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JUNE 2017


Is Your Vehicle Making Sales for You? Vehicle-side marketing can provide a big bang for relatively few bucks. But if everyone is doing it, how can you make sure your vehicle stands out from the pack?



Painting Contractor Vehicles Critiqued The eight brave painting contractors submitted images of their vehicle-side marketing to APC to have their designs critiqued. Learn what our marketing experts had to say.

By Emily Howard

8 14

Online Contents Have you seen the important news, tips and info at

Speaking With PDCA: Have a Question? Ask This Painter PDCA has partnered with Nick Slavik Painting and Restoration to provide contractors with a candid glimpse into the processes of a painting business owner via weekly live-feed training on Facebook.

The Right Sprayer for the Job These seven steps can simplify the process of ensuring you’ve got the right airless paint sprayer for your target job.

From the Editor: Making the Painting World Better Learn how you can influence the direction of tools for painters by joining the APC Pro Club.

By Megan Headley


Vol. 94, No. 5

By Christine O’Connell


From the Field: Streamlining the “Painter’s Prerogative” Creating clear expectations for your painters when it comes to subjective details on the job is the best, if not only, way to create long-term consistency in your company’s results.

By Chris Noto

By Scott Burt


Contractor’s Tool Bag . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Product Roundup . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 The Wall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Advertiser Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

Sound Business Management: 20 Wanna Talk Gooder? Avoiding these misconceptions about communication can improve your communication skills and allow you to be a more effective supervisor or salesperson. By Monroe Porter


Decorative Touch: Super-Size It Painting logos and large graphics is a great add-on, and can easily be done by learning to scale up using a simple grid process. By Victor DeMasi

On the Cover: Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.

Heart of Faux: Bringing Beauty to Brookwood 30 Much research, time and paint went into the Houston chapter of the International Decorative Artisans League’s creation of a mural for Brookwood, a community for adults with disabilities. By Cindy Howard

4 June 2017 • APC

From the Editor

APC Pro Club – Making the Painting World Better ere at APC Magazine we know that good tools can make or break your business. The wrong tip, brush, tape or paint can quickly turn a jobsite into a money-losing disaster. On the flip side, finding that perfect sander, sprayer or dust extraction system can save hours and headaches on the jobs. One thing that I’ve most certainly learned over my past decade at APC is that contractors know the value of the right tool for the job. I’ve met contractors who are so particular about their jobsite needs that they invented their own tools. Some of these garage inventions are one-offs, but others end up in the pages of APC. Brushes, brush cleaners and ladder accessories are among the products I’ve seen come onto the market directly from those in the field. Now, I know not all of you are inventors, but I also know most of you have opinions. And you should. After all, you are the ones using these products, and you probably know their strengths and weaknesses better than anyone. So why spend your time complaining about product flaws or wishing that the next iteration of your tool will have that one little thing that would make it perfect? Now is your chance to help make it happen. APC recently introduced its Pro Club. It debuted at the PDCA Convention in San Diego, and you’ve likely seen some ads in the magazine and at Response has been strong and swift, with hundreds of contractors signing up. But we want you! Yes, you. The one reading this column. So what is the Pro Club? It’s a place for painting contractors who want their opinions heard, a place for contractors to mold the tools and products of the future. It’s your chance to test new gear, give feedback and add your two cents about how to improve your day. Pro Club members complete surveys, test new products and provide feedback, and participate in focus groups. To join, you simply complete a short registration form. There is no charge to be a member. So what are you waiting for? Join today …


APC JUNE 2017 Volume 94, Number 5 Publisher Andrew Dwyer Editorial Emily Howard, Editor-in-Chief 4340 East-West Highway, Suite 300 Bethesda, MD 20814 [email protected] Megan Headley, Managing Editor [email protected] (540) 735-5196 Scott Burt, Senior Editor Editorial Advisory Board Jeff Winter, The Sherwin-Williams Co. Jeff Spillane, Benjamin Moore & Co. Darylene Dennon, Solid Energy Inc. Todd Pudvar, Prep to Finish Peer Review Group Dan Brady, Dan Brady Painting & Wood Restoration Randy Fornoff, MTS Painting Nichole Lovett, Harmony Haus Rodney Paglialong, Wall-Pro Painting Tony Severino, Professional Painters Dave Siegner, Siegner and Co. Jeff Stein, Blue Door Painters Advertising Sales Andrew Dwyer, Publisher (719) 471-7230 [email protected] Robert Scarola, Sales (813) 639-7062 [email protected] List Sales Michael Costantino InfoGroup (402) 836-6266 [email protected]

Emily Howard Editor-in-Chief [email protected]

Production Office 4340 East-West Highway, Suite 300 Bethesda, MD 20814 Senior Advisor Frank Finn APC: AMERICAN PAINTING CONTRACTOR (ISSN 003-0325) is published monthly, except bimonthly in January/February, July/August and November/December, by Columbia Books Inc.; Corporate, Advertising, Production Offices: 4340 East-West Highway, Suite 300, Bethesda, MD 20814; Tel: (202) 464-1662. For subscription information, call toll-free (800) 791-8699 or go to Editorial Office: 4340 East-West Highway, Suite 300, Bethesda, MD 20814. Annual Subscription Rates: United States $40.00; International $51.00. Two-Year Subscription Rates: United States $63.00; International $86.00. Single Copies: United States $6.00; International $9.00. November/December Buyer’s Guide; United States $36.00; International, Canada and Mexico $52.00. Periodical postage paid at Richmond, Virginia,

6 June 2017 • APC

and additional mailing offices. Copyright 2017 by Columbia Books Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval systems, without written consent from the publisher. The publisher does not warrant, either expressly or by implication, the factual accuracies of articles or descriptions herein, nor does the publisher warrant the accuracy of any views or opinions offered by the authors of said articles or descriptions. APC: AMERICAN PAINTING CONTRACTOR is a registered trademark of Columbia Books Inc. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to APC: AMERICAN PAINTING CONTRACTOR, P.O. Box 71625, Henrico, VA 23255.

Production & Graphic Designer Jennette Gormley For subscription inquiries or customer service, please call (800) 791-8699. Cover printed on 10% PCW recycled paper. Text printed on 7% PCW recycled paper.

Here in the heartland of Ohio, we don’t have skyscrapers or subways—we have barns, farmland, homes that have been in families for generations, and manufacturers who care about their products and reputation in equal amounts. Yes, “made in America” means jobs stay in this country, and that’s a wonderful thing...but at Wooster Brush it also means high quality, time-saving performance, and innovation built on 165 years of experience in making painting tools.

See Our 165th Anniversary Video!

Ask your favorite retailer for Wooster products, proudly made in the USA. 5IF8PPTUFS#SVTI$PNQBOZr800-392-7246rXPPTUFSCSVTIDPN




WHAT’S NEW ON PAINTTV THIS MONTH Where contractors go to see industry and product videos.

Need training videos for your crew members? Interested in seeing demonstrations of products before you buy them? Check out PaintTV for helpful videos that can improve your business— especially during slow periods.


Are you up on the painting industry’s latest news? If not, sign up for your free subscription to Paint News at Below are some of the most-read news, tips and events from our weekly e-newsletter. Click on Paint News at to learn more.




Paint Radio: Check Out Our Podcasts content for APC Publisher Andrew Dwyer and Editor-incontractors Chief Emily Howard have interviewed a wide on the go. variety of the painting profession’s top experts and contractors. Next time you’re thinking of killing time listening to the radio or your iTunes, check out Paint Radio to hear what the painting industry is talking about.

Paint Company Owner Charged in Payroll Scheme on Federally Funded Bridge Project A Philadelphia U.S. District Court charged a painting company owner with theft from a healthcare program through a fraudulent payroll scheme on a federally funded bridge painting project. Painting Contractor Fights Claims of Being “Irresponsible”—and Wins Lawsuit Painting contractors, if you’re not documenting every step of your bidding process, you could be setting yourself up for a loss. Fortunately, a lack of documentation posed a problem all around during this lawsuit, and ultimately an appeals court found in favor of the painting contractor denied a bid due to a government agency’s poor documentation of its contractor requirements. No Means No! Akzo Rejects Third Bid From PPG PPG has set its sights on the Dutch-based paint manufacturer’s business, and it’s looking like the owner of the Glidden, Olympic and Pittsburgh Paint brands won’t take no for an answer.

APC’s mobile-friendly digital edition gives you access to APC anytime, anywhere.

