Founded in January 2016, Amaran Group LLC specializes in painting, paving and freshening up condo apartment buildings in Miami communities such as Hialeah, Doral, Fontainebleau, Kendall and North Miami Beach. We sat down with owner Aideline Amarán to learn some of the secrets of her success in the multi-family painting segment.
How did you get started in the painting industry?
My dad, Evaristo Amarán, had a small painting company and I started with him at age 18. Together we grew the company, and by 2005 it was one of the largest in Miami. My father always gave me his vote of confidence to make business decisions.
After more than 10 years with my father, I decided to go out on my own. I only had two employees and my first project took 15 days. We had a profit of only $350 because all the equipment we used was rented. Over time, other painters I met over the years left other jobs to come work for me. One of them is my manager, Yoel Valdez, who is my right hand, and who initially used his own car to move our equipment.
What were your biggest obstacles to overcome when you started your own company?
At the beginning, it was very difficult because I was a woman alone in a male-dominated business and I no longer had my father by my side. But I did receive the support of Sherwin-Williams who opened an account with a line of credit that was helpful as my company was getting started.1 Today I recommend Sherwin-Williams to all my clients, not only because they believed in me, but because the paint and the service they offer are excellent.
Do you have any go-to coatings?
I am in love with Resilience® Exterior Acrylic Latex. It is a little more expensive, but I love the finish, the coverage and, above all, how fast it dries.
I like Loxon® primers, which have a lot of texture and cover well. When the walls have many problems, I use Loxon® Conditioner. It is very important for me to use good products. I prefer not to do the job if I have to use low quality products. Good is good and, for me, Sherwin-Williams is the best.
What type of work are you doing?
We do 10 to 15 multi-family condominium projects per year. I cannot compete with small projects because my insurance bills are very high for liability, workers compensation, inland marine, equipment, etc. Many clients go for the cheapest options not knowing if the contractors have the necessary licenses or insurance. I try to offer a package to the clients: paint the buildings, redo the pavement and paint the parking lots. And we offer them credit, although sometimes I only charge materials because I want to make sure that, in the end, my work looks beautiful and everything is complete.
How has the pandemic affected your company?
There have been tough months because 90 percent of our work was for condominium associations. So my approach has changed a little, and I’m looking more at government projects. I am already getting a lot of emails about a lot of projects that they are doing to open up business, so I think I’m going to be okay with that.
What has been the most challenging thing about being a female painting contractor?
Dealing with employees. For some it is difficult to receive orders from a woman. That is why I have created an environment where they do not see me as their boss but as the person who helps them to earn a paycheck every week for their families. Since everyone knows everyone in Miami, they say “I want to go to work with Amaran,” because they know that their pay here will be safe.
What is the best business advice you have ever received?
Years ago, I gave an estimate to a Colombian gentleman in Brickell who told me: “You will hate me for what I am going to say but you will remember it all your life. This four-page estimate does not give me the confidence to do the job with you.” Since that day I focus a lot on the estimates, and on learning more about new equipment and the industry in general. In addition to this, I work hard to make sure that I have all the necessary certifications and insurance coverage, so the client can see that they are protected and that we are ready for any problem.
What advice would you give to someone starting their own painting company?
Well, my recommendation to any person that is trying to start a business is that you always have to be honest with your clients. Always, always tell the truth. And, as they say, whatever you’re going to do, do what you love. Do it with all your heart. Because in my particular case, I stopped working with my father, and I went to law school, because I always wanted to be an attorney. After my first semester, I thought: this is not me. I want nothing to do with this. I love construction. I love what I do, and I’m going to go back to being a contractor. I think those are the first steps – love what you do, and always be honest, tell the truth.
In conclusion, do you think painting can be a good professional option for a woman?
It’s a difficult question because of everything I’ve had to go through. But if there is a woman interested in construction, in painting, I would tell her not to be afraid. You can achieve anything you set out to do, and I am an example of that. I never really thought that I would fall in love so much with what I do. If I die tomorrow, I will die happy for all that I have done, proud of all that I have achieved in life, of all the people I have helped. Despite being only 37 years old, I feel like a fulfilled woman.
Pro-to-Pro Contractor Podcast
Aideline Amarán was one of of four profesional painting contractors interviewed for the Pro-to-Pro Contractor Podcast series in 2020. Listen to the podcasts through your favorite provider including Castos, Player FM, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. You can also watch all of the episodes in the PPC magazine archive.
1For more details and benefits of zero-percent interest credit PRO Accounts, visit the Sherwin-Williams contractor website.
Read more about what pro painters have discovered on the job in the PPC magazine What I’ve Learned archive.