dries extremely fast, so you can get right on top of it and seal it. ” —JUSTIN STOLBA, COMPLETE CONCRETE SYSTEMS

Based in Hiram, GA, MC’s Painting & Decorating, Inc. specializes in commercial with a smaller footprint in light industrial work. Most of the staining work is interior flooring, says the company’s president, Josh McBrayer. For the large jobs they do, McBrayer says the stain products are typically driven by the job specs. He leans toward RetroPlate and Scofield, though Scofield, he acknowledges, is often too pricey for his clients’ budgets. The RetroPlate Concrete Dye Concentrates can be diluted in water, alcohol or acetone, and come in 14 colors. And the Scofield Formula One Liquid Dye Concentrate mixes with acetone and comes in more than 20 colors. McBrayer appreciates both brands’ color palettes, and likes that they are liquid dyes. “With powders, you have to mix the stain the night before and let it sit for at least 12 hours— and that can be a pain,” he says. For his money, though, it’s people over products.“There are a lot of products, but there’s not a lot of significant difference in them,” he says. “So, for me, a lot of it comes down to my reps. I lean on my reps a lot—for example, if an owner or architect has a question. I look at it as a team approach. I’m very relationship-driven in this industry.”

Photo Courtesy of Increte Systems by Euclid Chemical


With 23 years in business, Tom Lopatosky, of LOPCO Contracting in Rhode Island, has stained quite a number of residential concrete patios over the years. His preferred product is INSL-X TuffCrete Waterborne Acrylic Concrete Stain. The water-reduced acrylic coating can be used inside or out, and boasts a durable finish that resists oils, grease and scrubbing. “I like the way it looks when it’s dry, and the coverage is great on it,” Lopatosky says. Beyond the high-gloss clear stain, the satin sheen offers many color options. He also appreciates the way the TuffCrete applies. “It goes on like butter—it’s really nice,” he says, adding, “The key is in the preparation. If you prepare the surface properly, it will bite beautifully and will last a long, long time.”


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017


Staining concrete floors and countertops for both residential and commercial customers has kept Memphisbased David Stovall of David Stovall & Associates busy for decades. “I started doing outdoor decorative concrete in 1968, and then doing indoor floors in 1995,” he says. “There was no demand for indoor concrete staining before 1995.” All those years of working with stains led him to create his own line of concrete stains, sealers and overlay materials. “I got interested in it and started researching how to make stain,” he says. “Because I was doing the work, I knew what worked well, and I knew what I wanted in a stain.” His own Stain True line is, of course, his go-to stain line, and is available for purchase in some hardware stores in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. He says his stains are as good as, or better than, other products on the market, adding that his Floor Honey sealer is among the best in the country. “It’s a wonderful product,” he adds. “I don’t know of any other on the market that’s like it.” He’s proud of his Stain True products and notes that the stain colors are true to the color chart—a feature appreciated by pros and homeowners alike. -



Coatings & Applicators

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! Our annual product-selection guide to the trade Once again, we’ve asked manufacturers to put their best foot forward by presenting their best-in-class product in these categories and describing what makes that product their top pick:


Brushes, Rollers, Sprayers


Premium, Mid-Grade & Economy Interior & Exterior Paint, Primers, Stains, Other Coatings


Student Housing:

where speed & flexibility matter

Property variables, individual unit BY MEGHANN FINN SEPULVEDA needs determine scope of work BY MEGHANN FINN SEPULVEDA

“ For student housing jobs, we offer three different proposal options …” —BENJAMIN BLANCHARD, PRESTIGIOUS PAINTING & RESURFACING


enjamin Blanchard and Thadius Hawkins were students at Louisiana State University when they met while working at an apartment complex in 2003. Blanchard was a leasing agent, and Hawkins served as maintenance supervisor, managing the subcontractors for the property. After a busy summer, the two began talking about the lucrative student housing painting business, and decided to start their own company the following summer. Then in 2007, they launched Prestigious Painting & Resurfacing in Baton Rouge, LA. Today, the young business owners, who employ a team of 45, have achieved great success in the residential, commercial, and multifamily housing painting and resurfacing industry. Co-owner Blanchard shared his thoughts on the nature of student housing work, the unique bidding process, emerging trends, and the qualities he looks for when hiring pros. How does your approach to student housing work differ from other types of housing projects? A: It’s so different than any other type of work. For student housing jobs, we offer three different proposal options, depending on the size and floor plan, along with the specific needs of the unit. For instance, we offer full paint, partial paint, and touch-up paint options that include walls, baseboards, doors and frames.


