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Paint Contractor or Gig-Worker? PPG answers questions about payouts for PPG Services

15 January, 2020

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One highly debated issue surrounding the creation of PPG Services, a digital technology platform that streamlines project management and paint services for facility management teams and painting contractors, is how getting paid at your job’s completion differs from what’s been mostly a successful model in the past. That being, the paint is purchased by either the contractor or the client, then the contractor is paid by the client directly. PPG Services changes this as contractors engaged in the platform are paid by the paint supplier instead of the client. Does this turn a previously independent contractor into a gig-worker?

Divya Thadani, PPG director of strategy and business development, architectural coatings, told us that painters have asked questions in regards to union labor and payouts. “PPG Services pricing is based on an algorithm that utilizes the PCA’s standard production rates as well as fair labor rates for consistency and transparency, with the goal of allowing painters to maintain the profit margins they see today,” she responded. “Painters are paid within seven days of job completion. There is also no cost to utilize the PPG Services platform.”

Thadani said that they are committed to ensuring that PPG Services will fairly compensate union crews who engage with it. “If a customer has a union specification on a job, we will use union crews and pay union rates based on the requirements by the union groups in the geography where the work was performed,” she said. “Also, union crews can also be considered for non-union jobs. Jobs are staffed based on painter location, skillset, availability, internal ratings and work order acceptance rates.”
Thadani adds that this model can ensure painters do get paid at the end of a project and don’t have to worry about chasing after customers for a check. “There is no payment risk,” she said. “Payment is guaranteed by PPG Services when work is completed to customer satisfaction. There are no 30/60/90 payments terms as typically seen in this space. Painter payouts are fair and processed quickly for convenience.”

"To be considered," she continued, "crews are required to have general liability insurance, workers compensation, state licenses and professional relevant experience." "Crews are able to support their normal-course business costs, such as these, through the incremental profit PPG Services drives to their businesses. That said, we do not make any determination for how our crews allocate profit dollars or run their businesses,” said Thadani. “Through PPG Services, painters gain access to incremental work – and incremental income – without additional overhead costs such as marketing, estimating, logistics management, and more. Crews can simply focus on getting the job done right. Because PPG is able to command higher prices for PPG Services jobs due to scale, painters are able to maintain healthy margins. In addition, there is no cost to utilize the PPG Services platform to gain access to additional jobs.”

Many larger painting companies, as well as union representatives, disagree, suggesting that this model rewards painters who haven’t “done their homework” and in fact penalizes firms that have invested years, decades, and dollars into growing relationships, training their work force, and becoming a trusted member of the community. PPG acknowledges that it does in fact open the door to provide jobs that some smaller painters might not otherwise have access to. This is one of the reasons there is a split on painters being in favor of, or against, the implementation of this platform.

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