When Nick Lopez founded Spartan College Painters in East Lansing, Michigan during his college years, he didn’t immediately realize he’d struck gold with the high-end home segment he was serving.
That company and its client base would later inspire Lopez to found LIME Painting, a franchise that serves the same demographic to an even greater level of success. Lopez started the company with the desire to rise to the challenge that servicing the biggest, most beautiful homes out there posed, but that reasoning evolved as he constantly had to combat the notorious unreliability of the industry.
“The added motivation for serving the luxury home segment came from the horror stories we heard and our desire to provide a solution,” Lopez said, recalling tales of other service providers not answering their phones, being late, or worse, not showing up at all. “During my time in college, I found a passion for solving this problem, and as a result, created this thorough, arms-length solution in LIME Painting.”
The arms-length solution LIME Painting delivers is its value-based services that are geared toward a demographic that is willing to invest in quality, effectively bringing efficiency and expertise to a space that was missing both. LIME is able to not only save its clients time, but also skillfully maintain what is likely their highest-valued asset in their home.
“It comes down to the fact that our target demographic buys on value, not price,” Lopez said. “That doesn't mean we’re unethical, it means that we’re creating worth for them. When I started this business, I could clearly see the opportunity in the high-end space. Not many companies were serving these homes, and those that were trying weren't competent in the work that goes into it. There's so much more to the process than just painting. LIME gives these homeowners a turnkey service they otherwise struggle to find, and find reliably.”
While other contractors in the space may be great painters, their resources beyond this single service are lacking. When demand picks up and scheduling comes into play, they generally have a large backlog of projects. When projects do start, they tend to take a long time, meaning high-end homeowners are used to a paint job taking forever.
“By implementing basic business principles and having a model tailored to more than just paint, we've been able to bring these homeowners so much value,” Lopez continued. “LIME’s consultation process educates the client on how we do things, showcasing our prioritization of quality control. Not only does it help us to make the process easy, enjoyable and refreshing versus stressful, time-intensive and uncertain, but it validates what they're paying for us to do the job right the first time.”
Generally, when homeowners think about exterior paint, they don't think about oxidizing metal and leaky gutters that cause damage or realize that stucco requires a different protective coating than just paint, making the education aspect of LIME Painting’s services that much more integral to its business model.
“We offer the necessary services beyond just paint, eliminating the need for the customer to vet five or more different service providers in the process,” Lopez said. “This allows our franchise owners to deliver all that value to a demographic with discretionary income and provide them with a means of protecting one of their highest-valued assets.”
LIME’s extensive customer service and streamlined business practices achieved through technology integration ensure it delivers high-quality services at a level that matches client expectations and desires.
“It’s a huge and humbling responsibility,” Lopez said. “Our work is exciting; we value each home as custom and unique and are able to form strong relationships with our clients as a result.”
By prioritizing the notion that people come before profits, LIME Painting has been able to grow its business through these relationships and create an opportunity for franchisees that is as personally rewarding as it is lucrative. With its strong culture continuously driving the ‘people’ aspect of the equation home, the ‘profit’ part has come easily.
Case in point: while the industry-average paint job costs around $2,800, the average ticket at LIME is as high as $11,000. To this end, Lopez explained that LIME is able to max out value for its clients with luxury homes through these high-touch assessments and its extensive service catalog.
“As a byproduct of our value focus, we’ve created an extremely profitable business,” Lopez said.