Saturday, December 30, 2017

Free Touch Ups For Life

News Flash

Amato Painting now offers free touch ups for life on all full residential interior painting projects.

What does this mean to you? Once per year, we are reserving January and February to come out for up to one hour and do minor touch ups of the work we have done.
Areas such as trim, walls can easily be touched up with the remaining paint left from the original project.

It also a great time to get some other things done.
Amato painting continues to be a leader in offering extra value to our clients throughout the Lehigh Valley and beyond.

Details available 484-821-7112 or at

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Paint It Forward

We were thrilled to call our 2017 Paint It Forward winner today.
Thanks to a Sherwin Williams sponsorship and the generosity of our staff we were able to give a $3000 paint job to Peaceable Kingdom , a facility that is a nonprofit shelter for animals.
Animals for us are dear to our heart as Ryan himself has adopted two dogs from the local shelters and have become a huge part of his family.
We cannot thank everyone enough in supporting this cause and we cannot wait to do it again next year.
Stay tuned for before and afters of this project.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

How to easily paint kitchen cabinets you will love

Painting kitchen cabinets don't have to be a thing you only dream about or a scary painting project that you have been scared to do or either your husband or wife claims all the paint may fall off or chip off.

Under normal circumstances, this is like any other painting project assuming you take the time to prepare them correctly. There are many different types of cabinet doors so there are variables. In my painting life, we have only had one paint failure, it was due to a cleaner that wasn't able to be removed from the doors that the homeowner didn't tell anyone they were using before painting started. So a contamination of the surface, even with that we were able to fix them better than before.

Step 1 Preparing The Surface

When getting ready to prepare the surface your goal is to create an acceptable surface for paint to adhere, this is the most important step and one not to take lightly.
We will assume we are doing a standard kitchen cabinet painting job.
We would wash the surface first using an all-purpose cleaner, one without oils, tsp is a good cleaner to use here. we do not want to introduce other contaminants.

We also want to wash first rather than sand because if we sand first we may sand any dirt or oils directly into the cabinet which would not be good for adhesion. Once cleaned we let dry and use a very fine sandpaper to lightly scuff the surface. We hear a lot from clients that it doesn't look like anything was done. Remember we are scuffing not stripping the surface. We are not being aggressive here. A light scuff will create a surface that is ready to accept an adhesion primer.

Step 2 Primer

This is where you will get differences in opinions and where you may need a professional to do this project for you. We prefer an oil based primer for this task. An oil based primer will seal, bond and accept the top coats the best. Sealing out contaminants that may be left, stains, tannins from wood.
Now we may not use this on each situation, sometimes we prefer an water based or shellac based primer.

Step 3 To Spray Or Roll

We have done a lot of cabinets and one question we get all the time is do we spray or roll and the answer is yes.
We go by a case by case basis on our cabinet painting and it depends on the time frame, budget, types of paints we are using and expectations of the client.
In our experience the differences are slight and brushing and rolling can accomplish a close finish as compared to spraying vs all the masking, covering and mess associated with spraying.
You will see very minor brush marks with some products, they are minimal and almost nonexistent

Step 4 The Paint

Here is another professional choice and you may get different answers. There are so many great products out right now. What we want is something that dries hard, doesn't yellow, holds color and sheen, can be fully scrubbed and is durable.
Typically we will go to a pre-catalyzed epoxy or two great products, one from Benjamin Moore and one from PPG. Your doing a very important project, don't skimp out on a cheap paint

Step 5 The Process

Ok we're ready to paint after the prep is done we are primed were ready to apply two coats to the cabinets. So once done you will have three total coats protecting the cabinets.
We remove the door handles and doors, the doors will be painted in another location such as the garage, a shop to make more room for the other work inside.
Typically one coat a day will be done depending on temperature, conditions, humidity. It is possible some days to do multiple coats. On most jobs, there will be one master painter applying the finishes, sometimes two. The other painters are helping assist. Most of the jobs this is a two painter job. Putting more manpower on a cabinet job is not recommended. You want one or two hands touching your cabinets to make sure the finish remains constant

What To Expect

You can expect a great job with an even finish if it is something you take on yourself keep in mind you may see brush marks, look for runs, lap marks or misses.
Once done you will have a very durable finish but not one you may never have to touch up or that cannot be chipped if someone bangs into it just like your current cabinets can be scratched paint is simply a coating.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Expectations are the key ingredient

Expectations are the key ingredient when hiring a contractor or painter.

When your hiring a painting contractor letting them know your expectation for your project is very important.

Think of it this way, when you go out to dinner do you not tell the waiter or waitress exactly what you want to do you simply say I'm hungry bring food?

You would never think of doing that even for a $10 meal so why would you do this for a job that could possibly cost you thousands of dollars? It makes no sense.

Don't be afraid to let them know you expect a lot of work in prep or no you would like to save money and you're only concerned with changing colors.

Here is a video I just did explaining this.