8 June 2017 • APC

Why Word-of-Mouth Advertising Is a Lie Do you consider word of mouth your best form of advertising? Do you have a plan in place for actively encouraging word-ofmouth referrals? If not, then this article describes how you could be missing out on the strongest source of new business. If You See Something, Say Something What kind of a safety officer disciplines workers for safety violations after they complain about safety? In this case, an Oregon DOT bridge contractor, in an incident where a 40-foot fall sent two painters to the hospital—and at least four former employees allege they were let go after complaining of dangerous work conditions.

Contractor’s Tool Bag Stain Blocking Paint and Primer Sherwin-Williams’ Extreme Cover™ Stain Blocking Paint and Primer is an all-in-one solution that provides blocking against common stains such as grease, grime, food and cigarette smoke. In addition to its stain resistance, the manufacturer notes that the product can reduce the need for priming in multifamily, commercial property management and residential repaint jobs, saving time and resources. Extreme Cover Stain Blocking Paint and Primer in One will be initially available in flat and eggshell sheens in Sherwin-Williams stores this summer.

Spackling Repair Products DAP® has expanded its ALEX® brand with two new durable spackling solutions. ALEX Plus Spackling is formulated to deliver professional strength and durability when making repairs on a range of surfaces, including drywall, wood and metal. This shrink- and crack-resistant formula allows pros to complete a successful repair with just one coat. ALEX Plus Spackling is easy to apply, sands to a smooth finished surface, and creates a finished repair that seamlessly blends with the surrounding area. It provides exceptional strength that can withstand driving a nail without damage. ALEX Flex Spackling was designed for maximum flexibility to move with the repaired surface as problem areas expand and contract with changes in weather and humidity. Unlike competing products, ALEX Flex combines a flexible solution with the ability to be sanded to a smooth finish and painted for a seamless repair, perfect for eliminating stubborn reoccurring cracks in drywall. This low-odor formula is resistant to shrinking and cracking and can be used for indoor and outdoor repairs.

10 June 2017 • APC

Contractor’s Tool Bag Folding Prep Tool Purdy has introduced the first folding tool into its revamped line of prep tools. The Purdy Folding Tool was designed for the professional painter to allow for all of their most common tasks to be completed with one easy-to-use tool, from surface preparation to project cleanup. The Folding Tool comes with a rust-resistant stainless-steel blade, designed to manage a number of tasks relating to surface preparation, including cleaning caulk, scraping away peeling or loose paint, and spreading putty over imperfections. The blade also features a roller cleaner for quick cleanup after a paint project, cutter and bottle opener. Additional functionality includes a nail set end and a two-in-one paint can opener and flathead screw removal piece. Lastly, the pocket-friendly design allows for easy accessibility, with a specially placed clip, and is safe to stow and carry in pockets thanks to its sleek and ergonomic design. The introduction of this new product marks a series of new and updated improvements made to the prep tool portfolio, including the addition of the 10-in-1 and 8-in-1 Multi-Utility Tools. The Folding Tool is available at Sherwin-Williams stores.

Decorative Finishing Line Lifestyle Finishes™ from Golden Paintworks, a division of Golden Artist Colors Inc., is a line of 18 decorative finishing products designed to offer a fresh way to bring the beauty of nature’s textures inside. Contemporary and classic, Lifestyle Finishes offer a range of looks, from luxurious, rich metallic colors to earthy, organic textures and modern, industrial finishes. Each of the 18 products can be used to accomplish a range of looks, depending on the tool used to apply them. All products can be easily tinted for a full spectrum of colors, or used un-tinted for a truly natural look. These new finishes can be accomplished in one or two easy steps. Lifestyle Finishes products will be available for shipping June 2017.



Contractor’s Tool Bag Colo-Matching Solution Datacolor, a Lawrenceville, N.J.-based provider of color management solutions, has launched a professional color-matching device. ColorReaderPRO is intended to provide painters and paint companies with a comprehensive color selection tool that redefines the ease and efficiency of color matching. ColorReaderPRO is a portable, Bluetooth®-connected color selection device that works standalone or connected to the ColorReaderPRO mobile app. The highly accurate color selection device stores up to 10,000 colors. ColorReaderPRO provides leading color-matching performance, allowing painters to match a client’s color inspiration to a corresponding paint color in seconds.

Festool Launches AIRSTREAM Cordless Battery Technology Festool says that its new AIRSTREAM battery technology can reduce charging times by up to 60 percent. The new charging system pulls cooled air through the air intakes of the battery pack and channels airflow through the cells and into the charger while heat from both the battery and charger are exhausted to the side. Though the AIRSTREAM system is composed of a newly designed, air-cooled charger and 18-volt battery line, with up to 6.2 Ah capacity for Festool’s entire line of 18-volt power tools and products, the new chargers can also charge Festool’s existing Li-ion battery packs.  The revamped 18-volt platform includes AIRSTREAM Charger SCA 8 and 5.2 Ah and 6.2 Ah batteries. In addition, a 6 amp charger (TCL 6) and a compact 18-volt battery are also available.

12 June 2017 • APC

Take These 2 Steps To Build Your Reputation Your reputation is everything. It’s what helps you gain repeat business and new customers. After more than 130 years in business, PPG understands that. Using premium products, such as PPG PROLUXE™ Wood Finishes, can do a lot for your reputation — but of course there’s more to it than that. Start with these two vital steps to combine your expertise with PPG’s and help you rise above the competition.

1. Get Specialized Training. Set yourself apart by becoming an expert in particular project types. For example, getting trained as a PPG ProLuxe PerfectPro™ Preferred Contractor will give you the knowledge to properly apply PPG ProLuxe products and achieve the perfect finish homeowners want.

Tap into your local PPG sales rep for additional education and technical support by calling 1-855-219-2083. PPG sales reps often host local training events, and they can pass on a wealth of knowledge accumulated over PPG’s 130+ years of coatings leadership. Call your rep or ask your local paint and stain dealer about upcoming training opportunities from PPG.

2. Promote Your Specialized Knowledge Every Chance You Get. Once you’ve received specialized training, promote it as a competitive advantage. As a PerfectPro Preferred Contractor, you can use the PerfectPro logo on your website, social media pages and other marketing. Plus, you’ll be listed on the PPG ProLuxe website to help potential customers find you.

Be sure to take advantage of other resources from PPG to promote your expertise, including color tools that can help you impress potential customers. Ask your PPG rep for details. Promoting your specialized knowledge can help people see you as a master of your craft — and think of you as the go-to expert for the job.

A product of PPG Architectural Coatings.

Become a Preferred Contractor at

The PPG Logo is a registered trademark of PPG Industries Ohio, Inc. ProLuxe is a trademark of PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc. © 2017 PPG Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Speaking With PDCA

Have a Question? Ask This Painter PDCA Removes the Curtain Around Trade Secrecy n-the-field training is becoming more important than ever in our culture, where people in general have less time to read or pore over technical training information. Contractors in particular want to see what other contractors are doing in their work behind closed doors, where the competition is not normally permitted to tread. Fortunately, more and more contractors are opening up and sharing their methodology with each other. They realize that raising the bar in the ever-changing industry is becoming more important than preserving the boundaries of trade secrecy. To that end, PDCA has partnered with Nick Slavik of Nick Slavik Painting and Restoration in New Prague, Minn., to provide contractors with a candid glimpse into the life and process of a painting business owner. Nick takes his 20-plus years of experience and knowledge and provides viewers with a 30-minute live-feed training on Facebook. In addition to owning Nick Slavik Painting and Restoration, Nick has been a craftsman his whole life and applies a wide range of traditional and modern techniques. Nick has a bachelor’s degree in business, with a double minor in tax accounting and managerial accounting. He has also served two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, is the commander of the Vet-


Ask-A-Painter Live is now available to contractors and decorators everywhere through

14 June 2017 • APC

Ask-A-Painter Live gives contractors, decorators, homeowners and others a chance to bounce their questions off an expert on topics ranging from craftsman tips to reasonable restoration to warranties and more.

erans of Foreign Wars Post 5145, and is a contributing member to his local Historical Society. Ask-A-Painter Live is now available to contractors and decorators everywhere through the PDCA National Facebook Page. Viewers can tune into these live trainings every Friday at noon Central. Viewers can also submit their questions to Nick every Thursday on the PDCA National Facebook page, or they can submit questions during the Friday Facebook trainings. Nick’s topics cover a wide spectrum ranging from craftsman tips to reasonable restoration, warranties, building trust with customers, and much more. This is an invaluable opportunity for contractors to gain insight and knowledge from the years of experience of a skilled tradesman. Go to APC to find out more. Christine O’Connell is the outreach coordinator for PDCA. PDCA provides training and networking to help painting contractors build better businesses.