What steps do you take to ensure work gets completed on time? A: We train people and finish each job in a very timely manner because we only have a few short weeks



inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017

to paint before new students move in. Therefore, we hire one person who is responsible for a given apartment complex and pay on productivity; according to the number of units completed, which provides incentive to get the job done. How competitive is the bidding process? A: It’s extremely competitive and can also be more complicated than other types of projects. You need to know what you’re getting into and be aware of the specifics of the floor plans, such as the ceiling height and whether there are panel doors versus flat doors, which all play into the bid. It’s also important to prepare the proper onboarding questions so you know certain things in advance—such as what type of paint is used and if the beds have headboards, which can contribute to grease and staining—in order to fully understand what you’re going up against. Additionally, there may be other hurdles such as units that are furnished or ones that are occupied by students, so you need to take everything into consideration. Bids can go up or down depending on the circumstances. We’ve developed bidding software that allows us to enter up to 1,000 different services that are specific to each property and gives us the opportunity to produce a much more accurate bid.


What influences coating choices for student housing? A: Many multifamily housing projects are owned or managed by national companies who purchase paint from one large vendor, like Sherwin-Williams, who then provides a significant discount on their products. These types of properties provide the paint, typically a flat paint for use in the bedrooms and a glossy paint in the kitchen and bathrooms so the walls can be easily cleaned.


It’s a smart move because it would otherwise be hard to match colors if the paint changes year after year. It also prevents contractors from altering the paint. Are there any unique challenges or aspects to this type of work? A: The biggest challenge is that it’s seasonal work that occurs from the end of July through mid-August. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, we get units that are available in June, allowing us more time to train painters. We also hire three times as many painters in the summer and then no longer need their services, so it’s sometimes hard to find the right crew who has that kind of flexibility.


Is the work typically a fixed bid or time and materials? A: We always pre-walk the property and prepare a service agreement based on each individual unit. Sometimes there will be an unexpected additional charge such as the need to patch a hole in the wall. We’ll break up those line items and add it to our bid. Our painters must review and sign the supervisor’s notes so everyone agrees to the terms of the project, and expectations are clearly set so payment is not only timely, but accurate.

If you’re looking to add student housing projects to your portfolio, you should be aware that it requires a lot of liability and workers’ compensation insurance, and you must meet stringent compliance specifications.


What do you see in the future for student housing projects? A: This type of work will always be available; it’s not going away. People will constantly move in and out of student housing. It’s just the nature of the growing business. If you’re looking to add student housing projects to your portfolio, you should be aware that it requires a lot of liability and workers’ compensation insurance, and you must meet stringent compliance specifications.


Is it a growing part of your portfolio? If so, what are your plans for pursuing more work in this area? A: Honestly, this is more of a shrinking area of our portfolio. We now mostly specialize in residential work. Although we are growing our scope of multifamily properties, we are not focusing on collegiate-specific properties. In fact, we are currently working on only two of these projects. Fortunately, we have the right people in place who provide us a great foundation to grow our business.


Are there any character traits of crew members that are especially well-suited for this type of work? A: Because we don’t have much time to spend on recruiting pros, we look primarily at skill level. We hire approximately 100 temporary paint contractors over the summer, drawing pros who have an interest in the job and respond to an ad. Initially, we ask about their experience. We can learn a lot about a pro based on knowing something as simple as the type of brushes they prefer. We then bring in candidates to a job for a skills test and ask them to paint a baseboard freehand. We watch the way they dip and hold their brush and their overall paint application. Once hired, our most skilled painters offer on-site training before we send the [new] contractor out on their own. Since it’s a temporary job, we provide a very detailed document that lists all the items that need to be completed before signing off on a project. This holds the pros accountable, and helps us find quality people. -


BENJAMIN BLANCHARD is the co-owner of Prestigious Painting & Resurfacing in Baton Rouge, LA. He and his business partner and co-owner Thadius Hawkins started the company in 2007 with a threetiered mission that they continue to fulfill today: to focus on excellent client communication, use only the highest quality materials and always guarantee a superior quality of work on completed projects.

