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I'm in the same boat as many of you with my profession. Thanks to the Depot, HGTV and other DIY driven media, painting is something any slouch can do. What are your thoughts on that? Not so much to convince me because I have seen good paint jobs.. it certainly is and it takes awhile to acquire the skillset. Moreso do you believe the general public is aware of what a good painter is? Do you have any ideas or presentations to make homeowners understand the difference between pro and DIY? Are you able to sell yourself as a craftsperson with confidence or is your mentality affected by the public's opinion?

Pick your question and run.
 
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When ever I run into a person that thinks painters should only charge $10 an hr because anyone can do it I simply tell them they are right anyone can paint but that does not mean it will look good. I also proceed to tell them that I choose to not work for that and move on to other customers. I'm not going to argue with someone who thinks painting is remedial work.

If the customer just asks why it is so expensive I explain that if it takes 40 hrs to paint what ever project they should expect to pay a weeks worth of their pay plus benefits for labor and how insurance and equipment costs money.

To often they compare their take home check, after taxes and retirement contributions, to the cost and think it is obscene. Usually if I explain everything they understand.
 

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I am there with you.

In my area there are guys who do not live out the whole "business". They are working for cash and taking the money, lowering the perceived value of work. And yes HGTV fails to say what it REALLY cost to do the job. Add in the crew's hours into the renovation and that "$200.00" job turned into $1700.00. What we do isn't rocket science, BUT there is the years experience, the product knowledge, the equipment, the systems we use to produce the right product.. and ANY and ALL variables that go into ensuring that the end result is the best it can be. I have had IN DEPTH conversations with customers that were going to go with someone else about why it was that they thought a lowballer would be good for them. They said stuff like "5yr warranty", "using superpaint :rolleyes: ", $1500.00 lower than YOU.. some said done in 2 days...

How confident do I feel in my knowledge? Real confident. How confident do I feel in my industry around here? Scared S-less about the future. I see new signs up almost every other day for a new company.

Do I think the public knows about what a good painter is? NO. They only see the color, if it is peeling or not, and how much they paid.
 

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When ever I run into a person that thinks painters should only charge $10 an hr because anyone can do it I simply tell them they are right anyone can paint but that does not mean it will look good. I also proceed to tell them that I choose to not work for that and move on to other customers. I'm not going to argue with someone who thinks painting is remedial work.

If the customer just asks why it is so expensive I explain that if it takes 40 hrs to paint what ever project they should expect to pay a weeks worth of their pay plus benefits for labor and how insurance and equipment costs money.

To often they compare their take home check, after taxes and retirement contributions, to the cost and think it is obscene. Usually if I explain everything they understand.

Excellent points.
 

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I do think the picture of a "craftsman or tradesman" has changed drastically.

I read a blog the other that talked about how people replace rather than repair things these days and we don't take the time to use our hands to create, repair or beautify anymore as a public.
What we do has been relegated to manual labor that many people do not value or are willing to pay for.

I try to educate potential customers that painting is a small part of our process, the planning, preparation and procedures to get ready to paint are important.
 

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It varies, some people know what a good painter is and the results he/she can bring to their project. Others have been burned and have had low quality results and so he/she thinks hell next time i will do it myself because I can do better than that. I think that a lot understands the amount of work involved and that a professional is needed and they respect that.

The problem is that it is not as intimidating a job as other trades, so many belittle the process and want to save the money and do it themselves. Of course you can look and see a quality job.
The truth is in the cut lines, prep work and application techniques. Some DIY'ers can produce professional like results and some professionals can not.
 

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I remember a phone call i got 3 years ago. "how much to paint a bedroom 12x12?" I explain we dont quote prices over the phone and I'd be happy to stop by for an estimate in person. blah blah blah, he pressure me into giving some numbers. I cave and give him a ballpark figure. He asks how much for the inside of the closet. I say "$55". He responds "FIFTY FIVE DOLLARS?? It's just a closet! No, you're losing me now. That's just highway robbery". I go on to explain that it requires an additional gallon of paint and labor, only to be interrupted mid-sentence "You're losing me now. This is just a giant rip-off".

Do i think our trade is valued as highly as carpentry, brick laying, or even drywalling? Nope. Maybe at one point it was, but certainly not anymore. The majority of people who call for a single room repaint seem to give the same reasoning "oh, i just dont have time to do it myself". The skill and craftmanship of a knowledgable painter has been watered down by the home depot's "You can do it, we can help" mentality. Ive gone into countless million dollar homes where the cut lines are as wavy as a san fransisco coastline. Just sit at your local Sherwin Williams for 30 minutes and watch the people come in. A good portion of them will be home owners without the first clue looking for help. "What product can you give me to paint my siding? its peeling and looks bad. how do i apply it?". Painting is not a trade people respect. Its something you can do yourself to save money. Who cares if it doesnt look good, nobody will notice.

....until it falls off.
 

