Mark My Words—April, 2018

By Mark Lipton,

  Filed under: Departments, Mark My Words

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Contributing Writer

10 Top Reasons to Be a Paint Dealer

“I used to bring home boxes of mixing sticks and we would build houses out of them.”

It’s getting so difficult to trust what you read these days. When I was younger, media didn’t have a slant! Newspapers were neither liberal nor conservative. Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather delivered the news as it had happened without injecting their point of view. Do you even know what political party Tom Brokaw was a member of? Opinions were printed on the editorial pages and because they were there, you knew that what you were reading was opinion and not news. Now, when you read just about anything, you need to know the motivation of the writer to know if what you’re reading even makes sense.

Recently, Travel & Leisure magazine announced that to be included on its “Top Ten” list of best travel agents, you had to become a “member.” Membership was not all that exclusive: it was open to anyone who was willing to pay the $4,000 membership fee. That’s not a top ten list! That’s just a list of travel agents that had not yet spent their marketing budget at the time the magazine contacted them. I give them credit for sending out a release so at least for a moment people will notice their game. But unless they call the list “Top 10 travel agents selected from those who first paid $4,000,” that release will be long forgotten by the time they go to press.

I decided that I could do a top ten list too! It really didn’t take much to get included in my top ten, just be a passing observation that is slightly more interesting than watching paint dry and you made the list. I would have loved to charge someone $4,000 for each of them but it seems that whoever said “penny for your thoughts” had a Warren Buffet-like understanding of the value of mine!

OK, you have waited long enough; here are my Top Ten Reasons To Be An Independent Paint Retailer:

#10 – Nothing beats the cachet! When I tell people I own two paint stores, the looks on their faces is all I need! I managed to work it into the first sentence of my profile, to ensure I was attracting the right type of ladies!

#9 – It keeps people close! I’ve got a cousin that I never hear from…unless he needs a discount on a few gallons! Whenever he texts me, “Hey, how’s your mom doing?” I reply, “How many gallons do you need?”

#8 – Time for family! All kidding aside, owning paint stores gives me lots of flexibility to be with my family. As I’ve mentioned in my columns previously, my daughter has an incredible propensity to say head scratching things. Because of the flexibility being a paint dealer gives me, I’ve been around to hear them all.

#7 – Free clothes! I watch my fiancée struggle every morning with two things: what should she wear to work and her anger towards me that I don’t share that same struggle! A pair of jeans and a big pile of Tremont Paint dress shirts, polos, vests, and caps keeps me the well-dressed paint man. All for free (after I apply co-op, of course)!

#6 – Free goods! I’ll admit, this would be a better perk if I owned a Maserati dealership but still, it’s better than nothing! I’ve got friends who are doctors and all they get to bring home from the office is latex gloves and germs! I get paint, caulk, tape…I could go on but I don’t want you to think I’m living TOO big of a dream.

#5 – You can light a match while standing next to me! I remember as a kid that my dad’s stores sold paint thinner and other solvents “loose.” People would bring in an empty plastic jug and we would fill them from a gas station style pump. It was cheaper, I guess, than the way we do things now, but not nearly as neat! Dad smelled of paint thinner every day when he came home. Paint dealers today have it much better, with fewer dealers spontaneously combusting with each tightening of the VOC laws!

#4 – Free children’s toys! When my daughter was younger I used to bring home boxes of mixing sticks and we would build houses out of them. Not exactly Lincoln Logs, but they were free and we were free to glue them together!

#3 – The hours may be long, but at least the pay stinks!

#2 – When I tell people I’m a paint dealer, they understand my drinking habits!

AND…the NUMBER ONE REASON to be an independent paint dealer – Insurance on a Ferrari costs a ton! Think of all the money you’ll save working your entire career…and never owning one!

Mark Lipton is the 4th generation owner of Tremont Paint in New York City as well as a consultant to the coatings industry.