Nick Slavik of Nick Slavik Painting and Restoration in New Prague, Minn., is sharing his 20-plus years of painting experience with the world via a 30-minute live-feed training on Facebook.

From the Field

Streamlining the “Painter’s Prerogative” How Exterior Painting Builds Better Interior Paint Skills By Scott Burt

hile sprayers and rollers are the fastest way to transfer paint from cans to walls, brushes will always be necessary for the details. You know … corners, edges and lines. I have always said that the true measure of a painter is how they handle a brush. By that I mean not just how painters hold and load a brush, but the choices they make when using a brush on a home. There are lots of little decisions that painters make every day. In my company, we refer to them as “painter’s prerogative.” It is important for painters to know their company expectations when it comes to critical and subjective judgment calls, and they are often points of style. “Painter’s prerogative” suggests that if there are two ways to do something, painters can choose which way they prefer. This is a very real issue on a paint crew because many painters come with the attitude that: “I’ve always done it this way … for 20+ years …” or “When I worked for Acme Painting, we always did it this way …” Imagine a crew of four painters, with two in each camp. You can expect discord out of the gate on the job. If your company handles prerogative items with the attitude of “do it whatever way you are most comfortable,” then you can expect your painters to choose the easiest way. The key is to train your painters through repetition so that comfort zones align with quality standards. You probably aren’t entirely comfortable with your painters choosing your company standards from job to job. You may end up with results that don’t meet your vision, which runs the risk of not fully satisfying your customers’ expectations. Creating clear expectations for subjective details is the only way to build long-term consistency in results in your company.


16 June 2017 • APC

Wrapping the trim on exterior projects presents an opportunity to differentiate your workmanship and build your painters’ brush skills. Photo courtesy of Warline Painting.

In setting standards, you get what you tolerate.


Paint contractors speak a lot about painters coming into the craft with lessthan-acceptable skills. Worse yet, experienced painters can be difficult to train. Regardless of experience level, you can train standards by enforcing simple painter’s prerogatives on points of style. Exterior painting is an area where brush skills come into play on a very large scale. From the painter’s perspective, interior cutting is easier because the situations are smaller. Cut lines can only be as long as a given room. Interiors have many rooms. Exterior painting is open road. Lines can go on for what seems like miles, and much of the work is performed working from extension ladders.

So the myth that exterior painting is easier than interior painting could not be more misguided.


Since I was 13 years old painting with old-timers in Maine, I have always been fascinated by how painting exterior lines the right way can enhance the architectural features of a home. I was taught to handle lines a certain way—the right way. I have done them that way ever since, and taught all of my employees to do it the same way. This has been a lifetime of skill development for me because, as with most things in life, the best way is rarely the easiest way. However, once you master a difficult

From the Field skill, it is in your kit forever. And through exterior scale, repetition and muscle memory, it can happen pretty quickly.


When I look at an exterior from a painting perspective, pretty much all I see is corners, edges and lines. It is possible to see a house as a whole or as a “sum of parts.” For me, both as an estimator and as a painter, it is always a sum of parts. What I have always liked about “whole vs. sum of parts” methodology is that if you can wrap your head around the “sum of parts,” then the whole becomes easier to understand. Without a doubt, the first place that I look when checking out any exterior is where the siding meets the corner boards, casings and frieze boards. How lines are drawn there speaks volumes about the paint craftsmanship present, and also about how the house is defined architecturally. There are two schools, basically. First is the “Face Off” school, which paints the siding first, jamming the paint into the edges of the corner boards and trim, then just facing off the trim … often with a mini-roller for speed. That’s not the school I went to and teach at. As Heidi Nyline of Warline Painting in Vancouver points out, “The worst is when painters budget to face off a home that is properly trim-painted … some homeowners don’t know the difference, and it can seriously downgrade the look of a home.” The proper way, from a craftsmanship standpoint, is to paint each item as what it is. Siding stops at the butt end of the siding board. Trim begins at the edge of the trim boards. They should be painted that way. This is called “wrapping the trim” or “French cut.” Harder? You bet. At least at first. Do a house or two that way, however, and you’ll find the tremendous skill gains that can be made when muscle memory meets incredibly redundant and repetitive motion, in this case, cutting. Nyline prefers this method, stating, “Wrapping adds dimension and impact to the house by popping architectural details with color. It’s also a sign of higherquality workmanship.”


Just as with interior painting, walls are wall and trim is trim. Siding plays the part of the wall paint. Trim should be clearly defined as trim. By taking full advantage of the scope of brush work on exterior paint jobs, you

can facilitate brush skill building in your company by recognizing the proper cut lines. I have hired and fired many painters who simply couldn’t get their heads around making the right cuts. Let’s face it, many painters are deficient on interior cutting, and look for the short cuts on exterior cutting. It is usually not because they are trying to go faster and make your company more money. Often,

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From the Field it is simple laziness or lack of skill. Painters could try to do it right, but choose not to. Your customers can’t always articulate with proper painting vocabulary what they would like to see. But they know it when they see it. You may be thinking that no painters in your area do the full trim wrap. This could be an opportunity to differentiate your workmanship. And if you are thinking that your customers would not be willing to pay for this next level, you might want to think again. Customers are often quite willing to invest a little more in clearly better services for their homes. So I encourage you to use the exterior “trim wrap” concept to help your painters build fluency in brush skills that pay dividends on both interior and exterior jobs. APC Scott Burt is a paint contractor and educator at Prep to Finish. He enjoys communicating with paint contractors and can be reached via

Homeowners can’t always articulate with proper painting vocabulary what they would like to see on their home. But they know a crisp, well-cut trim when they see it. Photo courtesy of Warline Painting.

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18 June 2017 • APC

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Sound Business Management

Wanna Talk Gooder? Avoid These to Become a Better Communicator By Monroe Porter

ost of us are unconscious communicators. Of course there are times when you have to think about what to say, but most of us merely talk. Such talk is based on many factors: how our parents raised us, our personality, our first workplace experiences, our friends and many other factors. Improving your communication skills allows you to be a more effective supervisor, leader, customer service rep and salesperson. Let’s focus on some of the most common misconceptions about communication.


1. YOU CAN CHOOSE TO NOT COMMUNICATE. We are always communicating. Communicating is much more than merely conversing with one another. If you and I have a meeting, and you don’t show up, that’s communication. Your actions speak louder than your words.

2. OPEN COMMUNICATION IS BEST. Yeah, when pigs fly. Try telling everyone you meet today the honest, boldfaced truth, and see how your day goes. When

20 June 2017 • APC

your spouse asks, “Do you think I look fat?” try telling the truth, and see how effective you are. The best answer is merely, “What would make you even ask that question?” When presented with a grenade, it is best to throw it back. Honest communication is not an excuse for stupid communication. Communication should be tactful, helpful and effective.


communication message. The actual tone of a word means much more than the word itself. Body language also sends a very strong message. When you tell your 8-year-old to go to his or her room, he or she may say OK, but the tone and body language may say something totally different. Symbolic communication can also play a role with the message. How you wear your hair, the clothes you wear, which ear you put your earring in all says something about who you are. Dress for Success may have been written in 1975, but many of its messages are true today. People should not judge you by what you look like—but people do judge you by what you look like.

Words are not precise. Each and every one of us has a different interpretation of what we hear. For example, your teenage son’s definition of doing a good job of cleaning up his room might be a little different from your definition of what a good job looks like. When your customer hears that a change order “won’t cost a lot,” they RITIQUING WHAT WAS DONE may be thinking of a totally different number than you are. Be careful of using ONLY MAKES PEOPLE BETTER broad words when communicating to Maybe, but post-project communicaemployees and customers. People have a tion runs the risk of going sideways. Don’t tendency to interpret such words to their “should’ve” and “could’ve” on people. own terms and advantage. Focus on future communications rather than past communications. It is much easier and receptive to talk with workers OMMUNICATION REFERS TO about a project that is about to be done TALKING AND LISTENING than to discuss what was done wrong. A Talking and listening are just part of a construction study found that workers

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Sound Business Management were nine times more likely to be told something bad about what they did on the job rather than something they did right. It is difficult not to comment about something that was done wrong on the job or not how you liked. That is why I suggest you have more pre-job and preproject discussions. The work has not been started so it is a great opportunity to coach people and avoid future problems.


