Color Masters Painting Inc.
- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Eric Colby
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
In 2003, Zebulon Z. Hadley IV founded a small power washing business while attending North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. His one-man operation soon expanded when the quality of his work attracted local general contractors. With growing success in the region, he hired his first two employees. Three years later, the small team added residential painting services to the company, establishing Color Masters Painting Inc. (CMP). His hardworking team established a rapport with homeowners, increasing demand. The company grew again, adding team members. In 2008, CMP diversified to include commercial clients.
Today, Hadley employs more than 135 people. CMP has established a strong base of repeat clients, including major stores such as Walmart, AutoZone and Chipotle Mexican Grill. The customer pool is broad and diverse with 95 percent of CMP’s clients being repeat customers.
The CMP team is licensed to perform painting, coating and drywall work in 36 states across the U.S. Furthermore, approximately 80 percent of business is for retail customers, although other work includes high-rise condominiums, hotels, restaurants, nursing homes, schools, prisons and hospitals. CMP also has a single-family home division that performs painting and drywall services on new construction housing, as well as repainting.
While the business has a large geographic presence, all of the labor is headquartered in Raleigh. CMP has 11 locations across the country, mostly for media contact and equipment storage. Across the country, the team works directly for both general contractors and end-users alike. Hadley has established longstanding relationships with a number of large general contractors that regularly reach out to his team to perform painting and coating work for large big box remodels, and multifamily complexes.
Hadley and his team have been involved in a range of projects in the last year. CMP is currently involved with work for a diverse client spread, including the Army Corps of Engineers. “We are beginning a project painting the new Army Reserve Center in Greensboro, N.C.,” says Hadley. “It’s not a huge project for us, but we are doing the exterior and interior. All of the Army’s facilities have to meet LEED certification requirements so we do full materials reporting for our portion of the work. We are using Sherwin Williams Pro-Mar 200 0-VOC paint, which is one of our main products for this kind of work.”
The team has also begun work on a 152-unit luxury student housing high-rise in downtown Richmond, Va., working with local KBS General Contractors. CMP is painting the interior and also applying specialty coatings to a portion of the exterior.
“We are using a few interesting products on this project,” says Hadley. “We are doing marine coatings on the exterior balcony railings, which is a high performance two-part urethane, three coat system. This offers a high-build protection from rusting and has good color retention without fading. On the interior, all of the hallways and corridors are painted with Scuff Master, which is another high-build wall coating system that protects walls from mars, scuffs and scratches.”
The crew is finishing up a project for Walmart in Texas, including full interior and exterior painting, as well as drywall finishing. According to Hadley, Walmart has been a larger client for the team.
“We are probably the largest Walmart painter in the country,” Hadley notes. “We are scheduled to work on 80 remodels and 45 new construction stores in 2014. We do about 12 to 13 percent of Walmarts in the country any given year. We’ve been doing it for so long that we have our guys trained and systems in place to make it idiot-proof. This kind of work has a repetitive nature; we can do it faster, with better quality and fewer issues than other companies, keeping us competitive.”
Hadley is proud to report that his company has experienced growth every year since inception. While he and his team saw decreased growth during some years of the recession, CMP maintained growth every year. “There were a few years that felt stagnant, but we have picked up,” he explains. “Between 2009 and 2010, we doubled our growth. We made an effort to slow down and reconfigure so we had the systems and equipment in place where they needed to be. We need to have everyone on the same page before we grow.”
He credits his partnerships with employees, clients and strategic partners for the company’s continued success. Particularly during the economic downturn, Sherwin Williams helped the team maintain an uninterrupted supply, even while clients struggled with payments. As CMP’s major supplier, Sherwin Williams provides the business with consistent, high quality products that are on par with Hadley’s dedication to performance.
“Due to the reliability of the dozens of paint sprayers that we purchased manufactured by Titan, we were able to always finish jobs uninterrupted due to their reliability,” says Hadley.
Hadley and his crew operate on three simple principles: quality workmanship, developing trust and satisfying customers; these were instilled in Hadley by his father, who was a small-business owner, who always built relationships based on trust and value.
As the business continues to grow, CMP has a growing following of loyal, repeat customers. The business continues to diversify, growing geographically while retaining vertical integration. In the coming years, Color Masters Painting Inc. is on a positive trajectory, providing reliable services and products to a broad demographic.
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