I find this statistic unbelievable! The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics found that companies with fewer than 100 employees provided only 12 minutes of manager training every six months. Organizations with 100-500 employees provided just six.
The following statistic is even more proof that ongoing training is essential for employee development and the growth of a company. A long-term research project commissioned by Middlesex University for Work Based Learning found that from a 4,300 workers sample, 74% felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities.
“We have an innate desire to endlessly learn, grow, and develop. We want to become more than what we already are. Once we yield to this inclination for continuous and never-ending improvement, we lead a life of endless accomplishments and satisfaction,” said Chuck Gallozzi, founder and leader of the Positive Thinkers Group in Toronto.
The lesson here: invest in retaining and developing your present employees. After all, the cost of retaining them is much less than the cost of replacing them. Help employees expand their knowledge by offering more training options. Offer them the opportunity to move up in the company to a better position and a better salary.
Why Invest in Continuous Employee Training and Development?
Throughout my 37 years of preaching Customer Service, I have found many organizations ignore continuous training session for employees as they feel they are expensive and employees miss out on their work time while attending these sessions. What they fail to understand are the benefits of these continuous training sessions and how they contribute to the organization overall. Benefits of conducting these programs are far greater and longer-lasting. Let’s take a look:
• Continuous Training takes care of weak links. It helps to reduce weak links and ensure the same mistakes are not repeated.
• Continuous Training increases employee satisfaction. It shows employees that they are valued and helps them move up the learning curve and work harder. They will know that their training can take them into positions with better growth opportunities and/or better pay within the organization.
• It boosts employee performance: it empowers employees, gives them confidence, and keeps them up to date on new developments. This confidence pushes them to perform better and think of new ideas to excel.
• Continuous Training should be done on your time. That way your employees will realize that you value them enough to invest in them.
• Continuous Training helps you stay ahead of the competition. Make sure your staff is constantly advancing and you will continue to move forward and be more competitive in the marketplace. Standing still can kill your business.
I always recommend that organizations produce a training and development plan for all employees. Training and development are broadly defined as those activities aimed at raising the standards of employee practice and thus lifting the quality of the employee’s and customer’s experiences. The aim is to empower all employees to carry out their roles to the highest standards, and deliver high quality services to customers every day and every time.
Spending money on something that pays off in profit should not be a sticking point for a business!
In my travels around the world I have noticed that increasingly, high performing organizations today are recognizing the need to use best training and development practices to enhance their competitive advantage. Take a look at companies such as Amazon, Costco, Metro Bank UK, and others. They look at training and development as an essential tool of their business and choose to value the potential of their people and grow them. The studies I have looked at have highlighted the connection between a well-designed training program and the bottom line of the business. Your image is influenced by the extent and quality of staff training and development. That means it HAS to be continuous to achieve your goals. Regular training is well worth the investment—building up the skills within your business will effectively improve your company’s bottom line.
John Tschohl is is founder and president of the Service Quality Institute in Minneapolis, MN. He just released the 10th Edition of Achieving Excellence Through Customer Service. John’s monthly strategic newsletter is available online at no charge.
May 15th was my mother’s 80th Birthday. It’s a milestone birthday to be sure, but Mom was just not interested in celebrating it. She loves life and nature, always telling me she is a country girl at heart, but she hates heat and humidity…I mean REALLY HATES IT, and she gets plenty of that here in the St. Louis area. Midwest summers are not for the faint of heart, and Mom has been “stuck” living here as she recovers from various ailments, and recovers well enough so that we (her children…me and my two sisters) can meet her demand to get her back to the home she loves in Durango, CO.
If Mom can fend for herself back in Colorado, we see no reason she should not be able to enjoy her life as she wants to, on her terms. However, if she is still in need of constant care and help for minor tasks, that throws a wrench into the mix. It’s hard decisions like these that keep me up at night.
Often, there will be situations at your store that require you to make a hard decision. Do you bring in a new paint line? Do you hire that summer help you need? Do you upgrade your POS system now or wait until the end of the year? Should you act on some of the more recent trends you are seeing in competitor’s stores, or simply maintain what you have been doing in your store? We can’t answer those questions for you, just like Mom’s doctors can’t tell her to stay here or move back to the mountains. You have got to weigh the pros and cons of each situation.
Knee-jerk reactions are almost never a good method for problem solving. The summer months are certainly some of your best selling months, but they can also be transformative months for your business. If you wait until the slower months or when your business has a lull in activity to implement changes, then you have probably waited too long to act. Strike while the fire is hot, or as Mom would say, “strike while the fire is as hot as a St. Louis summer!”
Last month, I pointed out some of the fantastic products and companies we saw at NHS in Las Vegas. There were definitely products that will generate sales in your stores; perhaps some of these products can replace items that may not be selling very well. Those were all items and products we saw on the actual show floor. What we didn’t discuss much was everything else that happens at NHS. Every year at this major event, there are daily meetings and discussions for store owners just like you. Virtually everything that is discussed is done so in a way that clearly outlines the benefits for the independent retailer.
When making your plans to come to NHS next May, be sure to scout the NHS website and our pages for the lineup of guest speakers and roundtable discussions. I promise that you will learn something that will benefit your business directly, or even to benefit yourself. You can learn about best practices and the latest trends in store design and layout that will generate more foot traffic or make your customers’ shopping experience the best it can be. Learn about communicating better with your customers, and how social media can open a whole new selling venue for you. Learn from the best in the biz so you can be the best in the biz!
It will make those difficult decisions that much easier.
Gardner-Gibson, Inc. has redesigned its website to serve as a hub for its different brands in the building materials category. The parent company currently operates four distinct brands: Gardner®, Black Jack®, APOC® and Gardner Asphalt Supply®. Now each of these brands enjoys a separate website, all of which are featured and linked from the new Gardner-Gibson site at www.gardner-gibson.com.
