Jon Ray runs a green paint company, PaintGreen in San Diego. While other painters (like contractors) are very slow and have little work right now, his business is booming. It’s interesting that even in a slower economy and with many paint companies struggling, his is growing exponentially. Not coincidentally, his is a green painting company.
Below is a quick interview with Jon followed by my thoughts on his success.
How did you get started as a green painter?
I started painting through the summer back in college while in Seattle. I moved to San Diego four years ago and started my company. I thought it was a great chance to get back into painting and to combine it with my passion of helping the environment.
Why do you think painting with low or no- voc paint is important?
I think it is important because harmful chemicals can have very bad effects on homeowners who breathe in fumes from walls painted with normal paint. Not only is no or low–voc paint much better for painters and clients its good for the environment by not introducing toxic chemicals into our natural world.
What do you see as the health benefits of living in a home painted with no or low voc paint?
Most homes in last 10 years in San Diego alone have excessive levels of formaldehyde. Using low or no voc paint is a healthy way to block a good deal of contact with such substances, thus creating healthier environments.
Is it more difficult or more expensive to use this kind of paint?
Not at all, if you compare the pricing of our painting services to other painters you will find it is a very comparable price. Recent development of paint products is aimed at low or no voc paint, helping to create higher quality, eco-friendly paint for roughly the same price of other products.
What should investors ask painters regarding environmentally friendly paint?
There are many brands of environmentally friendly paint, some are much higher quality then others. Some no-voc paint may even rub off or smudge while other no-voc paint can be washed without discoloration. Customers should ask the painters about the quality of paint they are using.
Homeowners should also ask what the base of the paint is; the higher quality paints have a latex base.
I feel it’s important to make sure the company is being environmentally friendly all around, not only with the paint they are using. Ask the company about their habits, for instance, if they are using biodegradable plastic opposed to plastic made using oil. Even consider how they are transporting their equipment; a company who is truly concerned with the environment will take extra steps.
My thoughts on Jon’s success:
1. His company’s growth aligns perfectly with the the growth of green awareness among consumers. Had he started his business 15 years ago, I’m not sure he would be as successful as he is now.
2. His work is excellent*. He has worked on a few of my clients projects and they always look great afterwards.
3. He stands alone in the market. There are at least a few hundred painting contractors in San Diego. Of that, PaintGreen is the only one I know that is truly a green company.
4. As investors it should be clear that people want no-VOC paint in their homes. If you don’t believe the plethora of data around this, just consider Jon’s business.
Green painting represents an easy area of potential success for any real estate investor. Home buyers want it, renters want it, the costs are comparable and not many homes have it.
*For the record, I do not accept referral fees, cash, gifts, trips, etc. from any service provider or product I recommend. I don’t believe I can be 100% objective if someone is giving me Super Bowl tickets. I recommend providers or products because I believe they are the best in their market.