Use color experts, technology to set your business apart

by Brian Sodoma

Customers want to know they’re in good hands and that you, as a trusted contractor, can answer all their questions and get the job done right. So, in the name of customer service, you need to be nimble and anticipate a variety of questions and concerns—and be prepared to assist on color choices, one way or another.

If color is not your specialty, it’s good to have resources in hand that can make you stand out as a reputable professional. Having a color specialist available is one great tool; and if a color pro isn’t what the customer wants, digital tools may fit the bill.

“Color is a personal preference, and what we see is homeowners are generally making color decisions themselves,” said Jeff Winter, VP of residential marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “Color selection is often the most important aspect of the paint job, particularly to residential customers, and the most overwhelming decision on a project.”


A customer may think they know color, but a color specialist sees beyond the surface. Specialists understand undertones in a color selection and how those may be brought out with lighting, furniture, and other objects in a room. They also make a concerted effort to understand the customer’s personality, what a room is used for, and the desired feeling in a space. All of these details influence color choice.

Color experts may charge between $75 and $100 an hour, but in a couple hours can solve a lot of problems. While some prospective customers are open to paying an extra fee for this service, some painting contractors are also happy to absorb the cost themselves to assure a happy customer and future referrals.


If a customer doesn’t want to work with an expert, technology tools can aid them in the decision-making process. Many paint manufacturers offer color-visualization programs that allow images to be uploaded and color combinations to be applied. The images can then be changed, saved and printed, too.

“Using technology can help to build customers’ confidence in their final selections,” Winter added. “Contractors can also use technology as a professional presentation tool when working with the customer, which can set them apart from the competition.”

The Sherwin-Williams color selection system includes its ColorSnap Visualizer app for iPhone, iPad and Android, as well as a desktop version that can be found online at The app can even match any color in a photo to a specific Sherwin-Williams color, and also features inspirational room scenes.

“ColorSnap Visualizer is our go-to for color inspiration and exploration and it gives customers the opportunity to see it before they paint it,” Winter noted. “[ColorSnap] is truly about providing our customers with the confidence they need to narrow their color choices and find the perfect one.”

Learn more about tools to help your painting business stand out at




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