The site is also a place to learn more about the company’s history, news, career opportunities, and community involvement. The home page greets visitors with the option of viewing products by their favorite retailer or navigating directly to the Gardner® brand families, allowing for a more customized experience.
“Besides the ability to navigate and find products by brand, having distinct sites allows us to cater messaging, imagery, and key value propositions to the distinct audiences served by each brand,” says Tim Hyer, Gardner-Gibson Vice President of Digital. “We can now leverage geo-location to show users a map of the closest retailers that stock our products by brand…something we couldn’t do when multiple brands were featured on the same site.”
Technical and Safety Data Sheets are easily accessible across all four branded sites. Growing video libraries will continue to provide additional product insights along with helpful project preparation and application information. “It’s exciting to envision how we can continue to advance the user experience whether it’s online or in helping someone take on their next project,” Hyer said.
Fundraising for the Bold and Daring
For the third year, Farrow & Ball helped some of the nation’s top interior designers transform the esteemed Kips Bay Decorator Show House as the event’s official paint sponsor. The Show House raises funds for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, an organization that has offered innovative enrichment programs to more than 10,000 youth throughout the Bronx, New York. Known as the country’s must-see annual design event, the Show House is renowned for bringing together internationally acclaimed designers that spark interior design trends throughout the world.
This year’s event features 28 Farrow & Ball hues, revealing major trends in the industry, the company reported. The most noticeable trend displayed this year was that the designers are a bit more audacious with their selection of shades, creating quite a few pops of color throughout the house. “2017 continues to be a year of bold, dramatic hues as designers embrace defiant colors within interiors and become more daring in their decorating choices,” said a company spokesperson.
Designer Kirsten Kelli featured the bold Stiffkey Blue on their ceiling, creating a brave yet serene feeling in her sophisticated living room; meanwhile Bakes & Kropp incorporated the hue in the pantry closet of their traditional kitchen, adding a fun flair to a conservative space.
Robert A.M. Stern Architects glamorized their brown wood-paneled dining room by embracing a full wall of Yellowcake; creating a stark scheme that dropped every jaw that enters the space.
Susan Ferrier of McAlpine embraced and exhibited one of the company’s Spring Trend colors, with her space fully enveloped in Studio Green. Her use of the strong hue created a warmth and darkness, which invites a feeling of restful reflection. farrow-ball.com
America’s Main Streets Winner
After an incredible display of support for Main Streets from coast to coast, Independent We Stand is pleased to recognize MainStreet DeLand in DeLand, Florida as the $25,000 winner of its “America’s Main Streets” contest. As a top ten finalist, Deland—population 27,031—won out among its fellow Main Streets after more than 300,000 total votes were cast by the public nationwide during the contest.
This prize is on top of 30 years of hard work. The MainStreet DeLand Association formed in 1985, transforming a rundown, abandoned district with a more than 50 percent vacancy rate into a thriving downtown area now at near 100 percent capacity. The association dedicates itself to continued downtown economic development while promoting and preserving DeLand’s historic roots. “
Established Main Street organizations like the one in DeLand, with strong support from its community and independent businesses, fall right in line with the mission of Independent We Stand,” said Bill Brunelle, the organization’s co-founder. “We can’t wait to see how the MainStreet DeLand Association utilizes this prize and how it will impact independent businesses and the people who support them.”
Well-known in Florida as the first community to receive the Main Street designation in 1985, DeLand is also notable as the first city in Florida to have electricity. It’s a city of firsts with a downtown area boasting dozens of independent restaurants, galleries and shops and no big box stores. Independent We Stand created the “America’s Main Streets” contest to promote the important role Main Streets play in building economic success for their communities. Stihl, Inc is the contest’s major sponsor, while supporting sponsors include Do it Best Corp, PPG Paints, and the North American Retail Hardware Association.
Making Noise About Keeping Quiet
Briggs & Stratton Corporation recently opened the doors on what it calls one of the industry’s most innovative engine testing facilities, which is designed to help engineers create and test new features. The new Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) Lab incorporates automotive-grade technology to accelerate testing and create high performing, long-lasting engines for residential use as well as test the Vanguard™ commercial engines that help professionals tackle some of the biggest jobs around the world.
The lab’s capacity and capabilities allow Briggs & Stratton engineers to test noise and vibration levels in simulated real-world conditions. The lab also allows for harshness testing, ensuring engineers can fine-tune the performance of each engine component in order to guarantee that the products withstand the most rigorous commercial applications.
The NVH lab will continue to play a critical role in bringing to life innovations based on customer feedback. The new facility enables Briggs & Stratton and Vanguard to evolve and advance technologies like QPT and continue to develop groundbreaking solutions for consumer and commercial needs.
Someone Had a Hand in It
Safety Works, Inc. has acquired three consumer-focused glove brands from Protective Industrial Products, Inc. Along with two lawn and garden brands, Safety Works has acquired Brahma® work gloves, which, they shared, has an over 50-year legacy as a symbol of durability and value in safety work gloves for tradespeople, craftspeople and consumers. “Acquiring these glove lines will put Safety Works in a leadership position for the retail market,” said Kyle Ramos, Safety Works’ Director of Marketing. “This move is designed to improve our offering and merchandising opportunities for our retail customers and provide them with a one-stop solution for all their safety needs.”
I recently spoke at a conference. After the speech, the client gave me a gift: the list of everyone in the audience and their contact information. She suggested I pick up the phone and let everyone know they should hire me to speak at their next meeting. (Now, that’s a nice gift!)
A week later our team picked up the phones and started “smiling and dialing.” We connected with a good number of people who responded positively to our calls, but that’s not what this is about. It’s about how a company’s phones are answered—and you can probably guess, this is more rant than rave. The number of companies that messed up their first impression was ridiculously high. About a third of the way into the calls I realized we should have done a formal study.
To begin, there are two main ways the phone call could be answered. Live Response means either an operator who would connect me to the executive or a direct number to the executive that is picked up by an assistant or voice mail. Most of these calls went well. The people answering the phone were pleasant and helpful. The voice mails were what you would expect: the executive leaving a friendly and direct message. On a few occasions we actually got through to the executive on the first try.
