Superior skills; a different approach to serving the client; all about delivering excellence in a professional, communicative manner.
- Doug Morrison, Arlington Heights
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Archive for February 2011

Wallpaper Patches for Commercial Wall Covering – You Bet!

This past week, Painting in Partnership did wallpaper repair to vinyl wall covering on several floors of an office building in Chicago’s Western suburbs. Since the Dutch have a reputation for being a very thrifty people, this type of repair is often referred to as a “Dutchman”. It is commonly used in carpentry, masonry and other fields as well.

Before Wallpaper Patch

Before Wallpaper Patch

Commercial wall coverings are intended to be very durable and often come in a heavy vinyl. However, hallways have a tendency to take a lot of abuse and the wallpaper gets gauged, ripped or damaged in some other way. A commercial property manager is increasingly faced with the dilemma of replacing the wallpaper or repairing it.

After Wallpaper Patch

After Wallpaper Patch

In today’s economy, the wallpaper repair alternative is quite appealing and can save a considerable amount of money. With the proper tools and a good dose of craftsmanship, the result can be quite excellent. The first challenge is to locate as much leftover wallpaper as possible. Matching different dye lots can also be a challenge, as it was for our project.

The first step consists of cutting a square in the wall covering at least twice the size of the damaged area and removing it. The damaged wall is then patched, sanded and primed. We then open the edges of the wallpaper around the opening by one or two inches and apply paste to the back of the open edges. We then cut a larger square patch than the opening we have created, paste it and insert it behind the open edges of the opening. After smoothing both the patch and edges, the two layers of wall covering are then double-cut using a straight edge and a sharp blade. The excess wallpaper is then removed and the seams are rolled out. Voila!

In today’s economy, Painting in Partnership looks to use its craftsmanship skills in helping our commercial clients reduce their maintenance costs by using methods such as wallpaper repairs, while being eco-freindly.

Are you Allergic to Paint?

We all know that “green” paints are good for the environment. They are also great if you are allergic or sensitive to some paint additives. There is no universal rule about what people may be allergic to or which “Green” paint they will not react to. Additionally, many “No-VOC,” eco-friendly paints have a number of additives which, although they do not contain VOCs, can have serious side effects with some people. When allergies are involved, it is important to carefully select the products for a house paint job.

Last Sunday, Painting in Partnership, from the Barrington area, received an urgent email, followed by an equally urgent phone call. This prospective client had just moved out of her condo, following an unsuccessful attempt to paint a room in her condo. After priming the walls, she felt dizzy, achy and generally terrible. She then had an ah-ah moment and said to herself: “The paint is making me sick!” She immediately left her condo and checked into a nearby hotel to stay away from the fumes.

SuperMythic Saves the Day

Two years earlier, she had had a similar experience after painting another room in her condo. The difference is that she then thought that there was something wrong with her. It did not occur to her at the time that the paint was the culprit. She went through a whole battery of tests that did not find anything wrong with her. After a few months, the symptoms disappeared. Everything slowly came back to normal and she forgot about it, until the last episode.

What we did, as part of our “green” paint prescription was to use an off-gassing sealer over the primer she had used. For top coats, we chose Mythic Paint, a line of non-toxic, zero VOC and virtually odorless paints. The ultimate performance test was our client not having any reaction at all after she returned to her condo. Mythic Paint saved the day for our client! Devising “green” solutions to meet the specialized needs of our clients is part of what we do as house painting contractors.

Direct Mail: Still Powerful After all those Years!

As painting and decorating contractors in the Chicago area, we have used direct marketing as one of our strategies for staying in touch with clients and prospective customers alike. Every quarter, for over ten years, we have sent a 5 ½ x 8 ½ postcard to all our customers and a mailing list of thousands. In the past year, we reduced our mailings to three per year to non-customers and continued at the same pace for existing clients.

You might wonder why Painting in Partnership has not given up on direct mail as a way to promote our brand of painting craftsmanship. It is true that the effectiveness of direct mail has decreased in the last few years, in large part due to the emergence of web options. Having recognized that trend as well, we did make major investments to build up our web presence in the last two years.

Painting in Partnership's Postcard Showcasing Its Team of Craftsmen

However, we did not give up on direct mail, because we still see an opportunity there. This opportunity grows out of the fact that great many other painting contractors have slashed or eliminated their direct marketing campaigns, thereby leaving a vacuum. This point was made clear to me this week.

A few days ago, a prospective client called saying he had received our mailing and wanted to meet to discuss his house painting project. He had all the windows replaced on his house and most the rooms needed touch ups or a complete repaint. One of the rooms affected was a hall bath. When I walked into the room, I immediately noticed the textured finish on the walls: it looked just like my handy work! I asked: “Did I do work in your house before? The client said no, so I continued on. A few days later, he awarded Painting in Partnership his 200-man-hour project!

Upon processing the sale, our Office Manager, noticed that the client already was in our database and discovered that, eight years earlier, we had indeed done another 200 man-hour project for him, including the textured finish in his hall bath. Both the client and myself had forgotten! Let’s say that we both had senior moments! However, having been a client, he had remained on our mailing list all this time. When he needed something else again, for the second time, he responded to our post card and chose our service anew, even though we were his more expensive alternative.