EVERYONE EXACTLY THE SAME. Keep your message the same, but you will be more effective in adapting your style of communication with each and every person. Not everyone hears and interprets information the same. Adaptation is key. A famous football coach once said something along these lines: “Some

people, you need to kick their butt, others kiss their butt and others wipe their butt—the trick is to know who’s who.” Some of your employees were verbally abused by a critical parent, and others are emotionally well-adjusted but hardheaded. The same style may not work in each of these cases. You can change your style without changing your message.

7. ASK “WHY” QUESTIONS TO GET THE FACTS. “Why” questions tend to drive you into the problem, not the solution. Futurefocused questions tend to drive into a solution. “Why were you late?” tends to get numerous excuses. “The baby kept me up last night, traffic was bad, I didn’t feel well this morning.” Instead, try “what”and “how” questions. “You are late. We need you to be here on time. What can we do in the future to ensure you are on time? Send you home without pay? Fire you? Help me understand what to do because what we are doing is not working.”

8. TELL IT LIKE IT IS. People don’t like to be lectured. Remember how your dad told you he walked eight miles to school uphill both ways? You just listened until the lecture was over and did what you were going to do anyway. If people have an attitude issue, asking questions will produce much greater results than lecturing. Hopefully, these tips will help you learn to be a better communicator. Most of us pick up communication practices from our parents. It is startling the day you say something to your own kids and go, “oh no, I sound just like my dad APC or mom.” Monroe Porter is president of PROOF Management Consultants, a company specializing in seminars and business consulting for contractors. He is also the founder of PROSULT Networking Groups, developed to help noncompeting contractors. He can be reached at (804) 267-1688 or [email protected]. For more information, visit

22 June 2017 • APC

Decorative Touch

Super-Size It How to Scale Up a Grid for a Mural or Logo By Victor DeMasi

ainting logos and large graphics is a great add-on, whether as a standalone project or for jobs where you are already on-site. The process can be easily mastered by any skilled individual. First, find the image. Next, transfer it to a grid drawing. Scale the drawing up to the large surface. Finally, pick the color scheme, and then fill in the drawing. I recently did work for a top-end jewelry store moving to Greenwich, Conn. They had secured a site to be vacated Dec.1. The large space was to be immediately decorated for a Christmas party and then, following the party, turned into a renovation site for several months.


The customer wanted me to mural four 8-foot-tall spaces reflecting the town through time. I had 48 hours to complete the murals. They were to be destroyed the day after the party—a 24-hour life span.


The drawing is emphasized with heavy tracing. A smaller scale is used on the dog to capture the subtle detail of its silhouette.

I began with four life-size snow globes, celebrating the holiday spirit of early December. People and pets as silhouettes (Greenwich loves their pets) would occupy the snow globes through various time periods: the colonial period, the 1950s and now. One globe would have a snowball fight. Silhouettes are a popular form of traditional art in Connecticut, so the technique made a historic reference, as did the subject matter. To start the walls, my assistant Irene

Gindera and I compassed out four 6-foot circles. After taping them out, we applied a base coat in flat paint and then sparklefinished the masked areas, lightly sponging a gloss varnish with a dollop of Modern Masters Metallic Flash Copper. This finish dried very quickly, allowing us to begin scaling up. The large compass for the project was an awl clamped to a 5-foot molding with a pencil secured at the following end. This is

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Decorative Touch

A lightly sponged gloss varnish with a dollop of Modern Masters Metallic Flash Copper made a background reminiscent of the shimmering snow shaken in a snow globe.

a setup I’ve found useful many times. The molding or wood used for the compass needs to be rigid. Once the background was completed with the aid of rulers, levels and a large straight edge, we drew the grid on the snow globes. Originally the drawings were made on acetate that had a grid of 2-inch squares. Because the wall grid was 1-foot squares,

26 June 2017 • APC

The artists added the fireplaces, mirrors and carpets in this colonial mural, although the silhouettes were found through an online search.

Examples of masters using drawings with grids go back to the Renaissance. Today, lightboxes and other tools can assist in the process of scaling up.

the enlargement of the drawing was 6:1. I used mechanical pencils and kept all penciling very light. Dark pencil marks that go astray are hard to remove, especially on a light background. The lines used to draw the characters could be slightly painted over to eliminate them, but the grid lines must be removed at the completion of the project. If the grid lines are kept very light, they disappear with the help of a

little warm water. Paint thinner is the next solvent to go to if the water isn’t up to the task. Erasers are not good because they burnish the surface and will leave a faint grid. The drawings can be temporarily taped to the wall, and corresponding squares in the enlarged grid can be penciled in. If areas of the original drawing have a lot of detail or critical lines like hand, foot positioning or profile, an extra

Decorative Touch grid can be added to show closer scrutiny. For example, areas of the drawing can be scaled to 1-inch squares instead of two. When this large drawing was complete, it was painted using a variety of artist brushes and black semi-gloss thinned with Xim brand paint extender.

ADDING IN IMAGERY The silhouettes were obtained mostly from random Google images, as only the outline was necessary. A word of caution, however; some images are protected against copyright infringement. For example, Disney pursues unauthorized use of its characters. Be sure to check the copyright information on your image. I next evaluated the outlined figure to ensure it read the way I wanted. A little time spent enlarging and reducing got the different figures to a compatible size, and then they were traced onto the grid. Alternately, you can also work from your own photos if you can’t find a silhouette that suits you. You can also add your own drawing, as I did in my 1950s and colonial vignettes.

Rather than using the grid approach, this project could also have been completed using an enlarger. You simply place a small image on a light box, and it projects the image onto a wall or screen. I have a Super Prism by Artograph, which is useful. There are two big problems with this approach, however. The box needs complete darkness to achieve any projection of large sizes. And as the projections increase in size, the edges of the projected drawing get increasingly fuzzier and, therefore, hard to trace, especially in a dark room. I could have used an enlarger on this silhouette project by placing a grid on the wall and then projecting the silhouette transparencies onto the grid and adjusting the enlarger to get the desired size. This allows one to mix several different-size drawings. The final grid drawing can be larger than the one I illustrate but still needs to be scaled up onto the final surface. Scaling up grid drawings is a common method for mural and scenery paintings as well, and examples of masters drawing with grids go back to the Renaissance.


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Monarch Painting’s studio was recently repainted, with a scaled-up Monarch butterfly as a memorable way to keep the company front and center in potential customers’ minds.

THE POWER OF A LOGO A great logo is a powerful asset. It attracts attention and stays in peoples’ memories. Monarch Painting’s logo and tagline, “Metamorphosis is Our Business,” connect my decorating activities beautifying homes to the beauty of the monarch butterfly. Studying real butterflies also happens to be my passion, so I didn’t have to search far for logo inspiration. Recently, while painting the exterior of my modest studio, I added a large monarch on the side of the barn. Like all insects, this image is bilaterally symmetrical: a mirror image on both sides of a centerline. The image was transferred to the barn as outlined above, and executed using Benjamin Moore soft gloss exterior paints. The entire project took about six hours. One area of logo painting that keeps delivering is sports logos. Everyone has their favorite, and less than favorite, team (the Boston Red Sox make me sick …). Sports logo images for virtually every team can be found with Google searches. Appropriate images can be transferred to a grid drawing. While colors coming from the internet are usually less than satisfactory, I recently learned that Home Depot has an extensive list of sports team logo colors already keyed in for mixing. Pick your team, and then get the colors mixed. APC Victor DeMasi is the 30-year owner and operator of Monarch Painting in Redding, Conn. He teaches workshops frequently on decorative painting and faux finishing and can be reached at (203) 448-0106 or [email protected]. To view Victor’s work and workshop schedule, visit or www.houzz/pro/victormonarch/ His book, “Designer Faux Finishing,” is available on

Heart of Faux

Bringing Beauty to Brookwood Bayou City Artisans Brighten This Community With a Custom Mural

The IDAL volunteers were able to perform a facelift for much of this building and complete a mural on a 9-by-42-foot wall in a three-day span. By Cindy Howard

s a group of artists, the members in the Bayou City Artisans, the Houston chapter of the International Decorative Artisans League (IDAL), were always hoping to make something beautiful. As a group of people, they were always hoping to do good. Their mission was to combine the two by bringing beauty to Brookwood. The Brookwood Community in Brookshire, Texas, is a private nonprofit, Godcentered community for adults with intellectual and functional disabilities. Providing a sense of independence and skills to help residents move forward in life are both very important to the staff and the citizens. They have a residential program in addition to three-day program locations


30 June 2017 • APC

The IDAL volunteers sought to mimic the flowers, trees and structures that would be part of a true Texas Hill Country vista.