Then there is Interactive Voice Response (IVR). Not all these systems are created equal. One was great. You simply had to announce the name of the person you wished to speak with. The system confirmed your response and then connected you to the person. Wonderful! But some of the ways companies set up their IVRs were terrible. Having to listen to a menu of five, six, and sometimes more choices can be frustrating. Some of the systems asked for us to key in the executive’s name. A few set up their IVR efficiently and it was easy, but in many cases where the phone was answered by a computer, it wasn’t.
The point of this is to make you think about the effort a customer—or anyone else—must make to reach someone in your company. It may sound like I’m against a computer answering a phone. No, I’m against a computer—or a person—answering the phone if it creates any amount of difficulty for the person calling. I also understand that an assistant must be a gatekeeper whose job is to screen calls. Just handle the call well, with respect and diplomacy. Any friction or extra effort the customer goes through to reach their party starts the call at a deficit. The first impression of that interaction is ruined.
So, back to the original question: When is the last time you called your business? Do this and find out if it’s anything less than easy and efficient. If it is, what can you change to better manage this important interaction? What can you do to manage this Moment of Truth and create a Moment of Magic®?
Your mixing and tinting equipment is one of the biggest investments you’re going to make—and it’s worth it to make sure your paint is all shook up and your colors are dead on. Equipment you can count on is also equipment your customers can count on, and that’ll bring them back each time they need the accuracy and timeliness you can provide.
It never hurts to study up on such an important purchase. In this article, equipment manufacturers state their case for giving them a call. All information is courtesy of the authors. If do you ring someone up, tell ’em you saw it in The Paint Dealer!
Santint’s World Of Mixers
by Dave Christiansen
When choosing paint equipment, look at value: what is the quality, accuracy, price, warranty, ergonomics and serviceability? Santint always offers the lowest prices and longest warranties in the industry.
The choice of buying an automatic vs. a manual dispenser is usually economic, but many paint companies will subsidize automatic equipment for their dealers. Volume is another variable. Usually, the more expensive an automatic dispenser is, the faster and more accurate it is. Santint has automatic dispensers priced from $5,000 to over $15,000.
Some of today’s manual machines are just as accurate as an automatic, however, the automatic will usually win The Battle of The Mistints, especially when multi-tasking while tinting. Newer manual dispensers, like the Santint M3, have resettable gauges, ceramic valves, and nozzle closers that work much better than the old models and are appropriate for no-VOC colorants.
Blend and Shout
What’s shakin’ these days? There are a variety of mixer types to choose from, depending on what you’re looking for.
• A gyroscopic mixer is the fastest and most thorough blender of colorants. Santint is introducing the G36H, a high-speed gyro that will mix most paints in one minute!
• A vortex mixer is also a good mixer, and while it might take longer that a gyroscopic, it produces excellent results.
• A vibrational shaker is usually configured to handle a variety of sizes and cases of paint cans, however it usually requires additional time to fully disperse colorants, especially with deep colors or very thick products. The Santint S4 is a good choice for this type of mixer.
Just like your customers may say a big box store isn’t responsive to their needs, we understand that some large paint equipment companies are not always responsive to small paint dealers. Santint strives to be very easy to work with regarding sales and service. We have in-house technicians and we also utilize most major independent service centers.
People realize we are in a global economy and there is literally a world of mixers to choose from. The major equipment player from the U.S. has branches around the world and uses machines manufactured in Europe and other locales here in the U.S. A Canadian company sells machines manufactured there as well as in India and Italy. A major automatic dispenser company here in the USA only sells Italian automatics. Santint manufactures in China and distributes around the world with branches in Europe, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, and North and South America. Santint has been in business for over twenty years and in the U.S. for six. It continues to grow worldwide market share. santintusa.com • 855-SAN-TINT
We Want to be Your HERO
By Arnold Yong, HERO Products Group
HERO Products Group is a 47-year-old company primarily engaged in the design, development, manufacture, and distribution of tinting and mixing equipment for the paint and coatings industry. It has manufacturing operations in Italy, India, and Canada in addition to sales and marketing representation in over 100 countries.
HERO’s diverse product line includes colorant dispensing and mixing equipment for point of sale and in-plant production equipment. Today, HERO is the only equipment manufacturer that can provide the same technology to the global paint companies from regional and strategically located production plants, ensuring consistent quality, accuracy and repeatability. Over the past years, HERO has grown to be one of the world’s largest producers of automatic and manual paint equipment.
Great Shakes Alive!
HERO focuses on mixers that are based on three different mixing methods:
• Vortex, also called Dual Axis™, is the method of resting the can inclined to one side, then spinning it in a rotation sufficient to generate a rapid “vortex” type of movement of the contents of the can. This will homogenize the combination of the base and the colorants, all while minimizing the action to avoid wear and tear on the moving parts of the machine.
• Elliptical: this method is employed by our five-gallon shakers. It moves the can in a rapid elliptical motion in order to blend the base and colorants.
• Gyroscopic: a method taking into consideration the rotation of the paint container in two dimensions: moving the can 360° while spinning it on its axis from one to two times for every rotation cycle of the container.
Each type of mixing technology has its benefits and drawbacks. HERO’s sales, customer service and field service engineers will help you find the equipment best suited for your application, based on daily volume of containers and container sizes being mixed, the type of product being mixed, and the types of colorants used.
HERO has expanded its line of mixers and shakers to incorporate the S2650 5G Automatic Shaker. It is a quiet, sturdy, and reliable 5-gallon shaker with a small footprint designed for a variety of mixing environments. It is capable of mixing a variety of containers, shapes, and sizes. It incorporates vibrational technology with a clamping system that thoroughly mixes from ½ pint to a 5-gallon container. You will also be able to mix 1, 2, 3 or 4 gallon cans or a case of four one-gallon cans. It has easy to use digital controls, a reversible door, and a stainless-steel tray for convenience and easy loading. It also has an emergency stop button for enhanced security.
