Painting Pro Times, the source for paint professionals!

It does not happen that often, but there is breaking News from the land of the wooden shoe. Netherlands based Akzo Nobel has split into two companies; the well-known paint operation and a new, separate chemical corporation. The chemical business has been sold to an investment company led by the Carlyle Group. The selling price is $12.5 billion ($10.1 billion Euros). What does that matter to American paint professionals? Well for starters, it realigns the world’s largest manufacturers in this order: 1. The Sherwin-Williams Company; 2. PPG Industries; 3. Akzo Nobel.

This is the first time that the industry’s two biggest global companies are from the US. Since Akzo’s footprint is very small here, it is conceivable as they refocus purely on paint sales that they could make a run at US growth, likely by acquisition. Although it is fair to mention that in the first go around, Akzo buying ICI and expanding big in the US, did not end well (Akzo wrote a loss of $3.3 billion). Also, Behr and Benjamin Moore, both international brands and wholly owned subsidiaries of Masco Corporation and Berkshire Hathaway, are already established in the contractor market.

In fact, Behr and BM do not have a presence in the automotive, aerospace and package coatings arenas and rely on retail and professionals for most of their revenue. The pro paint and coating application market uses more product than retail so it appears most companies will focus a fair amount of resources courting us. Although the domestic paint making go-go years have settled into maturity (3-5% annual growth), the US marketplace remains one the largest in the world. Do not discount the chance that we may see Dulux or other Akzo brands here again.

In other News, Titan has introduced the RX-Apex airless spray gun. “Our new RX-Apex airless gun sprays light, medium and heavy viscosity coatings with ease,” said Chris Noto, director of products for Titan. “It makes spraying more comfortable for contractors and is packed with Titan-exclusive technologies designed to handle heavy workloads and provide top performance year after year.” Reportedly, the gun’s trigger system reduces pull force by up to 30 percent and is the only direct-feed airless gun with a built-in free-flow swivel.

Festool has unveiled a new sanding technology: GRANAT Net. The design allows the abrasive to extract dust across the entire surface. Check out the video for details.

In case you do not remember, “YInMn Blue” was the discovery of a new pigment by the itchy beards at Oregon State University. It is not often, that a new color or pigment is found especially one with a high tech feature. YInMn Blue provides blues and other darker colors the capacity to not heat up in direct sunlight. Picture shutters, front doors, roofs and even school bus tops being painted dark with little or no heat transference. The Shepard Color Company has been licensed to sell the revolutionary product.

In construction, we call it subbing or subcontracting, while the office worker guys call it outsourcing. Under either name, it is an American tradition and a pillar of small business operation to make deals with one another. We feature a first-rate article that offers fair and reasonable advice on farming out in general and shares why some processes should be kept in house. To learn more, read the Best Approach to Outsourcing Work.

At PPT, we are not big believers in a special sauce strategy for paint and coating application careers or business success. We do believe in continuous education and reason that relevant, timely information is important and helpful to any size operation. One thing that we have stressed in the past is for professionals to ask what is different/better about their outfit. Or more precisely, why should the customer hire you over someone else? When the answer defaults to lowest price, best quality and/or quickest service that is when we encourage more learning.

Many outfits say they are fast and low priced…some say they provide the best work too. We see that many paint professionals grind out a living based on price. Instead, it would be better to conduct operations with the goal of serving clients with care and respect, while making a profit. In general, one way to accomplish that is to recognize what you provide for the customer that the competition does not. Check out Ask One Question to Win More Projects to consider upgrading proposal submittals and getting better clients, as well as closing more sales.

If you are a regular reader here, you may have noticed that we are proud paint nerds. We do not wear any 1950 taped-together, horn-rimmed glasses, but we like to emphasize the science side of the industry. We run a Column designated: Color Selection and have another heading called Origins of Craftsmanship. Well we are happy to share a little material from the Harvard Art Museums that covers both headings. The article, Cabinet of Curiosities, references the Forbes Pigment Collection, which is one of the most fascinating assortments of color going back to cave paintings. One day, we hope to go on a field trip and visit the collection for a closer viewing and more in depth reporting.

The first quarter is closing and spring has sprung…so finish this period strong and seek exterior opportunities to make 2018 the best year to date!

Thanks for reading Painting Pro Times!

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Mark Casale, Editor

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