One of the most prevalent mistakes in any business is thinking that a lower price than the competition is always a good business strategy. The notion that customers will be attracted to the lowest priced vendor seems reasonable at first, until the deeper meaning of such a strategy is uncovered. For starters, there is likely someone else capable of delivering the job at an ever-decreasing price point. Secondly, reducing price to win business signals to the customer that your offering may not just be inexpensive, but also “cheap.”
The line between having leftover paint and not having enough to finish the job is thin. Being on the right side of that line is of vital importance to the modern paint professional. The cost associated with an extra gallon or two of unneeded paint can be the difference between a profitable job and a waste of time and money. Compounding the issue is the fact that many painters lack visibility to the company’s bottom line; they don’t realize that using too much paint on a job can cost their company a significant amount of money.
Once upon a time, the use of paint was limited to two specific purposes: paint existed either as protection for a substrate or as decoration. In recent decades, new additives and mixtures have yielded paint that is capable of not just protection or decoration, but that also has function all its own.
Last week in Rise of the Machines we discussed the ever-changing landscape of the professional paint sector as it related to innovations and advances in robotics. This week we will be looking at three recent innovations in industrial paint robotics and technology, and how those innovations affect the professional commercial painter.
My friend Oscar spent years building a reputation as an excellent commercial painter. Living in South Texas, he had developed a niche business painting equipment in the oilfield supply sector. However, as competition increased, Oscar felt the need to lower prices to remain competitive. Oscar’s reputation for doing a great job turned in to a reputation for being inexpensive, and being inexpensive meant he had to race from one job to the next to generate more revenue instead of taking his time.
If you are a professional painter that owns or works for a small company, you are no doubt familiar with the challenges of finding new business. Competition is significant as there is no shortage of other painters vying for the same jobs you are. Considering there are only so many hours in a day to actually perform the work, it is imperative that paint professionals be attracting the right jobs to their business if they are interested in succeeding long term.
Early in my career as a professional painter, I took for granted the importance of consistency in the paint I was using. I suppose I never thought about the quality control processes that must exist to ensure that every gallon or quart of a paint produced at the factory maintained the intended chemical and physical properties. If the label said the formula and color were correct and the mixer said it was correct, who was I to second guess things?
*The Chemistry Corner is a regular series about the innovation and development of the chemical elements of paint, coatings, substrates, and industrial paint tools that the paint professional encounters on a daily basis. Check back weekly for another installment of the Chemistry Corner or take a few minutes to read some of our other articles about the commercial paint profession.*
*Rise of the Machines is a weekly article series that discusses and details technological advances in the professional painting sector. Check back each week for a new installment!*
At least once a week I am asked for my view on the new technology being introduced in the commercial painting sector. Friends and colleagues ask my opinion on new products, often wondering, “Would this product save me time or money?” or “Is this new product going to help me do a better job and keep my customers happy?” Some ask if I’ve used a certain new sprayer or reviewed a specific new compressor. Others ask me my view on new automated processes and wonder if robots are a threat to the commercial painting professional.
Many tools take on peculiar shapes and sizes. Tools found in the industrial paint sector are no exception. One of the unique tools utilized by paint professionals is the Interchemical Gage. The interchemical, or “IC” Gage looks like a bulky pizza cutter to those that are unfamiliar with its proper usage. Interchemical gages are also sometimes known as Inmont Wet Film Gages or “Wet Film Wheels.”