The depth of the HERO line-up of mixers and shakers is such that now it has a machine for almost every need. Whether it is for a low-cost or high production machine, with the introduction of the S2650 5G, HERO has one of the most complete lines of mixers and shakers to complement its comprehensive line of paint equipment.
HERO produces a comprehensive line-up of automatic dispensers for Point of Sale tinting, and it is also one of the largest providers of manual dispensers. In both cases, HERO’s products go to market through each of its three manufacturing facilities worldwide.
The newest of the HERO family includes the A300 line of Automatic Dispensers, which incorporates practicality enhancements and smoother ergonomic design. The line has been specially designed for low-medium volume paint POS that requires accuracy, efficiency, and reliability in a limited space. This line of dispensers provides a better use of space thanks to the robust new frame and optimized design, combined with the already proven accuracy, repeatability and reliability of HERO’s PCP (Progressive Cavity Pump) technology.
This makes the A300 Series a high performance and efficient automatic dispenser with a maximum dispense of 80 oz./minute and hybrid feature that allows you to add max flow pumps to your most used colorants.
With the goal of reducing overall maintenance costs, the A300 line maximizes its footprint, offering better access to all machine components and ensuring easy self-service maintenance. This combination of efficiency, accuracy, and reliability ensures that the equipment line can meet the demand of any low-medium volume paint retailer.
On the other end of the spectrum, HERO’s 900-Series automatic dispensers, introduced in June 2015, are designed to serve very high-volume paint stores. It has larger canister sizes than any other POS machines available in the market today, with a maximum capacity of 5.8 gallons. The front mounted large capacity canister makes it easy to empty a five-gallon pail of colorant into the dispenser.
The 15 Minute Solution
HERO automatic dispensers have been designed with the Lowest Total Cost of Ownership (LTCO) concept in mind. Their PCP technology requires fewer re-calibrations and their self-service model allows for easy maintenance.
Did you know that a full circuit (canister and pump) can be replaced in 15 minutes or less? That’s right! With HERO automatic dispensers your annual uptime average will increase and your maintenance cost will decrease. In other words, you will be running a more efficient and profitable operation.
HERO can make the claim that it has the only “design ready” automatic dispenser for zero and low VOC colorant systems. This is because the HERO Automatic Dispenser line is the newest in the industry and was designed in Europe at a time when 70% of all color systems were already designed for zero VOC products, so it was easy to translate this into the U.S. market. Consequently, there will be no added expense for any of HERO’s automatic dispenser or manual machine customers regarding upgrading their machines to accommodate the new colorants.
First in Line
HERO places its customers first. We have developed an extensive network of technical support throughout North America to assist your for our lines of dispensers, mixers, and shakers. Customer service technicians and engineers in HERO’s call center are ready to answer your questions. Once the situation has been assessed, technicians are dispatched to perform field service as needed. In addition, HERO maintains an extensive stock of replacement parts for all its product lines.
We are proud to report that the average call intervention lead time is 24 hours and that the lead time for spare parts delivery is less than that. Our customer service objective is to keep equipment downtime to a minimum and have your paint station back in business in a timely manner.
Providing personal and exceptional customer service is a high priority for paint stores. To keep up with the demand for personalized service, it is vital to have all the right processes and equipment in place.
For an independent paint store, personalized service is a customer requirement; it includes every facet of their shopping and project experience. The best way to ensure customer loyalty is to provide exactly the right color for the customer’s job—in an encouraging and efficient manner. Less-than-perfect color accuracy or prolonged tinting sessions may leave a busy customer dissatisfied and looking for a different experience the next time.
Today’s automated paint tinting and dispensing systems prevent these issues. They greatly decrease paint preparation time, helping to prevent a queue of waiting customers or busy employees unable assist them. Additionally, automated system software allows you to simply program a specific color, whereas retailers using manual equipment often must devote great amounts of time and attention to the same task. Many automated software systems allow you to save specific formulas for faster service to returning customers, providing the reliable color accuracy and capability needed for you to share your expertise and continue to secure these return customers.
Moving to automation delivers other benefits as well. For example, busy stores often require the help of seasonal or part-time employees. Automated equipment is intuitive, making it easy to learn and ensuring flawless color control and repeatability even when operated by a less experienced employee.
As an added benefit, some automated paint tinting equipment will allow staff to interface with a spectrophotometer. This digital device is used to scan colors, which provides you with the capability to quickly reproduce any color to perfectly match a customer’s draperies, wallpaper, or anything else brought to the store.
There are also valuable cost savings when deploying automation that go straight to your bottom line. Most equipment software can be used to monitor popular color shades as well as the average size of the order. It will even inform you of how much tint remains in the system and when to replenish it. These capabilities make it easy to monitor paint inventory and predict which colors will need to be reordered. Today’s newest equipment is configured in compact sizes, offering a small footprint for tight spaces.
An investment in automated processes is an investment in happy customers. The ability to spend more face time with customers afforded by automated equipment is invaluable in keeping those customers loyal—and keeping them coming back.
You can find graffiti everywhere as a “welcome addition” to any vacation, trip downtown…even if you’re just watching a train, chances are that many cars say a lot more than Yang Ming. As a retailer, you might have gotten some frantic calls from someone who needs to remove graffiti quickly, and from a selling point of view, it might be a now or never kind of project.
Scott Sarver, Marketing Coordinator at Franmar (makers of Blue Bear graffiti removal products), suggests that if people know you’ve got the product in stock, you have a good chance of getting the call. “Graffiti is a problem that needs to be taken care of right away, so if you have the right solution available, they will purchase it,” he said. “The biggest difficulty is awareness, so if local municipalities, schools, and others know that you offer the solution, they will come to you when they have the need.”
