Faux Finishing Business Success: Part 3 of 4

Back in the first post of this series, I talked about how important it is to know the cost of running a faux finishing business, and charging enough to be profitable.

In part two, I get into the nitty gritty of building a world class faux finishing sample portfolio. 

Part four shows you how to find and leverage promotional work for profit and business growth. 

In this post I cover some secrets to fostering long term relationships with customers.

 

Customer Service for Faux Finishing Business Success

The words Marketing and Advertising are often confused, and confusing. So let’s start with some clarification:

Advertising is just one component, or subset, of marketing. Public relations, media planning, product pricing and distribution, sales strategy, customer support, market research and community involvement are all parts of comprehensive marketing efforts.” ~MarketingProfs.com

This is helpful for creating categories for organizing your marketing efforts. Though I believe the author missed the most important categorie: Customer service. 

This Art is Service

I believe that whether you’re selling tires, donuts, massages, insurance or faux finishes, all business is service. Assuming this is true…

Customer service and support should be the primary focus of your businessImage of ebooks of faux graining courses

Last week one of my graining students emailed about a technical issue she was having. In the most recent version of the course, I’d already addressed and resolved her problem. Looking in my records at her history with me, I saw that she did not have the most recent version of The Faux Wood Workshop eBook.  

I replied with some detailed solutions specific to her project as well as the link she needed to download the newer version of the course. 

What’s this got to do with marketing? Patience, Grasshopper… I’m getting to that. read more

Faux Wood Car Paint Project: 1931 Buick

Partial Faux Wood Trim Restoration

The owner wanted to minimize changes to the original interior.  He removed the 5 pieces that were most damaged. Of course my advice was to do them all at once.

After my work was done and installed, I was fortunate to have full access to the car for shooting pictures. This car is so gorgeous that I decided to create a larger pictorial blog post. 

I shot video and images of the graining process for this project and added it to The Perfect Wood Grain Car Graining Course

Bill, a retired architect, bought this gem in 1989 in all original condition. He painted and re-chromed, had a new top installed and made other needed repairs, but mostly left it alone. For example, the upholstery is all original. 

1931 Buick Hood Ornament, Grill, Headlights, Radiator

The owner of the media blasting shop I use was concerned that his process might damage the old, thin metal. 

A low pressure sand blaster was used instead. This got the job done and gave us the light texture we needed for maximum primer adhesion. 

I followed my standard process of creating a sample panel with 4 variations on the original grain for the customer to choose from. Faux wood car paint project sample panel and trim

Base Coat Alternative

For the base coat, I used a spray can product called Montana Gold. Formulated for murals, this product offers a much wider range of colors than paint or hardware shops, and they had a nearly perfect match for this project.

I normally use and recommend 2 stage auto paint for any car color and clear coats because interior parts like dash boards are exposed to direct sunlight and high temps.   Click Here to Continue…

Faux Finishing Business Success: Part 1 of 4

This is part 1 of 4 in a series on Faux Finishing Business Success. Part two is here.

 

Faux Finishing Business Success: A four part series

“Business? Yuck! I just want to paint”

PPR-CLPS-Biz-Post

This is often the song of the artisan when faced with business tasks. It’s rare for people who love working with their hands to also be excited about business.

This issue is so powerful that some artists make the conscious decision to not engage in business at all; working a separate, “steady” job and only making art on the side. Thus avoiding all business related stresses and concerns. I’ve been there, maybe you have, too. 

But for those of us who rely on faux finishing business success, avoidance is not an option.

This Art Gets Used!

If you’re reading this, you’re likely practicing “applied arts” of some sort. This includes faux finishers, car painters, furniture finishers, set painters or the myriad of others who focus on applying decoration to objects used in every day life.

Fine artists can stockpile their canvases, showing them when they wish, or not at all. But applied artists need victims (or… uh… customers) to fulfill our need to decorate walls, cars, doors, tables, floors…

Knowing how, and how much, to charge for our services is as much a part of our craft as the painting techniques we practice. 

Can you afford to be a faux finisher? 

Tools, materials, license, insurance, bond, clothing and shoes, education (skill development), advertising and marketing, studio/shop rent or payment, office equipment and supplies, accounting services or software, vehicle payment, maintenance and repair…Faux Finishing Business Brushes & Tools

And that’s only a partial list of the cost of doing business! It’s crucial that these costs be calculated and used as a base rate for billing new customers.

Here’s a great article on Lifehacker that walks you through how to establish a cost of business base line, and then how to add in profit margin.

Here’s another article that goes a bit deeper. It’s directed at digital freelancers, but applies to you and I, too. 

This process is a great first step, but it’s important to recognize that “cost of business” is only one aspect of growing and sustaining your art business.

“I love what you do!”

When a potential customer says those words, they tend to be well on their way to making an emotional commitment to hiring you.

Click to read more

Hudson Hornet Woodgrain Project

This is a project I did in August, 2014 for a fella based in New England. He saw this site and sent me a note through my Service Inquiry form. 

The car is a 1952 Hudson Hornet. A legend of auto racing, cherished by collectors and NASCAR history enthusiasts. 

After we agreed on a price, he sent me some seat fabric samples and images of the car so I could create a grain unique to his car.

We decided that Birdseye Maple with a reddish tone, to harmonize with the red plaid upholstery, was the way to go. I created a few samples and emailed him photos for approval. 

A sample for tone and simple grain. The color is right, but we decided on a less active grain. 

Hudson Hornet faux wood grain Sample

I sent images and communicated progress through each stage of the project. I’ve found this to be one of the most important aspects of my service. People want to know how the job is going. For this reason, silence is bad. Customers want to be updated, so I stay in touch through each stage. 

Some pieces base coated and curing (the base color was more yellow than this shot shows due to sun light). 

Huson Hornet Trim Base Coated

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Faux Wood Finish Details: What would the carpenter do?

Faux Wood Finish Details: What would the carpenter do?

Faux wood finish details Homer Simpson

Homer Simpson in the style of Rembrandt by the brilliant artist David Barton at Limpfish.com

She’d work within the limitations of the wood

She has no choice because woodworking has rules set by nature. For example, oak only bends so much before it separates and comes apart (I believe they do that with steam?).

So if she wants to create something with a big curve or loop that’s too extreme to bend, she needs to either carve it or join two or more bent pieces together. So what does this have to do with faux wood finish details?

This isn’t an episode of ‘The Simpsons’

You’re the artist and you can do anything you want with your paints, right?

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