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Do i think our trade is valued as highly as carpentry, brick laying, or even drywalling? Nope. Maybe at one point it was, but certainly not anymore. The majority of people who call for a single room repaint seem to give the same reasoning "oh, i just dont have time to do it myself". The skill and craftmanship of a knowledgable painter has been watered down by the home depot's "You can do it, we can help" mentality. Ive gone into countless million dollar homes where the cut lines are as wavy as a san fransisco coastline. Just sit at your local Sherwin Williams for 30 minutes and watch the people come in. A good portion of them will be home owners without the first clue looking for help. "What product can you give me to paint my siding? its peeling and looks bad. how do i apply it?". Painting is not a trade people respect. Its something you can do yourself to save money. Who cares if it doesnt look good, nobody will notice.

....until it falls off.
There is a lot of truth in this paragraph.
 

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The thing is most people cannot afford a professional painter. Nothing wrong with that. I honestly could not afford one, I am only 23 though. A professional paint job is a luxury just like a lexus or cadillac. Most people own a car but few own those.

If I were to go to someone and tell them they were poor they would get insulted but this is basically what happens when someone asks me for a quote and cannot afford me. Their response is to get defensive and say anyone can do it blah blah blah. At first I took it as an insult but than I heard from someone older and wiser than me that it just means I am to good and expensive for them so it is a compliment. It doesnt always feel like one but it is.

This is why it is important to have a target market. I know when I get a phone call and it is from the wrong side of town that I am going to go there give a bid and leave without the job but that is fine. Sometimes I do not want to go give a bid but I do on the off chance that I might get the job and it only takes 5 minutes to get across my town of 30,000
 

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Thanks to the Depot, HGTV and other DIY driven media, painting is something any slouch can do. What are your thoughts on that? More power to them, if they can complete the job and are satisfied with the results. If not hey I might get a lead.

Moreso do you believe the general public is aware of what a good painter is?In my opinion the general public has no idea and could care less what a good painter is as well as what it takes to be good painter.

Do you have any ideas or presentations to make homeowners understand the difference between pro and DIY? Nope, but I am anxious to hear what some of the others say.

Are you able to sell yourself as a craftsperson with confidence? Yes, but there is always room for improvement.
 

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Ken,

You are a craftsman of forum discussions. :thumbup: If I didn't know you and your passion better, I would go so far as to accuse you of being a troll......And take that as a compliment, because your post will induce varied passionate opinions.
IMO, you just hit one out of the park :thumbsup:

I love your comment that you have seen "good paint jobs". Yup, how can any one of us sell "professional quality" when we see the HO has actually done a damn nice job.

And yes, I think that SOME HO's (not all) do realize what a good painter is and what he does. I also think that a fair number of HO's have the knowledge and skillset to actually DO a good paint job !

Sorry, guys, we are not rocket surgeons. It's not a hard trade to learn.

I think I addressed this a few days (weeks) ago. What we can offer the HO is a bigger bang for their buck and time. As I said before, it will take a HO about twice as long to complete a project as it would a pro. In the time it takes them to paint their house , they could earn enough money to pay you AND take a nice mini vacation.
Once again it comes down to V-A-L-U-E.

And then you have the guys that love to get away from their miserable family by spending the summer up on a ladder, drinking beer, painting the house. don't worry, you ain't gonna get THAT job ...... unless you PAY him to go to Vegas while you paint his house :no:
 

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The people who have money to get things done for them always will. The people who don't will watch TV and attempt their own paint job. Few will succeed. No one in this room would be in business if they couldn't prove their worth.
 

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Band Aid solution

It comes down to being a specialties person. Everyone with a spray gun or a roll of tape is considered a painter. Truth is everyone can pick up a brush, but heres the thing to think about.

Say you needed an operation. Now all MD's went to school for about 10 years. All have to work with cadavers and dissect them which means they all can use a scalpel right? Now you find out you have a bum ticker. You have a choice to save some money. You can use the highly regarded Thoracic Surgeon that would get you up and about after about a week and you would feel like a 20 year old. You could save some money by getting your family MD to fix it because you would be charged less obviously because he does not have the qualifications.

Which one will be successful and last the longest? Thoracic surgeon of coarse. Which one costs the most on the ins? The thoracic surgeon.

If people know your specialty and your ability to correctly address their problems they will not have a problem hiring a pro for the price you present. We all know however that even when people know what they NEED they will sometimes still opt for the band aid instead.

What we all need to do is stop the Pizza hut blanket market campaign thinking everyone can afford a specialist and target the people who can afford the specialist. Now do not get me wrong. Rich people can be cheap and still opt for the band aid, but I would guarantee that you find less band aid people this way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ken,

You are a craftsman of forum discussions. :thumbup: If I didn't know you and your passion better, I would go so far as to accuse you of being a troll......And take that as a compliment, because your post will induce varied passionate opinions.
IMO, you just hit one out of the park :thumbsup:

I love your comment that you have seen "good paint jobs". Yup, how can any one of us sell "professional quality" when we see the HO has actually done a damn nice job.