Graffiti removal might put you in contact with a government agency or someone who reports to one, so it really helps to have your Government Ducks in a row. However, says Scott, it might not be as complicated as you think. “Depending upon the institution and their buying structure, there may or may not be some obstacles that need to be hurdled. We recently had a local school district come to our facility and buy mastic removal products without any logistical issues,” he said.
Plus, his company is there to help. After all, if you sell product, so do they. “Franmar is always willing to help its retailers find opportunities and support those opportunities. Whether it comes in the form of supply or technical support, we will be as involved as needed to help successfully complete the project.”
The Big Three
If you’re stocking Franmar, Sarver suggests three key selling points:
• Safe for both the user and the environment, as it doesn’t contain harmful, caustic chemicals. These products exceed the VOC requirements for graffiti removers.
• Effective: Franmar focuses on bringing to market products that work. Often, safe or so called ‘green’ products may not be as effective as other ‘hot’ chemistries. Our products work well.
• Affordable: We will accomplish the task without breaking the bank, however it is important to show your customers the effectiveness of the product.
It takes less Blue Bear to remove the same amount of graffiti compared to competitive products, says Sarver. Its effectiveness makes it more affordable, as the amount of work that may be done with even just a quart of Blue Bear, in comparison to other products, makes it the logical economic choice, he continued.
A little demo before-hand can’t hurt. If you can schedule a visit to your local parks department or other folks involved in removing graffiti, then when take off time comes, they’ll come to you. A good demo session can wipe away all doubt just as fast as you can wipe away a fresh tag.
“Showing how well the product works speaks volumes,” said Scott. “The easiest of the two products to demonstrate is Blue Bear Hard Surface Graffiti Remover. We have a file cabinet and folding chair that regularly get tagged with spray paint and marker for demonstration purposes. A small metal door or other similar surface is also ideal for this. We even are willing to spray paint the company truck to demo! The Porous Surface Graffiti Remover takes a bit more prep to show because you need a pressure washer, but if a municipality is interested, we’ve done demos on graffiti as it appears around town. We’ll load the washer up in the truck and take some water with us.”
Who They Gonna Call?
Most likely, says Sarver, someone’s going to come to you rather than call a contractor, but once you’ve got the business, you can recommend a good contractor from there.
“Once the institution is made aware that there is a safe solution, then they may specify what product is required for the work to be completed,” he said, adding that Franmar looks for business as hard as you do. “We monitor federal, state, and local ‘requests for proposals’ looking for graffiti removers,” said Sarver, “so we are also involved with helping make contact with some of the contracts that are going out for proposal.”
Using Blue Bear is easy. First off, we recommend a test area for our products. This provides a lot of great information, such as how long to let the remover sit before rinsing away, how much agitation is needed to fully loosen the graffiti, etc.
For graffiti on a hard surface like a utility box, spray on the Blue Bear Graffiti Remover and give the surface a scrub. If the marker or paint is thick, it may take an application or two along with some scrubbing using a scrub pad.
It is important to note that the graffiti remover is a paint remover and it will soften and remove surface paints as well. Some street signs are screen printed over the reflective background and the graffiti remover will remove the screen printed inks. Some metal surfaces are only surface painted instead of powder coated or covered with baked on coatings, so a test in an inconspicuous area will help determine this as well.
For porous surfaces, spray the remover on the graffiti and agitate the surface with a stiff bristled brush. We recommend a metal bristled brush for this, then let the remover sit for a few minutes. A pressure washer is necessary for the final cleanup. Using the pressure washer, spray the graffiti from the porous surface of the concrete.
We’ve had great success with the products since their introduction. The city of Fredericksburg Virginia is using our graffiti removers to clean up a river park area. They had specific concerns about the product used to remove the graffiti because the river ran right beside the rocks that were painted. They said that our product was the perfect fit for the project and they are now using it to clean up other areas because it performed so well.
The simplest and most prevalent type of graffiti is a “tag”—a stylized signature, normally done in one color that contrasts sharply with its background. Tag can also be used as a verb meaning “to sign.” Graffiti is a continuous and growing problem. It can show up anywhere at any time. Graffiti vandals, writers, or taggers continue to display their names, signs, and symbols on anything they can reach regardless of the location or surface.
As with so many criminal acts, the criminal is not around to clean up the mess. More often than not, cities, schools, property managers, business owners, and citizens are left to clean up and deal with the problem. As frustrating as these situations may be, there are tools designed specifically for each and every circumstance. Graffiti can be frustrating and tiresome but no matter the form, it needs to be controlled and dealt with immediately. A prompt response is one of the best ways to prevent future attacks. It was reported in 2015 upwards of $20 biliion annually was spent across the USA dealing with graffiti vandalism. The most popular misconception is that painting over graffiti is a solve-all solution. Graffiti can show up on literally any surface, so returning the surface to its original condition will require varying products and methods. A general rule of thumb for graffiti on painted surfaces: if the tag is 2′ x 2′ or smaller, do not paint over—remove it! If the graffiti is large, the only option may be to paint over it. Prior to painting, apply a stain blocker to eliminate the possibility of the graffiti “bleeding” through. It is also important to use the same color and sheen of the original paint. When done, you want the surface to appear as though the graffiti never existed. Follow, we’ll discusses some terms to become familiar with.
When 2 Remove
As a paint dealer, you already sell a product used the majority of the time—paint. The concept of removing graffiti instead of painting over it may seem a bit foreign, however the savings of time and money are invaluable. Three big questions arise: when do you use a graffiti remover? What remover do you use? How do you use it?
Unfortunately, there is no universal product that will remove graffiti from every type of surface. Bare, porous substrates tend to offer more resistance to restoration than sealed or painted surfaces. It is imperative to use the appropriate cleaner for the type of surface you are dealing with so as not to increase the damage already on the surface. Whatever method is used, a test patch should always be performed to ensure compatibility between the remover and the surface the defacement is being removed from.
