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

Monday, September 4, 2017

Resurfacing your acoustic ceiling tiles

Save money and resurface your ceiling tiles

Why replace them when you can make them better?

Everyone has seen them whether in a residential setting or a commercial ones, the dirty water stained ceiling tiles, they are put in place to have access above the ceiling to pipes wires and more.
But once they stain or get dirty they are horrendous looking.

Usually you would just replace the bad ones with new, what usually happens is you don't have enough and you end up having many different types of tiles in the ceiling.

What if I told you you can resurface them (apply a coating) at generally a third of the replacement cost while not effecting the acoustics benefits of them, or bridging them (gluing track to tile)
and giving it a fire rating? 

Yes this service we now offer and very little down time to your business if any at all.
all work can be done off hours and with a quick return to service. All speakers, vents can also be coated at the same time.

Here is a recent project we just completed in one day.

 This project was done on short notice in a school with a one day time frame, it took about 10 gallons of product and one painter to accomplish this.
If you would like more information check out our ceiling restoration page  or contact us for a free consultation at 484-821-7112 or email us.

The HGTV customer

The HGTV customer

How tv has made estimates and work difficult.

Everyone seems to watch all the how to and fix it shows flip this flip that.  They portray these easy and quick rehabs and renovations that make it seem like it can be done in a day with no disruption to your home.
What they fail to show is the difficulties throughout the projects, the mistakes, the long days.

What these idealistic shows have done is make a real renovation or repainting project difficult by giving homeowners a false sense of knowledge on their end and expectations that can not possibly be met with a normal budget.

We go through this all the time on estimates, with the homeowner that wants consultation work for free on the 15 different ideas they have from trim to specialty finishes they would never be able to afford under normal circumstances to how long a project will take or how it should be done.

Here is a video I just produced this weekend that can explain this a bit more.

When you realize these are ideal situations, produced and overly managed under budgets that the normal person cannot afford you will understand it is a show, yes some great ideas but I watch shows about $150,000 cars too, it doesn't mean I am going out to buy one.
When you need a real, truthful consultation give me a call I Would be glad to come out and take a look.