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The list of potential hurdles facing maintenance managers planning painting projects can be daunting. Cost. Staffing. Scheduling. Aesthetics. Materials. Addressing such issues, not to mention coordinating the necessary resources to produce a successful project, can seem overwhelming.
Enter the painting contractor. Armed with experience that comes from years of applying paints and coatings in institutional and commercial facilities, contractors often are key resources for managers looking to produce finished projects that meet a range of needs, from cost-effectiveness to aesthetic appeal to sustainability. One essential element in the relationship is trust.
"You have to partner with the manager," says Lee Pickett with Pickett Painting Inc. in Santa Ana, Calif. "Once they trust you and you trust them, it can be a great relationship."
Perhaps the most important step in any paint or coating project is the selection of the material to be applied. For this step, many managers rely on a contractor's experience and network of resources.
"Very seldom do (managers) have a specification, so when we get a request to bid, and it's people that we know we have a real good chance of getting the work, we usually pull in a paint manufacturer's rep and have them write a spec," says Tom Pugil with Te-Ko Contractors Inc. in Houston. "The manufacturers actually give them what products to use, the recommended surface prep, recommended primer and finish."
The paint decision often depends on the managers' own experiences.
For example, Pugil says, a health care department "has its own people, and some of those are painters with a lot of experience. (Managers) buy paint from a certain manufacturer, and they usually want us to go with that. If they don't have a preference, they leave it to us."
Managers who have been through several projects tend to have a much firmer grasp on the paints and coatings they prefer, and they understand the important differences between paint options.
"The more experienced managers have a better grasp of what's going on," Pickett says. "With many less-experienced managers, they really don't understand the difference between a flat paint and a low-sheen paint, and the life span that those different paints will give you. Low-sheen enamels will last longer, they will look better, and they can clean it. With flat paints today, you're going to mark the wall."
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