Heart of Faux that employ some 200 citizens in jobs in their enterprises, ranging from horticulture to ceramics, bottling salad dressing to working in the café. Approximately 110 citizens live in the homes on campus, and another 100 live with their families and come to their jobs in their enterprises from 8:30 to 4:00 each day. The citizens earn a paycheck, and gain the self-esteem that comes from having meaningful work. Several of the members in the Bayou City Artisans have family members with developmental disabilities, so helping the Brookwood Community was an easy choice for their philanthropic project.

THE SCOPE OF WORK The horticulture building at Brookwood had an old mural of a rainforest that, once beautiful, had experienced some damage during its long life. Consideration had been given to keeping the mural and doing extensive repairs, but it had been realized that a Texas horticultural theme would be more appropriate for the 378 square feet of wall space. In addition, the trim, doors,

remainder of the walls, and the men’s and women’s restrooms needed fresh coats of paint, and the eager IDAL volunteers were happy to provide the added labor to complete this work. Touring the space was an important first step. The director of Brookwood helped the group of artisans understand how important it was to let business go on as usual within the community while any work was being done. Many aspects had

From left, Heather Davis, Cindy Howard and Dana DeBuck begin chalking out the design for their Texas horticultural-themed mural.

* ®

Glenda Ross-Mosely and Johnda Drennan paint under a bathroom sink, part of the renovation IDAL donated to Brookwood Community.

©ShurTech Brands, LLC 2017/69760




Cindy Howard and her adult son with autism, Stephen, block colors for the mural meant to cheer the staff at Brookwood and adult residents with disabilities.

Left, Karen Sabrsula, the organizer of the project, and right, Michelle Williams stand in front of a wall in the early stages of transformation.

to be taken into consideration: privacy, security, daily routines, etc. With all this in mind, these artists gave of their hearts, time and talent with determination to create a space everyone could enjoy while taking their daily breaks. The next steps were to gather pictures and collage ideas, make sketches, get approvals, collect donated materials, and schedule times to work that were convenient for everyone. The group researched flowers and trees that would be part of a true Texas Hill Country vista, along with other natural elements that would be seen on a pleasant trip down a local dirt road. Bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush wildflowers and oak trees all thrive in this neck of the woods. The rusty

tin roof of the barn, along with the rickety trailer, are a scene common to the area. The facility was only available to the IDAL crew on weekends, but they were able to perform the entire area’s facelift and complete the new mural on the 9-by42-foot wall in a three-day span. Yes, three days! Those southern women had a plan, and they took care of business. Much paint, tape and laughter went into this project. “Sometimes you forget you are giving when you are getting so much in return,” commented one of the Bayou City Artisans who worked on this project. Strengthening friendships, sharing techniques and meeting new artists were all bonuses during the creation of this mural.

A Benjamin Moore store, Heritage Paint of Missouri City, Texas, donated the many colors of base paints used to create the background of the mural and also provided the Advance products for painting the doors and trim. The store also provided the Bayou City Artisans crew with the Aura products for the remainder of the walls and the bathrooms, and some of the rollers, trays and brushes. The walls in the bathrooms and the remainder of walls in the horticultural office area used Mt. Rainier Gray 2129-60. Trim and doors were completed in White Dove OC-17. The mural colors include Paradise View 794, Leprechaun Green 557, Fruity Cocktail 147, Margarita 2026-20 and Mauve Blush 2115-40. Assorted Faux Effects Crème Colors and Mixol tints were used to customize colors in the artwork. APC This column spotlights charitable projects championed by members of the International Decorative Artisans League. Author Cindy Howard is a member of the IDAL board, managing marketing and education, and is co-owner of Decorative & Faux Finishes. Learn more about Howard’s work at

The mural features Benjamin Moore paints, as well as assorted Faux Effects Crème Colors and Mixol tints, used to customize colors in the artwork. 32 June 2017 • APC

Is Your Vehicle Making Sales for You?

By Megan Headley

Tips for Making More Effective Vehicle-Side Marketing

34 June 2017 • APC

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.


n urban vehicle can generate up to 70,000 impressions per day, according to a traffic audit by the Bureau for Media Measurement, while the American Trucking Association has found through surveys that 95 percent of people notice vehicle wraps. In other words, using your vehicle to market your business can have a big impact. With nothing more than a company logo and contact information, you’re likely to pick up a few sales simply by driving around town. Without a doubt, vehicle-side marketing can provide a big bang for relatively few bucks. “You are taking an existing operational asset and leveraging it for lead generation

purposes,” says Brandon Lewis, MBA, founder and mentor-in-chief for the Academy for Professional Painting Contractors. “This should be done with all operational assets and processes where it’s applicable.” “Vehicle marketing is an effective way to complement all your other marketing strategies,” agrees Mark A. DeFrancesco, president of MDF Painting & Power Washing and founder of PainterMarketing “On average, homeowners must see your company name and information at least eight different times before calling you for a quote. By making each of your vehicles act as a billboard, you are effectively speeding up the

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.

process of branding your painting company every single day. This is smart because it only has an upfront cost and no extra residual costs, as you are already driving to jobsites daily.” But how can you turn a few calls into big sales? A good place to start is to ensure that your marketing image is getting the right message across to potential customers. Lewis  finds, “Most people get all ‘wrapped up’ in the look, and go very light on the unique positioning and call(s) to action.” As he explains, “For the most part, you could take every painting vehicle wrap on the road, interchange the company names, websites and numbers, and do no harm to any company in terms of response. The same phenomenon exists online, in the yellow pages, with company sales materials, etc.” By way of example, Lewis provides the usual rundown of what you’re likely to see: • Licensed, bonded, insured. • Quality work. • In business since … • Interior and exterior. • Commercial and residential. All followed by a cliché that may communicate nothing of importance to the potential client. This information is commonplace because it’s necessary, and it works. But

those contractors that push the envelope further may be able to stand out above the pack.

Tips to Improve Vehicle-Side Messaging Before settling on a design, Lewis advises contractors to stop and think about the message they want potential customers to take away about their company. “First, you must use messaging that is meaningful to the customer, messaging that clearly differentiates your company from the ‘typical painting contractor’ in a bold, direct fashion,” he suggests. “Second, so many contractors complain about how hard it is to find qualified painters, yet they devote almost zero marketing assets to solve the problem. It makes little sense to dedicate 100 percent of your vehicle signage to generating demand while using 0 percent of it to expand capacity. Finally, include a call to action and a phone number or URL that can be traced back to the vehicle signage for marketing accountability.” As Lewis puts it, your top goals with vehicle marketing are to communicate four things: 1. What you do. 2. How you are different. 3. Who you are. 4. What the potential client needs to do next.

DeFrancesco offers his insight as well: • Big and bold should be what you do, plain and simple. In this case: PAINTING CONTRACTOR. • Slightly smaller should be a local phone number (do not include 1-800 phone numbers) and your website. • Smallest should be your actual company logo. Lewis seconds the need to avoid 1-800 numbers. “They suppress response, in almost every split test over local numbers in any medium. People are afraid they’ll get impersonal, corporate service or be stuck in a phone tree. Use a local prefix for your phone number,” he advises. These additions can help to set your vehicle apart, DeFrancesco says: • HIC license numbers and BBB A+ accreditations are great to fit on doors.  • Might also add a line for credibility, for example: “Serving Connecticut Since 1987.” To best get your message across, DeFrancesco suggests sticking with a simple design that doesn’t aim to cover every square inch with color and busy copy, as the message can sometimes be lost in the “noise.” Focus, too, on including the basic information, without listing every single service you offer—less is easier to read in traffic and can have potential customers



Color Counts—So Use It Wisely on Your Vehicle calling you to ask about services you might not have thought to list. Keep your designs simple, with a clean logo and only one color, DeFrancesco advises. “Colored vans and a separate stencil color are best, and adding a photo of the business owner and his or her family to the layout can be a nice touch,” he adds. “The most important consideration about appearance is to make sure the graphics support the goal of getting your message read and understood so the potential client takes action,” Lewis says.

