Opportunities in Lead Paint Removal & Abatement

epa_leadsafecertfirmPosted by: Diane Capuano

The lead removal and abatement market offers many opportunities for paint and decorating retailers. Those opportunities are enumerated in great detail in an article in the August issue of Paint & Decorating Retailer magazine.

Here are just a few excerpts of that article, enumerating some of the potential opportunities.

“Lead abatement in mature markets that are influenced by historical preservation continues to be a huge opportunity for the paint and decorating retailer,” said John Petroci, president/CEO of Dumond Chemicals Inc. “Architects nationally are taking advantage of unique opportunities to restore a property to its original appearance without the hazardous of lead-based coatings. Furthermore, architects and professional painting contractors are being challenged to remove past painting systems to unveil the substrates beauty and luster, particularly wood and masonry.”

Chas Wolfson of Samax Inc. urged retailers to be on the lookout for opportunities in this market. “Look in the newspaper. Do a Google-search for lead restoration projects in your community,” he advised. “You’ll be surprised what you can find. Don’t rely on just the business that walks through your door. Drive around town. Look at the trucks that are parked in front of renovation projects in your area. Call the phone number and invite the guy to lunch. For a $20 investment and a bit of your time, you can wind up with thousands of dollars in business.”

Cole Stanton, Executive Vice President for Fiberlock Technologies.  advised retailers to be proactive in seeking product education from their suppliers. “Pick up the phone, invite us into your store to talk about the products used in lead abatement and lead-safe paint removal,” he urged. “Share articles like this one with your sales team. Speaking for all manufacturers, I recommend that you use us to further your knowledge and understanding of this category.”

For additional expertise, paint stores can turn to the accredited training providers affiliated with the EPA Lead-Safe Certification Program. Stanton directed retailers to the EPA website for a list of training providers in their areas. “Not only are these trainers a great resource, but you can also be a resource to them, providing them with the products they need in order to conduct their training,” he said.

Conducting test patches is the key to successful paint removal and lead abatement projects, Petroci stressed. “Every project has its own unique coatings history and jobsite challenges. However, the optimal paint remover and method to overcome those challenges can be easily determined by conducting test patches prior to estimating and starting a job.”

Petroci reported that a greater emphasis on training has occurred since implementation of the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule in 2010. Petroci urged paint stores to embrace the EPA’s mandate as an opportunity to differentiate their businesses from others who have not taken the time to be educated on behalf of their customers. “By investing the time in having store personnel attend the course, getting certified and absorbing the cost of certification, paint and decorating retailers are proving that they have the best interest of their customers in mind and possess the knowledge and expertise needed to offer advice pertaining to most, if not all painting projects.”

Adam Newman, national sales manager for Sunnyside Corp., stressed the importance of retailers as a source of information on the products and the regulations related to this market. “Lead abatement contractors are required to be trained and accredited in proper lead safety techniques,” he said. “Offering them a source to not only remove lead paint safely, but also rendering the lead paint non-hazardous will put them in the best possible situation when they’re involved in a lead abatement job.”

Holly Walters, associate brand manager at WM Barr, stressed that it’s vital for retailers to know the applicable laws in their area as well as the lead-safe work practices that contractors and property owners must follow. “By educating themselves, they can better educate their customers,” she said, noting that most laws can be found on the Internet.

She recommended that paint store employees take the eight-hour RRP class that contractors are required to take. That way, they can accurately and safely converse with contractors and DIY consumers and make appropriate product recommendations.

“Paint stores can make these products available to their customers and be ready to answer their questions.” Walters said.

Stanton observed that retailers who have active outside sales forces are typically the most successful in identifying and securing business in lead removal and abatement projects. To further their success,Stanton advised retailers to be aware of the HUD grants that have been allocated to reduce lead-based hazards in homes across America.

For information regarding the availability of HUD grants in your area, Stanton recommended visiting this website. A breakdown of opportunities by state is featured.

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