Are House Painters A Commodity?

Before Sarah and I became owners of Alliance Painting, had we done a search for house painters in the Fort Worth area, it would have become obvious there are hundreds, if not thousands of options to choose from.  It would have been very confusing to decipher who to call out for an estimate.  Knowing very little about the industry, we would have likely asked ourselves, Are House Painters A Commodity?

To hammer this home, what is the definition of a “Commodity”?  It seems there are many definitions of the word but this one resonates with this article:

a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors (such as brand name) other than price

When I think of a commodity I think of Gasoline.  Its product serves the same purpose and has the same attributes and performance, regardless where you fill up your tank.  Should Painting Contractors be treated as if they’re gasoline?  I don’t think so.

A commodity is a product or service that regardless of who produces it, achieves the same result and experience every time.  Here’s some key variations between painting contractors you should be aware of.

Warranty

Some offer none, some offer 5 years.  Do you see value in a warranty?

Products

This can be a large contrast when comparing painting contractors.  Just because someone says they use Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore paints doesn’t equate to quality.  Each paint provider offers low and high grade paint.  It’s important to know exactly what type they plan to use.

Labor

The largest pricing portion of a painting project is labor.  We only use skilled tradesman and that comes at a price.  We recommend taking a hard-look at painting contractors who’s prices are significantly less than others and ask, why?

Why are there so many painters to choose from?

The answer is simple:  there are no licensing requirements in the state of Texas so anyone, literally anyone, can open a business for as little as $500 and begin painting houses with no legal requirement or training.  This contributes to the number of available options and also the vast differences in pricing and quality.

This fact does two things to the industry:

  1. Reduces prices:  some painters fly under the radar.  No insurance and don’t pay taxes
  2. Gives the “Painting” industry a bad name as there are no “standards” to uphold

We are on a mission to redefine the contracting industry.  We feel both obligated and fortunate to have an opportunity to share with you what we see out in our industry – we want to protect consumers.  Lower prices can be appealing but as the old saying goes:

“you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur.”

So, Are House Painters A Commodity?