Time on the Road for Research Next time you’re on the highway, watch the marketing examples around you. Are you seeing your messaging repeated on every other vehicle on the road? Terms such as “licensed, bonded, insured” or “free estimates” and especially words like “quality,” “experience” and “trusted” have become so overused as to be barely noticeable by consumers anymore, Lewis points out. What about the slogans you see? Do they convey something that gets you thinking or are they “cute” lines that the company mistakenly thinks will become memorable after a glance? Are the graphics eye-catching or overwhelming? Now think about your vehicle. This might be the most effective shot you have to communicate some big points about your company. Make the right investment by creating the right message. APC Megan Headley is the editor of APC Magazine. She can be reached at [email protected].

36 June 2017 • APC

If you’re selling painting services, you can’t overthink your color selection in your logo and marketing materials—including your vehicle-side messaging. “I can state with authority that color can become something of a company brand, and it certainly attracts business,” comments Erick T. Gatcomb, owner of Gatcomb Painting & Design in Hancock, Maine. “We recently restructured our company, which came with a whole new logo and marketing materials—and colors.” Gatcomb recalls his earliest work van, a nondescript white GMC Savana van that would go unnoticed most everywhere. “I needed something a little more, well, recognizable,” he says. He quickly applied the company’s color scheme to the van to relate the vehicle as part of the company equipment. “I have always believed that you had better have a bold personality to use the color red. More so, you had better have a good product to market,” Gatcomb says. “We always used a red/black/white theme for our company, which just screams for attention. The theme never came across as brash, but it did display a certain level of confidence,” Gatcomb finds. Within a few weeks, he found that everyone knew the van, and it solidified an unofficial hold on the color scheme. Gatcomb’s logo isn’t seen on the vehicle pictured here, as he opted for magnetic signs in order to use the vehicles off-duty from time to time. But the color had spoken, Gatcomb found. “One time, one of my guys was at the store in a van that I customized the same way, and he had an older gentleman come up and ask for a business card, as he needed a little painting done. That van had no magnets or decals, nothing to advertise painting of any sort, and the gentleman recognized it solely by the custom paint job,” Gatcomb recounts. What’s more, “That gentleman who ‘needed a little painting done’ turned out to be a recognizable individual who has kept us busy on his Maine estate year after year.”

Painting Contractor Vehicles Critiqued 8 Examples of How Vehicle-Side Marketing Will Get Your Business Noticed hen you travel to or arrive at the job-

Wsite, how is your vehicle working for you? Is it simply holding materials until you need them? Or is it generating new business all on its own? If you haven’t made the investment in vehicle-side marketing, you may be missing out. A study by the American Trucking Association titled “The Visual Impact of Trucks in Traffic” found: • 96 percent of drivers surveyed noticed truck side ads. • 96 percent said fleet graphics had more impact than billboards. • 75 percent of people developed an impression about a company and its products from vehicle-side ads. Meanwhile, a study from 3M notes that a company would need to spend $130,000 in advertising dollars to produce the same effects as those of a $3,500 vehicle wrap. In other words, your vehicle marketing can make a big impact. But how can you be

sure you’re getting the right message across? On the following pages you’ll find eight examples of stellar vehicle-side marketing from painting contractors who submitted images in response to a call for submissions on APC Paint News. We asked three marketing experts familiar with the painting or vehicle wrap industries to offer their insight into how to improve upon these designs. You can put their insight to work for you as you look to launch your own vehicle-side marketing plan to boost your business.

Meet our marketing experts: Brandon Lewis is the founder and mentor-in-chief at the Academy for Professional Painting Contractors, where he teaches owners how to generate an abundance of repeat and referral sales. For a free CD, report and video training series on generating word-ofmouth referrals, visit www.Painters or call (423) 800-0520.

38 June 2017 • APC

Mark A. DeFrancesco is the president of MDF Painting & Power Washing and founder of, a website design and marketing service for painting contractors by painting contractors. Learn more at

Adam Sokoloff is owner and president of Sunrise Signs, a custom wraps and graphic design firm based in West Deptford, N.J. Learn more at

Painting Contractor Vehicles Critiqued

Five Star Painting of Waco “I think what makes our vehicle wrap stand out is that it is bright, but there is not a lot of wording to have to read—less is better.  Also, the lettering is large enough to read. With the paint splashes incorporated, it’s easy to tell we do painting.” –Cindy Praesel, Five Star Painting of Waco • Mark A. DeFrancesco: I don’t see enough to find local contact info but I assume it is further back. • Adam Sokoloff: This wrap says painting! It’s fun, vibrant and eye-catching. • Brandon Lewis: Missing elements: website, phone number, messaging for differentiation, call to action, recruitment messaging. Suggestions: Consider windshield header and tailgate graphics if not present.

Five Star Painting of New Orleans “Simple but effective. I have landed three customers in three months because of my awesome graphics. I think that in the areas of New Orleans, where we concentrate, a too-flashy and ‘loud’ vehicle wrap would tend to make us appear like a chain and more of a fly-by-night operation. With the subdued but professional look we appeal to a more professional clientele.” –Michael “Buck” Dodick, Five Star Painting of New Orleans • Mark A. DeFrancesco: This is great. I love everything about it. They could add the license number and maybe a photo of the owner to the back. • Adam Sokoloff: The name says it all! Nice logo design. Would like to see some of the logo elements being used for accent graphics to help give it some wow factor. • Brandon Lewis: Missing elements: messaging for differentiation, call to action, recruitment messaging. Suggestions: Consider windshield header and tailgate graphics if not present.



Painting Contractor Vehicles Critiqued

Fresh Coat Painting “The medium shade of blue is pleasing to the eyes, the 14-degree slant is attractive, and the logo and block letters are easy to read. Not too busy or wordy. Less is more, my son, Paul, tells me. The web address is too long, I realize, but all the short ones were taken. Credit for the logo goes to my friends at Sign Works. “Vehicle-side markings are vital to gaining new employees as well. A potential employee was crying the blues about being laid off when he saw my van drive by at a stop light. ‘Rait der,’ his brother-in-law responded in his Tennessee twang. The rest is history. Joey’s been with me since 2011.” –Walter Van Tiem of Fresh Coat Painting in Jacksonville, N.C.  • Mark A. DeFrancesco: I love this and would not change a thing. BBB A+ on the side door and license number would be my only advice. • Adam Sokoloff: Clean design layout. Gets the message across to the viewer. The logo and font could use some modernizing. • Brandon Lewis: Missing elements: messaging for differentiation, call to action, recruitment messaging. Suggestions: Consider windshield header and tailgate graphics if not present.

C&D Painting “Our design pretty much speaks for itself. The brush logo is easy for potential customers to spot. Granted, it may just set off a reminder to the person to call a painter, not necessarily us. The trailer logo is about 5 feet tall, so it can be seen from a decent distance away.” –Carly and Dave, C&D Painting of Newburyport, Mass. •Mark A. DeFrancesco: I like the red truck and simplicity of the logo; I would love to see “painting contractor” more prominent so it is the first thing a person identifies when seeing the truck. • Adam Sokoloff: I really like the simplicity of the designs. Perhaps add a tagline and a few services offered to the truck sides. • Brandon Lewis: Missing elements: website, messaging for differentiation, call to action, recruitment messaging. Suggestions: Hard to read at a distance—make it bigger. Use one phone number that goes to a 24-hour answering service. Consider windshield header and tailgate graphics if not present.

40 June 2017 • APC

Painting Contractor Vehicles Critiqued

Paul Hahn Painting LLC “My thoughts were to keep the image simple, so if I park at the far end of a shopping center parking lot, everyone can see it. I’ve always felt that simple and to the point is the best for van lettering. Depending on the speed someone’s traveling, we only have a few seconds to make an impression. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven past a fully wrapped van and couldn't quickly figure out what they do! I’ve also been consistent with our brand look. Every van since 1994 has been lettered exactly the same, and people tell me they ‘see your vans everywhere.’ We’ve never had more than two at a time!” –Paul Hahn, Paul Hahn Painting LLC in Flemington, N.J. • Mark A. DeFrancesco: Perfect; again a personalized photo on the back might improve it. • Adam Sokoloff: Logo does a good job of conveying what the company offers. Could use some color variation in the logo typography. Place a phone number in a band to highlight it. • Brandon Lewis: Missing elements: website, messaging for differentiation, call to action, recruitment messaging. Suggestions: Consider windshield header and tailgate graphics if not present.

