With Scott Burt
If you are involved at any level in the paint industry, and you are reading this, then you probably spend some minutes of your day in some shape or form as a participant in the social medial and blog spheres. And you likely understand that part of that involves being open to using the power of the social media and blog venues to share information. In our case, related to the paint industry.
Blogging Painters is pleased to exercise the spirit of those realities by initiating this new series called Open Mike. The exact realities that we address in this format will be topics that are specific to the paint industry, from the contractor’s standpoint.
It would be fairly safe to say that most paint contractors in the whole world are probably not 100% satisfied with the business-scape of paint contracting these days. In the corner to our left is a consumer base that is thoroughly confused about home improvement, which painting is a big part of. And in the corner to our right are the manufacturers of everything that we use in the course of our business, and they are faced with challenges of their own.
Manufacturers of supplies and equipment that we use cannot possibly through their marketing (seem to) do enough to educate us contractors, and the consumers that we do not serve, but who also buy some of the same stuff that we do to work on their houses.
Follow this logic far enough, and you eventually end up at the doorstep of PRICE. Everything in our supply chain has one. Including us. And every price issue on any side of our businesses impacts our price.
So, the major manufacturers, such as Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore had some price increases this year, which most of us saw at the counter in what we are paying for the materials we do our jobs with. I’m on the internet enough to know that I saw it pop up on the paint forums every time it happened, which seemed more than usual.
My opinion? Well, we understand that it takes raw materials to make paint, but we don’t know alot about them or how they make the paint do what it does. If the discussion was a simple matter of negotiating the best price with local suppliers, that would be simple enough, but all indications are that there are bigger issues.
I have been thinking about this for months. I use all sorts of paint products. I don’t want my price for an ultra premium, or really any, paint to be about the same as what the whole rest of the world can purchase it for. That does nothing to help my chances for survival in this business.
I decided to look into it, and that is where the idea to share what I found out came from. The problem is, I am finding out so much, that it is taking me some time to sort through it all. So, Blogging Painters is helping me to best compartmentalize the information and share it in the most meaningful way.
Asking alot of questions is the only way to wrap our minds around the industry we are in. If you have your head in the sand and choose not to participate in understanding the waters you navigate, then you are probably not here reading this.
I choose my contacts carefully, based on how straight up they are. Among the first round of recipients of my paint industry questions is Dana Autenrieth, who is in charge of the Residential Contractor Segment at Benjamin Moore. Dana has been with Benjamin Moore longer than some of us have been alive, and does his best to stay in touch with contractors in every possible way. That makes it interesting to pepper him with a bunch of hard questions and hand him the Blogging Painters’ Open Mike.