by Melissa LaScaleia
CertaPro Painters is a local, family owned and operated franchise started by husband and wife team, Doug and Robin Bland. Ryan, their son, works as the residential sales associate; and Camden, their youngest son and a student at Coastal Carolina University, also helps out.
CertaPro Painters is one of 330 national franchises. They offer residential and commercial interior and exterior painting as well as kitchen and bathroom cabinetry refinishing, and some carpentry work. Refinishing is one of their most requested services, as the process typically costs a third of the price of new cabinets, and the results look brand new. They also offer hurricane preparation services.
“Right now we’re at the very beginning of hurricane season and we’re already at our sixth storm,” Doug says. “Painting your home is a vital way to protect it, because you’re sealing it’s surface; it’s not just to beautify it.”
Often, when people think of the damage inflicted by hurricanes, they think of projectiles and wind damage. But the majority of damage is due to flooding or water intrusion.
When painting a home, one of the services CertaPro provides is a thorough preparation of the surface, in which they conduct any needed carpentry repairs like rotting wood, loose pieces, or holes. All of these things are opportunities for greater damage down the road. Painting and tending to this beforehand can go a long way in getting ahead of the damage, and can often prevent it from occurring.
“It’s important too, if you use removable hurricane shutters, that you immediately tend to those holes created in the house after a storm to prevent rot,” Doug says. “And this is another area where we can fill in the blanks.”
CertaPro Painters services customers along the majority of the South Carolina coast, from Little River to North Charleston, including the inland areas of Conway, Longs, and Loris.
In speaking about his company, Doug says, “We’re trying to change how the painting industry is done as a whole. One of our family members will manage a customer’s request from beginning to end, so the customer feels comfortable knowing that if they have any questions or problems, they’re working with one person who knows their situation instead of multiple channels and people. It gives them a voice.
“Your home is your biggest personal investment, and we like our customers to feel comfortable having us in it. All of our painters undergo background checks. We make sure they have access to all the latest tools and resources, and validate their skill level and assign them a project that is aligned with it.”
For Doug, having a personal approach in the day-to-day administration of what he does is what sets him apart and helps him build customers for life.
“We wanted a different spin on what the painting industry has traditionally been,” he shares. “We heard too many stories about people paying down payments in the thousands of dollars never to hear from the contractor again, or to not hear from them for many weeks, causing a great deal of anxiety.”
For this reason, CertaPro doesn’t require a deposit upfront for any of their projects. And they don’t require payment until they finish a project.
“We want our customers to know that we’re committed, will follow through, and will work hard to satisfy them,” Doug says.
Before CertaPro, Doug worked in business management for Xerox for 25 years, orchestrating large-scale million-dollar projects.
“Xerox was known as a worldwide leader in corporate training,” he says. “When I look at what made me a success at project management, it was because I cultivated qualities like accountability, creating a customer for life, and a disciplined approach; these are all key factors that translate from one industry to the next. As I looked to make a career change and be more involved in the local community that I loved, I looked for something that fit those core values.
“CertaPro fit in every aspect; they are different from your normal painting company. And in working with my team and customers every day, those values dictate how I run my business.”
John Pettry, CertaPro’s job-site supervisor, has been with the Myrtle Beach team since the beginning.
“He has a background as a Marine,” Doug says. “And his talent and skill level is unparalleled. I have yet to come across a skill or technique he cannot do. I have some customers who when they ask us to come back, will specially request John. He and his wife, Jenny, have been an integral part of our company, and we appreciate them so much.”
Camden works part-time at Sherwin Williams, where he’s learning a lot about the painting industry and has been a saving-grace for the family business.
There’s been a raw materials shortage with increased shipping delays since January, do to a big freeze that affected manufacturing headquarters in Texas, as well as challenges brought about by Covid. That shortage is ongoing, and will likely continue throughout the rest of the year.
“Camden has been instrumental in helping us to find creative solutions in meeting our customer’s needs for paints as well as the colors that they want,” Robin says. “His knowledge of colors and tints enabled him to create a custom color palette that was similar to what we were using before, that we could mix into a white base to get a variety of colors.”
“It’s a real team effort, what we do, but we accomplish it daily together,” Doug adds.
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