Resist and Sacrifice
Deciding what graffiti resistant coating to sell can be confusing. They are becoming more of a standard in construction—graffiti prevention and maintenance are one way that individuals can be a step ahead of the taggers. The key with graffiti resistant coatings is to evaluate the surface in question since not all surfaces will benefit from their use. process: How often are the tags occurring? How large are the tags when they do occur? What is the current condition of the surface? (Painted, sealed, currently tagged, new concrete, etc.) What sources (water, power, etc.) are available for application and removal?
By evaluating the surface, you will have a better idea as to what types of coatings will work. It is imperative to thoroughly read the data pages of the desired coating to confirm that it will work on the surface in question. There are two general types of protective coatings: sacrificial and non-sacrificial.
• Sacrificial coatings live up to their name. To remove graffiti requires you to “sacrifice” the coating by removing it. These removable products are typically wax or water based that allows all types of graffiti to adhere to the coating, making for a fresh look once the coating is removed. The key to success here is to reapply the coating after removal to maintain the protection of the surface.
• Non-sacrificial coatings offer two varieties: permanent and semi-permanent, both having characteristics similar to their corresponding name. Permanent coatings offer a barrier that remains on the surface regardless of the graffiti removal method. Semi-permanent coatings offer a barrier that will eventually require reapplication after a certain number of cleanings. The main difference between the two is the base. Permanent coatings tend to be of a non-stick polyurethane or silicone base while semi-permanent coatings lend themselves to acrylics, epoxies, etc., and can be water based.
From the name alone it is obvious that permanent coatings are very durable and very graffiti resistant. They can create a barrier similar to non-stick ware or kitchenware, making it difficult for graffiti to adhere to the surface. If the need to repaint comes into play, typically the original coating will need to be stripped. durability of resistance. When these coatings are hit with graffiti, the contractor can use the designated remover to take off the graffiti from the coating, leaving the coating intact. eventually require a re-application. Some semi-permanent coatings allow the surface to be cleaned and often times repainted without the need of stripping the original coating first.
4 U 2 Sell
The number of graffiti removers and coatings on the market tends to increase every year (as do the various chemicals used to manufacture them). Make sure the products you sell are effective! The marketing strategies of certain products are often more successful than their effectiveness.
Graffiti removers can be found in the form of wipes, sprays, aerosols and gels; the various chemical make-ups are too extensive in length to include here. The number one concern when deciding which product or products to sell is their effectiveness. Other considerations are VOC content and how hazardous they are. Don’t miss the potential millions of dollars in sales and also that by carrying graffiti abatement products, you are helping keep your community a cleaner and safer place to live.
Drew Lindner has been involved in graffiti abatement for over 23 years. In addition to owning This Stuff Works, a graffiti abatement products company, he is chairman of a non-profit organization called Zero Graffiti International, a non-profit has over 300 members in seven countries.
FrogTape has presented an interesting look at color trends for several years. The brand has again partnered with celebrity interior designer and DIY television personality Taniya Nayak to reveal the top home design trends for 2017. Along with color, Nayak shows her audience how the texture of different materials can add a lot of personality to a space.
Following are the trends along with tips on how to integrate them into décor projects:
1. Luscious Layers
Allow yourself to feel wrapped in luxury with lush folds of drapery, color, texture and softness. Create a dreamy effect with blush pinks, soft grays, and creams that enhance this style. To easily integrate this trend, start by painting a simple wall color and then add layers with cozy bedding, sheer drapery and rugs.
2. Nature’s Influence
“When nature has a hand in design, you can expect the unexpected,” explains Nayak. “This trend is all about the magic in movement and the whimsy in the color that really bring a space to life.”
Embrace nature’s influence by incorporating natural wood finishes, fresh flowers, landscape photography, and surprising pops of color. “If natural wood isn’t an option, it’s easy to create the look with a painting treatment called faux bois,” adds Nayak. “All you need is paint, a faux wood graining rubber tool, and painter’s tape to produce a textured design that instantly makes a room feel more rich.”
3. Modern Morphing
Morphing is a way to bridge a gap between rooms, which is essential in open concept living and apartments. “Modern morphing uses colors and shapes to trick the eye as to where one room ends and another begins,” explains Nayak. “A great way to accomplish this is with bold color blocking and adding depth to a space with geometric patterned walls or artwork.”
“When it comes to painting an accent wall, one of the most important tools you need is a premium painter’s tape, like FrogTape® painter’s tape, to allow you to achieve a clean transition from the newly painted wall to the adjacent walls,” added Nayak. “Treated with PaintBlock® Technology, FrogTape Multi-Surface and Delicate Surface tapes can be used on a variety of surfaces and deliver sharp paint lines, helpng your DIY customer’s project look like that of a professional.”
4. Haute Homemade
“This trend makes crafting hot again,” says Nayak. “Haute homemade is about elevating interiors with personal touches—like monogrammed accessories or flea market rehabs—that help bring comfort and warmth to a home.” Try incorporating this trend by using paint in unconventional ways, such as painting bold stripes on a rug or adding metallic gold accents to a planter or vase for a look that is personal, yet elegant.
5. Inter “Woven”
Nayak explained how rich textures and bold colors are all the rage with this indie-meets-mid-century modern appeal. “Introducing texture can add character to a space, especially when it pops with a burst of deep, richly dyed tones,” she says.
A great way to achieve this look is with a bright statement rug and patterned pillows. You can take it a step further with a plaid-inspired accent wall design in rich shades of blue, red or pink, then balanced it with a neutral color like white or gray on the remaining walls. “Ensure your work looks seamless and prevent paint bleed by using FrogTape® painter’s tape for the pattern, baseboards, trim and adjacent walls,” she added.
6. Timeless Touch
Some things never go out of style, including tailored and timeless design. “Make a space tell a story by adding a few vintage touches with heirlooms, personal items, or classic paint colors,” Nayak said. The use of gray, brown, navy, and white, paired with molding, provides a crisp look that can make a room seem ageless.
