Paint & Decorating: Ready, aim, fire!

By Jess Brunette September 15, 2017 Painting & Decorating

Paint and Decorating is a busy market but, while it’s not war out there, competition is fierce and not everyone is playing fair. Jess Brunette reports.

To view a PDF of the complete feature as it appeared in NZ Hardware Journal magazine, click the download button at the bottom of this page.

The painting & decorating category offers mixed reports on the level of business. Everyone I spoke to acknowledges that there is plenty of work around and subsequent demand for their products but also admits that competition can be fierce.

Dulux Business Manager, Darren Cuschieri, says that the market has been holding up reasonably well with the company’s relaunched Wash & Wear range gaining steady traction in the market and most other categories within Dulux’s retail market performing well off the back of a buoyant housing sector.

While he has no immediate concerns, Cuschieri clearly keeps his ear to the ground and is somewhat cautious about the future of the market based on forecasts from major economists that the housing boom enjoyed by so many, particularly in the northern part of the country, could be coming to an end by mid to late 2018.

In the shorter term the upcoming Election is another concern that Cuschieri feels could potentially stall the market’s steady growth.

“I hear a lot of people are talking about the election and, probably more so in the regions, people tend to take a bit of a breath, hold on to their cash and wait to see what the results are going to be.

“But to be fair, I feel like New Zealand politics is in pretty good shape and not the same as Australia where they change the Prime Minister every 15 minutes,” says Darren Cuschieri.



Almax Sales Manager, Brett Bishop, is happy with the strong level of construction going on around the country keeping painters busy and has seen healthy uptake of the company’s CQ Pro Paint range as well as the Intex Products Plastering Tool range that it started distributing earlier this year.

Bishop is another to remain excited about the future of the market, predicting continued strong growth in the construction and paint industries but do other players share his confidence about the coming years?

Also reasonably happy with the state of the market is Brendan Talbot of South Pacific Supplies, a key supplier of construction marking paints who has seen steady business that is beginning to pick up as the rain eases and people begin marking swimming pools, decks and any other potential construction sites for the summer months.

Talbot is also in a fortunate position in that his products are fairly easy to use and therefore somewhat cushioned from the dramatic skills shortages that have plagued many other categories in the hardware channel.

In fact Talbot’s only real concern is the continued updating of rules and regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency around dangerous goods, a key concern for anyone involved in aerosols. And while he always ensures that his products are well up to code, he is understandably excited about a new non-aerosol marking paint solutions arriving soon from its US developers that promises to make things even easier in terms of meeting health and safety and environmental regulations.



While the shortage of qualified tradespeople might make little impact on what Brendan Talbot does, for the Masters Painters Association it is top of mind.

According to both Brian Miller and Phil Wilkinson from Master Painters NZ, the number of currently qualified painters as well as apprentices currently in training is not encouraging.

For painters currently in work, price competition is steep with reports across the country that many qualified painters are being undercut by recent immigrants with little or no English speaking ability and sometimes not even a valid driver’s license.

This state of affairs certainly doesn’t benefit the immigrant painter either, with many new to the industry not understanding the true costs of business before it’s too late.

“That’s the biggest driver to the bottom of the pit. They mistake turnover for profitability,” explains Brian Miller.

“The turnover is for show and to be very busy all the time you think you’re doing okay until the accountant says ‘you didn’t make any money in the last year’.”

It’s for this reason that many of the more experienced Master Painters tend to stay away from the group home builders when taking on work.

“In our view, you really need to understand your numbers to do well in that area. And there’s always another person that’ll come in underneath you thinking they can do it for less. So it’s a vicious market really and the less scrupulous group home builders, prey on that, where the better ones have learned a lesson and probably have groups of contractors they know and trust,” Miller says.

The Auckland market has proven to be particularly difficult for anyone not smart with numbers to make do, with the rise in cost of living in Auckland not matching profits generated by high turnover low profit projects.

Obviously to get more qualified people into the business, apprentices need to start coming through the ranks but, as Phil Wilkinson admits: “painting isn’t necessarily the sexiest trade” to attract young people and feels that the school system hasn’t been of much help recruiting them either, with the trades seen as an inferior option compared to a university qualification.

Wrapping up, one ray of hope is that the Master Painters Association is reporting more females entering into apprenticeships, with several young women enrolled through the Association’s own business courses, a small but positive step in the right direction.

“Young women in particular make very good apprentices in our industry,” explains Brian Miller. “They’re very creative and our apprentice of the year is a young woman and she’s outstanding and several of our finalists were young women as well.

“So we’d like them to consider trades like ours because they’ve actually got the attention to detail, they’ve got the patience and they can do really well with it.”



