PAINTHOUSE, in Cypress, Texas is a thriving restoration, hot rod, and pro-touring shop. Owned for over 20 years, Randy and Jenn Borcherding and their crew make the “voodoo that we do” happen. And that’s not easy in the Texas heat. The heat in the shop and paint booth really pushes your body to its limit, as well as the chemicals you use, so you must be very creative to make things work.
PAINTHOUSE currently employs four guys in the shop in addition to himself, along with his wife – Jenn, and daughter Randy Nicole Jamison, who work behind the scenes. “I can honestly say that we’re all friends, we may have our moments, but we all work together like a well-oiled machine,” he mused. “I hope my crew agrees with me.”
PAINTHOUSE’s focus is to change what needs to be changed to modernize a vehicle, but not lose what is right about the vehicle. “There are reasons we fall in love with these vehicles, the shape, sound, or aesthetic flare. We want to complement the mechanical, electrical or make the paint better – however, a ’67 Corvette should still look like a ’67 Corvette.”
Let the talent grow
It takes a tribe to put out the vehicles that PAINTHOUSE creates. “We all have a passion for what we do,” Randy said. “The talent in this shop is remarkable! PAINTHOUSE would be nothing without my crew – they cover my butt well if I need to be gone for a while, projects keep moving forward, and the building will still be standing.” How they represent PAINTHOUSE makes Randy proud, everyone has their skillsets that they’re good at and it’s his job to determine who is best for those positions and then let them thrive. He is blessed with the right people coming along at the right time to make this business a success.
Back when Randy was just starting out, just like with many others in this industry, it was a struggle fraught with many ups and downs, but the Bocherdings eventually found their groove.
His first notable experience was when someone inquired about having work done to a ’70 Chevelle. “I feel there are people who came around at just the right time in my life,” Randy remembers. Around that same time Randy’s compressor broke down and he had to delay working on the Chevelle until another time. The man asked how much he needed for the compressor, gave Randy a blank check to buy a new one, and told him to call when he could bring in his car…and he’d only known him for 30 minutes. “Those notable moments, things or people that happen in our lives are pivotal, they either change your direction or set the direction you are on, confirming that you are on the right course,” he said. “That was our first show-level car. I’ve seen that car at many car shows, and it’s like seeing one of your kids.”
That experience opened the door for PAINTHOUSE, letting Randy know that there’s a whole other world out there in show cars that he really wanted to try and get into.
Customizing their business
As PAINTHOUSE evolved, they started playing around with their own custom colors…add a little of this, subtract a little of that to get the color they liked. After years of painting, color matching, blending, and all the headaches they fought with when painting three-stage colors, candies, and pearls, they came up with their own two-stage traditional base coat colors. These two-stage colors have the three-stage glamorous look to them without all the headaches. A technician can paint the vehicle in pieces and put it together, and if they’ve done their job it should match. If the paint gets a chip or needs a repair, you can blend it like you normally would.
What brought about PAINTHOUSE’s ability to create beautiful and easy-to-paint custom colors into the limelight was the vibrant ‘57 Chevy Bel Air convertible. “The color on the Bel Air was amazing, using a couple items from the PPG Vibrance line and the rest of the creation was all our usual DBC product,” Randy said. “People swore it was a candy red, but it was a two-stage basecoat.”
PAINTHOUSE also received a lot of publicity on a truck color combination that came about serendipitously. The truck, known as The Hudson, was supposed to be black and red but when he printed out the rendering – his printer was getting low on ink – it printed out moss green and brown. Randy kind of liked the odd color combination, so he mixed up some colors to show the customer. Thankfully the customer had faith in him and went along with the new color idea and now it is a timeless piece of art. “Not many people would think of using those colors that way and, as a result, it stands out,” he said. “You either love it or you hate it. It’s hard to not look at it because The Hudson stands out amongst a sea of vehicles when at a show.”
They started out with a couple custom colors, but now have grown up to 45 colors in their arsenal that they sell around the country.
Game changing SATA products
“You get what you pay for in this world,” Randy states. “Let’s be honest, SATA is not inexpensive. However, there’s a reason for that because SATA puts out phenomenal products.” And PAINTHOUSE uses SATA spray guns to the best of their ability.
Although he has many favorites, he didn’t have to think too hard on what his top pick was: he’s in love with the SATAjet® 100 B series of primer guns. “It’s so stinking consistent from sealer (SATAjet® 100 B F RP 1.4) to poly primer (SATAjet® 100 B P 2.5), and lays down so smooth,” he said. “Also, there’s just something I love about the SATAminijet® 4400 B, it does everything so well, if I could paint a car with one and not expect for it to take twice as long I would. I wish they could make a larger version of it.”
Support in the industry
A shop’s support system is very important in this industry, whether it is with your team or with any of your distributors/vendors, an open line of communication is key.
“Today there is so much out there that we didn’t have access to in the past. That’s where learning the hard way was so meaningful because it was all we had,” Randy said. Now, if there’s a problem a technician can always call on the people they know in this industry, but if you’re new to the industry maybe you don’t know who those people are yet. “Thank goodness for the Internet you can dig around, look for forums and training courses like ‘Paintucation’ where you can ask questions.” The Internet is a good resource, opening doors to meet people with like interests. Truly developing relationships with people in this industry is priceless, like your local paint store, equipment supplier, and there are not many builders or painters out there who won’t help answer a question when asked. SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) is also a great resource for education and support when someone doesn’t know where to turn.
Customer service isn’t just about being courteous to your customers, it’s about offering support and insight, digging in and help problem solve. “The problem solving, the how, why, and what do I need to do differently is more valuable to me than receiving a couple cans of free primer from my rep,” he said. “There’s no price you can put on that. Dan-Am Company, the US distributor of SATA products, they were there for me on more than one occasion when I was having a particularly difficult problem. Because of their knowledge and willingness to help we were able to figure out what was wrong and correct the issue. I learned from it and haven’t had that problem again.”
Back to the Show
There’s no purer form of judging than your peers in the industry looking at your work, good or bad. In 2019, PAINTHOUSE got swept up in the SEMA Battle of the Builders competition. “We usually come to SEMA with an entourage, and for some reason that year we didn’t bring all our people,” Randy remembers. “Our ’55 Chevy truck ended up making it to the top four, which was unbelievable for us. We were so humbled by the fact our peers voted us First Place in the Truck/Off-Road category.” PAINTHOUSE is honored to have been acknowledged twice now in SEMA’s Battle of the Builders.
The true trophy to Randy is when he’s standing back at a show and hearing people talk about the vehicle, or he sees them come back over and over to show it to someone new. “That’s a trophy you don’t hang on a wall, or the customer doesn’t get to take it home. We get to take that feeling home with us in our hearts and use it as fuel to keep the fire burning.”
by Andrea Hindt, Dan-Am Company