Oct/Nov 2017 | inPAINT



What’s in today’s professional toolbox?

Festool Cordless Sanders Enjoy the freedom and portability you need with Festool’s cordless sanders. These hybrid sanders work both with and without a cord — giving you the ultimate flexibility to work in whatever way your project requires. They’re perfect for exterior use and especially helpful for last-minute touch-ups. Equipped with the Turbo Dust Extraction bag and a brushless motor, the sanders deliver premium performance. The sanders also accept Festool abrasives and chargers already in your toolbox.

FrogTape® Brand Painter’s Tape FrogTape® is the only painter’s tape treated with patented PaintBlock® Technology. PaintBlock is a super-absorbent polymer which reacts with the water in latex paint and instantly gels to form a micro-barrier that seals the edges of the tape, preventing paint bleed and producing the sharpest paint lines possible. No matter your painting project needs, FrogTape® is dedicated to providing an easy taping solution.


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017

BEHR PRO™ e600 Exterior Paint This product was specifically designed to meet the expectations of professional painters, and is ideal for both commercial and residential properties. Developed for optimal sprayability to help you get the job done faster, this product also allows you to paint in temperatures as low at 35° F for a longer painting season. Its 100% acrylic formula provides superior adhesion and hiding power with minimized flashing and surfactant leaching, and delivers a uniform finish that is mold and mildew resistant. Available at The Home Depot.®

TR1 High Efficiency Airless™ Tip Dial down the pressure with Titan’s TR1 High Efficiency Airless Tip. HEA’s revolutionary tip technology atomizes coatings at a 1000 psi, which decreases overspray up to 55% while maintaining the same production speed. The TR1 HEA tip also has two times the life of a standard reversible tip and decreases wear and tear on pumps. Find out more:

Oct/Nov 2017 | inPAINT




What, Where & When



8–10: Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, Boston, MA


8–10: 2017 Design-Build Conference & Expo, Philadelphia, PA


14–17: PastForward: A Conference of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Chicago, IL


4–6: Construction SuperConference, Las Vegas, NV

6 10


6–8: International Roofing Expo, New Orleans, LA


13 & 14: NAA Student Housing Conference & Exposition, Orlando, FL

10 Page 31

9–11: 2018 NAHB International Builders’ Show, Orlando, FL

21–23: PDCA EXPO, Galveston Island, TX


15–18: SSPC 2018, New Orleans, LA




25-27: 2018 Painting Profits Summit, Fort Lauderdale, FL

26–28: 99th Annual Association of General Contractors Convention, New Orleans, LA Page 25

PURDY Page 21



THE HOME DEPOT Pages 7 & 37

TITAN Pages 23 & 37


inPAINT | Oct/Nov 2017





9 5





1 Page 27




3M Pages 4, 5, 9, 13, 15, 17 & 19



NEW ORLEANS, LA, JANUARY 15–18, 2018 SSPC 2018 is dedicated to protective, marine and industrial coatings programming. Technical sessions and workshops will focus on surface preparation, application, coating formulation, testing, inspection, and green coatings solutions. SSPC training and certification programs are offered concurrently with the show, alongside SSPC standards committee meetings; the SSPC annual meeting; networking events; and 140+ exhibitors, many featuring green products. GreenCoat programming will highlight the ongoing efforts of the coatings industry to provide sustainable and environmentally friendly products and services to the marketplace. To register, visit

Chase Profit, Not Dollars


By increasing the markup, it’s actually possible to produce fewer jobs and lower your total sales volume while increasing your bottom line.


