Becoming a Select Decorator offers a range of benefits. Simon Thompson has been a member of the scheme for over a decade, so we spoke to him to find out how being a Select Decorator has helped his company, and how a specialist wallpapering niche has seen him win lots of new business.
Simon joined the Select Decorators scheme in 2007 when he entered into a business partnership with a fellow DSD member. When he went solo in 2013 he continued to be a Select Decorator - so what has kept him in the scheme for a decade?
"I've always liked the bragging rights of having Dulux on the van," says Simon. "Dulux is a well-established name - it's always gone really well hand in hand with painting and decorating and looks great from your customer's side of things. It looks great on your letterheads, on your quotes, on your invoices, on your van, on your T-shirts - it looks a lot more professional.
I also think there's a lot of guys who I've met over the years, who have become really good friends. It's nice to have a little bit of banter on the Facebook page - to have a bit of a laugh on there. It's a great way to engage with some of the guys. Social media is so powerful nowadays."
Over the years Simon has developed his skills in order to improve his offering to his customers, including attending business and spraying courses at the Dulux Academy. However, it is a specialist wallpapering skill - also taught at the Dulux Academy - that has seen Simon win lots of new business over recent years.
He says: "I've been putting digital murals on for a number of years. Years ago, I found Vista Digital at a decorating exhibition. I did a couple of wall murals with Stephen [his former partner] and when I went on my own, Paul and I became quite good friends at Vista Digital and I've helped him out for the last five or six years."
With the pair doing increasing amounts of installations together across the country, Simon was asked to play a bigger role in the business.
Simon takes up the story: "Last September Paul asked me if I could help him out in his office on Mondays. It's a lot of sending out emails, speaking to customers and generating work from different areas - we'll be contacting different decorators to become registered installers and going on the Dulux Academy courses - drumming up a lot of business, going down the commercial route and speaking to a lot of construction firms, interior designers."
Dulux Academy is the exclusive training partner for Vista Digital. Courses focus on creating powerful murals and feature walls in both commercial and residential properties using one-piece wallpaper. The one-day course provides tips and techniques on the supply and application of digital murals, including preparation and application techniques. And, Simon believes that offering digital mural services can help other Select Decorators to stand out and win new business.
He adds: "The thing that we're trying to get across is the fact that everything is in one piece - down to the quality of the products, the durability of the products.
"It's training people to say that if you've got a big floral pattern as a feature wall, you are going to have a repeat of flowers, whereas with this... it just flows across the wall. It's just one piece, so there's no reason why you have to have a repeat pattern. With a one-piece wallpaper, customers still try and look for the joins! You explain that this product is bulletproof - it's not going to split, there's no mismatching, no colour variations - there's no reason why it can't be a perfect finish."
Simon adds: "It is training decorators to understand how great the product is. The 'wow' factor from customers; that is priceless."
Develop your skills and join us as we begin courses at the new Dulux Academy in Ashington, Northumberland.
Our first Digital Murals and Feature Walls course takes place on the 5th April and as a Dulux Select Decorator member you get 75% off by using your exclusive DSD75 code.
Click here to book your place or email firstname.lastname@example.org.