S3 E8 – Custom, High-End, New Build Projects: Dustin Zupancic

 Customize Your Business

Today on The Brush we have Dustin Zupancic of Dreamscape Painting! His firm specializes in high-end, custom, residential jobs and works closely with builders.

Dustin hails from outside of Vancouver B.C., and when he’s not working, he loves spending time outside with his three kids. He loves to cycle when he has time, but unfortunately, he’s recovering from a back injury and just injured his knee. Instead, he’s planning on brushing up on his salmon-fishing skills.

Nick met Dustin at this year’s PDCA in Galveston and had a great conversation on The Brush.

Today, Dreamscape is a team of eight painters, including Dustin’s Dad and brother-in-law, as well as a part-time office assistant and soon to be an operations manager. Dreamscape’s niche is the ultra high-end residential project. Last year, his team finished up a 17,000 sq. ft. house and put 11,000 hours put into it. And the year before, they worked on a project for two years! The rest of their work is medium-higher end homes, and Dustin is actually planning on servicing smaller homes to keep his guys busy.

Dustin says he’s excited to transition from his nitty-gritty oversight role and focus more on his vision for the future. A big challenge for him is scheduling with builders: in big-project situations, you have to have enough people to respond quickly to builders’ needs, but if you have too many people and projects get delayed, that can be a bad financial situation.

Listen to learn more, and connect with Dustin at www.dreamscapepainting.com and on Instagram @dreamscapeptg!

Come hang out with Nick and contractors from all over the country for CRANK 2.0! Over twenty folks have already signed up, and we can’t wait to connect with all of you. And don’t forget to connect through The Business Brush Facebook page.

See ya next week!

S3 E7 – All About the PDCA: Chris Shank

The PDC What?

Today on The Brush, Nick is joined by Chris Shank of the PDCA! He’s their education director as well as a deep thinker and overall excellent human being who is here today to break down his philosophy at the PDCA.

The Painting Contractors Association, or PDCA, is our industry’s membership organization whose mission is to help build businesses and connect folks with each other in a non-competitive way. The PDCA is a non-profit group, which means — as Chris says — that the PDCA is not trying to get any money from anyone! They are there literally to be useful.

Chris has had a really interesting path to his current position. He studied criminal justice as an undergraduate and earned his Master’s in theology and education, and has worked as a social worker and in various nonprofits over the years. He’s spent three years at the PDCA and quadrupled their educational content in that window.

Chris gets us up to speed on what the PDCA is up to these days: a “member to leader” series focusing on business leadership and getting people involved; various training courses; live webinars; themes for every month (next is industry standards); a podcast (Paint Ed, which Nick has appeared on!) and videos in a video catalogue. They also help with accreditation and connect contractors in a non-competitive and non-confrontational way to share knowledge. There are chapters, councils, and regional events as well as the national expo. Plus, Chris facilitates conversations that are intended to benefit business at specific levels of growth and revenue; it’s all about education to help people help themselves to the next stage.

He prides himself on being a great listener and on his ability to facilitate knowledge-sharing between paint contractors — although Chris emphasizes that he is in not the guy to give advice about how to run your business because he’s never run one himself!

At the PDCA, podcasts are free and membership is $399 per year — and Chris emphasizes that, even if the PDCA doesn’t have the answer to your business question, they’ll connect you with someone who does.

Chris prioritizes trust shining through in not only the PDCA’s role as a non-profit but in creating relationships in the industry. He says that in today’s “trust economy”, contractors who aren’t trying to extort folks will win the day and even forge relationships in the industry. That’s what we’re all about!

Head over to the PDCA’s Events page to get in the know, and reach out to Chris via email at CShank@pvca.org!

S3 E6 – Paint Stores 101: Linc Bigelow

Find Your Local Retailer

Welcome back to The Brush! Today, Nick continues his series of speaking to owners of paint stores and chats with Linc Bigelow of Colorize. Here’s the episode to learn more about how paint stores operate and how to cultivate a successful business relationship with them!

Linc is based in upstate New York, and loves the journey of raising his kids in that beautiful part of the country. Colorize is part of the Benjamin Moore network, and Linc points to a whole host of positives that they have brought to Colorize: an army of trainers, data analytics, and a ceaseless supply of paint. Now, 18 months after co-opening Colorize, Linc and his partners are opening a second store. Congratulations!

