Veteran Chicago painter gets it right the first time
by Paul F. P. Pogue
Dirk VanKoughnett, a veteran of four decades in the painting business, says he takes a low-key approach to his work. "I can't say I do any hard sell; I take a laid-back approach," he says. "If I don't click with the client, there's no sense trying to push them to work with me."
His company, Urban Paint Works, does painting of all sorts, but tends to focus on repaints and redecorating. "We like to deal with clients who want to make their home more beautiful," VanKoughnett says. "We certainly love satisfying our clientele!"
VanKoughnett takes particular pride in his veteran crew; the average experience level is six years, and his head foreman has been with him nearly two decades. He is involved in every single job. "My guys know exactly how I want to see a job done, and they're happy to do anything the client asks," he says.
Most of his work involves clients who have hired designers, but he's also willing to offer advice about color and approach. "I try to give people alternative ideas," he says. "I don't hold myself out as a designer, but I've been doing this long enough to know what's going to work and what probably won't work."
He also places a high premium on getting things right the first time.
"We do as good a job as possible the first time around," he says. "My foreman, my crew members and my final invoice all say, 'if there's anything else we can do for you or something that needs to be fixed, we'll run right back.' But there's usually not anything else to do."
Angie's List member Lisa Jamiolkowski of Chicago appreciated Urban's attention to detail while repainting her condo on two separate occasions. "During the first experience two years ago, I was amazed by the care Dirk's crew took to clean up the sloppy paint job left by the prior owners," she says. "The second time, on our stairwells, they again went above and beyond."