Moving to our new location

We have been lucky enough to move to another location.
We have moved to Bethlehem,Pa to service our clients better and have more room for all of our equipment and staff.
None of this is possible without our great painters, staff, and clients.
Please check out our new location in this short video tour.

Friday, December 1, 2017

What you can expect on your painting project


Expectations are the number one reason for complaints, unhappiness and also at the same time satisfaction on any project, painting or other. 

A painting project involves much more than calling up, having an estimate and someone shows up to paint your home. many things go into preparing and knowing what to expect on your painting project.

From choosing colors, sheens, knowing the date the project will start and an estimated time of completion. We see missed or unknown expectations as the number one issue for any customer complaints and it is not always the customers or the painter's fault, there is a share of the blame.

Here are a few missed expectations:
  1. Start of the project: This missed expectation may have never been told to the estimator if you have a deadline that needs to be met it needs to be expressed. With so many projects going on many things can affect that start date from, weather (even if your job is interior) Any rain will push back exterior jobs and also pushing back all the other projects behind it. Other jobs taking longer before yours, this is out of anyone's control and will push yours back.
  2. Completion of the project: This is an unknown, there are so many variables that go into a project from paint and spackle drying, paint not covering, sickness, car trouble etc. Finish dates are variable.
  3. Prep of the surface. One of the top issues, did you explain your expectations to the estimator and did they explain what will and not be done? An old wall will not look like a new wall, have the correct expectations and you will be much happier, nothing is perfect in life
  4. The number of painters on the project. Unless we are talking about commercial painting the number of painters on one project does not necessarily mean a faster job, you can only put so many painters in one room, there is a process that needs to be followed. It amazes me each time a client will tell us we need more painters with no knowledge of the painting industry.
These are just a few of the expectations that may be missed.

Here are some tips to have a great project.
  • Be home for your estimate
  • Have everyone who will have any critique at the estimate
  • Express all of your expectations to your estimator, it may be were not a good fit for each other or we cannot deliver what you may need
  • Know that everything will not be perfect. Painting is an art and will have variables, old walls will not be new, wavy walls will not equal a clear straight cut line. 
  • Spend the money on top of the line paint and materials 
  • The lowest price may be the highest once a project is complete having to go back and fix it, change orders, additional work.
Expectations are so important on any project, think of it this way if you tell your mechanic to just go in and fix anything and they hand you a bill for a huge amount of money without speaking to you even though you said go ahead with anything, what type of argument and dissatisfaction will you have ?

Dealing with clients who are irrational

Dealing with "that" client

When I started my own business after about a few months I realized a hard lesson.
Not everyone respects the other person or has the same values as I do or our employees do.

This was a hard lesson at first and made me question many things, were our systems wrong? Did we do something or not do something we were supposed to do? Was our work just not great on some jobs? What broke down?

I went back and adjusted our systems, policies, checklists only to find we would still have some issues with only a few jobs but those issues would seem like the end of the world even though they were in the grand scheme of things small.

So what is the problem? I speak to many other businesses small and large and they all have the same issues whether they show on the outside or not. One company shared some horrible reviews and emails that are nowhere to be seen on their website or Google, I find that as a cost of business they have budgeted in dealing with these reviews and tough customers.

Their approach was to just manage the bad ones because they know their systems are tight, some customers there is no system in the world that will put a stop to the complaining.

We have a very tight system where the office will call at the start of the job, a few days in and at completion even while the painters and project manager are on site doing the same and still we have clients attempt to go directly around them to get to me. Although I care about each and every job it is just impossible for me to manage a job site especially when we have very qualified people in place to do this. When I hire someone to work around my home, I trust that they hired the correct staff to handle my project, if something would happen would follow THEIR correct chain of command, not the one I believe is right.

We recently had a client who interfered on a very delicate epoxy floor job, he felt he could manage the project, dictate to the painters how to apply and wanted to help every step of the way, all the while leaving emails and voicemails on how upsetting this was to him. There was a material issue which was a small inconvenience but one that we corrected without any question along with the manufacturer of that material. This still was not good enough and he became verbally abusive via email and phone calls and to quote "this has been the worst thing that has happened in my life"
Now if this has been the worst thing that has happened he should thank god for that. Comparing a paint issue to other serious things that could happen in someone's life makes us shake our heads.

One other issue we have is clients simply do not read their contract and I am not speaking about any fine print, we are talking about the bold scope of work, what will be done and not done. This is listed many times through the process, during a walk through before a project starts and available every step of the way.

Even when an issue may pop up and we explain this process some people, usually the same type of irrational person will push back from any of this and expect the painters to do anything they need to do regardless of how much it costs the company to do it and not charge them a dime for it.

This me attitude is the worst thing about being a business owner, we want nothing else than to give an awesome job and put a smile on our clients face, but when we meet these people who knock that smile off even before we walk through the door it brings the office, painters, and supervisors down and they want nothing more than to finish these jobs and move on. We also add these clients to our do not work for list. I should charge other companies for this list it would save a ton of time and money for them. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

It costs how much to paint my room?

