Ryan Amato, owner of Amato Painting and Lehigh Valley (LV) Epoxy Floors in Easton, Pa., was a third-place winner in CoatingsPro Magazine’s 2023 Contractor Awards in the Commercial Concrete category (“‘Wood’ Epoxy Floor”). It’s one of numerous awards that Amato has earned over his 15-plus years in the industry, which gives him valuable perspective on many critical issues.
“Winning an award like this goes back to our people at the jobsite,” Amato said on a recent CoatingsPro podcast, which can be listened to at www.coatingspromag.com/podcasts. More information on the Contractor Awards, including how to submit 2024 nominations, is available at www.coatingspromag.com/contractor-awards.
“It’s not about me looking at all our awards on the wall, even though we do have a lot, and I’m very grateful for them,” Amato said. “It’s about our team, who cares so much about these jobs. They’ll do anything in the world to make sure a customer is happy, and they sometimes don’t take the time to look back at what they’ve accomplished. It makes me think of how grateful I am for the team I have, and hopefully this helps them realize that the work they do is amazing.”
One key to Amato’s success is branding. As one example, they use the LV Epoxy Floors name when handling epoxy jobs, since it signals their ability to handle those technologies. Online, Amato runs an extremely active YouTube channel (@RyanAmatoPaintingEaston) with hundreds of educational videos.
“When I first started, I was very adept at using social media and things like Facebook ads and Google ads,” Amato recalled. “I was essentially running those sites, as far as coatings contractors. Now, the other companies have caught up, and everybody is doing that.”
“So, it has made us step up our game with our creative presentations,” Amato said. “We’re using everything from Facebook to TikTok, and YouTube and Twitter to LinkedIn. Anything you name, we’re using. Now, things are changing again, with all of the AI [artificial intelligence] functions. That’s another area we’re on top of.”
Being active on all those sites requires producing lots of content. “I might drive the office crazy because we record everything,” Amato said. “The camera is always on, good or bad. I want to be open and honest. I don’t enjoy doing only before-and-after pictures of jobs because it should be assumed that you do good work. I want to put it all out there and show how we deal with everything. It builds trust.”
Communication Is Critical
For Amato, social media is just part of a broader communication strategy, which is one of his core business values.
“Communication and dependability are everything,” Amato said. “If a client accepts a job and doesn’t hear from you for a month, it can put concerns in their minds,” he said. “We contact our customers weekly, even if the job is 12 weeks out, to let them know we’re still thinking about their projects. If you look at our reviews, the most common feedback is about communication. Today, I was 10 minutes late for an estimate. We called the customer, and he was impressed that we called to let them know. Clients notice.”
The company also maintains dialogue with material and equipment manufacturers — Benjamin Moore and Rust-Oleum are two frequent vendors — to stay on top of recent trends.
“Coatings are changing all the time,” Amato said. “For example, can we use solvents? And when coatings change, the application tools change. If we’re not teaching our painters how these coatings perform, their production slows down. That changes our estimates, and it all goes downhill. It starts with representatives from the painting companies. If they’re not helping us with information, we’re not helping our contractors. It’s hurting our estimating team; it’s hurting our production team; it hurts everybody.”
On most jobs, success or failure comes down to those aforementioned crew members. Amato has a clear plan to ensure quality.
“When I’m hiring people, I always ask this,” Amato said. “‘Would you have this person to your house? Would you have them come to your house and have a soda or a beer, and have them around your family?’ And if you’re not going to have them around your house and your family, why would you send them to a customer? We only hire people who meet and match those values of dependability and accountability. We like our family-type atmosphere.”
For more information, visit www.ryanamatopainting.com.
Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the July 2023 print issue of CoatingsPro Magazine. Reprinted with permission.