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I'm curious to know how many of you offer "samples" and how you present them to your potential customers.

I paint poster boards and then label each one to include the name, date, type of product, color / code, and sheen.

There is also a place for them to initial for their approval or disapproval.

I charge for both paint and labor if they haven't hired me yet. If I receive a deposit and actually schedule them in for painting and then they decide to have samples, I only charge for the paint.

What are you guys doing?

Tom Rohland
Ranger Painting & Pressure Cleaning, Inc.
 

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I generally prefer for a decorator/designer to play the 'color game' with the customer. I definitely charge for test driving colors, t&m, and only on the walls in the room to be painted. Even if they have signed a contract, I charge as this is above and beyond what was estimated for (unless I obviously figured it in before hand). When the paint has been selected, (paper too) I make them sign a spec sheet, I've attached one below.

For higher end customers, I offer a preview type service, using Benjamin Moore's Personal Color View software. For $150, I take digital photos of the rooms in question, and have the customer pick up to 3 color combos per room from the B.M. deck(walls, ceiling, & trim). I then manipulate them with the software, and email the results back. Quite a decent money maker for not much time invested. I usually snap dig pics at the take-off anyways. It has landed some decent jobs when Suzy Homeowner just can't make up her mind or picture the completed project. I also have this software loaded on my laptop, so I can do it at the first sales call, if I think it can close the deal. In this case, I don't advise of the $150, and just add it in somewhere on the bid.
 

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Where can one get software to do that with, if you don't mind me asking?
B.M. Color software
Or Ask your B.M. paint rep, or I have seen them for sale on the counter at B.M. stores. Only cost about $15-$20.
Do you use the spec sheet even if the customer just takes a look at the color deck, and picks a color?
I really don't care how they come up with the color. All I know is if I hear, "please use this color in my XX", then I say "fine, sign this right here".
Any qualms later about color, then its, well, ma'am, you told us to use that color. "See, your honor, she signed off on it right here".
I don't tell them its a CYA tactic, I let them think its just so we dumb painters get the right color for the right room.
 
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