You want to paint your bedroom and have no idea what it may cost.

Painting costs vary greatly and there is no wonder some people think a professional painting companies prices may be high. 

When your competition is someone with no insurance, employees and working out of the back of their station wagon or car those prices are not real and will greatly be less than a professional painting company.

What goes into pricing that bedroom? Staff at the office who answers the phones returns your calls and does all of the paperwork such as billing, color selections and sends out information regarding your project. Picking up your materials at the paint store, training of the painters who work for them.
Rent and equipment to keep ahead of the ever-changing paint coatings.

Then the actual cost of the job, workers, supervisor and delivery driver. All of these costs will be reflected in the price for painting your bedroom. Sure you could hire that handyman or the other guy who is a family friend but there is no telling the risk you may be taking with your home.

Painting is a skill, passed down from generation to generation or one that is learned and taught, when something may go wrong like a paint failure will the other painter know how to handle it or will they disappear or make things worse.

A typical room above let's say is 15x15 with 9 ft ceilings. In a painters world that is 504 sq ft of wall space. Painters measure based on the wall space. If they were doing the floor or ceiling 15x15 would be the sq ft. So in paint alone assuming a mid-level paint you need two gallons to paint these walls at $40 a gallon, so that's $80 in the paint, a roller cover is about $8 and a roll of tape $6. Don't forget the plastic $10 and spackle $8. Assuming a professional company has brushes, roller handles and more your costs end here. So your total of materials is about $112 and that's before any labor is added.
We would paint these bedroom walls for about $400, so your total is around $500 to do the walls.

This includes no trim, no ceiling, you can see it takes a lot to put a room together and an estimate and then produce the project to completion. A good company will do touch ups before leaving the residence eliminating any need for a return trip. A lot goes into a project, more so than anyone thinks about and those costs must be put into the job itself or a company would go out of business in no time

Friday, November 24, 2017

What goes into a commercial paint job.

What goes into a typical large painting job

Blood sweat and tears sometimes

Commercial painting can be a cutthroat business but one that is rewarding when a project is running correctly by the general contractor, the other trades, and our own team.

Should one of those areas slip it creates a cascade of aggravation throughout the whole project, however when all is going great it's like watching a synchronized dance and it is wonderful to watch a large group of trades come together to complete a job.

Let's discuss a typical project. It all starts with a bid invite or rfp  (request for proposal)
They can come to you in many ways, from repeat customers, lists you pay for, your paint store etc.
Once you receive that it's time to determine if a project is right for your team, you should not take every project that comes your way for many reasons.

Once you go over the rfp the estimating team gets to work, there may or may not be a site visit, typically we bid off of blueprints only, never seeing a project until the day we start.
We scour over the blueprints using an estimating program that we can accurately measure all surfaces.

Once we have all of that information and numbers we send it for approval and to put a dollar value on it. We submit it wither via our proposal or an online portal for the general contractor. Some projects you may be bidding to 4-5 different contractors. It's nice to develop a relationship with one and become their preferred painter.

Once you submit your bids it may be months or even a year before you hear anything. Once you're awarded a project is where the work begins. From submittals of all paints and materials used to contracts, insurance and planning the project. It now goes to operations where they will begin putting the plan together.

Once we get a start date we mobilize all of our equipment and do a walkthrough, here is where the project is made or not. If you get a project manager onsite who cannot manage a job site you're all in big trouble. We have been on projects where all of the trades had to come together and run a project in spite of the person who should really be doing it.

As the job is going you will get feedback good and bad and at completion a punch list of all the touch-ups needed, We recommend noting every conversation, email and taking photos as you go because they will come up later on most projects. Be prepared and you may be able to have a smooth commercial painting project.

Yes we make mistakes but guess what?

"Everyone is going to make a mistake and those who tell you they are perfect are not telling you the truth" Ryan Amato

When we arrive at a job site we all have great intentions and there is nothing more the painters want to do than please their clients trust me.

Painters all share one thing in common, they love to look back at the end of a project and see a happy customer smiling. This will make any painter proud and believe me painters have and take great pride in their work.

So when there is a mistake, a spill or something simply doesn't work out this can be devastating to the pride of the painter not to mention the customer sometimes may take a small mistake and blow it way out of proportion. We understand to you this may seem like a horrible thing and the world may be crumbling.

Here is where a good company and great painters step up. They take control of the situation and bring solutions to the table and fix whatever small issue may be happening or something that is bothering a customer.

We sometimes look at each other in the office when we get frantic calls from clients screaming and yelling for an issue that will take an hour to correct. We aren't running away and a great company will correct any issue even when it isn't their fault.

So any company you hire, I always ask if they back their work, the review I want to hear or see is yes they made a mistake but guess what? They corrected it right away.

I had a black top company seal my driveway and when I came home it was sprayed all over the siding of my home, I tried everything I could to get it off with no luck. I emailed that night, didn't receive a response but when I came home the next day it was cleaned up. That is customer service and I would recommend them to anyone and certainly use them again EVEN though they made a mistake.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Why you should be cautious when hiring a subcontractor.

