Green Painters: Tips for Painting Contractors
Painters Going Green
It is now 2012 and its becoming more important than ever to be an environmentally conscious company, and this certainly goes for painters, and contractors in general. But it can be difficult to make changes to your business for what amounts to no direct income benefits. But many people don't know that they can actually improve efficiency while making the daily routine more eco-friendly. Here are some ideas for house painting contractors, and some that apply to contractors in general.
With rising gas prices (at least in Toronto where i'm from) it is more and more important to keep tabs on your driving mileage. Painters crew vehicles are not usually the most efficient vehicles, either. It can be worthwhile to upgrade your crew van or truck to something that is better on gas; possibly a hybrid vehicle. If your business covers a large area, this can result in significant savings.
Even better though, is to reduce the amount of driving you do. Restrict your target work areas to some nearby neighborhoods, and market heavily there. This has many benefits beyond just the reduced carbon footprint. You will save time in traffic, for one. You can easily move between projects, which is especially great if you manage several crews simultaneously. And marketing can be more effective because you can quickly get to customers when they call for a quote, and a strong presence in a neighborhood has a compounding effect for referrals. Nothing instills trust in your business from the perspective of prospects like seeing several of your signs on the front lawns of their neighbors.
Another avenue to consider is materials management. Reducing wasted product is great for the environment, as well as for your wallet. You should plan paint quantities carefully, down to the gallon, and aim never to have more than a partial gallon left-over from a job. A little bit of effort up front in estimating quantities can save you money and the burden of storing or disposing of the extra paint. There are software estimating programs that work great for this purpose, so if you are numbers challenged, check one out.
Some other tips:
- Encourage painters to take transit and green transportation, such as a bicycle.
- Have painters pack a lunch, and bring coffee in a thermos from home, rather than having to drive and get it in the morning. This will save everyone time as well.
- keep an inventory of regularly used items, such as tubes of caulking and primer, so that you save trips to the paint store.
The topic of green paints raises some controversy, but its a route that all painting contractors need to take. The objections are usually along the lines of quality of the products. It is often more expensive to get a green paint equivalent to a standard paint. But a premium eco paint is going to perform well in most circumstances, especially in home use where durability is not as crucial as in industrial or commercial painting. There are definite health benefits as well, as eco paints contain no-VOCs, which are harmful compounds that become airborne when painting. Government requirements are making all paint more eco friendly, with low-VOC content enforcements, so the industry is moving in the right direction. But as a contractor we should spread the word and speak of the benefits of eco-paints.
Eco Marketing is In
Finally, in this age it is very profitable to have online presence, so marketing your painting business online is both lucrative and will allow you to reduce other advertising measures, such as print media. Instead of investing money into thousands of flyers, spend it on a website and some adword marketing. Not only is it going to be equally (or more) effective, but you will save some trees. You can also transfer most of your business-related paperwork to online formats, such as training manuals, estimating forms, and payroll/administration documents. While you are at it, and instead of purchasing hundreds of disposable lawn signs, invest in stylish permanent ones that you can have on the front lawn of job sites. People usually remember a nice sign better than the ubiquitous "bag sign" anyway.
By following these green practices, as I have shown, you can often benefit from secondary benefits. So there is really no reason not to embrace green painting practices. The best part of all: your customers will appreciate it, and be more inclined to recommend you to others.