business tips 03
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- Make lots of samples. You should be able to make a great sample before doing the real thing. Samples are very important to show any client. For presentations, you should have at least 10 great samples (four Marmorino, three Veneziano, three Lime Wash). If you're just starting out, you should make dozens of samples just to practice. You don't have to order all of our colors to do so. You can purchase a few gallons of untinted products and purchase tints from your local paint store.
- Making samples. There are 2 sizes in which you can make samples: 2' x 2', and 1' x 1'. Sometimes, with the more large scale subtle techniques, you have to make 4' x 4' to show variation on a larger scales, otherwise the smaller boards don't capture the effect and end up looking like not much. This is done on a 1/4" or 1/8" MDF particle board or 1/4" drywall. 1/4" drywall and MDF is usually sold in store that sell a range of drywall products. In more general construction stores, drywall is sold as ½" to 5/8" sheets. These are very heavy to carry around. The ¼" sheets of drywall come in sheets measuring 8' x 4'. This is awkward to haul home, so, with a razor knife, measuring tape and a pencil, cut your pieces on the spot where you purchase your sheetrock. Ask the salesperson at the store how to cut drywall. It's very simple. Take the pieces home. You can now cut them to smaller pieces of 1' x 1' or 2' x 2'. The 2' x 2' samples are much better for samples as they let the client see the variation of color and texture better. Use smaller samples for color matching samples. Prime your samples using a regular PVA primer. When priming, be sure to get the side edges so that the samples don't leave a trail of drywall dust. Then follow the instructions in the Applications section of this website. If you can do this successfully; be confident that you can do a whole house successfully.
A large hardware store usually has a free service that will cut your MDF boards to size. MDF is really the best because it's lightes and leaves no gypsum dust like drywall will. You just can't cut them with a knife. It requires a saw.
It takes contacting a potential customer 6-7 times before you get the job. This is true in most marketing and it applies to selling plaster projects. If you don't do this, you won't get jobs.
- Sell your clients. You need to be a convincing salesperson. Lime plaster is simply the best wall finish. It is the Rolls Royce or Prius (or whatever fits your client) of wall treatments. It is what faux finishes try to imitate (and it comes out at the same price). It's made of limestone and marble. Plaster is durable, healthy, keeps the home fresh, easily reparable and timeless in its beauty. It's a natural mildewcide and keeps relative humidity. It keeps the home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Plaster only improves with time. It can be used in contemporary or old world settings. This is not only a Tuscan or old world look. Lime plaster is the same as the wall treatments used throughout Europe and the Middle East for thousands of years… Not only do you want to let your clients know they are getting the absolute best product, but it is important to make them feel educated and part of something intelligent. The Mona Lisa hangs on itin the Louvre, after all. Ultimately, makes a more inviting, vibrant, natural space that your customers will enjoy much more.
- Call the professionals and set up an appointment to show them your samples: Interior Decorators, Custom Home Contractors, Architects, Designers, High-end furniture stores, and high-end art galleries. Don't let them tell you to send a card or a brochure. This doesn't work. If they really don't want to meet with you, ask for their e-mail address so you can send them pictures of samples, prices, and information about how fabulous the product is. Don't rely on paint stores to refer you to clients. Crunch the numbers for them; Interior Decorators do 20% to 30% markups, so give rates accordingly. In the interim, try to convince these potential 'partners' to allow you to set up your own little display at their place of business as a "value-added" service to their customers. Again, contact them at least 6 or 7 times. Wait at least 10 days before each contact or what you feel is comfortable. Bring some new piece of info or sample each time you see them or contact them.
-Homeowners might be your best contacts because they're the ones who need things done ASAP. Designers and alike might have jobs, but they are months if not years away. Directly dealing with homeowners is often the most effecient way of growing your business. There are more small remodels going on every day than larger high end construction. It's easier for many homeowners to justify a remodel, compared to building a new custom home. Also, getting paid is sometimes a little easier than with the homeowner directly.