Technology influences exterior painting experience
With summer coming next weekend, it’s that time of year that many homeowners choose to paint the exterior of their homes even though most are stuck inside. Painting professionals today use technology tools to make estimating and completing jobs easier for everyone. Here’s a look at how some tools improve the experience.
Estimates just a few clicks away
Cory Summerhays ran his own commercial and multi-family painting company, Unforgettable Coatings. As of 2007, its crews took on more residential work.
However, he found that homeowners had different needs than their commercial customers. They wanted a simplified, streamlined experience, and they didn’t seem to care about many details. The idea for a new company, Blue Ape Painting, began to perish.
With Blue Ape, potential customers simply log into a website and create an accurate estimate with just a few clicks. Enter the address and the number of floors in the house. Within seconds, the pricing options based on a three-, five-, and ten-year warranty coating are displayed. The better the coating, the higher the price, of course.
“We found through our research that people don’t have to answer too many questions. That took away our experience, “said Summerhays,” and we thought what if we could make it as easy as ordering a pizza? “
If customers would like additional discussions about the details of the job, Blue Ape is happy to do so too.
Heather Pritt, a Summerlin housewife and mother of three, reached out to Blue Ape through her website and was surprised at how quickly the crews showed up and were ready to leave. Pritt had questions, however.
She needed colors that had been approved by her HOA and hadn’t decided on a color scheme yet. The team helped her with color suggestions, navigated the HOA approval process, and was ready to paint within weeks.
“They were down to the smallest detail. In all honesty, they could have started the next day if I wanted to, but I had to have my questions answered, ”she said.
Software improves the customer experience
For some professionals, estimation tools also help with the customer experience. Brian Cho, general manager of Nevada Painting Co., uses ServiceTitan software to aid in his estimates.
The software is more of a customer service platform that can be used to automatically fill in information about the house and the client once the homeowner first works with the painter. Cho can send warranties electronically to the customer and keep detailed notes on preparation work. The software is great for storing customer-supplied valuation details such as photos and other notes. This came in handy for the many virtual estimates he’d made during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.
“There are a lot of details in our estimates. It removes so much human error and brings so much consistency, ”said Cho. “It’s not even an estimation software, but it’s very clean and professional.”
Color matching technology
There are also apps that customers can use to preview the colors in their homes before they sign the contract. For example, with Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap Visualizer, homeowners can download photos of their homes so they can see the color schemes before buying.
To go a step further, says Rick Watson, Sherwin-Williams’ director of product information and technical services, the company’s Color to Go program offers paint crews quarter-size paint swatches covering up to 75 square feet on the house to aid in that Homeowners measure how the environment and different lighting affect color.
“It helps save time and money by allowing you to really see that color,” said Watson. “You can make sure that this color you are visualizing is exactly what you want it to be.”
Technology in a paint can
It’s easy to focus on the technology tools that touch customers, but Watson also said there is a lot of technology and innovation flowing into paint formulations. Sherwin-Williams recently released Emerald Rain Refresh, a self-cleaning formulation that allows the surface to be easily washed with a pressure washer or hose to keep dust, grime and grime from penetrating the paint and staining over time.
In addition, the company’s FlexTemp coating can also be applied at temperatures up to 120 degrees without the paint thinning, which is common with paints that are applied at extreme temperatures.
Tips on Choosing a Contractor
While technology can improve the experience, there are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a reputable contractor for this exterior paint touch up.
Know your color. If a painting company mentions just one brand, then delve into online research and questions. All brands offer entry opportunities for extremely high-quality offers. Prices per gallon can vary dramatically, Summerhays said, and for good reason. There is a huge difference in the quality of a $ 10 per gallon paint and a $ 60 per gallon paint.
Ask if the contractors’ crews are actually employees. Some companies use subcontractors that they don’t actually employ. “When they have their own staff, they control the training and invest more in the quality of the end product,” said Cho.
Drill down into preparation and application details. They want to know what prep the contractor will do before applying paint, Cho said. Will they wash the house under pressure before painting? How will they deal with broken stucco or damaged areas? Are you going to prime bare wooden surfaces on the reveal? These are all important questions, he says.
Get the guarantee in writing. It doesn’t matter if they email it to you or give you a hard copy, but ask about the warranty and check it out before you sign on the dotted line, Cho emphasized.
Watch out for prices that are too good to be true. Hiring a licensed, bonded contractor provides protection for both consumers and contractors. If prices are too low, you may be dealing with someone who is unlicensed or who may be exchanging lower quality materials for a profit.
“I would definitely say if the price is too good to be true, you should do some homework,” said Cho. “Make sure you have liability and insurance, and get a copy of your insurance certificate and letter of guarantee. … A few hundred dollars isn’t that big of a deal, but if it’s $ 500 or $ 800 or more, they have to make it up somewhere. “
Pay attention to the customer service skills. The company should take care of its reputation, Summerhays said. Problems can arise with any job, but how a contractor reacts to them says a lot about a reputation and a desire to do the right thing.
“A contractor who is dissatisfied when you are dissatisfied – they will take good care of you,” added Summerhays.