"Thank you for your diligence in painting my house, you have a well disciplined crew, and you operate wonderfully as a team."
That's the slogan painted of the back of vehicles owned by Painting By Northeast, Inc.
Nothing flashy. Nothing complicated. To the point. A fitting reflection of company owner Steve Mansfield.
For 27 years, Mansfield and his crews have handled jobs big and small in York County, a picturesque region of southern Maine that stretches from Atlantic Ocean resort towns to sleepy inland villages nestled in tall pines, rolling hills and river valleys. True to the company slogan, on a given day, his crews could be working on anything from a 100 year old house to a brand new medical center to a gazebo in a city park or flag pole on Main Street.
"We offer almost every aspect of the trade", Mansfield says. "Wallpaper, seamless wall covering, residential painting, light industrial, interior, exterior you name it, we do it."
Mansfield grew up in the Maine mill town of Sanford. He had done some painting in high school, but got his first real education in the painting trade in Memphis, Tenn., working for his uncle's contracting firm.
"We did a lot of high-end residential work", Mansfield says. "He was very meticulous, and I learned the value of doing things like washing windows and vacuuming up after a job the little things that make a big difference".
Mansfield applied that work ethic when he moved back to Sanford.
"I came home and started a family, and worked several other jobs, while still painting in my spare time". His goal was to be self-employed, though, and by 1980 was able to start his own painting contracting firm, Painting By Northeast. The company now employs 26 people and has painted just about every coatable surface in York County.
"I believe one of the reasons for our success is the dedication that myself and my family have put into this business", says Mansfield, whose wife Sue, son Heath and daughter Heather all work for the family business. "We stress the importance of quality, appearance, knowledge, and finishing jobs on time and within budget to all of our employees".
Constant creative thinking helps him make the business more productive. Mansfield has been a PDCA member for 17 years and listens to tapes of PDCA seminars while driving between jobs for new business management ideas. He invested early in equipment like airless sprayers and boom trucks. The company owns five lifts a 32-foot boom truck, a 40-foot boom truck, a 40-foot man lift, and 50-foot and 60-foot booms. They speed production and keep job sites safe, and pay for themselves in short order.
"I can buy an SUV for $40,000 or I can buy a bucket truck for $60.000", Mansfield says. "It doesn't take much to see which is the better investment".
The company's most important investment, though, is its employees.
"We try to share our profits with employees by offering health insurance, vacation time, and a pension after three years", he says. "Employee retention is tough in all trades, but we feel we have the best retention program going by offering safe and stable employment, a great benefit package and self-motivational programs".
The people at Sherwin-Williams are an important asset to Painting By Northeast, too.
"Sherwin-Williams has been part of this company since day one", he says. "They had the patience back when we asking questions about everything. They stood beside us in good times and bad. They deliver materials daily and keep up with the quantity demands. Their products are top-quality and applying them has always been a great pleasure".
And, when you do as many different types of coatings jobs as Painting By Northeast does, that isn't a luxury, it's a necessity. In southern Maine, Sherwin-Williams and Steve Mansfield with the support of his family and his crew have got the county covered.
All contents © Copyright 2007 Painting by Northeast. All rights reserved.