Originally published in PPC Magazine.

Understanding current trends will help you prosper in the competitive residential repaint market.

Trend No. 1: Expanded Services

It's not just about painting siding, walls and trim anymore. Many professional painting contractors are looking for new sources of revenue that complement their painting skills. Faux finishing, staining decks, sealing walkways, waterproofing driveways and coating concrete are all possibilities. Some have even expanded into the role of remodeler. You might consider listing any or all of these options on your quote to let your customers know you offer these services.

In the world of decorative finishes, many painting contractors have chosen in the past to refer or subcontract this work to specialists. If you've shied away from going after this kind of work yourself, new easier-to-use tools make it easier to test the waters.

Sherwin-Williams' Faux Impressions line, for example is designed to make it easier than ever for residential painters to explore opportunities in this lucrative niche market.

The Faux Impressions system uses fewer and easier steps to get beautiful results in up-to-date colors and timeless styles. The full array of products, application techniques and tools helps you get consistent results. Most of the techniques are engineered to work with the matte finish of the company's popular Duration Home Interior Acrylic Latex Paint as the basecoat and the paint used to tint the glaze.

Similarly, you can create a new income stream by using SuperDeck®, a complete line of deck care products ranging from cleaners and prep products to stains and sealers.

Concrete coatings are another growth opportunity for residential painters. Easy-to-use products like SherCrete Flexible Concrete Waterproofer give you the opportunity to expand your services to concrete balconies, walkways, pool decks, patios, planters, and concrete block and stucco walls. Sherwin-Williams Concrete & Driveway Sealer and Porch & Floor Enamel can help you expand into weatherproofing and coating concrete and wood floors.


Trend No. 2: Marketing

As contractors look for ways to attract new jobs, marketing is more important than ever.

"When cash flow is squeezed, marketing budgets are often the first to get slashed," says Jared Blank, an analyst with Zeta Interactive. Instead of eliminating marketing, he says, it's the perfect time to become more efficient and customer-focused.

"Lean times are exactly when your company needs marketing the most," adds Terry Begue, an Ohio contractor and author of The Wealthy House Painter's Guide To Having It All. "Consumers are restless and looking to make changes in their buying decisions."

There are some good industry-specific programs to help you upgrade your marketing materials without spending a lot of money. The Sherwin-Williams painting contractors website has a complete collection of business building tools, including:

  • Painters Printing Center: Order customized business cards, quote forms, postcards and door hangers at affordable prices.
  • Painters Marketing Website Services: Affordable and effective marketing tools for professional painters, such as email marketing and website design.
  • Customized Apparel: From t-shirts to hats, at discounted prices. View all the services available here.

Trend No. 3: Selling Color

To residential customers , color selection is often the most important aspect of the paint job. But selecting colors can be overwhelming for homeowners and frustrating for contractors. In the past, many painters have chosen to avoid the potential pitfalls by leaving color choice up to designers and the homeowner. But you now have a golden opportunity to increase your colorconsulting capability thanks to new and improved color tools.

A perfect example is the recently updated Color Visualizer. It is an excellent and powerful tool to help your customers in the color selection process.

The Color Visualizer enables you to customize interior or exterior home images with more than 1,500 Sherwin-Williams colors. Testing different colors is now easier as edge-masking is no longer required. Simply drag-and-drop a color into an image or select a brush to paint specific areas of the photo. Recent updates offer improved image edge detection, updated brush tools and more control making detailed changes to a scene.

"When it comes to color selection, there's nothing more important than making sure the shade you select is one that matches a space's surroundings," says Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams. "We know that our customers have been looking for a way to navigate this process with greater ease and efficiency, and we're thrilled to provide them a solution with the latest enhancements to the Color Visualizer."

The free ColorSnap® iPhone application is a fun and effective way to help your customer find the colors and coordinating palettes that most closely match their favorite hues.

In addition, ColorSnap Studio™ blends features of the Color Visualizer, ColorSnap smartphone app and the Explore Color functionality into one easy-to-use iPad app. True-to-life shades make color exploration and selection simple. You can also paint a room with the swipe of your finger, access the Sherwin-Williams product guide in the app and share palettes on Facebook or Twitter. Download free at the Apple App Store.

Sherwin-Williams' Exterior Residential Color Cards are another tool that helps you make the color selection process with homeowners go easier. Because color choice varies from region to region, six color cards have been created. Each card consists of eight home styles with three color schemes for each, so homeowners can easily visualize the options.