Commercial painting plays a pivotal role in the world around us. From the appearance of buildings and automobiles to the protection of structures and machinery, we’ve already covered many of the myriad uses paint has in everyday life here on the Gardner Laboratories blog.
Sometimes when considering the work of professional paint production and professional painting, it is easy to focus on just the job at hand without viewing the broader context in which we work. Perhaps a chemist at a paint manufacturer spends each day thinking about viscosity without ever looking outside to see a building across the street being given a fresh coat of paint. Maybe an automotive painter finishes a custom paint job without giving a thought to the hours and hours of experimentation it took to derive a paint that would adhere well to the metal of the car body.
In the first part of this installment we shared ten tips for owning and operating a successful paint business. As mentioned then, these aren’t the only good ideas, tips and rules out there for building your operation in to a thriving enterprise. That said, the rules below are an excellent foundation and provide useful insight in to what it takes so succeed. Here are rules 11 through 20 for having your own successful paint business.
Rule #11: Exceed expectations. At the halfway point of our list its important to be reminded once again of the importance of the paint work itself. Most customers and clients will have an idea of how they want the finished job to look but that doesn’t mean you can’t impress them anyway. Make sure each detail is handled appropriately not just while painting but also while planning for the job and cleaning up when finished.
Owning and operating a paint business can be an amazing experience. Professional painters get to be creative and work with their hands. In most cases, being a paint professional means avoiding a desk and having a chance to meet interesting people. But like most other businesses, having a successful paint business is a lot of hard work. There are jobs to win and bills to pay, teams to manage and clients to keep happy.
For all the challenges inherent in owning and operating a paint business, there are a number of steadfast rules that can directly lead to sustained success. Follow these rules and your chances of having a growing paint business will grow. Break these rules – any of them – and your business will be increasingly vulnerable to failure. There are a number of great resources available to help you grow your paint business so this list is far from comprehensive. But the twenty rules below can be a bedrock upon which you build your business going forward.
My friend Rick just had all of the wood trim and moldings in his house repainted, as well as all of the kitchen cabinets. The home is 18 years old and he’s always been happy to entertain friends and family. After nearly two decades of use, he decided the inside needed to be refreshed.
Rick and the interior designer he was working with had picked out a gorgeous Ralph Lauren paint color that would liven up the baseboards and crown moldings, while also giving the cabinets a fresh new look after years of looking drab and dirty. He was smart enough to discuss the color decision with the painters he had hired before purchasing gallons and gallons of paint. While they all thought the color would look wonderful when they finished their work, they counseled Rick that the type of paint he was considering wasn’t the best choice.
Finding painters for your team is not difficult. However, hiring the right painters for your team can be a challenge. If you are serious about growing your business, then you need painters that are reliable, do great work, and support the goals you have for your organization. It’s important to balance the total cost of labor (compensation, taxes, paid time off) with the necessary skill to perform quality work.
Every painter knows what VOCs are. Volatile Organic Compounds can be disastrous for the environment and despite continued progress in reducing VOC levels in many paint products, they still exist as a necessary aspect of commercial painting. VOCs are what give the paint its consistency in everything from adhesion to color. As the paint dries, VOCs evaporate and enter the atmosphere, combining with oxygen and sunlight to create ozone in a way that is harmful to the environment. While some ozone in the upper reaches of the atmosphere are good for the environment, ozone closer to where humans, plants, and animals live can produce catastrophic and unintended consequences.
Larry’s paint business had been in service for almost thirty years in East Texas. As his son Carson was growing up, he liked to tag along with his father to jobs around town. Larry did a great job earning repeat business and by the time Carson graduated from college, Larry had more customers then he could handle. Thankfully, Carson had shown interest in the business and was able to step in right away to help. And since so many customers were repeats and the town was fairly small, most of them knew Carson already, and trusted him to do the same quality job as his father.
As the twenty first century approached, many paint professionals recounted their careers and realized they had been exposed to harmful substances over years and years of simply going to work each day. From stripping lead paint to working in environments that contained asbestos insulation, professional painters had more interaction with dangerous household materials then perhaps any other profession. It wasn’t that paint safety was an afterthought, but rather that products and materials used on a daily basis hadn’t yet been fully examined with regard to individual health.
Silas painted safes that held everything from jewelry to family heirlooms to firearms. His customers weren’t end clients, but rather stores that carried safes for resale to individuals. The store would drop off two or three safes at his workshop and return to pick them up later in the week. His safes always had a great look and, just as importantly, could maintain their finish under all kinds of conditions. The stores that contracted with Silas to paint the safes always marveled at how his work stood out on the showroom floor compared to other safes.
His work commanded a higher price and he was developing a reputation in the area for being a skilled craftsman. Customers wondered how safes painted by Silas held up their appearance so much better. Some spoke of having had one of his painted safes sitting in their garage for over a decade without a single scratch or nick on it. What was his secret to not only such great looking work, but also such strong coatings?