Monday, May 20, 2024
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Big Paint Samples Put Big Smiles on Your Customer’s Face

When it comes to choosing paint colors, most painters will simply hand their customer a fan deck. They don’t want to be involved in the process of choosing color because they don’t want to be blamed if the end result wasn’t what the customer envisioned.

I get that. However, I think they are forgetting a very important point.

Customers are looking at the color on the walls.

I tell customers all the time “no matter how good of a job we do painting your home, if you don’t love the colors you choose, you are not going to be 100% happy with the job done.”

I do all the professional color consultations for Warline Painting. Years of working with color and seeing what worked and what didn’t work has given me the experience to really help our customers choose the right colors. Last year I added to that experience by becoming a certified True Color Expert under the direction of color and undertone expert, Maria Killam. She has an ebook on her website that I highly recommend for any painter or designer to help learn how to distinguish undertones.

I also have a secret tool for helping customers choose the perfect paint colors. Large samples. They are 11 X 14 poster boards painted with the top colors I recommend most often.

Large Paint Sample for Business

I can’t tell you how many times a customer has said “that’s not the same color as on the chip” followed by “wow – that’s really surprising” when I held the paint chip over my larger sample to show them they were in fact the same color. The reason? You can’t judge a color based on a two inch paint chip.

If you have been sampling colors for your customers by painting sample patches on walls, I promise these samples will make your life much easier.

They are reusable; they can be moved from room to room and they can be compared to other colors. As a painter its not difficult to build up an inventory of these samples as you work on new jobs. I just simply roll off a couple of samples whenever I open a new can of a new color.

Still not convinced that you want to talk color with your customer?

How about working with a local professional color consultant and start making samples for them? Every designer that has seen my large samples salivates over them and immediately wants to know if they can get their own set. It’s why I always make doubles of my samples so I can give them to designers I work with. If you label them with the color code, name, paint brand, your company name and website – you have just created some free marketing for yourself. When that desginer or color consultant is asked to recommend a painter, its pretty likely that you are going to be at the top of the list.

Not every painter is going to offer color advice to their customers. But if you are interested in adding value to your services, standing apart from the competition and improving customer satisfaction, helping with color choice is a great place to start.

13 thoughts on “Big Paint Samples Put Big Smiles on Your Customer’s Face

    1. Thanks Chris. They make a huge difference in the confidence my customer’s have when the choose their paint colors. I can’t imagine working without them.

  1. Hi Heidi,

    The large paint samples are the best! I was using foam core board but found that it curls up when painted. I’ve recently discovered a great product that holds up MUCH better than either foam core or poster board (doesn’t curl or bleed)offered by called test boards ( They also offer a Color Starter Kit ( that can be customized with your business logo as a promotional item. Check them out. I think you’ll like them. Then, tell Dan (the Founder/Owner) that Stacey sent you.

    Thanks for a great blog! Have a terrific Thursday,

    Stacey 🙂

    1. Thanks for stopping by Stacey. I checked these out and they are interesting. I have never had a problem with my poster boards but I am pretty careful with them. I agree about the foam boards though. They are not very durable, not cheap and they are too thick to carry and inventory around to each consultation.

  2. Heidi, you are a savvy, forward-thinking painter to do that type of marketing for designers.

    Have you ever tried Small Wall boards? As a color consultant I love using them for the high quality surface and the re-positionable (non marking) adhesive on the back side. Typical size is 12″x12″ but they might also have a larger one. Anyway, you can get contractor packs. (

    1. Thanks for the compliment Barbara.

      And thanks for telling me about the SmallWall samples. They look like a great idea. How do you store them when you are not using them so the backs don’t stick to something else? I have over 300 samples in my inventory now (a fringe benefit of having a painting company) so I like the poster board because they are not too heavy or thick – or expensive. 🙂

      I also compare samples against a white background so that the existing wall colour doesn’t influence my eye (a great tip I learned from Maria Killam). I use samples turned over to the white side as a back drop when I do this.

      1. HI again,
        If you are storing with your own collections – before they are used – the adhesive strip on the back side has a peel-off strip that covers the tape. Perhaps one would save it, to replace over the exposed adhesive strip, between uses. I just leave mine covered until I use them.

        The board thickness is perfect…enough to be stable, not too much to store or even create shadows the wall around the sample, as a thicker substrate like foam core would do.

        I like to put two of same color into a corner so one can see how the colors would appear on adjacent walls of the same or different colors, and of course view them at the edge of one room looking into the next.

  3. Hi,

    I would just like to add another comment to this discussion. Something that I do for my clients when choosing colour is to actually paint out sections in their home prior to their paint date. This procedure does a couple of things for my clients. One, they see the actual colour in places through-out their home at their convenience to view any time of day/evening. Two, by doing this they get a personalized touch that goes beyond the average painter. Thirdly, I usually give them only one or two choices if need be, but mostly it helps them visualize the beauty of colour even if it is a subtle change that will enhance the architecture of their home.

    However, before I do this step for my clients, I usually have a good idea of what they are seeking, or possibly just convincing one of the spouses of what the other spouse wants out of their home.

    Normally, clients will have to purchase the larger colour samples, so i will purchase a small amount or keep some common shades in circulation for the purpose of giving this service to my clients free of charge without them having to get the larger colour samples.

  4. Two questions: May I ask how do you store and transport your 11″ x 14″ sample colour boards? i.e.: Flat or on their side, type of container etc.

    Reason for asking is that I do own a set of Maria’s Core Collection of fifty ‘Neutrals and Whites’ but wish to set up a system of storing/filing as also adding a few of my personal favourites to the grouping. That said; I am not in the design field so they are strictly for my personal use so propose if necessary either purchase some type of container or even create a tote of my own ‘killing two birds with one stone’ that will be portable when needed. (Hope this makes sense … .) THANK YOU! -Brenda-

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