|If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you've probably noticed that lately Warline has started posting photos of substandard paint jobs.
The sad truth is that its not that hard to find a bad paint job. In fact, it's pretty easy.
Low standards and subpar work are common place in the painting industry and that isn't good for anyone. It's not good for painters, paint companies, builders, designers and especially not homeowners.
But when I talk to homeowners about what they should expect as far as quality and service when they hire a painter, most people really don't have any idea of what is okay and what is not okay.
Unprofessional service, shoddy work, paint spills, misses, drips and subsequent call backs to fix things have become the accepted norm homeowners have come to expect and endure when they hire a painter. It's exhausting and frustrating for the homeowner and often ends up with them settling for a job that is just good enough - simply to get the painter out of their home and life.
Sure, it means a company like Warline, who's committed to customer service and best practices can stand out. But is that really much of an accomplishment? Does it really change anything?
It's like owning a nice house. Any good realtor will tell you, owning the nicest house on a block full of run down shacks does more for your ego than it does for your bank account. Better is to have a beautiful home in a neighbourhood full of equally well-maintained houses, where everyone cares about their home and their community.
I want to be a part of that kind of painting community.
So how does it happen?
The team at Prep to Finish, based in Vermont, have decided to start at the beginning with the guys just entering the painting world. Prep to Finish train new painters. They teach them prep, how to use new innovative equipment like the Festool Planex, what the proper product is for a job and how to apply it the right way. They are also helping established paint contractors improve their techniques and current work systems. Prep to Finish is developing best practices painters who are all raising the bar and committed to maintaining painting as a respected trade. That's great for our industry and something I hope will catch on across North America.
For my part I am tackling the "bad painter". I can't force these guys to get better. But I can make homeowners smarter.
As soon as a homeowner has the knowledge of what the difference is between facing off and wrapping around trims on exteriors, they are going to ask about it. Once a homeowner knows what should be included in a written painting estimate, they will start throwing out the ones that don't include enough information and when a homeowner has the confidence in knowing what substandard work looks like, they won't be willing to write a cheque until the work is done properly.
The end result? Those guys out there who have been cutting corners, taking advantage of homeowners and doing lousy work are going to have to simply step up or step out.
I am going to keep calling out the lousy paint jobs I see. I am going to keep educating homeowners on how to hire a painter and get a positive experience and a great paint job. I'm going to keep pointing out the difference between good painters and bad ones.
So if you are one of those bad painters or painting companies - you've been given notice. The next time a homeowner asks you some tough questions when you are doing an estimate, don't be surprised. It's the way it's going to be from now on.