When you call a company to come out and give you an estimate whether a painter, carpenter or other you typically meet someone from that company as you would expect but what if once the job starts a totally different company shows up to do your project? Plus you weren't told.

Me I would be upset, I made a connection with the person who came out to give me an estimate I had been dealing with their office the whole time and now I have a whole new company who I never met, do not know my expectations and their whole agenda is to hurry up because they need to go fast to make their money.

Why do companies use subcontractors in the first place?

  • Cheap labor
  • No liability
  • They do not do that type of work
  • No taxes paid (payroll taxes)
  • No workers compensation
Some companies this is their whole business model, there is no way to monitor quality because if they really are a subcontractor they can't have any say in the work, schedule or when and how the job is being done or they are not a true subcontractor in the first place which most likely is the case.

One other very important issue is workers compensation, guess who is on the hook if someone gets hurt and you find out yes the company you hired has it but the subcontractor doesn't carry it and should have been. You're opening yourself up to liability with your home and insurance.

If a company is going to use a subcontractor (and some may be good) it must be written in your contract. 
Watch yourself when your hiring a contractor and make them be upfront, you will see in the future this will be a key area the IRS will target and many contractors will be put out of business or at the least owe a ton of back payroll taxes.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Behind the scenes of a painting estimate

Have you ever wondered what is involved with a painting estimate?

There is more involved than just showing up at the door

Let's go over a typical estimate from start to finish.

We all get excited when the phone call comes in, the client may have searched online, got a referral or saw the painters on another job.
However they reached us we take it very seriously and pride ourselves on knowing someone will answer the phone, we return calls and emails in a timely fashion.

Someone will answer that call when it comes in and spends 10-15 minutes with you gathering information, name, address, and type of work you're looking to have done.

This is also a great time for us to ask even more questions and get a sense if we're a good fit for each other before the estimate is even scheduled, we will ask questions such as have you used a professional painter before, do you have other painting coming out to estimate this work and timeline to name a few.

Some people are taken aback by this but would you rather waste your time after someone comes out to estimate it just to find out we do not do that type of work, or the job is not our specialty or the time frames just don't match up?

After this phone call we will schedule this estimate and discuss the phone call within the office and prepare to come out, we will gather any literature needed for your project, add this to our schedules and create notifications on our end to make sure we are aware it is coming.

A few days before the estimate we will send out a few emails explaining how the estimate will go and tips on how to make the most of it, so we're already into about an hour spent on your potential estimate.

The morning of the estimate I will gather my notebook and materials and make sure I am either early or on time.

We will walk the project together, letting you explain exactly what you expect and want to make sure we can offer this. After walking through with you I will walk through again on my own measuring and planning. At this time I will know if I can offer a price on the spot or it may require more time in the office to write it up.

Let's say we needed more time, I will head back to the office, sit down and put all my measurements together into a spreadsheet, once we have all of this done I will have a firm number to send over but we have to enter all of this and write up the proposal so even more time is spent on the estimate, we are typically into 2.5 hours now spent on one estimate we may or may not win.

Now comes the tough part, we send the estimate over and typically you have four types of people, the ones who give you a yes or no right away, the ones who need time to "think" and the ones who hide and do not return calls or email.

As you can see to do just one estimate can take about three hours whether we win or lose it, now some may be less and some maybe longer. This is why it is very important the person deciding is home at the estimate to not waste any one's time

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Preparing for winter

Winter is on the way:

For the painting business, this normally means one thing a slowdown, layoffs, scrambling for work etc.

Typically after the holidays painting may be the last thing anyone is thinking about, they had family over during the holidays they are paying off bills and simply regrouping.

For the painting company they should be preparing for this all summer and fall by marketing, contacting clients.

The theme of this blog is not marketing however it is how do we determine who continues to work?
This may seem like a tough decision but the whole summer and fall is an audition for this.
We track production of their jobs, return trips to correct their work, days they called off, refusal of overtime.

All of these things play a role is deciding when things slow down who will continue to work, without having routine employee reviews that superstar painter may not know his jobs have been underperforming or he is considered difficult to work with or the office cringes when we here his or her name.

Use this time to make your team stronger, remove troublemakers and it is also a great time to find painters that may be unhappy somewhere else but would be a great fit within your company.
It is not the time to lay low and let the winter pass by. It is the best time to find new painters, develop new systems and make your business grow.

Which brand of paint to use?

So you decided to paint your home and picked out your colors only to find out there are 5-10 different paints you can use from EACH company

Whether it is Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, Behr or something else there so many choices sometimes it can seem impossible to choose not to mention each contractor has their own favorites and each store may give you different opinions

So what do you do? I am going to speak about our company solely here. When we suggest a paint to use it is after speaking to the homeowner for quite some time during their estimate, knowing what they expect and most important what is the budget for this project.

Each company makes at least one product we may use and we select based on the what the surface is, what results have we been getting from those products, there may be some jobs we use every different manufacturer on the project due to results we have gotten on other projects.

