Friday, May 18, 2007

Holding the Spec

What does "Holding the Spec" mean? To a homeowner or designer involved in a painting project, it means insuring that your painter uses the products and brands you specify, unless you've given them written consent they may make changes. When you look at the bid you get from your painter, make sure you are the one determining what paint brand he will use.

We spend a lot of time educating our customers about the different products we provide them. The designers we work with understand the different color systems and what they can expect from them. The homeowner usually just wants the color on the chip. They give it to their painter, expecting to get THAT color. But what if the painter goes down the street and substitutes the color and has it made in a different brand of paint? Is this acceptable?

Would a designer let the drapery maker substitute a different fabric for the curtains? Would the designer let the carpet store change the color or brand of carpet chosen?

Why do we let this happen, just because it's paint?

We witnessed an interesting example of this just this week. Our store designer Richard (on his day off, even!) went out to a distressed client's home because they were concerned that the newly painted walls were not looking like the colors they had worked so hard to choose.

Richard went out to the job to take a look. Guess what? NONE of the colors looked right. Each shade was totally off from the chip. As he walked through the house (because of course, this was an entire house, not just a single room), he noticed that the paint cans weren't from our store. The painter had taken the specified colors and had them matched into a different product.

The customer was not pleased.

The painter had all sorts of arguments for why he did this, and offered to repaint the house - but it would cost the homeowner extra money. So in other words, the painter admitted that the colors weren't the ones specified, but he was trying to put the financial load on the homeowner even though it wasn't remotely their fault.

Luckily, the homeowners pulled out their contract, where it was clearly written down that the painter was going to use the brand THEY had specified (C2 Paint, in case you are wondering). How does this story end? The painter is repainting the entire job in the correct paint on HIS dime, the homeowners get the colors they wanted and maybe the painter learned a lesson about follow-thru and responsibility.

As a side note: C2 colors are very difficult to match accurately using other color systems. This is because of the tint system C2 uses. No other North American brand uses the same system that C2 does - therefore the colors are difficult to replicate. C2 has some high strength pigments in addition to the regular strength pigments. Many C2 colors will look okay when matched under one light source, but totally off under other light conditions. This is most likely what happened to the homeowners that Richard was helping.

So it's easy for us to match other colors because we also have the typical pigments, but difficult for them to match ours. because they don't have the high strength ones. Either that, or the other paint store was just really bad at matching colors!!!

The lesson in all this is that it is up to you to ensure you are getting what you specified - and paid for.