And yes, I think that SOME HO's (not all) do realize what a good painter is and what he does. I also think that a fair number of HO's have the knowledge and skillset to actually DO a good paint job !

Sorry, guys, we are not rocket surgeons. It's not a hard trade to learn.

I think I addressed this a few days (weeks) ago. What we can offer the HO is a bigger bang for their buck and time. As I said before, it will take a HO about twice as long to complete a project as it would a pro. In the time it takes them to paint their house , they could earn enough money to pay you AND take a nice mini vacation.
Once again it comes down to V-A-L-U-E.

And then you have the guys that love to get away from their miserable family by spending the summer up on a ladder, drinking beer, painting the house. don't worry, you ain't gonna get THAT job ...... unless you PAY him to go to Vegas while you paint his house :no:
Thank you, Sir Bill, master of all that he surveys.. I think it goes without saying that I have a high respect for your own passion (rare in an old guy haha). I took an impromptu nap this afternoon and woke up in a weird reflective mood. I'm pondering some business models for an all sub painting model. thats not necessarily tied into this but, like you mentioned, a good troll knows how to stir up controversy. At least you guys, for the moist part, can argue like adults. our forums of late have been.. well.. interesting.
 

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Thanks to the Depot, HGTV and other DIY driven media, painting is something any slouch can do. What are your thoughts on that?

It all comes down to the type of customer you're talking about. This media-driven depreciation of the painting (and other) trades has certainly hurt our company as now, more than before, I hear customers citing their lack of time and patience, NOT skill, as the main reason in hiring us. I don't think the DIY media has had much impact on the "higher-end" demographic, but I may be wrong.
 

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I guess I try to sell people on a service, and I do feel painting is a service work. You have to let them know that sure, they can do the job if given the time, but the job will look better if a pro does it, and also save their back, they will also have more time to do other things that they need to do. I would say a good amount of the work we do is after the homeowner has tried the work themselves, and found out that it's not as much fun as the TV says, thats where we come in. It's a service.
 

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Good topic. I’d like to comment on 2 very recent repaint jobs. The first was a 17’ high large great room for walls and trim from fireplace to ceiling and 7” crown throughout. The customer had a difficult time deciding on Cashmere vs. Duration and which sheen. This wasn’t the first time I ran across a very knowledgeable customer but this woman knew what she wanted and had accurate product knowledge without the actual job experiences. If It wasn’t for 17’ high walls, I have no doubt she would have done a nice job. She knew all the questions to ask in great detail.

The second job also a repaint was 3 bedrooms, 1 small, 1 medium and 1 large master. The product for this job was Cashmere Low Lustre. I did this job for another contractor. He dropped the paint in the morning and I banged out 3 bedrooms in less than 6 hrs and had to remove pictures and furniture etc. The job was staged too for something I’m working on, so I spent time taking photos. A quick in and out job and as I closed the job out the HO (who I can’t speak with in detail because it’s not my job) couldn’t believe I was done that quick.

Later I find out that the PC went rounds with the HO on getting paid because the job got done so quick they felt that they shouldn’t have to pay so much. Ya cant win some times. I snapped photos for item placement and outside of the 3 color changes, you would have no idea I was there. Everything went smooth, looked great and every object put back exactly where it was and still gets grief from the HO.

Whats the difference if the PC put 3 guys on the job and did it in 6 hrs. The HO agreed to a price.
 

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3 rooms painted in 6 hours, truly amazing, you are a painting GOD, can I have your autograph?:notworthy:
 

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Ken,

You are a craftsman of forum discussions. :thumbup: If I didn't know you and your passion better, I would go so far as to accuse you of being a troll......And take that as a compliment, because your post will induce varied passionate opinions.
IMO, you just hit one out of the park :thumbsup:

I love your comment that you have seen "good paint jobs". Yup, how can any one of us sell "professional quality" when we see the HO has actually done a damn nice job.

And yes, I think that SOME HO's (not all) do realize what a good painter is and what he:eek: does. I also think that a fair number of HO's have the knowledge and skillset to actually DO a good paint job !




Mr. Bill, I am thinking that there are some painters of the fairer sex out there that would take exception to this, I just worked with one all day yesterday that I would not want angry with me, fortunatly for you I do not believe she visits this site.:whistling2:





Sorry, guys, we are not rocket surgeons. It's not a hard trade to learn.

I think I addressed this a few days (weeks) ago. What we can offer the HO is a bigger bang for their buck and time. As I said before, it will take a HO about twice as long to complete a project as it would a pro. In the time it takes them to paint their house , they could earn enough money to pay you AND take a nice mini vacation.
Once again it comes down to V-A-L-U-E.

And then you have the guys that love to get away from their miserable family by spending the summer up on a ladder, drinking beer, painting the house. don't worry, you ain't gonna get THAT job ...... unless you PAY him to go to Vegas while you paint his house :no:
enter enter enter
 
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