Some paints may cover better but not all and it also depends on what colors and bases are used. Some may flow better or go farther while some are better on wood while others are better on gypsum (sheetrock).

We have no set answer when someone asks "which paint should we use?" That is variable and can have many answers, it is an investigation to determine all of those factors I mentioned above.
Do your homework, read reviews from people who have actually used it, what a homeowner may use is not necessarily what a contractor may use.

One thing is for certain, don't cheap out when buying paint, spend the extra money if that top of the line paint performs for the application you need it for, it may last longer and really be less expensive in the long run.

Here are a few of our favorite paints currently. (and this changes often)

  • Cabinets: PPG Breakthrough, great adhesion, and nice finish
  • Commercial Walls: Sherwin Williams Pro Mar 200, price point
  • Residential Walls: Depends, Benjamin Moore Regal or Sherwin Williams Super Paint
  • Metal Surfaces: MAcro Epoxy from Sherwin Williams if we're speaking about commercial 
  • Ceilings: Here is one area to go cheaper, a sheen is not what your looking for here so we want something high in clay for coverage: Pro Mar 200 again flat 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Top Emerging Company

Ryan Amato Painting has been named as a 2017 finalist for Emerging business of the year by Lehigh Valley Business
The Business of the Year awards recognizes the Greater Lehigh Valley's most dynamic businesses and business leaders who share a commitment to professional excellence, business growth, and the community.
Finalists will be recognized and the winner in each category will be announced live during an awards dinner on December 5, 2017. Finalists and winners will also be highlighted in the Business of the Year event publication that will be featured in the December 11th edition of Lehigh Valley Business.
"We are honored to again be named by Lehigh Valley Business, we cannot thank our clients and staff enough"
Ryan Amato

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

You will not ruin my day

A typical day in the life of a painting company:

A normal day in our office comes with many emotions and they are affected by the people we come across each day.

This could be a typical impatient general contractor, an awesome residential customer calling to give praise or one that is irrational and demanding but what we cannot do is let any of them change how our day goes.

Their emotions are not necessarily ours and letting them change how we act or feel should never happen.

So how do we do this? I will be honest sometimes this is tough but we stay grounded by knowing we have done our best in everything we do, appreciating what is around us whether that is a co-worker who is going above and beyond, our families or any number of things to be grateful for.

Who are the best people I come across? They are real people who appreciate honesty whether that is upsetting or not and understand the work it takes to produce a quality job and is thankful for someone helping them out.

When I come across these people I always make a note in their estimate folder so we all know this one is a gem and we do everything we can for them and more because of people like this travel together and guaranteed they have more friends and family who they can refer you to who have the same personality.

Now on the other hand if we have a difficult, unreasonable and demanding client the same may be said of their friends because if they act like this to us most likely they act like that in all aspects of their lives.

Don't take these people's actions and attitudes personal, in our office, we keep a list of them and reflect back upon them once in awhile, they don't even know they are treating people badly most of the time.

Forget about them and move on, remember the great ones and cultivate those relationships

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Why it is impossible to compare estimates.

Why it is almost impossible to compare estimates.

Comparing estimates seems to be the thing to do, we all do it, get three estimates put them side by side and look at the pricing but when I tell you how impossible that is you may think and look at it another way.

The three estimates you received, if you took those three contractors and had them in the same room at the same time they still would come back with totally different ways to do the job, maybe using different materials, different applications. different workforces and for sure different overhead. 

The most important difference and one we aim for is a totally different experience. You all have called around to contractors, how many call you back? or take forever to call back or never do?

How many keep you updated on the process, help choose colors, train their staff and have a ton of resources behind them to help make sure your job goes well even when something goes wrong?

If they do show up for the estimate how long does it take to get the estimate back to you? For us it is the same day or next.

Do they have one person dedicated to making sure your project goes well and your totally satisfied? We do.

I am asking you to forget the norm and throw away price shopping for a second.
Yes, the price is important for everyone but if it costs a bit more for the satisfaction of knowing you have no worries or responsibilities and can be assured no matter what you will be happy isn't that worth it?

If you had an issue with someone calling you back or showing up on time for your estimate what happens once the painting project starts?

You will always find someone cheaper but at what expense to your home or project?


Sunday, October 8, 2017

How to paint your kitchen cabinets

So you have finally decided to paint the kitchen cabinets.
Most likely this after you found out how much it is to replace them or reface them.
Painting cabinets is ALL about the preparation work you do before you even open a can of paint.
This is a process and one not to be taken lightly or you could have a total failure of adhesion and just a mess down the road that will cost a lot more than spending the time doing it right the first time.

You should research the company you're going to use, have they done this before, will they be spraying or rolling or a combination of both, what products will they be using and how many coats will you be receiving? The number of coats is important for build-up up of mills (thickness of paint) and a ton more important than painting a wall.

What warranty comes along with this work? Do you know what to expect and understand it is still a paint coating and not indestructible?

