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Old 12-28-2016, 02:43 PM   #1
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Default Custom Color Matches

I'm curious how everyone deals with custom color matches or matching other mfg's colors? Custom color matches can be time consuming and sometimes require an additional trip to the store if they can't match it right away. This eats up a lot of time and if its not accounted for in your estimate you're losing money while you're waiting at the paint store (this isn't intended to be a knock on paint stores either).

How does everyone deal with this? I'm thinking about specifying in my estimates that clients must choose colors from the fan deck of the paint mfg that is spec'd for the project or additional costs will apply to help cut down on this issue.
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Old 12-28-2016, 02:56 PM   #2
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If the customer doesn't have or know the colors used we give them an hour free to help match the colors. If we can we will pop off a small piece of baseboard to match trim, some times removing an outlet cover you can get a big enough piece to match.

We have our store where we go and drop off the stuff to match and the guy can match it perfect any colors except Pantone's. We make sure he has a day or half a day to mess with the color. We don't wait around. If we know ahead of time we will do this a week before we start.
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Old 12-28-2016, 05:03 PM   #3
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try to give the paint store as much time as possible. Call in color matches if they are off a fan deck, they should be able to get the sample chips for you if they don't already have them.(I'm a one man store and I manage to do this with no problem).
The one problem we run into is the mindset that was started several years ago by the box stores that they could do an instant color match. In reality this is not always possible. They are just able to say take it or leave it if the match isn't good. Because you and your paint store actually have a mutual customer that usually doesn't approve the color match, it is important to realize that the store needs a little time to do them.

If you are matching a sample from a job site, like a piece of trim or a wall, plan on trying to drop them off either in the morning for an afternoon or next morning pick-up. A good color matcher should get you a perfect match almost every time with that much lead time. Some larger stores that may have several good color matching people can do while you wait matches occasionally, but in reality how often do you not have a little lead time? I always try to accommodate my customers any way I can, and a good paint store should be doing this. But the lead time sure helps make sure of a good match.
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:54 PM   #4
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I carry a Sherwin Williams color matcher and their color deck. I bought it for $50 from the store.That seems to help a lot. Their is also an app you can get on your phone. I don't have one but a friend of mine uses it. He said it works good.
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Old 12-28-2016, 11:43 PM   #5
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I carry a Sherwin Williams color matcher ....

There is also an app you can get on your phone.

I was told the color matcher does not perform well with lighter colors. Trying to match whites is the hardest for me.

The app is so dependent on your lighting. I've tried it on a SW larger 8x10 sample chip, knowing the exact color. The app is telling me it is 5-8 other colors-and not identifying the correct one.


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Old 12-29-2016, 05:59 AM   #6
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I guess I'm really curious how everyone deals with color samples or custom matches in their contracts. It's rare, but some clients are indecisive or they want to see a ton of samples before they make a choice. At roughly $10/color tester this adds up if it wasn't accounted for it in my estimate.

Here's what I'm thinking about doing. Including 2 color samples for each known color in their estimate and then specifying that additional color sample will cost an additional $20.00/color.

Whenever possible I drop off samples and give the store a couple days to work on the match, but there are some circumstances where the client has delayed choosing colors and I really can't wait a couple days so I push to get it done on the spot.


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Old 12-29-2016, 08:47 AM   #7
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We include anywhere from 3-5 samples in every contract. If you want more we charge $50/per sample. We've done more free samples but only on very large projects.

I find that clients have a harder time with more than five samples to look at. Furthermore, you can usually tell someone that doesn't have a clue what they are doing when the comparative samples are widely different colors.
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW Painter View Post
I guess I'm really curious how everyone deals with color samples or custom matches in their contracts. It's rare, but some clients are indecisive or they want to see a ton of samples before they make a choice. At roughly $10/color tester this adds up if it wasn't accounted for it in my estimate.

Here's what I'm thinking about doing. Including 2 color samples for each known color in their estimate and then specifying that additional color sample will cost an additional $20.00/color.

Whenever possible I drop off samples and give the store a couple days to work on the match, but there are some circumstances where the client has delayed choosing colors and I really can't wait a couple days so I push to get it done on the spot.


