Clean Cut Painting
East Hampton, Connecticut
When Chris Soule lost his job as an automotive refinish painter during the recession in 2009, he took it as an opportunity to turn his residential and commercial painting side gig into a full-fledged business. Now with a new Global Finishing Solutions (GFS) Enclosed Finishing Paint Booth, Clean Cut Painting continues to increase in quality as their business grows.
Please introduce your business and tell us your story:
During my seven years in the automotive refinish world, I did some side commercial painting projects for residential customers to save up for a house. When I was laid off during the recession in 2009, I had two options — I could get a job painting cars for someone else or I could do my own thing. I thought, if I’m going to start my own business, now is the time.
Clean Cut Painting started out of my house. Three years later, we moved to our first shop. We were using a makeshift spray booth with a sketchy fan in the wall. Luckily, we outgrew that relatively quickly and moved into our current location in 2016. We bought a used Binks open face spray booth in 2017, which worked well for a while until we started getting larger jobs with larger pieces. The spray booth wasn’t very deep and wasn’t working for what we needed, so we purchased a new, larger GFS spray booth.
What services do you offer and what kinds of jobs do you usually perform?
We do mostly residential and commercial painting. Everything from kitchen cabinets and custom built-ins to exteriors and refinish work. We just completed a project for a commercial daycare facility and put through 65 doors for them in our new GFS paint booth. We couldn’t have done that with our old open face booth. Since we have neighbors in our new facility, we need to make sure we contain all of the harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
I met a guy on Instagram who does work a few towns over, and they’ve been doing work for a lot of private colleges. He asked us to help him out on a few jobs, and we’ve gotten quite a bit of work from that partnership. Right now, we’re working on restoring a gothic entrance door from the 1830s. Had we not had our new spray booth, we wouldn’t have connected or gotten the work from them.
“There’s a level of professionalism you achieve when you have a designated shop space with the proper equipment. We have opened ourselves up to a lot more opportunities.”
What GFS equipment did you purchase and how has it benefited your business?
We purchased an Enclosed Finishing Paint Booth. It allows more flexibility in projects in that we can take on larger jobs and get them through more quickly, with a better quality finish.
“You don’t get the production in an open face that you do in an enclosed booth. I knew that going into it, and that’s why I was gunning for the enclosed booth. With my new booth, it’s a whole other ball game to be able to prime stuff as efficiently as I can. The quality is certainly higher as well.”
How did you decide on GFS equipment?
The paint booth that we used at my old company was a DeVilbiss spray booth from ‘94. It was impossible to get a clean job out of it, and shortly after I left, it was replaced with a GFS automotive paint booth. It was 10 times the booth that they had, and I’ve known about GFS for a while. I was just waiting for the right time to purchase my own.
It’s not just about the equipment, though. It’s about the service that you’re going to get behind it. GFS is on point in that respect. All the questions I had have been answered right away and thoroughly by GFS.
“We had a couple of pieces to our booth that were missing. Once we realized it and called GFS’ technical support department, we had them in hand within 24 hours. I expect a company to stand behind their product, but I did not expect it to be that quick. It’s not like you are in the next state.”
The local distributor that GFS assigned to help us was amazing. The configuration in which we had to install our paint booth was not ideal. I was looking for the smoothest flow, to move products in and out the most efficiently. They helped set up the spray booth the best we could in the situation that we have. Without Glenn Murphy from Collision Center Design, we would not have jumped on this opportunity as quickly. He helped build my confidence in making the investment before we were able to move to a larger facility.
What is your plan for the future of your business?
My plan is to get a new shop and focus on finishing primarily new and custom builds. It is a lot more productive when you have a blank canvas that hasn’t been butchered yet — you’re able to put down a much nicer finish. We will most likely outgrow the facility in the next few years, which is why we bought a GFS paint booth.
“Other paint booths have tek screw construction, and when we outgrow our facility in the next year or two, the nut-and-bolt construction of the Enclosed Finishing Paint Booth will be easy to disassemble upon our move to a new facility. It is an investment in our company, and I want it to last a long time. Thank you for always pumping out quality stuff.”