Matching the right product to the job is not only good for your customers, it’s great for your bottom line.
“A premium product always pays for itself,” says Dale Busic, owner of CertaPro Painters of Cypress, Texas. “We always offer premium products when the opportunity allows. Rarely do we find any trepidation on price when we explain why.”
Start with a baseline product
For all jobs, Busic starts with a baseline product – ProMar® 200 for interiors, for example – and then recommends upgrades based on each individual job. The conversation is different depending on the customer.
“We start with the customers in mind, not us.”
With residential customers, he says, product upgrades focus on color and the home environment.
“If it’s a challenging color, we recommend Duration Home® or Emerald® Interior Paint,” he says. “if there’s a design element, we suggest a premium paint that dries faster. If we learn there is a family member with a respiratory condition, we recommend upgrading the customer to harmony.”
Commercial criteria may differ
With a commercial customer, the discussion almost always centers on durability, Busic says. If precipitation or moisture is problem, he will automatically include a Resilience® upgrade at no extra charge. For challenging substrates, he recommends an upgrade to Emerald® Exterior Paint from his baseline product, SuperPaint®.
“We have a lot of synthetic stucco, and Emerald works best on that,” he says. “Corbels are another great example. A lot of builders here paint corbels, and we’ve had better success with Emerald. There’s no problem with weathering, it holds color better, and it doesn’t chip or crack.”
Busic also considers the brand position of his commercial customers. In one example, he recently sold a 153-gallon Emerald exterior and interior upgrade to a local Trader Joe’s store.
“In my opinion, Trader Joe’s is a premium grocer offering premium products,” he says. “As their preferred contractor, I recommended using a paint that is commensurate with who they are.”
The ultimate value of upgrading
Steven Foglia is another experienced painting contractor who uses product upgrades to provide better value for his customers.
“Understanding the customer’s needs and matching them to the Sherwin-Williams product line enables us to satisfy the individual needs each project requires,” says Foglia, who started the Illini Paint Company in 1986 in Decatur, Illinois.
“When working with single adult homeowners, we recommend the interior SuperPaint® line,” Foglia says. “For custom homes and for homes with children or grandchildren, we suggest Duration Home® Matte. Its excellent washability is the selling point.”
In the end, helping customers pick the right upgrade doesn’t need to add a lot of cost to the job, and it can definitely boost your bottom line.
“Over the last three years, we’ve had 30 percent-plus growth annually, and we’re expecting that again this year,” Busic says. “Part of our success is that we use premium products.”
He draws an analogy to another service industry.
“If you own a restaurant, and you use dated vegetables and fruit, it won’t be long before your customers don’t come back,” he says. “The same holds true for painters that use substandard products.”
This article was originally published in the Summer 2016 issue of PPC magazine. Story by Mike Starling, PPC Editor.