JK Paint & Contracting moves headquarters from Canby, finding a niche in the community

GARY ALLEN - Painter Davis Kitchens does some fine work in preparation for painting the walls on an upscale home on Parrett Mountain in early May.

JK Paint & Contracting was located in Canby for five years before opening up shop recently in Newberg. Owner Joe Kelly, 25, started the company out of his home when he was 20 and now is headquartered adjacent, appropriately, to the Sherwin Williams paint store on East Hancock Street. He is a veteran of the College Works Painting business while attending business school at Oregon State University. When he emerged from college he wasn't quite sure what to do next.

"The first summer with College Works, I painted 40 houses … and the next summer I decided to start my own company," Kelly said. "By the next year I had the equipment, acquired a license and started the business with my wife."

Once he decided to start out on his own, business increased each summer. The first summer he painted with his wife; the next summer they had a small crew; the next year they were up to two crews and last summer they ended up with four crews.

"I never expected to grow so quickly," Kelly said, adding that word of mouth has contributed to the largest percentage of increase for his business. "Because we are really focused on customer service, that's where I would say we really stand out compared to some of our competition."

What is Kelly's secret to growing so fast?

"In trade businesses specifically, customer service is an area where a lot of people do not have the experience," he said. "That is where I try to separate myself by making the communication really clear and having clear outlines before we start the job and being really thorough and timely and doing everything that we say we'll do."

JK Paint does more than paint homes and businesses, also specializing in siding and repairs. The business has also trained its employees in lead paint abatement and repainting with safer varieties.

Painting homes has become more complex than back in the day. Paint companies now offer "green" varieties that are free of harmful chemicals that are unhealthy for families and the environment.

Painting exteriors requires varieties that can withstand freezing winters, hot summers, soaking rains and the bombardment of UV radiation without cracking, fading or peeling.

"For exterior, I recommend to go with mid-grade paint or higher because most of the cost is in the prep work and the paint portion is relatively small," Kelly said. "So, it definitely makes sense to go with a better paint because it will hold up longer."

In addition to painting outside, Oregon weather requires an additional important step: "The most important thing in Oregon is the caulking because we see a lot of moisture intrusion and causes dry rot and that could be more work and more expensive to repair. So it's really important to do a thorough job calking around the windows, doors, sidings seams and trims."

For more information, call Kelly at 503-840-8690.

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