Support

When debating whether to purchase a new or used paint booth, there are many things to consider. In this post we will be addressing what is most likely the biggest factor in buying a new or used paint booth; product support. Please see Accudraft’s previous posts on new or used paint booths regarding condition and energy efficiency for more pointers on whether to buy a new or used paint booth.

When debating on new vs. used paint booths, support for the product is a major consideration if not the most important factor. Remember that a paint booth is one of the most critical machines that your business is built upon. In a  one paint booth shop, the stakes are even higher. A breakdown at the wrong time (not that there is ever a good time) can cost you thousands in production losses and incalculable amounts in lost customers. A paint booth is to a body shop what a car is to a taxi driver. Without it, you’re not making money.

When considering a new paint booth, all the following points should be well covered since the unit is new and all levels of support should be behind the product but don’t be fooled by a salesman or a brochure, just because it’s new doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still ask questions about these points. There are literally hundreds of paint booth brands available throughout the globe today. Make sure there is adequate support  for the product from the manufacturer down through the local distributor. If the brand is from overseas, make sure there is an importer that has a long history and stable business. Too many foreign brands make it to the US for a few years and then disappear when the importer goes out of business. This leaves many people high and dry and has caused many issues throughout the industry for years. Paint booths are more than just boxes with lights. They are very complex, factory-like production machines and it takes a well organized and established paint booth manufacturer with a strong network of reps to support them properly. Do your homework on the products and more importantly do your homework on the companies and people behind it.

Below are the points that are most important to cover when shopping for used paint booths. Again, if you’re leaning toward new, these should all be covered, but ASK QUESTIONS ANYWAY! The person selling the product (either new or used) should be happy to answer any questions you may have. If they don’t know or can’t answer, it may not be a very good sign for product support.

Documentation:

Permit info – Make sure if you are buying a new or used paint booth, that the relevant permitting information is readily available from the seller or the manufacturer. Without this info on the paint booth, you may end up buying something that is useless. Many older paint booths may not meet new codes and may have to be retrofitted with all kinds of new things. This can get very expensive and you should, at the very least, calculate for those changes in the cost of the used paint booth. Most times, if the paint booth being sold needs a lot of work to meet code, it’s simply not worth the money. The fastest way to know is to take the permit info to your town first and see if installing that paint booth would be approved.

Drawings – Drawings will be necessary for shop layouts and permitting. They may also be needed for fire suppression and other services like gas and electric. If there are no drawings on file with the seller, make sure the manufacturer can provide them.

Code Compliance – Make sure the paint booth meets local codes and is a listed piece of equipment (either ETL or UL listings will do. If in Canada, make sure the ETL or UL carries a “C” in addition to the “US” mark). Paint booths handle some hazardous stuff and townships want to know what is going into their air and what energy requirements the paint booth will have etc. Inspectors also want to know that it is safe for workers to operate. Codes regarding paint booths are very strict and are nearly impossible to navigate without the proper documentation and stamps regarding code compliance. Codes that may apply to paint booths include but are not limited to BOCA, IFC, NFPA, OSHA, SBCCI, UBC, UFC, UMC.

Users manuals and installation instructions – Paint booth installation instructions should be available from either from the seller or the manufacturer. For used paint booths that are still standing, labeling the panels well before dismantling the unit will help but nothing is as comprehensive as an installation manual from the paint booth manufacturer, especially once the installer moves beyond the simple part of the structure. The working parts and air makeup unit are the most important parts of the paint booth and an installation mistake on those parts may cost thousands. Users manuals are also crucial since they tell the user how to operate and maintain the paint booth properly. Without these guides, work can take painters much longer, more mistakes will be made, and someone could even damage the paint booth or cause a hazardous situation resulting in bodily harm or death.

Manufacturer Tech Support:

Make sure that the paint booth manufacturer offers technical support for the product being considered. If new, this should be included and be part of the initial product warranty. If the paint booth is used and possibly a bit older, make sure first that the manufacturer will offer tech support on the model and year machine that you are considering buying. Give any 800 numbers a try and see what you get. Go to the paint booth manufacturer website directly and ask about the unit you are considering. In most cases and on younger paint booths, the manufacturer may even be able to tell you details on the actual paint booth you are researching provided that you can find an ID plate or serial number. They may also be able to search by original owner name or address.

Parts:

Make sure that parts for the paint booth are readily stocked and available. A lot of paint booth manufacturers use foreign parts and some of those parts may not be readily available. If the parts are not American parts or universal parts that can be readily sourced at any industrial supply house, make sure that the manufacturer stocks them and that the parts are available with a fast turnaround. If the parts turnaround isn’t fast enough, you may want to order a spare to have on hand.

An example would be a motor with specific sizes/shaft. If a motor dies and it takes two weeks to get a replacement from the paint booth manufacturer, definitely buy one and keep it on hand. It’s worth the money and you can change something like that yourself or call the local distributor to come install it.

Local Distributor:

A local paint booth distributor is key. These professionals are all-in-one contractors that can help you with anything regarding the product regardless if it is new or used. They are the backbone of the paint booth industry and although buying manufacturer direct can lower the price on a paint booth, it is definitely a  short term gain and a long term loss. Having a local representative is invaluable and your relationship will show its value most when you are in a crisis. The ability to have a factory certified professional come and fix your paint booth when it breaks down is worth much more than the service charge you will have to pay. As we said before, a paint booth that is down costs more than just money, it can cost you customers and your reputation. Having a paint booth professional provide emergency service and paint booth maintenance will keep the paint booth humming year in and year out. Apply this philosophy to all the equipment you ever purchase and it will set your shop apart from the rest because you will never be stopped in the middle of a week due to lack of support. A successful shop owner does not have the time to work on equipment. There is an entire business to run. Ask yourself this; would I ever purchase my paint from a company that couldn’t provide me a rep to help train and troubleshoot any problems? Remember, the local distributor is your best friend! DO NOT be tempted to buy direct or install paint booth that does not have a distributor or network behind it simply for a smaller price tag. The money you save now will be dwarfed by the losses you could suffer do to lack of support.

Warranty:

The product warranty is the #1 advantage of buying a new versus a used paint booth. Warranties usually cover parts and labor for a period of one year, with extended warranties available also. A used paint booth does not have this advantage and when installing a paint booth, either new or used, sometimes you need the help of a professional to get the paint booth running well. Some things such as gas pressure and electrical services can cause nuisance problems with the equipment and it takes qualified people to decipher the problem and correct it. If you encounter a few issues with a new paint booth with a warranty, this costs the buyer nothing. If this occurs with a  used paint booth, repeated service and tech calls may get expensive. The best you can do in this case is get a rate from the local paint booth distributor ahead of time and if you need to call them for help, then at least you know what to expect. If the distributor is interested in moving the used paint booth and installing it, the distributor may have their own used paint booth warranty program and may cover the unit for a period of time. If this is an option, don’t think twice, BUY IT. It puts the obligation on the distributor and it will be well worth the peace of mind knowing the distributor will come back should anything break or malfunction.

That’s the last post for now on buying a new or used paint booth. If you have any comments or want to see anything else on new vs. used, please let us know and post your comments on our blog page. You can also see these posts on Twitter and Facebook. Please link and share with other industry professionals. Thanks for reading, we hope this helped anyone looking to buy a new or used paint booth!