Linc offers his perspective on why Benjamin Moore should be everyone’s paint of choice, even though they are a bit more expensive than some competitors. All of their competitors are corporate, whereas BM stores themselves are independent, and that very relationship means that there is a challenge for independent operators like Linc: the BM product line is much more vast than anyone thinks it is, and Linc says it is their job to educate folks on why BM paints are the best. Because there’s no doubt that they are.

As for marketing, Linc says it perfectly himself. “We do a lot on social media, because that’s where all the attention is, and the price is right!” He adds: “Social media is kind of the way we’re approaching our stores. If you don’t have a lot of money to throw at it, you do have time and effort.”

Listen to learn more, and connect with Linc via Instagram @mycolorize and on Facebook.

Apply to The Business Brush group! We need folks who are engaged and active to ask the good, hard questions and help all of us learn how to run a great business. Join for conversations on marketing, video, sales processes, and even what books folks are reading! If you want to have a group of guys that will help you take your business to the next level — all totally free — apply to join the group today.

Connect with Nick via Instagram @nickmay.co, or on Facebook!

And give us a review on iTunes!

S3 E5 – Getting the Most Out of Angie’s List: Nick LoGrasso

Like Father Like Son 

Welcome back! Today in The Lounge we have Nick LoGrasso, the owner of SNL Painting in St. Louis, MO. Nick was born and raised in the St. Louis area and still operates about 30 minutes from he grew up. He loves his business and friends, and two daughters! In his free time, he loves to hang out with his kids as much as he can, barbecue, cut his grass, and work on classic cars (when he actually has the time). Nick also jokes that he is “terribly” Midwest.

His dad was a painter, and when Nick graduated high school, his dad put him on a ladder during the day when he wasn’t working nights at a pizzeria. He then got a degree in Management and Information Services (MIS) in 2002. Now, his business mainly does residential re-paints but he says that he is trying to shift into commercial painting, which has a few perks: there’s no homeowner there, there’s a tight time schedule, it is mainly walls — not ceilings — and it takes less of a highly-skilled craftsman (no offense to all you commercial painters out there!).

Nick has optimized his Angie’s List account and eventually won a Super Service Award, and he’s also focused on SEO. Now, his Angie’s List has hundreds of comments and his business has quadrupled. For hiring, he focuses on culture and prioritizes cultivating a place where people want to work. He’s also not above poaching painters from the competition. At the office, Nick has an indispensable office administrator who does everything phone related, complex invoicing, and is starting to put their systems in binders.

Nick will be a guest speaker at this year’s PDCA!

Thanks for listening! Head over to iTunes to give us a review, or connect through our Facebook group.

S3 E4- Bridging the Gap Between Design & Paint: Angela Schuster

Interior Designers and Paint Contractors Unite!

Today on The Brush we have Angela Schuster. She runs one of the NE’s most successful decorative art firms, Faux Time Design, and she speaks at length with Nick about how she’s gotten her business to where it is today. Interestingly enough, Angela works with both interior designers and paint contractors in running her decorative art and faux finish business!

Angela is based in northern New Jersey, near New York City, and her business services the tri-state area. She’s also just ten miles away from the Benjamin Moore headquarters! And another fun fact: she actually found out about Nick May through The Chaise Lounge Podcast, where he discusses the business of interior design with the world’s top interior designers and architects. Angela has two kids: one studying illustration at the Pratt Institute, and the other will be a senior in high school in the fall. She grew up on a family farm in Oklahoma and says there was a lot of exploration and play on the acres and acres. In her free time, her and her family travel the world and take a hands-on approach to experiencing culture — like staying in apartments vs. hotels and immersing themselves in history.

Her first job was at Airbone Express, an early competitor to FedEx, where she worked in marketing and sales. She credits the experience for forcing her to learn sales skills, and she later spent another decade in corporate. But when a home faux finisher gave her an overpriced estimate, she decided to take the opportunity to do it herself, but right, and she eventually studied under the greatest decorative artists.