Schmidt & Co. Painting “I believe clean and to-the-point lettering is what works best.” –Paul C. Schmidt, owner of Schmidt & Co. Painting in Chicago • Mark A. DeFrancesco: I like all the information. I would probably try to streamline it and remove some and add a personalized photo. • Adam Sokoloff: Home run. Logo demonstrates professionalism. Good use of white space. I would enlarge the logo slightly and thicken the outline to make it pop with the other messaging. • Brandon Lewis: Missing elements: messaging for differentiation, call to action, recruitment messaging. Suggestions: Consider windshield header graphics if not present.



Painting Contractor Vehicles Critiqued

Painting America “Our vans have been a great way to draw attention. People love it! There was a time when we got 10 calls in one day saying ‘I saw your van in the neighborhood.’” –Dave Rushing, owner of Painting America in Hudson, Wis. • Mark A. DeFrancesco: This is my favorite. His photo with his wife should be added to it. Again, a license number and BBB A+ might help. • Adam Sokoloff: Outstanding design. The name and logo tell the story. Easy-to-read information. Simple, but has depth. • Brandon Lewis: Missing elements: messaging for differentiation, call to action, recruitment messaging. Suggestions: Consider windshield header graphics if not present. The slogan is catchy, but does nothing to directly address the concerns of the customer or clearly differentiate the company. Translating its meaning is a challenge. Consider something more direct and in line with the customer’s needs.

Maverick Painting “Our trucks generate tons of business. Our logos are an easily recognized branding campaign. Our design is carried throughout our website, social media, yard signs and printed materials. This makes Maverick Painting easily recognizable and sets us apart from the other painters in town. We have no desire to be one of thousands of businesses with a white truck or van with a paintbrush logo. Sure, our trucks are borderline obnoxious, but it gets attention and makes our phone ring.” –James Waller, owner of Maverick Painting in San Diego • Mark A. DeFrancesco: I love the size of the name and the local number; great focus on supporting troops; too busy for my taste but it’s a nice theme. • Adam Sokoloff: Absolutely an eye-catching design. Very easy to remember the name. While it speaks to creativity, I’m not certain it conveys “painting.” • Brandon Lewis: Missing elements: messaging for differentiation, call to action, recruitment messaging. Suggestions: Consider windshield header graphics if not present.

42 June 2017 • APC

Contractor Spotlight Militello Painting Ambler, PA Many years ago, Eric Stalter began his journey into the painting trade in a round-about way. He grew up on a grain and livestock farm in south central Wisconsin. According to Eric, “It was a place where you were accustomed to risk, like burying money in the ground and hoping it returned as crops.” In high school Eric loved the “hands-on” classes such as shop, art and home economics courses. He earned a BA in Business Administration at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, married after graduation, moved to northeastern Ohio, and began some self-evaluation. Eric worked several 'bottom tier' jobs in order to make ends meet, and one of those jobs was working part-time at a paint store. The paint company focused on numerous training courses which led to product knowledge and best practices for painting. By far, the best form of learning was watching and listening to both the good and bad painting contractors. “While working another full-time job, I worked my way from part-time up to a store manager within the painting company. After I left the company I worked various sales and service jobs but had started to paint part-time as jobs and referrals arose. I started to incorporate the knowledge of products, techniques, paint, and expanding experience into a passion for serving people by offering a valued service. Until this point I ignored the subtle voice of my bride, my desire to work independently, and a passion to work with my hands. The perfect storm stirred and cast me into the direction of starting a new adventure. Thus, Rock Solid Painting Co. LLC was officially born in June of 2014. I started out alone with many accumulated tools, a minivan, 4 weeks of work, and one professional contact (a carpenter). Since the first year we have added two full time employees. We are not only building our residential clientele but have also started to incorporate turning over middle to high-end investment homes. We are building relationships with other businesses/trades/entrepreneurs in order to develop and capture more work we like to keep the ‘good guys’ working. We are continuing to cultivate partnerships in order to expand our collective businesses.” When asked why he joined PDCA, Eric replied: “There were several motivators behind joining the PDCA. First, we were intrigued by the contractor education that was offered through podcasts, webinars, Contractor College, and those professionals that were willing to take calls. Secondly, we thought highly of the legitimacy that this organization adds to painting contractors who join. Thirdly, this helps to set us apart from many other painting contractors. Finally, it helps give me motivation and insight into running my business like a business.”

PDCA provides painting contractors with the cutting-edge training and networking they need to grow their business.

Over 200 online business and technical training videos New podcasts and LIVE training every week offering Q&A with experts Ask-A-Peer network for contractors to problem-solve together Listing on Contractor College Accreditation with promotional materials Icon images courtesy

…and MORE!

The Right Sprayer for the Job 7 Steps to Selecting the Right Airless Paint Sprayer

By Chris Noto

Apainting pros are well aware the most s the saying goes, time is money, and

costly part of any job is labor. Fortunately, paint sprayers dramatically reduce labor costs by enabling you to complete more jobs in less time. Sprayers are three to four times faster than traditional rollers, and for high-production commercial jobs, they can be up to 10 times faster. Clearly, adding a sprayer to your business is a potential game-changer that can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Paint sprayers also provide better and more uniform coverage, meaning your customers will be happier with the results. For all these reasons, a paint sprayer is a solid business investment. It’s critical that you invest in the right one, though. If you’re in the market for a sprayer, here is a step-by-step process that will ensure you choose wisely. 3 Categories, Seven Decisions Paint sprayers come in three main categories: airless, high volume low pressure (HVLP) and air-assisted airless. Generally speaking, airless sprayers can be viewed as substitutes for rollers, while HVLP sprayers can substitute for brushes. Each type of sprayer has its benefits: • Airless sprayers are the best choice for large, fairly flat surfaces like interior and exterior walls, ceilings, barns, water towers or bridges. It’s all about speed. • HVLP sprayers are best for detail work or fine finishing projects like furniture, cabinets, molding, hand rails or gutters. It’s all about precision. • Air-assisted airless sprayers combine the speed of airless with the precision of HVLP. It’s possible to have the best of both worlds.

44 June 2017 • APC

A right-sized sprayer can save you frustration and give you more time to take on additional jobs and enjoy higher profits.

The airless category accounts for about 73 percent of paint sprayer usage in the U.S. and is the type of sprayer used by most contractors. However, there are seven key steps to selecting the right one. Be sure to discuss all seven with your paint equipment dealer before you buy.

Step 1: Forecast your future What kind of work do you do? Whether it’s residential, commercial or industrial, start your search by considering the size of your current and future crew. Make sure you are selecting a sprayer that can meet your needs as your business grows.

the first digit (5) doubled plus 2 indicates the approximate spray pattern. That is, (5 x 2 = 10) + 2, which means you can expect a 10- to 12-inch spray pattern. The second two digits (17) tell you the size of the orifice (opening) in thousandths of an inch. The orifice regulates the volume of paint, so the larger the number, the more paint that will pass through the tip. Be aware, however, that these are moving targets. Because paint is abrasive, the tip’s orifice will get larger over time, which increases flow rates and decreases the fan pattern width. For this reason, it’s smart to buy a paint sprayer that’s 10-20 percent more powerful than the tip you plan to use.

Step 2: Consider the coatings

Step 4: Count the guns

Coating viscosity is a critical factor when it comes to airless sprayers and components. Knowing the viscosity of what you spray will enable you to make a smart purchase. • Light- to medium-viscosity coatings: stain, lacquer, enamel, oil, latex. • Medium- to heavy-viscosity coatings: primers, block filler, elastomeric.

While some residential contractors are well served by sprayers that accommodate only one gun, larger jobs and crews require a different approach. Commercial or industrial contractors may want several crew members siphoning off the same coatings reservoir at one time. This requires multiple guns and a larger sprayer. Count the number of guns you’ll need, and look for a sprayer that can handle the job.

Step 3: Know your tip sizes Generally speaking, smaller spray tips are used for light- to medium-viscosity coatings like stains and lacquers, and larger tips for heavy coatings like latex, top coats and block fillers. The three-digit tip numbering system used by tip manufacturers tells you what you need to know. In the case of a 517 tip,

Step 5: Estimate your volume You’ll also need to estimate your weekly spray volume before making a purchase decision. While requirements vary according to viscosity, here are some general guidelines for common latex paint. Hint: When in doubt, buy a sprayer that’s a step or two above your current and

future volume requirements. An undersized sprayer will cost you much more in frustration, repairs and downtime.

Step 6: Plan for your power source Think carefully about your projects, your jobsites and the power sources that will be available to you. Airless sprayers are available in gas, electric or pneumatic models and some can be converted from electric to gas, giving you more options.