This is the time to use the best paint you can get, not try to save $10 on a lower grade of paint. cabinets are used each day and take a beating, you want that coating to be hard, washable and last.
One great thing about painting them is they can be touched up when needed. Touching up doesn't mean you have a bad paint job at all, you have to expect heavy used areas or areas that rub together will wear quicker than others. If they are hit the paint may chip just as the cabinet may dent or scratch even without paint on it.

Here is a video I did explaining this process, should you have any questions please let us know, we would love to help paint your cabinets

Friday, September 29, 2017

What it costs to hire a professional painting contractor

What it costs to hire a professional painting contractor

When you call to make that first estimate you may have no idea what the costs will be
We are referring to reputable, licensed, insured with workman's compensation and highly trained painters here.
A typical days work for a painter could normally cost between $500-750 dollars depending on what is being done and the difficulty and risk involved but for this blog let's assume we're referring to a simple bedroom, here is a cost breakdown on a typical 10x12 bedroom and what to expect using three colors, one for the ceiling, one for trim and one for walls

The breakdown of costs

  • Materials, tape, plastic, roller covers, let's assume that is it and it costs about $35
  • Paint, you will need one gallon for the ceiling with two coats, 2 gallons for the walls and one gallon for the trim with baseboards, a few doors, and 2 window sills, using a quality mid grade paint figure $50 a gallon so $200 total
  • You're already at $235 of materials and the painter hasn't stepped on site yet
  • This room we would bill at a one-day rate of about $500
  • So your total for this room would be around $750
  • This includes the painters, insurance, taxes, fuel, overhead, and profit. 
  • When you break it down the painting company may make $225 if they are lucky
  • So when the customer starts to lower or negotiate all of that is coming from the profit of the company to train, get new equipment and benefits for the painters

A typical painting project

This is a typical scenario and yes you will certainly find lower prices and higher ones but this is a good one to go off of, again the difficulty and preparation will change this price
If you use this as guide you won't be surprised when the quotes start coming in, anything too low I would certainly question as the difference in price will be made upon the quality of your job for sure.

How success makes it tough sometimes

Running a "larger" painting company has its ups and downs and that is a story for another time but at the top of this list is how many clients, salespeople and others assume I am the person to speak to no matter what the subject may be.

Whether a job issue, a color selection, a new product they want me to buy, some marketing thing or their dog is sick and they can't work today.
When I don't answer these issues sometimes it may come off as I don't care or the matter isn't important enough. That is far from the case but look at it like this when you go to any other store or restaurant they have put people in place to take care of any need that may arise.

I worked very hard to get us into the position that I could start to bring in other personnel to handle most of these matters so I could step back and grow and manage the business, to be involved in every day to day matter would take away from the ultimate goal. That doesn't mean in any way your projector question is not important only that we have trained someone to specifically handle these requests.

I knew long ago to stick with what you do best and for me that is estimating and marketing, not worrying about the job site daily issues or a truck broke down. These issues are handled by our production and shop team, trust me the truck will get fixed and if not they will learn the lesson as we hold everyone accountable. They do not typically make the same mistakes twice.

So when someone calls the office and asks for Ryan, I have strict policy on taking calls, I am very focused and protective of my time, we only have so many hours in the day people so use it wisely, me being interrupted on something I am not that great on dealing with may take me away from a super opportunity or something personal I need to attend to.

On another blog I will explain how I manage my daily tasks, listen up as it will free you from stress and anxiety, you may ruffle some
 feathers but it's your life, enjoy it!

How to work hard

This may sound crazy to you if you're a hard worker but we have found when hiring not everyone wants to work hard or earn their success.
I was always taught to work your butt off for everything you get, if you work hard usually it comes to you, sometimes it won't but that doesn't mean give up and roll over

Work your butt off

Working hard shows for me the first day you start, we can see it by the way you go from place to place, how you complete tasks, how you interact with other people, slackers usually hang out with slackers so when we fins a start usually he is surrounded by other stars and they are a great source of inspiration and other employees.

The people I and we do not get along with are those that skate by each day doing only enough to keep under the radar and not be noticed, but with our company, we track everything so that shows very quick unless another motivated worker simply calls and tell us "this guy is no good"

Work for it

I do think working hard can be taught but must be done early in life, we are not normally going to take someone who slacks and turn them into a superstar so when we're looking for potential painters we are looking at past jobs, how they present themselves, do they stand up and shake hands when someone walks into a room.

We want to be surrounded by awesome people, people who lift us up and bring something to the table and that goes for customers too, if your complaining and grumpy each day we do not need to work for you or be around, we can move on to ones that lift us up and will be awesome clients who bring
other awesome clients.

In the newspaper today.