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I guess it depends on what you feel comfortable with and what your market will tolerate. $20.00 would be appropriate in my area but there are some areas of the country were I wouldn't hesitate to charge much more per sample. Remember that you are a professional painter not a decorator, and those decorators make big bank to do the same thing. You are giving people a much cheaper alternative so it is just sound business to charge a little and cover your expenses at a minimum.
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Old 12-29-2016, 11:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW Painter View Post
I guess I'm really curious how everyone deals with color samples or custom matches in their contracts. It's rare, but some clients are indecisive or they want to see a ton of samples before they make a choice. At roughly $10/color tester this adds up if it wasn't accounted for it in my estimate.

Here's what I'm thinking about doing. Including 2 color samples for each known color in their estimate and then specifying that additional color sample will cost an additional $20.00/color.

Whenever possible I drop off samples and give the store a couple days to work on the match, but there are some circumstances where the client has delayed choosing colors and I really can't wait a couple days so I push to get it done on the spot.


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I used to run back & forth trying to get a perfect color match for someone until I finally had enough. Now, I just provide the first 5 samples for free, along with 5 chip brushes for putting up the samples. I let the customer know that I'll pay for the first 5 samples & brushes, and if they need any more, to use my account and get more so they can use my discount. I explain to them the additional samples & brushes beyond the first 5 will be added to their bill, (I always say this, but almost never actually tack on the $5-$40 for the extra samples, but I've had customers get an extra 33 samples & brushes, so the wording is there in my contract to cover for situations like these).

I give them some basic instructions on where and how to put the samples up, (and where not to put samples up), and they're responsible for putting up all the samples, even the first 5. Some folks just need a little nudge in the right direction, and if they're receptive to feedback, I'll gladly give it, but I make no special trips to view their color decisions. My job is to paint their home. Their job is to select the color. If they're really stuck, I'll refer them to someone for some 1-on-1 time at their own expense.

The only exception to the above is the elderly or disabled customer. In these situations, I pay for & put up the 1st 5 samples, and if they need more beyond that, they'd pay for my time & materials to put them up.

EDIT: I didn't really even address the main topic in the OP. If we're doing a custom color match to some other surface of their home, I'll find a way to remove a portion and take to the paint store to match. If they want a custom color match to another paint manufacturer's color, no problem, I take care of that too. I'll bring the match back when we begin to have them sign off on it. Give the paint store more than a day to match it and they'll usually be able to nail it spot-on.
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Old 12-29-2016, 11:43 AM   #10
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Some times I get a sample or two but most of the time I leave it to them to get samples and apply them. I got tired of the run around and found that if the owner does the leg work the selection process can go faster, sometimes.
When I need a match from another paint company I always get a color chip of that color to make sure it is correct. I don't trust the on file colors in the store computer to be correct all the time.
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Old 12-29-2016, 12:11 PM   #11
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Some times I get a sample or two but most of the time I leave it to them to get samples and apply them. I got tired of the run around and found that if the owner does the leg work the selection process can go faster, sometimes.
When I need a match from another paint company I always get a color chip of that color to make sure it is correct. I don't trust the on file colors in the store computer to be correct all the time.
Those stored color formulas are just meant to be a starting formula and are not usually a good match. They are done by interns at the company that makes the software and not actually done by anyone with any color matching background. They just put the chip in, do the computer match, and store the formula to the data base. If you can imagine a group of twenty-thirty college interns doing thousands of these, you get the picture.

Of course the computer formulas at Home depot and Lowe's (and SW) are marketed as being perfect matches, even though they use the same data base as i do.......That's were the take it or leave it comes in. And that doesn't fly for most painters that are getting that color matched for a third party (their customer). That's why it is important for a good paint store to do perfect color matches and why it is important to give them some time when possible. Communication between the store, the painter, and the painter's client is the first key.
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Old 12-29-2016, 12:38 PM   #12
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Anyone ever heard that supposedly F&B puts something on their colour chips so that the spectrometer can't read them properly? I haven't used the stuff in over a decade, but at the time I remember someone telling me this. Just makes the folks at the paint stores who are trying to match work harder at the end of the day. It'll still get done.
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Old 12-29-2016, 01:31 PM   #13
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Anyone ever heard that supposedly F&B puts something on their colour chips so that the spectrometer can't read them properly? I haven't used the stuff in over a decade, but at the time I remember someone telling me this. Just makes the folks at the paint stores who are trying to match work harder at the end of the day. It'll still get done.
There is nothing that I know of if you have strong enough and pure enough colorants. SW would have problems with some of their colors and I'm pretty sure HD and Lowe's would.
It also has to do with the "whiteness" of the bases.
I wouldn't think a BM dealer using Gennex or a Cali dealer using Trillion colorants would have a problem. Both colorant systems are much stronger and brighter then other paint companies. Their tint bases are a much brighter white as well.
They claim they use a special colorants made from unicorn pee or something, but i doubt it. But if the four companies that sell 90% of the paint can't do it then it is a safe bet.
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Old 12-29-2016, 01:59 PM   #14
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Roamer and Stelzer, thanks for the input.