hen asked how their businesses are doing, owners often cite sales figures. What is rarely mentioned is profit, which can be analyzed in one of two ways: 1. Profit in dollars (gross profit and net profit) 2. Margin in percent (gross and net margin)

PROFIT IN DOLLARS Profit is whatever is left over after you deduct project costs and overhead from your sales figure. Bear in mind that profit isn’t the same as cash. In other words, your Profit and Loss might tell you that you ‘made’ a profit of $50,000 but that doesn’t mean you’re going to have $50,000 more in the bank at the end of the year. It does mean that if you had started out the year with $0.00 in the bank, sold and produced a bunch of projects, and covered overhead, you would have $50,000 in the bank if—and it’s a big if—you made no capital purchases, had no loan payments, and withdrew no money from the company in the form of shareholder distributions or owners’ draws. These reductions to cash are carried on the Balance Sheet, not the Profit and Loss, and cause both confusion and disappointment among many owners expecting to have more cash at the end of the year.

MARGIN Margin refers to the percent of sales due to profit. A simple example: If sales are $100 and it costs $68 in job costs to earn the $100, your gross profit is $32 (what’s left over after your project costs are deducted from sales). The $32 of gross profit is 32% of your sales ($32/$100), which is your gross margin. But then you also have to deduct overhead. If that’s $25, the $7 left over is net profit. That’s equal to 7% of your sales ($7/$100), which is your net margin.

WHY MARGINS MATTER While it is tempting to look at profit in dollars, it’s more important to look at the margin. To understand why, look at this company’s financials over three years:

Sales Job Costs Gross Profit Gross Margin Overhead Net Profit Net Margin

YEAR 1 $680,000 $472,600 $207,400 30.50% $156,897 $50,503 7.43%

YEAR 2 $750,000 $541,985 $208,015 27.74% $156,205 $51,810 6.91%

YEAR 3 $893,000 $672,405 $220,595 24.70% $168,702 $51,893 5.81%

At first glance, the numbers look great. After all, they are showing yearly increases in sales, gross profit and net profit. But when margin is factored in, it’s easy to see that both gross and net margins are steadily falling. Despite strong sales numbers, it’s actually costing the company more, proportionately, to produce work. If this company continues the trend, it may fall into the trap of believing that it needs to sell more and more to try to make up for dwindling profits.

CORRECT PRICING IS THE SOLUTION The key to a better net margin is selling jobs at the right price, and producing as efficiently as possible. If you do this, you may be able to sell fewer jobs (requiring lower management costs) at a higher profit and make a better bottom-line figure than you did when you were selling more jobs with lower pricing. The following table shows a 3-year cycle where the cost per job and overhead are consistent. By increasing the markup, it’s actually possible to produce fewer jobs and lower your total sales volume while increasing your bottom line. Average Cost Per Job Markup Target Margin Per Job Average Sale Price Per Job Number of Jobs Sold Total Sales* Total Job Costs** Gross Profit Gross Margin (achieved) Overhead Net Profit Net Margin (achieved)

YEAR 1 $10,000 25% 20% $12,500 15 $187,500 $150,000 $37,500 20% $40,000 -$2,500 -1.33%

YEAR 2 $10,000 35% 23% $13,500 14 $189,000 $140,000 $49,000 26% $40,000 $9,000 4.76%

MELANIE HODGDON consults with clients to identify financial and procedural challenges and to create company-specific solutions to help contractors operate more profitably. President of Business Systems Management, Inc., coauthor of A Simple Guide to Turning a Profit as a Contractor, and a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, she has been her clients’ ‘easy button’ since 1994.

YEAR 3 $10,000 45% 31% $14,500 13 $188,500 $130,000 $58,500 31% $40,000 $18,500 9.81%

*Average price multiplied by number of jobs **Average cost multiplied by number of jobs

Avoid the temptation to increase your sales dollars unless you’re simultaneously maintaining or increasing your achieved margins. There’s no point in making yourself crazy (and possibly damaging your reputation) by focusing on sales dollars when you could be selling a manageable number of jobs to well-qualified prospects and sending more to your bottom line.

Oct/Nov 2017 | inPAINT




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