Every retailer has a strong point. For Chris Davis, it’s paint. Some folks are all about paperwork and numbers, but Chris will fold up the spread sheet for a good talk about coatings anytime. We’d like to say he just fell into paint, but that’s messy. Just like with many paint people, Davis’ road to retail began with a summer job and turned into a lifetime. OK…part of a lifetime so far. In his early 30s, Chris is proof of that younger generation of paint retailers that many have consigned to oblivion.
Let’s go back to 1974; a Montana man named Barney Danzer reported for work at the Columbia Paint factory expecting a regular day but finding a pink slip. Finding that led him to found Danzer’s Paint in Helena, Montana. Round about 1983 he sold the store to Noah and Penny Horan. Fast forward 20 years to 2003 and Davis, still in high school, finds Danzer’s the perfect place for an after-hours job. He didn’t feel the call of college, so after graduation he moved into an apartment upstairs from the store, and moved up to full time.
That summer job turned into a winter job—winter comes plenty soon in Montana—and he started to learn the business, getting training in paint in general and the store’s brand Benjamin Moore in particular.
Paint got into his blood—low VOC, we hope, but either way, there it flowed and there it found a way to his heart. “I decided I liked paint and wanted to get to where I could learn everything there is to know about it,” said. Davis. “I worked to learn everything I could, and not just about paint. My boss was good with life lessons such as keeping me out of debt, and he became a father figure for me in the financial world. He advised me, ‘Don’t buy big toys. Buy a house, a business…’” The advice stuck like quality paint on good primer and Chris has used it to weather a variety of financial storms. He particularly liked that “buy a business” idea. Noah Horan, topping 20 years as Danzer’s owner, was happy to have a successor and groomed Davis to take it over.
“On April 1, 2014, we officially purchased the store—on April Fool’s Day. I was 28 or 29 years old and the proud owner of a full-time job with a part time headache.”
Aspirin for Everyone
Learning everything there is to know about paint—or at least everything he can—has helped Davis paint his swatch on a competitive landscape. There are a couple Sherwin-Williams stores in the area (one used to be a Columbia), a Rodda (a company based in the Pacific Northwest), and a PPG down the street that Davis describes as a friendly competitor. “We share and help each other when we can,” he said, “and we don’t fight too often.” Danzer’s is a two-man shop: Davis and the store’s warehouse manager Clinton “CJ” Hughes.
In order to keep customers happy and returning, Chris and CJ strive to show their clients a Danzer’s difference compared to Lowe’s, Home Depot or even Sherwin. “We go above and beyond,” Davis acknowledged. Rather than just share a few painting platitudes and push them off the parking lot, Davis will walk customers through the whole process or he’ll take the walk himself. “I would just as soon go look at a house or deck,” he said. “We like to do a local home inspection to identify areas where the paint is failing and why. Caulk this, scrape that, prime this with oil, what kind of topcoat, we make sure everything is right.”
Detailed consultation like this can give a DIYer confidence to do a project. For example, if someone’s window peels every year, Davis will show them what’s going wrong and how to do it right. “They are blown away that they really can do it,” he pointed out.
If they hire a painter, they can knowledgably share Davis’ advice. “That way the contractors have a clear idea of what needs to be done. I put my name on it and they put their name on it.” Even long-time painters trust his truth. “If a guy who has been painting for 20 years doesn’t know something, he will bring in pictures so we can take a look and recommend the right prep and process to make it beautiful for a long time.”
Think Before You Blink
Davis has a good mind for color and likes helping a customer find the right hue. “I enjoy picking color and I do in-house consultations,” he said. “I love throwing down chips and finding complementary colors or doing wacky color schemes.” He also knows his job is to steer customers to what they like rather than foist his own opinion on someone else’s walls and siding. “I can throw down the colors I like but it comes down to finding colors for the customer’s lifestyle and paint to fit their budget. This way they don’t have to hire a designer, but if they want to I have a list of some great ones we work with on a regular basis.”
Another way Davis differentiates is with premium product. The store has always been a Benjamin Moore dealer, and he tries to show his customer how using a higher quality paint can save on labor during the project as well as have that project last significantly longer.
“Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select brand is my biggest mover,” he said. “We also sell a lot of Aura [a premium brand]—not just to the higher end design crowd, but also for new construction and residential repaints. Painters find that premium products save a bit on the labor side—it doesn’t take as many coats, it doesn’t splatter, it’s nice to work with. They want something they can use every day and be proud to apply.” Plus, he adds, premium paints are more scrubbable and washable. “They have better color retention too, so you get a longer lasting job.”
This being Montana, you’ll want an exterior that can deal with extreme cold as well as the usual Mountain Time Zone temperature swoops. Eighty in the afternoon might become 40 at night; 40 in the afternoon and who knows what will happen after nightfall, or perhaps the bottom will fall out of the mercury by next morning. “When you get big temperature swings, weird things happen. You get fallout from frost and dew and it pulls surfactant to the surface,” Chris has observed. “We have a shorter exterior season than a lot of the country. It kicks off about the end of March and sometimes we get good weather thru October. Generally, Halloween is the end, but sometimes it’s weeks before that. Sometimes we get our first snow in September, so it’s kind of a game as to when the last paint day is going to come.”
A lot of folks who don’t go to college wish they did, and a lot of people who spent those years in the classroom wish they had more “real world experience.” Davis meets retailers who envy his youthful years behind the counter, while Chris himself wishes he had taken a few business classes. Spread sheet? Yawn. But someone’s gotta do it, so without college training, he teaches himself. “I’m not afraid to pick up a book or watch a YouTube video,” he said.
Noah Horan’s exhortations to save money helped immensely during the crash of 2008, as Davis saw what happened to a lot of people who didn’t save for the rainy years. “We had record sales in 2006,” he recalled. “We were clinking wine glasses! In 2008 we cut that record in half. Guys making money in 2006 were buying trucks and four-wheelers and houses and my boss was saying save, save…he’d get mad when I’d buy stuff. In 2008 I watched those guys lose their trucks and houses, but Noah was driving the truck he had since 1995. He hadn’t acquired that debt. That was the biggest lesson I learned in business: one day you’re eating steak and the next you’re eating macaroni.”