We used to watch a
show called “Extreme Home Makeover,” in which a crew of carpenters and painters and electricians and decorators would swarm over the house of some deserving family and remake it into something incredible.
The family would be sent off to Disney or somewhere during the work and would return for the big reveal, which was always a lump-throat extravaganza that m
ade you realize a reality show could, in fact, be a force for good.
Recipients of this largesse, chosen from nominations, usually were beset with some burden that made you wonder at their fortitude. Soldiers disabled in war, widows, and widowers caring for many children, youngsters with hereditary illnesses — all had their homes transformed into dream palaces designed to ease their lives.
Ten years ago, a California company that had taken part in the show, Allbright Painting, decided to create its own charitable project — Paint It Forward, in which deserving families or nonprofit agencies are treated to a free paint job.

Amato’s reason for doing so is simple enough and quite encouraging.
“I just like that feeling you get from helping people,” he said. “Whether that means just holding the door for someone, or other little things.”
When he hires at the company, which currently employs 25, he seeks people with the same outlook.

The strategy of asking for philosophical credentials rather than professional ones may be unorthodox, but it has never led Amato to grief. The company has received a ton of best business awards over the years.
Amato heard about Paint It Forward through online interactions on business chat boards.
“The painting community kind of all know each other,” he said. “Probably about two years ago I saw something about it. I had always wanted to do something like that. I go on a lot of estimates for people who want to help people out, and I often want to say ‘We’ll do this for free.’ ”
Too many jobs like that would put a bit of a dent in the bottom line, of course, but Amato figured once a year would work just fine. Besides, the Sherwin-Williams store in Easton is supporting the effort by donating the materials.
Amato does commercial and residential work, so nominations — which are limited to Northampton County — can include individuals and nonprofit agencies.
Nominations must be submitted before Dec. 1 on the company’s Paint It Forward page,
The page contains a form for contact information and a summary of why the nominee should be chosen.
“It doesn’t have to be any specific reason,” Amato said. “It could be anyone down on their luck, having a health issue, or a nonprofit helping people.”
The winner will be chosen Dec. 15. More information is available at

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

It's always nice to be in a magazine

I was flipping through the recent American Painting Contractor Magazine and there was my name contributing to an article about apprentices and trainees.

I have always felt after going through an apprenticeship program myself this is key to growing a business and at the same time giving back to the trade while enabling young people to have a trade that can support themselves and their families.

Any business you may be in, take the time to train new people, you may get through to someone and change their lives or someone around them and as they grow and learn can also teach others to do the same.

On the business end of it, it is great to bring in fresh new people that give a shot of energy to your company, without them we would have no growth at all.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

What happens at a painting estimate

What happens at a painting estimate

What a typical estimate for us looks like

OK, so you decided you need a room, a few rooms or the whole house painted so now what? 
You can ask your friends who they have used, check Facebook or the other social media sites or like most of us search for a painter online.

You find a few painting companies and call them up, most won't answer and the ones that have a voicemail will either call back, never call back or take days or weeks to call back, remember this initial first call is a good indicator how you will be treated the whole time,

So you called us and first you will speak to either Tracy or Tanya who will get all of your contact information and ask some very important questions such as time frame, have you used a professional painting company before and what is your budget, these questions are super important as it will tell us if we can offer you what you're looking for and if we're a good fit for each other. Once they have all of this information they will set up a mutually good time for your estimate.

The day before your estimate they will send over some basic information on what to expect, the time we will arrive and also confirm this appointment is still good. It is important that whoever is making the decision will be onsite, so many expectations can be missed if this person or persons are not all at the estimate.

When I am on the way that day should I be one minute late we will call to notify you, my track record is awesome and I prefer to be early but sometimes things happen out of our control? When I arrive I will greet you and hand you a business card and ask you to show me and explain exactly what you would like done, when and by what means.

After we walk through I will go back to the beginning and measure each surface if needed and write all of this down in a clear and concise manner. Once I have all the measurements we will go back over the project, talk about paint choices, colors, accent walls and preparation of surfaces. By this time I have a pretty clear idea of what this project will take, sometimes I can offer a price right on the spot and this is preferred as we can speak about the budget at this time too. If not I will take it back to the office and in most cases email it over within a day or two.

Once we email it over Tanya or Tracy will confirm you received it and discuss moving forward at this time. We like to discuss the budget at this time to see if we need to adjust the scope of work to meet any budget issues, once we have agreed on a proposal, it is as easy as signing it, we get an instant notification you have accepted and we can begin the process on our end.

So trust me this an easy process at that, no hard pressure, when we give you a price it is the real price, we won't call back the next day giving a discount to sign now, our prices are real and we back it up , what we say is what we do.

Why you should love bad feedback

Sometimes bad feedback is a good thing

We all want each and every project we do to be perfect but that isn't real life.

So you have been on a job, you were excited to get started, you set everything up, all the painters show up on time, paint is delivered and you get going, everything is going smoothly for the most part and then something goes bad. You spill paint, you scratch something, you break something. The office doesn;t get right back to someone, you missed a spot, they think you need more painters than are onsite(different blog for another time) you get the point almost anything can and may happen at any time. 

Some of these are accidents and there isn't anything you can do about them, others are missed expectations either from the customers end because they never shared them, think they heard something else or the estimator didn't relay this information to the painter or the painter just simply didn't follow through.

