Strategy & Growth: How Fresh Coat Achieved 70% Faster Takeoffs and Transformed Their Business with STACK

Fresh Coat Painters logo

For 13 years, Fresh Coat franchises have provided top-quality residential and commercial painting services across the country. The company trains experienced painters on how to run a business and backs them with a national brand so customers can expect accurate quotes, insured and bonded employees, and substantial warranties.

Their business model has been so successful that there are currently over 130 Fresh Coat franchises nationwide, and they continue to grow. Each franchise tends to start out in residential work, using a proprietary tool that allows them to easily quote simple projects. Franchises develop their positive reputations and then expand toward commercial work.

The Challenges

As Fresh Coat franchisees see success and growth, they begin the transition from solely residential projects to the next logical step, which includes commercial jobs like repaint in tenant improvements. While this is a welcome opportunity, it comes with challenges.

For commercial projects, Fresh Coat’s in-house tool is no longer the best fit. This type of work is frequently sent out via requests for proposals or found in online plan rooms, and painters need a system that allows them to perform takeoffs and generate estimates.

In the past, this meant having physical plans printed, spending time and money on jobs that painters were not sure they would win and that might not even be a good fit for their business.

Fresh Coat’s President, Cliff Hudson, says the software that was available to the painting industry when he first began seeking a solution was “archaic.” Estimators still had to spend inordinate amounts of time searching plans – now digital rather than printed – for the pages and specifics that applied to their business. The lack of efficiency made it harder for franchises to sustain their growth.

The Strategy

Now, when franchises are at a certain size and ready to move into commercial, Fresh Coat has a solution. The corporate office has adopted STACK as their platform of choice, thanks to Cliff. He steps in and trains franchisees on performing takeoffs and creating estimates, setting them up for success in commercial painting.

The Results

For Cliff’s office alone, using STACK has paid off exponentially. The time savings and improved collaboration have led to the ability to make significantly more strategic business decisions. In the 5 years since they partnered with STACK, Cliff’s Fresh Coat office has grown from $1 to $2 million in revenue, in addition to providing training to dozens of franchises along the way.

Time Saved

Cliff says STACK has cut estimating time by 70% per project. What used to take 4-8 hours to do is now reduced to 15-20 minutes, freeing up hours and even days of his time.

STACK’s search function in particular is a Fresh Coat favorite. Spending time searching for relevant plan pages is a huge pain point for subcontractors like painters, and STACK allows Fresh Coat to easily search for the pages they need, pinpointing exactly where in the project they should focus their attention.


Cliff shares estimating responsibilities with another estimator who works remotely, and they believe strongly in a checks and balances system in which they look over each other’s work and meet regularly about the projects up for bid.

The two colleagues never send out a bid without collaborating on it first, and being able to see one another’s work in real-time within STACK is a game-changer since they work from different locations.

Strategic Decisions

The ultimate advantage STACK provides is the ability to be selective about which jobs to bid. Before, with so much time and resources invested in the takeoff process, there was no room for rigorous examination of projects.

Now, with 70% faster takeoffs, Cliff can really take a hard look at each project. “We don’t turn away work per se,” he says, but he definitely doesn’t bid every job that comes across his inbox. He’s able to make a call if a job’s profits won’t be worth the travel time, or if it’s not the best fit for his crew. He can take the time to think critically and determine which jobs will ultimately be the best and most profitable for Fresh Coat in the long run.

Cliff and his team are also now beginning to utilize STACK’s Advanced Estimating feature, where they can create detailed estimates directly from takeoffs and also generate bid-ready proposals directly from STACK. This is allowing Fresh Coat to process even more quotes with confidence and accuracy. With this functionality, STACK has become “the number one tool that’s allowing Fresh Coat to grow our business in the commercial market,” Cliff emphasizes.

A Superstar's Tool

“STACK is such an amazing tool, and there’s so much you can do with it,” Cliff says. “It’s the perfect tool for takeoffs, and the ease with which the system works is a tremendous improvement over what else is out there. When someone who knows what they’re doing in the business gets ahold of it,” Cliff says, “it makes them a superstar.”

Find out how STACK can make a difference for your business. Schedule a demo today.

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