For many businesses, especially those in the Pacific Northwest, the availability of work can ebb and flow throughout the year. If you don’t work in an industry that gets hit every year by a downturn in business because of weather, it might come as a surprise to you how much of their year is spent preparing for and trying to mitigate that loss. For the owners of K&D Quality Painting in Puyallup, WA, though, it’s a constant concern. And not just because of the loss of profit: but because of the impact it has on their employees.
The pair who own K&D Quality Painting puts every ounce of their heart and soul into their business. And that’s never more on display than when they have to contemplate how to help their employees get through the slow time of year. David is one half of the pair of owners, and for him, making sure his team is looked out for is top of mind.
The painting business slows down in the winter months, and it sometimes comes to pass that the income of David’s employees sinks low enough that rent and basic bills become a real problem. When that happens, though, he’s ready to dip into his own cash reserves to make sure they all make it through the tough months together. Says David, “Having employees changes the way you think your life is supposed to be. I have people who count on my decisions. They look up to me in a sense -- where I’m going to be able to carry them to the next step.”
Kurtis and David, the owners of K&D Quality Painting, didn’t have to open their own painting business. Previously employed by a big box store in the area, both Kurtis and David were comfortably employed and knew they could rely on a steady paycheck. But throughout their time working for the faceless corporation, they started to realize that they were unlike their employers and peers: Kurtis and David cared.
Painting someone’s house could easily be dismissed as something superficial, or something that can be glossed over. But that’s exactly the attitude that David and Kurtis rebel against, and why they started K&D Quality Painting. For them, getting the customer exactly what they’re asking for is extremely important. A person’s home is their face to the world, and the care, quality and concern that goes into making it look good should reflect the respect that the painter feels for the customer.
Working at the large box store, David quickly realized that his peers didn’t agree with him. For both his employer and his co-workers, the approach was to deliver the fastest, cheapest solution that met most of the customer’s requests and leave well-enough alone. It didn’t take long for him to get frustrated by this lack of personal touch or interest, and it was the shared appreciation for taking a job seriously that drew Kurtis and David together.
They started as friends while working together. Kurtis had been painting for over 30 years, and David was drawn to his professionalism and attention to getting the job done right. They both took pride in “giving the customer all that we are.” They noticed as they worked at this anonymous box store that the painters around them would “just show up, put color on a wall and leave,” and they both wanted to be different.
And that’s exactly what they’ve achieved. In Puyallup, you won’t find a painter with more sincere and earnest interest in getting the job done right than K&D Quality Painting. And that’s because they treat the business like an opportunity to provide comfort, beauty and happiness to their customers and a livelihood for their families. David is intensely proud that at K&D Quality Painting, they treat their customers like friends and their employees like family.
He approaches each job with a genuine interest in giving the customer what they want. If the customer makes it clear that they don’t have the budget for a hand-painted job with expensive paint, he doesn’t push them past their comfort zone or try for an up-sell. But by the same token, if the customer makes it clear they’re looking for a high-quality job, he and his team don’t cut any corners. No matter the customer, K&D Quality Painting always makes sure that they understand fully the customer’s needs and requests, and set out to get it all right, the first time.
The heart and soul that sets K&D Quality Painting apart among painters isn’t completely unique – but it sure is rare. It speaks to an honesty, decency and faith in a job well done that’s fundamentally American. And to hear David explain it, it’s not even a choice: he simply can’t see it any other way except that customers deserve what they ask for, and his employees deserve a good life. And the only way to provide that is to be the best painter he can be, and run his painting company according to his values.
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