Step 7: Measure the hose length The longer the hose, the larger the sprayer you will need. Remember, your sprayer needs to support the maximum lengths you’re likely to encounter between the unit and the gun. Gravity also enters into the equation if you’re elevating hoses two or more stories. If you need additional guidance on hoses, ask your equipment supplier for some advice. The math is simple. Because paint sprayers reduce the hours spent on each job, you can take on additional jobs and enjoy higher profits. Or, you can retain the same number of jobs and enjoy more free time. Whatever your motivation, a smart investment in sprayer equipment can literally change the game for you, APC your crew and your customers. Chris Noto is the director of professional products at Titan. He has been in the painting business for 26 years in sales, training and product development functions.

Gallons per Week – Latex

Sprayer Size

Gallons per Minute (gpm)

Tip Size


Occasional-use sprayer

Under 1/3 gpm

Capable of a .017” maximum tip size


Entry-level contractor sprayer

Under 1/2 gpm

Capable of a .021” maximum tip size


Midsize contractor sprayer

Over 1/2 gpm

Capable of greater than .023” tip size


Large contractor sprayer

About 1 gpm

Capable of greater than .031” tip size



Product Roundup

Paint Applicators Airless Handheld Sprayers

The Ultra MAX sprayer sprays all architectural coatings, including waterborne, solvent-based and flammable coatings using brushless technology, static shock protection and solvent resistance.

Extra-Long Performance Brushes

Titan™ TR1 High Efficiency Airless Tip

Graco Inc. has introduced what it’s calling its most advanced line of airless handheld sprayers yet: the Graco Ultra and Ultra MAX airless handheld sprayers. The sprayers, available in corded and cordless models, include new features designed to make it easier to spray more in less time with great results. The new RAC X™ FF LP tips with SmartTip™ technology offer the Perfect Airless Finish™, while the ProControl™ II and SmartControl™ technology enable easy motor speed adjustment and advanced pressure control for a smooth professional finish using any architectural coating at any hand speed. The unit uses a DEWALT® XR lithium ion battery system for reliable spray time. The manufacturer claims the Triax™ triple-piston pump on the Ultra and Ultra MAX sprayers delivers more durable and reliable performance than any other airless handheld sprayer, and provides full tip support from size .008 to .016. The ProConnect™ pump replacement system makes it fast and easy to replace the pump on the spot. Lighter components reduce sprayer weight by 15 percent. Finally, the FlexLiner™ bag system allows spraying at any angle, even upside down, and makes project setup through cleanup simple and easy. 46 June 2017 • APC

The Titan™ TR1 High Efficiency Airless (HEA) tip is now available. It sprays coatings at 1,000 psi with 55 percent less overspray, at the same flow and production levels as standard airless tips. The manufacturer states that operating at lower pressures doubles tip life and decreases wear on sprayers.  The TR1 HEA tip features low-pressure technology that can save as much as 35 percent in paint consumption, while delivering more control for the operator. It provides a softer fan pattern and produces feathered edges for a more consistent finish when overlapping spray patterns. And when operating at low pressures, the pump does not work as hard, and the sprayer will spray more gallons of paint before repacking is needed. The TR1 HEA tip is the latest addition to Titan’s line of premium TR1 tips.

Corona Brushes Inc. has added two new models to its popular Performance Chinex® family of professional brushes: the 2½-inch and 3-inch Express™ angular sash series and the 3-inch Atlas™ squareedge wall brush. These new extra-long brushes save painters time and effort by picking up more paint in each load. This requires fewer reloads, allowing for more time on the surface. Less going back to the bucket, and less dipping, means more painting. The Express™ and Atlas™ are both handmade with a full stock of extra-long, custom-formulated 100 percent DuPont Chinex® filament. According to the manufacturer, this means good painting performance with oil and latex paints, especially modern high-viscosity acrylic coatings.

Microfiber Rollers Wooster Micro Plush™ roller covers are designed for achieving fine finishes, especially in challenging applications like those utilizing coatings with low VOCs, deep colors and fast drying times. Wooster

Product Roundup paints and enamels. Because of their ability to achieve spray-like results, Wooster Micro Plush rollers are also a popular choice for applying varnishes to surfaces such as cabinets and doors. This new 5/16-inch nap three-pack of roller covers is recommended for smooth surface applications. Micro Plush rollers are available in 5/16-, 9/16and ¾-inch nap sizes as well as JumboKoter® mini-rollers.

Drywall Finishing Applicator

is expanding its microfiber offering by adding a 9-by 5/16-inch nap roller threepack to its Micro Plush™ line.  Made using a soft white microfiber fabric, Micro Plush rollers deliver a uniform, even finish. The manufacturer suggests that painters who typically use mohair or foam rollers will be pleased with the results Micro Plush achieves with all

48 June 2017 • APC

Based on this applicator, Hyde Group now offers two MudGun™ Drywall Finishing Systems, each designed to help pros and inexperienced users tape and finish drywall faster and easier and achieve a more professional finish. In addition to the applicator, which resembles a caulk gun, The MudGun™ contains two specialized nozzles and an adjustable finishing head that facilitate the process of embedding tape and preparing the drywall surface for sanding and painting. The MudGun™ is available in two models: • For painters who primarily make small repairs, the MudGun™ Small Repairs Kit uses premixed drywall compound tubes, or MudPaks™, that provide a simple and neat alternative to manually digging and applying compound out of a

bucket. In addition to the applicator, nozzles and finishing head, the MudGun™ Small Repairs Kit contains an inside corner-smoothing tool and 6-inch taping knife, creating a complete kit for fast onsite repairs. • For those tackling larger drywall projects, the MudGun™ Pro includes a loading ring that allows you to fill the applicator directly from a 5-gallon bucket. For less-experienced users, its specialized nozzles and adjustable finishing head APC assure a consistently better finish.


We want to hear from you! • Test New Products • Offer Feedback • Win Prizes

APC is looking for painting contractors who are interested in working with manufacturers to improve product quality and customer satisfaction. As a member of APC’s Pro Club, you may be asked to participate in the following ways: • Complete surveys on a variety of topics, from product use to jobsite challenges. • Test new products and provide feedback to manufacturers. • Participate in online focus groups. It’s free, it’s fun, and it improves your industry!

How To Join: 1. Go to 2. Complete a brief survey

That’s It!

Welcome to The Wall. Here you can find cool stuff, including marketing tips, funny customer blunders and projects from APC readers. Got some cool stuff of your own? Just email [email protected]. Don’t forget to check our Facebook page for even more updates on The Wall.

How’s Business? Back in the November/December 2016 issue of APC Magazine, we reported that 84 percent of contractors had reported their 2016 revenue was up (64 percent) or flat (20 percent). An additional 16 percent of our survey respondents reported a downturn. Now that we’re halfway into 2017, we asked our Facebook community if they’re seeing the same overall positive trend in their businesses. “We increase our prices every year and still get so many calls we turn work away. We are booked solid up into September. Before anyone says to raise our prices, trust me, we are not cheap by any means. If you

can’t sell your company, you will have a very hard time raising prices.” –Dave Wenners “I think new blood in the White House has people optimistic about the economy, and they are investing in their properties. Business picked up immediately after the election for me.” –Trina Waller “It’s the opposite here in Florida, and not just in the paint industry. Luckily we personally can stay steady due to so many repeat clients.” –Pamela Adams Join the conversation by following APC on Facebook at paintmag. APC

AD INDEX 3M See our ad on page 2.

Crawford Products See our ad on page 29.

Home Depot See our ad on page 19.

Adrian Steel See our ad on page 26.

Dumond Chemicals (800) 245-1191 [email protected] See our ad on page 3.

MDC Wallcoverings (800) 621-4006 See our ad on page 27.

Sherwin-Williams See our ad on page 5.

Norton Saint Gobain See our ad on page 24.

ShurTech See our ad on page 31.

PDCA (800) 332-7322 See our ad on page 43.

SureFire See our ad on page 37.

AllPro See our ad on page 22. California Paints See our ad on page 15. Color Artist, Inc See our ad on page 28. Corona Brushes (800) 458-3483 [email protected] See our ad on page 33.

Farrow & Ball See our ad on page 23. Frog Tape (877) FROGTAPE See our ad on page 17. Full Circle (866) 675-2401 See our ad on page 18.

ProLuxe 1-866-SIKKENS See our ad on page 13.

PPG See our ad on the back cover.

Trimaco See our ads on pages 9 and 21.

Pratt & Lambert See our ad on page 25.

Wooster See our ad on page 7.



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