Video content: How to Work with Architects

The Worst Thing to Do When Working with Architects

Before joining the family painting business, Gina Koert of Shamrock Painting studied to be an architect, so she has a unique perspective on the sometimes challenging relationship between architects and painting contractors.

We asked the Denver-based contractor for her advice on how to develop a better working relationship with architects.

What NOT to do

The worst thing you can do, Koert says, is to challenge an architect or their expertise.

“I run into this time and time again, where an architect absolutely wants something based on a design feature or something that they saw that isn’t realistic or is just not cost effective,” she says.

If you respond with a flat “No, I can’t do that,” it could upset the architect and their client, she says.

Instead, try saying something like: “We can’t necessarily do that. We can try, but here’s why it might fail – and here’s a better option.”

Ideas and information, not roadblocks

In other words, frame your response on being a partner who can help them solve problems. Leverage your experience and the expertise that comes from a deep knowledge of how your favorite products perform.

Another smart tactic

Bring in your Sherwin-Williams sales rep, who can act as a third party to answer any additional questions the architect might have. The important thing is to provide the information they need in any way you can, and avoid unnecessary confrontation.

After all, there are only so many in-demand architects in your city, so it’s likely you’ll encounter them again on a future job.

“If you burn that bridge and upset them one time, saying, ‘We can’t do something,’ they’re going to probably remember that next time,” Koert says. “And they do have a say with the client or the GC. You know: ‘Hey this contractor wasn’t very willing to follow the spec or offer suggestions.’ So that’s the worst thing you could do, because it probably won’t be forgotten.”

Gina Koert was interviewed for the Pro on the Go series by Mike Starling, PPC Editor. Watch more videos in our Pro On the Go series on the Sherwin-Williams contractor website.