Leveling Up: How Sharp, Clean Lines Can Boost Your Bottom Line

In this article, we learn how the simple act of switching tools has helped one midwestern painting company build on its success.

Testing tape to get the best results

Luke Jarrel has spent his entire career as a professional painter in the Cleveland metro area and, over the years, he has seen all sides of the industry. He apprenticed with a smaller residential shop right out of high school, then spent a decade in the field with a larger commercial painting operation, all the while taking on smaller residential jobs on the side.

Eventually, word began to spread about the caliber of his work, and Jarrell suddenly found himself in demand with an influx of his own customers. That led him to founding All Touch Painting & Property Services, LLC in 2014, which has enjoyed a steadily growing residential and commercial client base ever since.

Key to All Touch Painting’s success has been assembling a team of 10 core painters with a willingness to learn and a mindset for productivity. But Jarrel has learned there’s another critical part of the equation: tools that help his painters work faster and ensure consistently high-quality work, whether they’re painting interior and exterior walls or trim and kitchen cabinets. That led him to testing out different painter’s tapes.

Looking for performance

“We looked for durability in different working conditions – sometimes tapes don’t want to perform correctly in weather changes – and tapes that would work on inconsistent surfaces.” Jarrel says. “I went through a couple different lines of tapes looking for one that was the right fit for us.”

He eventually landed on a tape that hit the market in 2019: FrogTape® Pro Grade.

FrogTape® Multi-Surface (green) and Delicate Surface (yellow) painter’s tapes have long been known among professional painters and do-it-yourselfers alike as premium tapes for top-quality work. FrogTape Pro Grade, which is blue, was added to the FrogTape family as a tool geared specifically for paint pros. It combines traditional blue painter’s tape with patented PaintBlock® Technology that has made other FrogTape products number one with pros for creating sharp lines with no paint bleed. And because Pro Grade is packaged in contractor multi-packs, it offers a cost effectiveness that’s even better for the bottom line. It’s FrogTape quality that’s priced for the pro.

“Before investigating and using FrogTape, I always sort of thought of it as a tool only for DIYers and homeowners,” Jarrel says. “Once I got my hands on FrogTape Pro Grade, it really started to change our company. The lines got cleaner, and it our made our projects more consistent. It’s more user-friendly than other blue tapes we used in the past, and now it’s the only blue tape we use for inside or outside of houses.”

At the heart of Pro Grade’s performance is the PaintBlock Technology – a super-absorbent polymer that reacts with the water in latex paint and instantly gels to form a micro-barrier that seals the edges of the tape, preventing paint bleed and creating clean, crisp paint lines. It also helps prevent the need to circle back on a job for time-consuming touchups.

Finding efficiencies

Jarrel’s painters appreciate FrogTape Pro Grade not just for the quality of work it helps them produce, but also for the speed it affords them.

“Everybody knows that time is money, so our guys are all about speed,” Jarrel explains. “Sometimes we get into a hurry and we peel tape off the roll quickly, and it breaks. The first thing that impressed me with Pro Grade is that it easily comes off the roll and doesn’t easily tear when you don’t want it to, like some of the blue tapes we’ve used in the past. With baseboards, I like to do one piece of tape—just roll it out and knife it down, rather than tear off multiple pieces. Other tapes tend to curve, bend or accidentally tear.”

Before switching to Pro Grade, Jarrel had a system with other blue tapes to help ensure consistency: After painting trim, he would tape it off, paint over the tape with the trim paint to seal the tape edges before cutting in with the wall color. It was painstaking and time consuming, but he could rest assured the quality that reflected his business was up to snuff.

“With Pro Grade, I don’t have to add that extra step,” Jarrel says. “I’ve saved a ton of money by being able to skip a step and still get the crisp line I want. We’ve saved hours upon hours on jobs, so it’s saved me a ton of money.”

While some industry veterans may still view tape as an unnecessary tool in their workflow, more and more pros are coming around to the fact that a pro-caliber tape not only helps even the most steady-handed painters achieve sharper lines, but also saves time at various steps in the process.

“We want to grow,” Jarrel says of All Touch Painting’s future. “We need the right people and the right products. And if we have those things together, we’re going to continue to grow our business.”

Story by Patti LaPorte, director of product marketing, painter’s tapes, at Shurtape Technologies, LLC, makers of FrogTape brand painter’s tape. Photography courtesy Shurtape.