Expert Interview: Jared Doumani of Persnickety Painters (Part I)
- November 1, 2011
- Jeff King
- No Comments
“We do a lot that other painters don’t do because they think it’s a waste of time. But we know it leads to an end product that you’re not just happy with; you’re delighted with.” -Jared Doumani, Persnickety Painters
When we want to add a glowing touch to residential remodels, the first person to call is Jared Doumani. His company, Persnickety Painters, is reputed for its painstaking craftsmanship and attention to detail when painting Bay Area homes. In Part I of this interview, we dig into the story behind Persnickety Painters: why Jared was drawn to the business, how he found the perfect crew, and why he cares so much about paint. Read on to find out!
Jeff King & Company: How did you get in to the painting business?
Jared Doumani: I was in the restaurant business for 20 some-odd years: managing, owning, and putting together restaurants for people. I also put together a motorcycle shop for a couple guys and ran that for a year. When that was over, I was sitting around and that’s when I started painting. It found me.
I started painting for friends that needed work done and from there it grew organically through word of mouth. I wasn’t interested in working for someone else, so I formed Persnickety in 2004.
What attracted you to the home improvement industry?
The attraction was working with my hands. I enjoyed painting because it was a focused activity with little distraction to it. That has changed a lot for me, now I do everything but paint.
When you first started out, how did you learn the ropes of the painting business?
There’s a lot of education involved, I did a ton of reading and talked to a lot of people. When I came upon a situation that I didn’t know how to handle, I leaned on people who knew how to do it. I asked how they would deal with the situation, talked to them, and came up with my own decision about what was right. I always wanted to do a really good job.
“It’s so rare we finish a job and the client doesn’t make a comment about how great our crew was. Not just that they’re hard workers and did a great job, but how nice they are and how respectful they are.”
What was the hardest part about starting your own painting company?
Half the battle of having a painting company is finding a good staff. Finding those people you can trust, who work hard, and will do what you want them to do. I am blessed in that regard.
How did you find such a staff?
It was less about looking for a particular kind of painter than a particular kind of person. All the training is from within.
What sets the Persnickety crew apart?
It’s so rare we finish a job and the client doesn’t make a comment about how great our crew was. Not just that they’re hard workers and did a great job, but how nice they are and how respectful they are. They’re just good people. And that’s very heartwarming. There’s only so much of that I can ever teach.
How does good paint add value to a home?
If we do our job correctly you feel better in your house. On a new construction or remodel, I work very hard to make people realize the first time you paint something you’ve really got to do it right. Undoing what’s been done wrong is a brutal and expensive process – we know, we have undone a lot of other painters’ work. If you’re going to spend a pretty good chunk of money on this, you may as well spend a little extra and get it really right and have something you’re proud of. It looks great and in many cases lasts longer.
How is your view of painting different than the average person?
Looking at it like a fine craft is rare. Painting is looked at like “anyone can do it.” When I get a call from someone and they say, “my husband was going to do it but I don’t think he has the time,” I tell them that they’re really going to hate my price. What he’s thinking about doing and what I’m thinking about doing are two very different things. He’s thinking about getting it done, I’m thinking about making it last and making it look as good as it can. The two are very far away from each other.
What kind of client feedback do you get?
Pretty great. A couple years ago, a client who just returned from living in Paris and London hired us. She said the Europeans are all about the quality of the work they do and technique that’s been passed down over generations. They are craftsmen and really know how to do it right. She had enjoyed working with us and thought the end product was better than anything she’d seen in Europe. That was great feedback.
What has been your experience working with Jeff King & Co?
Jeff has a ton of integrity; he’s a very good person. He does very good work. I like to think we’re likeminded in that. We go at it with a higher ideal to make the work right. It’s been a very good fit. I don’t always find that to be the case, there are a number of contractors Persnickety works with that just don’t get it. Jeff is pushing for us to be on as many jobs as we can. He’s behind our company and likes working with us and supporting us. And I feel the same.
Thanks Jared, we look forward to hearing more about the technical aspects of painting in Part II of this interview!
To find out more about Persnickety Painters, visit the company website here.