Whenever possible I'll put color samples on white foam core for clients. Once a client has narrowed their choice to 2 colors I'll put a sample on their wall for them.

Also, I don't encourage clients to paint samples on walls since they'll often get paint on the trim or leave horrible brush marks on their wall that can't be removed if the wall has an orange peel texture. I had a client do this last month and now I have to come back to touch up some of the trim they got paint on, but I'll also have to get a custom color match first Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about the brush marks they left on the wall.


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Old 12-29-2016, 04:10 PM   #15
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Roamer and Stelzer, thanks for the input.

Whenever possible I'll put color samples on white foam core for clients. Once a client has narrowed their choice to 2 colors I'll put a sample on their wall for them.

Also, I don't encourage clients to paint samples on walls since they'll often get paint on the trim or leave horrible brush marks on their wall that can't be removed if the wall has an orange peel texture. I had a client do this last month and now I have to come back to touch up some of the trim they got paint on, but I'll also have to get a custom color match first Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about the brush marks they left on the wall.


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I have had the same experience with the home owner leaving big brush marks on the wall and I had to sand them out. I leave them a color chart if their not for sure of the color they want and tell them to get a poster board and paint the sample color on it so they can move it around the room. I've only had one home owner wanting me to come back two or three times with different color samples to paint in different spots in the room. The samples were added to the material cost.
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Old 12-29-2016, 06:28 PM   #16
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We figure $100/match and that generally works out OK. That includes putting a sample of color on the wall.

That's all based on the customer having a color sample of some form in hand. If they are "thinking of a color" all bets are off and the meter starts.
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Old 12-29-2016, 08:22 PM   #17
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You guys are overthinking. And I tend to overthink.

So I'm qualified to say so.
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:22 PM   #18
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I was told the color matcher does not perform well with lighter colors. Trying to match whites is the hardest for me.

The app is so dependent on your lighting. I've tried it on a SW larger 8x10 sample chip, knowing the exact color. The app is telling me it is 5-8 other colors-and not identifying the correct one.


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I have not experienced the app for the phone. I do work for a restoration company from time to time and one of the owners their uses it and speaks highly of it. I have had pretty good luck with my S.W. color matcher. It gives you three colors that it could be. I questioned it a couple of times and went with a different color and I was wrong I go back to what the color matcher tells me and its usually right. If you get all three colors and test them the most your going to have is about $25 in paint samples and one trip.
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Old 12-29-2016, 10:31 PM   #19
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Customer wants a match to something I'll have either of my main suppliers do it - they are both excellent at it.

Customer wants a sample on the wall? They can go get it themselves and do it (unless by arrangement I can get it while going to my supplier anyway). I've found it can be a real rabbit hole trying to help them find their perfect color. I know, I know, I'm not providing a full service to my customers. Hey, if you want to do it, have at it. I've just never found not doing it to be an issue - especially when they realize those "free" samples are not really free.
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Old 12-30-2016, 04:37 AM   #20
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Address colors and manufacturers at the time of initial walk through and tack the time on to the estimate.
Or, if you don't already have them, stock multiple fan decks from different manufacturers on your truck. I've got a plethora so if for some reason the paint store doesn't already have a chip, I can bring it in at some point.
Or, drop the swatch off and have your paint delivered to the job (I love this option...$ave$ me load$ of trip$ to the $tore).

Just a few different ways to work with it. It's part of the job, and I work all that into the bid so there's no surprises and plenty of time to organize.
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