Owning your own business can mean noodles and Velveeta for quite awhile. “I make less now than when I had a boss,” he admits. “Ten or fifteen years down the road when everything gets paid off I’ll get a raise, but I was prepared for this. Noah told me there would be weeks or months where I don’t get a paycheck.” In the winter, particularly, things lean toward macaroni.
Davis sees good times ahead, and he’s prepared to make the sacrifices now to be a contented business owner later. “It’ll be worth it in the long run. Sometimes now I hit my 40 hours by Wednesday,” he clocks. “That’s one piece of advice for anyone thinking of starting their own business…don’t expect to start up and come in and check on the manager once a week. You need to be there every day, at least until you have things running very smooth. It may be ten years before I can disappear without my cell phone on. For now, I get excited when I can run to the gas station to get a pop and chat with the guy at the counter for ten minutes.”
Purple is on the move, and parents and older siblings everywhere will be relieved to hear that “Barney” purple…? We don’t love you anymore. Like a lot of colors this year, and unlike a lot of people, purple is getting quieter. “Trending purple colors are moving towards the muted-pastel or grayed-off direction,” observed Dee Schlotter, PPG Senior Color Marketing Manager. “Barney purple is out. Chameleon-like purples and rich, royal-looking purples are in.” As we’ve reported, PPG chose a purple as its color of the year, so they’ve got one that makes good on today’s purple promises and premises. “Modernized, subtle, and blended purples, like the PPG Paints™ 2017 Color of the Year, Violet Verbena, offer a comforting and pampering feeling that consumers crave in an invasive, harsh world,” said Schlotter. “Right now, the majority of consumers are craving more muted hues, instead of the bright bolds from prior years.”
Mary Lawlor, Manager of Color Marketing at Kelly-Moore Paints, agrees. “We are seeing more sophisticated purples trending now and into 2018. They are less bold and much softer,” she reported. That doesn’t mean purple will be more prominent—we don’t know yet. “While we do see several purples in forecasts this year and next, it is still too soon to announce it as more mainstream,” she said.
Purple, By George
Schlotter continues that in defiance of George Gershwin’s famous song title, It Is Necessarily So. “Through research, PPG Paints has found that less than one percent of customers choose purple paint for their walls,” she said. Still, it’s more prevalent that before. “With new consumer mindsets that embrace the middle ground between masculine and feminine, young and old, and work and leisure, purple is an extremely dominant color in the home space,” she reported. That’s how the color of the year took top honors, by taking into account how people feel about color and why. “Violet Verbena’s blending of gray and violet reflects that middle ground, and it reflects the attitudes consumers have developed over recent years.”
Purple on Parade
There are, so we’ve heard, people who paint their house once a quarter. We don’t know any of those people. But just like installing a disco ball and mirrors on your ceiling (we do know some of those people), some home décor is way too trendy to be timeless. This year’s trendy purple can pamper and placate not only for this season, but beyond, as it carries a muted tone color that can serve as a neutral and a focal point at the same time, yet won’t get tired or boring.
If you’re going to name something Color of the Year, and especially with a purple, it needs to have a lot to say for itself as well as show off some versatility. “PPG Paints’ 2017 Color of the Year is a unique violet hue with a quality that allows it to adapt to surrounding environments and complement a variety of design aesthetics,” Schlotter explained. Depending on where you put it and what you pair it with, it will show off different characteristics. “When paired with dark neutrals, it unveils gray undertones, but when paired with whites, it reads as a purer purple,” Schlotter described. “Its design appeal is similarly nuanced. Violet Verbena blends perfectly with many different surroundings. It looks polished yet playful in a child’s room, and it is calming enough to be used in hospitals or other spaces that require tranquility. The color is a modern choice for interiors and furnishings, yet it is elegant enough to be incorporated into traditional designs. Violet Verbena is colorful enough to make a statement, but it can also be considered neutral with its gray undertones.”
Customers who don’t want the exact color of the year can always use it as a jumping off point to a similar color, or wherever it takes them. Maybe a lighter or darker shade, or maybe it will lead them to green. Either way, it’s a great marketing tool for the color-confused.
Mary Lawlor offers some swatches from Kelly-Moore; she also suggests that “in your face” purple won’t last as long as a subtler approach. “For the long haul purple, I would suggest either a washed out and pale color like Iris Ice (KM5626), a mid toned and neutral like Eastlake Lavender (HLS4246), or dark and moody like Violets are Blue (KM5633). An interesting statement—and again, it doesn’t have to be rock band loud to be interesting, pairs it with golds, greens, or chartreuse. “Those colors pair naturally with purple. Along with that, using red accents with purples will add a powerful punch,” said Mary.
If a customer is prevaricating on purple, because it’s…well…it’s purple…they can try some movable purple items first, said Lawlor. “Adding purple to interiors as a feature or accent is a great way to get on trend in a non-committal way. Be it a bookcase, interior of cabinetry or a full feature wall, adding a splash of a fun purple is affordable and an easy change if one should grow tired of it.”
Schlotter had several suggestions for Violet Verbena that will keep it fresh long after it cedes its COTY crown to another swatch. “Because of its chameleon-like qualities, it complements a variety of colors,” she said. “Combine it with a deep, rich black like Black Magic for a modern luxe look. For a light, airy palette, pair it with pastels like PPG Paints Sea Mist, a barely-there sea foam green; Oyster White, an off-white; or Peach Beauty, a light coral. To capitalize on its feminine side, pair it with PPG Paints Subdued, a muted pink; or Soothing Sapphire, a grounding navy. Violet Verbena perfectly complements earthy greens such as PPG Paints Photo Gray.” Demo these combinations—you may inspire customers to give it a try.