Valspar backs grass roots rugby

The Valspar brand has been very much in the public’s eye since the start of the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup in August. As well as being the sponsor of the match officials, Valspar is running a series of consumer promotions alongside its support of grass roots rugby. Seen here is ref Nick Briant with the Mitre 10 Cup and Valspar’s ANZ National Business Manager, Scott Smith.


Master Painter’s Apprentice of the Year 2017

Jacklyn Dempster (above), from John Dempster Painting, Night Caps, Invercargill, took out the ultimate prize in a very close competition this year (see photo) .

History was made with two finalists being women during the 100th year of the Master Painters celebration. All candidates presented a portfolio of their work and submitted a brief story about themselves, depicting why they should be considered for the award.

The field of twenty applicants was narrowed down to three finalists with Jacklyn, Michael Keepa, from Paintcraft in Ashburton and Sarah George, from Enterprise Painting and Decorating in Nelson competing throughout three days to decorate play houses which were gifted to Women’s Refuge.

Resene co-sponsored the event with Master Painters, determined the colour schemes and provided all the paint and materials for the event.


Fast & fluid ups its game

Fast & Fluid Management’s GA480 gyroscopic mixer has a new Autobutton feature where users simply load the can then press the autobutton, and the mixer does the rest, determining optimal speed and mix time. Coupled with faster clamping speed and a dynamically balanced cradle mix, cycle times are dramatically decreased.

Also to be released soon in Australia and New Zealand is the new entry level automatic dispenser, the X-PROTINT, offering fast dispense at a reasonable price.

The company has also upgraded its service agent network thru-out New Zealand through agent Seal It Hydraulics & Engineering, adding technicians in Whangarei, Auckland, New Plymouth, Taupo, Napier, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. All technicians have been factory trained by F&FM for quicker response times and less overall down time.

For any enquiries contact Kevin Hall at Seal It on or 021 754 717.


Almax offers more

New to the Almax stable is a range of products designed to help serious painters onsite. For a premium paint brush Wooster Brush Company followed the success of the Wooster Silver Tip range, developing the Wooster Gold Edge Brush for finish quality, control and value with firm filaments.

Cover Quick also has some new products ready for use including a new range of pre-taped masking films, Door Stackers that provide a complete handling system for painting doors and the Swish Floor Applicator made from lambswool fabric that gets down intro the grooves of your deck to get it ready for summer.


Manners makes things easy

Manners Building Supplies is now offering the HYDE Airless Spray System with RVT Technology. Now users can paint more jobs with less fatigue and easy clean-up. Spray non-stop and switch from gun to telescoping pole to reach up to 12 feet without the need for scaffolding or ladders.

Patented Rapid Valve Transfer system lets you switch from gun to pole without powering down. Rated up to 3600 PSI. Handles a variety of coatings. Full kit includes a high-quality HYDE airless spray gun with an RVT valve, tip, tip guard and inline filter, and a 5’ to 8’ spray pole. Gun is fully assembled and ready to spray.


Want to avoid breathing paint fumes?

New to Saint-Gobain, the Bear disposable dust mask with active carbon provides relief against mists and ammonia odours produced by latex or water based paints. Eliminating unpleasant odours, the dust masks offer protection below the Occupational Exposure Limit, by absorbing these hazards.

Certified to AS/NZS safety standards, they guarantee the highest safety and peace of mind. Providing high protection against dust particles (P2), these masks make them ideal for sanding plasterboards, cutting, sweeping, woodworking and dusty operations.

Comfort is paramount when you must wear these masks for extended periods. Incorporating an exhalation valve, this limits the build-up of warm moist exhaled breath resulting in lower levels of carbon dioxide build up, therefore cooler on the face with higher levels of comfort. The latex free dual straps provide a firm and comfortable fit, without the worry of any allergies.

Constructed with a flexible aluminium curved nose clip, it can be adjusted to contours of the user’s nose and create a superior seal at the nose bridge. The lightweight and compact design ensures a good fit when used with glasses and goggles, whilst the large filter area improves breathing and voice communication.


PlastiKote Premium available

New PlastiKote Premium Spray Paint has just been released and is now available at all Mitre10 and Mitre10 MEGA stores. PlastiKote Premium offers three interchangeable nozzles to suit any project and almost any surface.

Choose from Fine, Standard and Fan options to create a premium and flawless finish. PlastiKote Premium comes in a comprehensive range of colours and finishes. PlastiKote Premium offers up to 4m2 per coat of coverage and when applied in 2-3 light coats, can transform any DIY project or hard to reach places. Suitable for interior and exterior use.

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