Gary Mason

Contractor Q&A: Gary Mason

A.I.P. Painters
Franklin Grove, Illinois

The biggest turning point in the success of my business was when…

…we made the move from doing only interior painting, and started doing exteriors.

What precipitated that change?

It was really due to the economy at the time. This was 2008-2009, when new construction fell off because of the recession. I took on my first outside job at this time, and I started getting more exterior work. Things really took off when I started buying lifts. I have an 85-foot self-propelled 4×4 Snorkel lift and two 30-foot Versalifts on trucks.

You prefer to own your own lifts, rather than renting?

It works well in my case. By owning my own lifts, I never have to wait or worry about reserving a rental, and I can pass the savings to our clients. Plus, I’m the only painter in my area that has his own lifts. So people know I am ready to go for any exterior work where a lift will make the job easier and safer.

The best business advice I ever got:

Always look at the job at completion and ask yourself: Is this the quality that I would pay someone else for?

What advice do you have for young painters entering the business?

Be honest and work hard and everything else will fall in line.

This article was originally published in the Fall 2016 issue of PPC magazine. See more of what pro painters have learned here. Want to share your success story? Email us at