Comparing Commercial and Residential Painting: Is There a Difference?
To many people, there’s no comparing commercial painting and residential painting. A pro is a pro, after all, and isn’t all painting basically the same thing? The short answer is: not really.
Of course, the basics are the same no matter how large the job. You need the right materials, ample resources, and the training to get the job done right the first time. Beyond that, though, there are some significant differences between commercial and residential painters.
Common Differences between Commercial and Residential Painters
Many of the differences between commercial and residential painters come down to infrastructure. Typically, residential painting companies operate on a smaller scale. That doesn’t just mean the size of the building being painted; it also refers to the number of employees they have and the range of services they provide.
Most residential painters employ a few quality painters who have the experience and qualifications (licensing, insurance, etc.) to paint your home and make sure it looks great. They’re great at what they do, but their size typically makes it difficult for them to work on large, commercial paint jobs. If they’re good, they’re likely also busy, which usually makes scheduling a large job difficult. Simply put, they just don’t have the staff.
Commercial painters also offer a wider range of services. For example, CBP completes surface prep and any necessary repairs. We also offer warehouse cladding and decorative painting, two services outside the capabilities most residential painting companies.
Working to Scale
The average commercial painting project is much larger than the typical residential job. This is where the painting company’s infrastructure really comes into play. Really big jobs – stadiums, hospitals, hotels – require a fairly extensive team to get the job done quickly, in terms of scheduling as well as performing the actual work. Of course, large-scale jobs also require the right tools and equipment. A cherry picker to reach those upper levels. Premium grade, industrial paints that last and still look great. Industrial painting tools.
Residential painters have the right tools to paint your home quickly and professionally. The average residential painting company is a privately owned business, with each crew member hand-picked by the owner based on his or her training and experience. You get a great crew with one goal: making your home look great. Just because they don’t have the right tools for a commercial job doesn’t mean that they don’t have the right tools to do a great job painting your home.
Scheduling and Project Management
Commercial projects often require working with multiple contractors and tight scheduling. Estimating the project also presents its own challenge, since most larger commercial paint jobs include at least one surprise. All of this combines to make scheduling and project management necessary skills for commercial painters to possess.
Successful commercial paint companies are always looking for ways to improve efficiency, to maximize production and profitability without sacrificing quality. Residential painters also look for ways to maximize productivity, but project management differs greatly. Most residential painters are highly detail-oriented (or the good ones are) and communicate regularly with the homeowner. There are rarely subcontractors to work with, although the painter’s main point of contact may be an interior designer rather than the homeowner.
Questions to Ask before Hiring a Painting Company
If you aren’t sure whether you need a commercial or residential painting company for your job, answer these questions:
What is the building material?
Most residential builders have experience painting residential materials, such as wood and siding. In Arizona, that list may also include stucco. Commercial painters have experience with a wider range of surfaces simply because commercial buildings come in a wider range of materials. In addition to common residential building materials, this includes metal and concrete structures.
What does your project require?
You may need to get the full answer to this question from the painting company. The materials list depends highly on the type of paint job. For commercial projects, durable paints are your best bet, even though they cost a bit more. You may also need protective coatings, particularly for high traffic areas. Ask the company what paint brands they use and research their answers to give you a better idea on quality.
Like every other industry, both commercial and residential painters work hard to develop the skills required for success in their field.
If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, consider painting companies that handle both residential and commercial projects. These organizations have experience managing large commercial painting projects as well as smaller residential jobs, including working with materials unique to each environment and the processes that guarantee the best results.
Contractors who work in both residential and commercial painting typically apply their broad skill set in ways that benefit both specialties, such as improved communication skills with their commercial clients and more efficient project management than is typically found in residential jobs.
CBP offers both commercial and residential painting services, including free estimates. Give us a call today to discuss your painting project.
Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter to receive updates.