How Paint Standardization Saves Time, Money and More
One product won’t always meet all needs when it comes to property ownership and maintenance but narrowing choices can make a huge difference on many fronts.
This is what Matt Baratta found on a recent project to repaint apartment buildings. Baratta, a purchasing manager for several multifamily companies, who’s based in Raleigh, N.C., was eager to standardize the paint product to save time buying and restocking the material, cut costs by going with one quality line that would last rather than require periodic touch-ups or total repainting, and stock enough in reserve to save more time as well as enjoy some economies of scale.
And he was willing to take a bit of a calculated risk to try a new line. The buildings where he was working had previously used another supplier’s product for interior walls and trim. Baratta wanted to improve his company’s price points and achieve better value for its portfolio.
What that meant to him wasn’t just the cost of the paint but the quality of its ingredients so it might last longer before retouching or complete painting were needed each time a resident vacated, or a maintenance issue occurred. In addition, it meant finding a product whose colors would match the building’s two existing neutral shades so there would be a consistent look throughout.
After listening to paint brand recommendations and studying ingredients, Baratta purchased one gallon of PPG’s 6-70 SPEEDHIDE® interior latex paint in a flat finish for walls and its semigloss PPG 6-500 SPEEDHIDE® for trim. The line is touted as one of the company’s best formulated professional products that meet professional applicators’ needs.
Baratta first tested PPG’s lighter colored “Shell White” for coverage, painting over a wall with the PPG Celadon Blue logo. “When finished, you wouldn’t have known there was a solid blue color underneath since it covered completely” Baratta says. The match with the existing wall and trim paint was also indistinguishable. Work proceeded on the building’s interior. (As with most multifamily rental building repainting, ceilings were left intact since they usually are in good shape.)
By standardizing his choice to one brand, two colors and two finishes, Baratta achieved several results, some expected and some extra perks. He made a choice that was competitive price-wise with other suppliers’ product lines but reflected a higher quality that would offer greater cost savings in other ways. His organization would incur a lower labor cost since it wouldn’t have to paint a second coat, and if residents stayed long-term, it might be able to get up to 10 years from each repainting. By standardizing the paint product, he also improved inventory control—since he knows what to restock for the same consistent quality and colors, which makes it easier to train new staff and manage ongoing operations.
On the unexpected side, Baratta found PPG offered knowledgeable, friendly in-store service and prompt delivery—often on the same day orders were placed. The company also provided value-added educational benefits, including an invitation to participate on a business symposium panel with other industry personnel. “We talked about topics related to painting and building maintenance but also covered what different current multifamily industry demographics are, what markets are growing, and which are not. It was useful and taught me that PPG does far more than sell paint,” he says.
Despite his extensive experience, Baratta learned another lesson. “I was surprised to find how different paints that seem similar can be,” he says.