So your great job you were going to be profitable on no has an angry customer and one that can make everyone miserable for the remainder of the job if not addressed right away or one that has everyone walking on eggshells and rushing to get done, or worse yet you have the customer who says nothing, you have no idea they are upset and they hir you with a bad review with your painters and office thinking everything was great.

This happens all the time and it knocks the wind out of everyone each time, trust me the painters and staff want nothing more than to make people happy from the customer to their supervisors to themselves, if you're in the painting industry you are a people pleaser for the most part and any bad feedback cab send us into a dark hole.

But don;t crawl in that hole, sometimes yes it may be a customer that no matter what you do nothing will make them happy, for people like this, smile and get the job done and move on, learn how to pre-qualify your leads better and learn a lesson but for the issues that are real where you missed satisfaction step back and thank the customer for bringing these issues up and use it to train yourself, your crew and staff in the office.

It is a magical moment and gift that customer gave you by telling you what is wrong in their mind!
They are letting you know how to get better, imagine if everyone did this around you it would be a daily chance to make things better for the next time and next customers and better yet win that damn client back by your service and gain new work from them and force them to refer you to other people, it has happened, we have had just the worst clients, most difficult people and in the end they thank us and refer their friends because we listened, got better and as it may have turned out they weren't really being difficult we just weren't listening and we were running scared of disappointment and negative feedback.

Again use this as a gift handed to you to make yourself and your company better.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Realistic Expectations On Home Shows

Home Shows

I love home shows but they have made some jobs hard

We all love to watch the home shows and the miraculous makeovers that they show and done in no time at all but what they fail to show is all the work going on in the background, the actual time it takes and any of the mistakes that happened along the way.

Remember these are television shows meant to entertain, in the real world on a job site or a residence sometimes mistakes happen, work is disrupted or delayed, it rains or things just do not go as planned. I wish each job could go just like a television show but it just won't happen.

On a normal job, there is pre-planning after the estimate, time spent picking up materials and paint, delivering all of this to the site, walkthroughs, preparation of the surfaces and multiple coats applied.
Hopefully, if it is an exterior paint job it doesn't rain, get too cold, or the humidity isn't too high. After all of that, there are still chances something may not go as planned. 

If life was like a television show we would all drive expensive cars and live in mansions but in the real world, we work for everything we get.

So the reason this has made some jobs tough is it has given some clients the unreachable expectations they see on these shows, from the timeframes of work being done to the perfection they perceive to see on them. Nothing is as great as it seems up close and neither would any of these shows.

Enjoy the process of your project and have realistic expectations, get to know who is working on your project, say hello and get to meet some great people.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Paint sheens and how to choose

Paint sheen and how to choose

Choosing paint sheen can be confusing but it doesn't have to be

So your ready to paint your home and you picked out the best color and know what brand your getting and than they ask you what sheen would you like to use and you look like a deer in the headlights. No one ever explained them and who cares what sheen we use, the color is what we want.


This is the most important decision you can make, the  sheen is what makes it sometimes washable or not, easy to touch up or not and will show imperfections or not.
We made this list to help you choose the perfect sheen depending on the situation, lighting, application difficulty and use of space will all effect the choice. Your estimator or office staff can certainly help assist in this decision.

We would like to thank you for the opportunity of earning your business.  Amato Painting, LLC would like to help you pick the correct sheen for your project. Please review our suggestions below:
1.    Flat:
a.    Look:  Non-reflective
b.    Qualities:  Hides imperfections, absorbs light, hard to clean, easy touch up
c.    Best Use:  Low traffic areas, interior walls and ceilings
2.    Matte:
a.    Look:  low luster but with an angular sheen
b.    Qualities:  Hides minor imperfections, absorbs light, low stain resistance, easier to clean
c.    Best Use:  Medium traffic areas (bedrooms), interior walls
3.    Eggshell:
a.       Look:  Flat finish with little luster. Soft velvet like appearance
b.      Qualities:  cover wall imperfections, resists some dirt and grime , may not touch  up as easy as other sheens
c.       Best Use:  Moderate traffic areas (Living room, dining room)

4.    Satin:
a.      Look:  pearl like look
b.      Qualities:  easy to clean, can be used inside and outside, resists mildew, dirt and stains. Will show any imperfections on your walls
c.       Best Use: high traffic areas, and areas that exposure to some moisture (kitchen)
5.    Semi-Gloss:
a.      Look: radiant sheen, reflects light
b.      Qualities: easy to clean, resists mildew, moisture and wear, can be used inside and outside. Hard to touch up
c.       Best Use: high traffic and moisture prone areas (bathrooms, kitchens)
6.    Gloss:
a.      Look: Smooth, high shine finish, glass like finish
b.      Qualities:  very easy to clean, no touch up and shows every imperfection
c.       Best Use: surfaces that are frequently cleaned, window trim, cabinets, doors

Please contact us with any questions or concerns.
Warm Regards, Amato Painting - 484-821-7112