Delivering Extraordinary Results One Project at a Time
In this issue of Everything Knoxville, we are excited to share with our readers this interview with CertaPro Painters of East Tennessee’s Ben Johnson, VP – Commercial Services, Steve Thrasher, Commercial Sales Associate, and Clem Renfro, CertaPro customer. CertaPro Painters of East Tennessee is the proud recipient of numerous awards and honors for their expertise in the fields of both residential and commercial painting during the last 17 years, including 2018 National Franchise of the Year and a nomination in 2019. They continue to earn a reputation for honesty, integrity, value, and quality craftsmanship.
EK: How did you hear about CertaPro Painters originally, and what motivated you to make the call for an estimate?
Clem: Several years ago I first noticed a large number of gold CertaPro commercial and residential painting vehicles in many locations around town and the related CertaPro gold signs in upscale residential neighborhoods. About the same time, I recall reading an advertorial in Everything Knoxville magazine featuring the local CertaPro Painters franchise. The article portrayed CertaPro to be a quality painting franchise with a seemingly excellent local ownership.
EK: How do you make each consultation/estimate experience personal for your customers?
Ben: Every customer is unique. Each person has different expectations, needs, budgets, and past experiences. The key is to listen and ask the right questions so we can provide them with the correct solutions for their project. It is not just about the color on the walls for us. It is about building relationships with customers through trust and certainty of a job well done.
EK: You offer a unique perspective in that not only has CertaPro worked inside your home, but you’ve also been a tenant during a commercial project as well. What did CertaPro do to minimize disruptions to your workday?
Clem: I am a tenant in an excellent Class A office building in West Knoxville occupied mostly by professionals in the financial services and real estate industry. The building is owned and managed by a longtime prominent Knoxville developer who does everything first class.
Not long after CertaPro completed the second painting project at my residence, the building owner also contracted CertaPro to do extensive painting in the building’s three-story atrium lobby as part of a larger overall cosmetic building upgrade and “facelift.” The CertaPro team, some of whom I recognized from my own residential painting, went to great efforts to minimize disruption to our lobby after our daily office hours and performed most of their work during the evenings. This minimized disruption to the building tenants during our workdays.
Even when performing less intrusive painting during the daytime, the CertaPro team cordoned off small work areas at a time to minimize pedestrian traffic disruption. When the first colors selected and painted were not quite suitable to the building owner, CertaPro diligently changed colors, again working around the needs of the office tenants. They also introduced a texturized paint, which provided an almost artistic gleam that brightened the lobby and took advantage of its tremendous natural lighting and three-story glass walls.
EK: What specific customer requests were made, and how was CertaPro was able to accommodate the client?
Steve: The atrium is very busy during daytime hours with tenant activity in the lobby of this three-story office tower. We removed vinyl wall covering in the atrium lobby and skimmed the drywall prior to painting, which is a dusty process. To minimize disruptions, CertaPro worked at night when most tenants were not in the building. We used special tools to minimize dust and cleaned the building at the end of each shift to present a normal workspace experience the following morning.
EK: What challenges did CertaPro face while working commercially in such a large building with numerous tenants?
Ben: Any time you are working in an occupied building, it presents several challenges. First and foremost, we had to ensure the safety of not only our team, but also the people working in the building. Needing to use a lift inside the building to complete the work meant people could not be walking through that area while we were up in the air on the lift. We felt it was easier to work at night in order to minimize disruption to building access. We also had to control dust as best as possible. In order to do that, we protected the carpets with adhesive plastic and covered the elevator shafts, doorways, and glass railings. Our Commercial Service Manager, Isaac Messer, was there every shift to support our Job Site Supervisor and his team so we could deliver on our commitments.
EK: After observing both the residential and commercial sides of the business, were there any similarities to the way they operate?
Clem: There were several common traits between their residential and commercial work, including punctual work habits, very professional, courteous employees, and a high standard of work productivity and excellence of trade skills. Also, at both projects, CertaPro managers and supervisors maintained close supervision of the jobs, stopping by often and maintaining important communication with the customer, both in person and through email. And, importantly, their work was priced competitively and completed within budget each time.
EK: You recently had another project completed at your home. This time the CertaPro carpenters were able to replace damaged trim work throughout your home. How did this project compare to the last two projects you had completed?
Clem: As with their other previous two painting projects at my home, their carpentry team displayed superior trade skills, especially in repairing and blending in new trim repairs and paint with the existing trim. And, once again, their work was performed with the utmost courtesy and professionalism within the expected time period and within the quoted cost.
EK: What do you do to ensure that each project runs as smooth as the last?
Ben: One thing we do is use something we call a Certainty Pledge. This is a document given to everyone who touches the project. It discusses topics from where to store and clean our tools, to which doors to enter and exit, to who we should communicate with and the method of communication that person prefers. We try to find all the hot-button issues a customer might have and share those with our team so we can avoid becoming a hot-button issue! Our goal is to make your project as seamless and comfortable as possible.
EK: Tell our readers about the other services CertaPro Painters offers their customers.
Steve: We feel CertaPro stands out from the competition with the additional expert services we provide. In addition to interior and exterior painting for residential and commercial customers, we also provide all levels of drywall, carpentry, and light remodeling work as we strive to become your “one-stop shop.”
EK: How can our readers learn more about CertaPro Painters of East Tennessee?
Steve: You can call us at 865-470-0001 or visit us online at www.certapro.com/east-tennessee.