Taking Aim, Selling Spray Painting Equipment

Taking Aim, Selling Spray Painting Equipment

By Sandy Allen, Guest Writer

When selling spray painting equipment and accessories, meet the shop owner and get approval before visiting with his painters. Body shop painters are usually very busy. Typically, there are two to three body techs working on the repairs and only one head painter with a helper to finish the work. Also note that Fridays are not the best day to make calls, as the painter has to get all that week’s worth of jobs out the door by 5:00 p.m.

Once you have the painters’ attention, discussing your spray painting equipment with the painter is easy to do because painters love spray guns. Spray guns are the one tool every painter needs to do his job, so he loves to see anything new. Begin your sale by asking him what he’s currently using. Make sure he holds your spray gun and gets the feel of it in his hand. This is the first step in making the sale. While he’s testing out the gun, tell him the features and benefits of your spray gun and all about the warranty. If he wants to try the gun, set up a demo for him and let him try it for a week. After a week, if the gun meets his needs, the painter won’t want to let it go. I’d call that an easy sale. 

A painter will likely buy a new gun every year or year-and-a-half because he thinks his current gun must be wearing out. He may keep that gun to use for something else like primer, but if he sees and uses another gun that does the job better or as well as his current gun, he will buy your new spray gun. Make sure the painter also knows that you sell all the accessories, air adjustment valves, mini regulators, gun cleaning kits and disposable filters. Let him know you have a wide range of tools for the shop and for anything he may do at home as well.

Another item that painters love to discuss is air brushes. They all want to try them because they’ve seen them on TV shows, plus they’re a lot of fun to demonstrate and to use. Make sure you show them what you have to offer.
Once the painter has decided he likes your spray gun, it’s time to discuss the CFM (cubic feet per minute of air). This gives you the opportunity to discuss the importance of good air supply and how his shop is piped. Many shops have poor air delivery, which results in poor CFM delivery to the tools, which results in less than optimal performance.

Take a look at the shop’s air supply pipe size. Minimum pipe size should be 3/4-inch pipe. If the pipe is smaller, ask how far the painting area is situated from the compressor. The distance is important to the performance of the paint spray equipment. If there isn’t enough CFM to operate his spray gun, he’ll have a small fan pattern and he may get an uneven spray pattern, due to the fluctuation in air flow.

Frankly, most shops I have visited are not piped correctly. Perhaps no one has ever discussed the problems with the owner and the painter on correct pipe size and layout of the pipe. I admit it is a hard sell to get an owner to step up to a piping upgrade, but it is worth the time and money for them to do so with the delivery of more CFM to the entire shop, and drier air, which means less paint redos and less air tool down-time.

This brings up another discussion to have with the painter or shop owner — air compressor water problems.
When air is compressed, it releases some water that is then trapped in the air compressor tank (which should be drained every morning). Some water is passed through the pipe lines via the compressed air. This air must be cooled to dew point to get that water released. There are two ways to do this: mechanically with correct piping size and layout, or chemically through the use of refrigerated air coolers or desiccant dryers.

While the piping size and layout along with good filters works very well for most shops, if the shop is in a very humid area or surrounded by water, they may have to consider a more complex system.

Sometimes the compressor size presents a problem. Many shops start out under-aired. They buy too small of a compressor or over time they hire more techs and never increase the size or delivery of the air compressor. A standard 5 hp two-stage air compressor delivers only 16.2 CFM; this is really a one-man air compressor. But you see them all the time in shops with two or three techs. The air compressor runs full time, causing more water to be passed along to the air tools and paint guns, because there is no down time for the air to cool and drop out the water.

The rule of thumb to size up the shop for what air compressor they should be using is this — how many techs are using air? If you see four techs, you need 10 CFM per tech who is using air. Now because the techs are not all using air at the same time, you can divide them in half, which means 4 X 10 = 40 CFM divided in half equals 20 CFM required fulltime. If another tech starts to use an air tool and all they have is 20 CFM delivered, they could still be in trouble. Therefore I always add an extra tech to my count.

Then comes the issue of how to deliver the air from the compressor to the shop. Size does matter in the case of pipes. Like I said previously, I recommend a minimum 3/4-inch pipe. This will carry up to 40 CFM through 100 feet of pipe. One-inch pipe will carry up to 40 CFM though 200 feet of pipe. One-and-a-quarter-inch pipe will carry 40 CFM through to anything more than 200 feet of pipe.

A Few Points To Remember When Selling Spray Painting Equipment:
• Be sure the painter gets the feel of your spray gun and knows the features and benefits, along with parts availability and warranty.

• Take a minute to understand how the air is piped in the shop and what size compressor they use.
This will help you answer questions or solve problems that are air-related. In addition to making the sale, the owner and the painter will come to expect — and appreciate — your help in the future.

Common Features Found on Paint Spray Guns:
• Pistol trigger for easy paint volume control
• Double action function to color blend
• Ergonomic handle for comfortable and smooth performance
• Side- or top-mounted gravity cup
• Adjustable fluid and fan controls

Terms to Know When Selling Paint Spray Equipment
• CFM — cubic feet per minute (air flow)
• Paint Spray — the action of spraying paint
• Fan Pattern — paint spray pattern of 11” X 2-1/2” with small pinpoint polka dots of atomization
• Paint Atomization — how fine the paint spray will be (size of the polka dots)

Opportunities for Additional Sales
• Paint Spray Equipment and Accessories, including Air Brush
• Air Adjustment Valves
• Mini-Regulators
• Gun Cleaning Kits
• Disposable Filters
• Air Hoses
• Air Compressor
• Water Traps and other Filters  DS

Sandy Allen is the National Sales Manager for JS Steelman. She can be reached at [email protected].

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