Today, she has nine artists and runs one of the largest decorative art firms in the entire NE, and has become busier than ever. Most importantly, she adapted her marketing strategy from traditional to digital and details how that decision has been key. Plus, she’s a big proponent of marketing through events, just like Nick’s forums and upcoming CRANK 2.0. Angela does a Lunch and Learn and Cocktail party in January, when business is slow, so people can learn and network together. She’s also a member of the International Decorative Artist League, and Faux Time Finishing  won the PVCA’s award for best decorative designer in 2013 and 2018. Congrats!

To connect with Angela, reach out via email to angela@fauxtimedesign.com

The Business Brush Updates

We’d love to hear from you. Review us on iTunes!

And, of course, we’re huge fans of the Datacolor Color Reader Pro. Head over to datacolor.com/may and enter the promo code May for a discount!

Thanks for listening!

S3 E3 – Nick: From Painting to Podcasting LIVE in Chicago

LIVE: From Painter to Podcaster

Hey folks, welcome back to another episode of The Business Brush. This week we’ve got a special LIVE episode broadcasted from Chicago, where Nick talks in depth about his journey from painter to podcaster and beyond. This is the place to listen for tips on how building your personal brand can bring your firm more business and — yes — more money to invest in your company or your family.

Nick speaks in front of about 125 interior designers at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, but these are all tips that apply to any business.  Long term branding and marketing strategies can really, really work.


See what the Datacolor Coloreader Pro can do for you!

And stay tuned for updates on CRANK 2.0. We’ll be announcing pricing and application for Nick’s business forum that will take place in mid-September, as well as a potential workshop with Jim and other contractors in Seattle.

Thanks for listening!

S3 E2 – Jim Mallory

Navy turned Painter

Today on The Brush, Nick sits down with Jim Mallory of Mallory Paint Store in Seattle. As the owner of a paint store, he’s the very first guest on The Brush who isn’t a painter! Plus, he’s a Benjamin Moore dealer — so we’re doubly excited to have him on the show.

Jim is originally from Minnesota, but traveled the world in the Navy and says he “stuck around” in Seattle after leaving the armed forces. He’s always wanted to own a business and says that he weathered many crises in his years running Mallory Paint Store. Mostly, he’s succeeded in the trials by fire he has put himself through as a self-taught business owner, from leasing to supply and marketing.

Although Jim is a paint store owner, he talks about many of the same challenges we all have: standardizing systems, giving incentives to keep employees at the store, forecasting business, and dealing with painters and clients with unreasonable expectations. If you want to learn how bad business practices hurt paint retailers and the industry as a whole, listen further!

And a fun fact: Nick was very close to opening his own Benjamin Moore stores about 15 years ago!


See what the Datacolor Coloreader Pro can do for you!

And stay tuned for updates on CRANK 2.0. We’ll be announcing pricing and application for Nick’s business forum that will take place in mid-September, as well as a potential workshop with Jim and other contractors in Seattle.

Thanks for listening!

S3 E1 – Ryan Toelkes

Neighborhood Painter

Today on The Brush, Nick talks with novel guest Ryan Toelkes of KC Neighborhood Painting in Kansas City. The two chat about Ryan’s journey into the paint contracting business and how he’s managed to craft a thriving firm! But first, Nick invites Brush regular Nick Slavik back onto the pod to discuss just how much Nick loves the Datacolor Color Reader Pro.

Next, Ryan explains that KC Neighborhood painting covers all of the Kansas City metro area, including residential and commercial buildings, including the GE ERC world headquarters! The two then dive into marketing. Ryan says he prides himself on being one of the best paint contractors in his area and sees marketing as a way to “get their story out” to customers, so that they can tell what sets them apart. It’s something that he’s always enjoyed and developed a knack for — especially the online aspect of marketing, which has driven most of their sales. Ryan works SEO and social media and sees the returns clear as day.

Plus, we love Ryan’s attitude: he says that business growth is crucial to paying his employees more and being able to spend time with his family — which, after all, is why we all do what we do! Bravo, Ryan. Thanks for coming on the show!


Nick is on Instagram! Stay in the loop here.

And if you would like to be featured on The Business Brush, don’t hesitate to email Grant at grant@imaymedia.com to set up an interview.

Keep on keeping on!

S2 E12- David Cook

Why Are the Bees Dying???

Today on The Brush Nick chats with David Cook of Dfranco Finishes! Dave breaks down why the bees are dying, chats about wallpaper installation, and opens up about the challenges of digital marketing and management. This one is essential for learning how to take your contracting business to the next step!