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Not surprisingly, a number of myths and misconceptions exist on the part of managers, who work only occasionally with paint and coating contractors and do so generally under pressure related to costs or timing.
"Most people don't think much of us," Ayala says. "They think we're all the same, and they think we're just out for ourselves. They also think all products are the same, but they're not. For example, if I I'm dealing with a municipality, the customer will say, 'Just use (this manufacturer's) paint.' Then I'll say, 'That's fine, but do you realize (the manufacturer) has five different levels of paint?' How do I know what level you want if you haven't specified it?"
Adkins says successful professional contractors also suffer from being lumped in with less experienced and perhaps less reputable contractors.
"The misconception is that anybody can paint," she says. "That is not the case. There are a lot of training and safety issues involved. There are new products being introduced every year, and most reputable professional contractors keep up to date on those products and know what will go over what and what you have to do to apply this new coating to the existing coating.
"Most reputable paint contractors belong to trade associations and are active in those associations so they can get the most up-to-date information. You can't go out and just hire anybody just because they've got a ladder on their van. Check their references and insurance before you ever let them on your property."
Ayala advises managers to have a meaningful conversation with a prospective contractor, if possible, to exchange meaningful information about the project, as well as each party's expectations.
"If a (prospective contractor) just says, 'This is your price' and writes down, 'As per plans and specs' and the price but no explanation or detail or product data sheets, I'd say this guy is just taking a shot in the dark and hoping he gets it," Ayala says. "But if somebody takes the time to give them information, (the customer) should feel a little more confident. I've always felt that if you're hiring me, you're asking me to spend your money and to give you something in return. But how do you know what I'm giving you if I don't explain it?"
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Misconceptions Abound About Painting Contractors