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Your West Richmond Painters!

Jason Spray, Owner

In 2018, after 15+ years in various corporate sales, client relations and project management roles, Jason opened the doors of Protect Painters of West Richmond. From day one, the mission of Protect Painters has been to beautify RVA one project at a time by providing a premier painting experience driven by quality craftsmanship and outstanding customer service.

Jason grew up on the plains of Enid, Oklahoma and on the shores of Mobile Bay in Daphne, Alabama. He attended Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama graduating with a B.S. in Management in 1996. He then received his Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama School of Law in 2000, passing the Alabama Bar Exam later that summer. He completed his education in 2001 with a Master’s in Sport Management from the United States Sports Academy.

He began his corporate career as a Reference Attorney with Thomson Reuters Legal in 2003, relocating to Minneapolis. After various sales and account management roles supporting law firm clients, he was promoted to Academic Regional Manager, relocating to his new home in Richmond, Virginia leading a team servicing 55 law school clients from New Jersey to Miami.

In 2013, he jumped at the opportunity to serve as Executive Director of Client Relations with Kaplan Higher Education. His primary responsibility was to serve as the liaison between law schools and Kaplan supporting all aspects of joint venture partnerships to create, launch and grow online legal degree programs.

Throughout each of his corporate roles, Jason cultivated and honed his customer service and leadership skills with the primary focus being the best possible experience and results for his clients and his teams. This is the same philosophy at the core of Protect Painters of West Richmond- deliver a full painting experience from estimate to final walk-through that is professional, clean, highest possible quality and hopefully a bit fun for both client and crew.

If you get Jason’s voicemail, most likely he is spending time together with his wife, Meredith, watching his beloved Oklahoma Sooners (or her beloved Alabama Crimson Tide), grilling in the backyard, enjoying a Sunday at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) or sitting on the beach with a book. Rest assured, though, if you leave a message he will call you right back!

We asked Jason, “As a homeowner, what should I be thinking about when deciding how best to tackle my painting project?”

There are really three ways to approach your painting project- do-it-yourself, hire a painting crew directly, or hire a painting contractor like Protect Painters. Each path has its pro and cons for you to consider.

Do-It-Yourself- the biggest pro to tackling the project yourself is money- its certainly the cheapest way to go. The cons? Well… first, do you have the time? And second, do you have the expertise? If you have never painted before (or only done it once or twice) you most likely are not going to have a finished product that ends up on HGTV. Choosing the right products, understanding exactly what needs to be done to prep your surfaces to get the best finish, and having the right tools to complete the job can all be a challenge for the novice painter. If you think the job may be too big or too complicated, calling in a pro may be your best bet.

Hiring a paint crew directly. In this scenario, the person who gives you the estimate is also going to show up on day one with a brush in hand (and hopefully some help) to tackle your painting project. From a pure financial standpoint, hiring the crew directly will be a bit more affordable than hiring a contractor, but it does come with some risks and additional responsibilities for you. If you have three or four estimates in hand and one or two are significantly less expensive than the others, they are most likely crew-direct. What you need to consider:

  • Are they insured?
  • What type of license do they hold? (In Virginia there are three classes- A, B, and C)
  • Do they warranty their work?
  • Have they been referred directly to me by someone I trust that has seen their work firsthand?
  • Is their estimate detailed? Do I know exactly what I will be receiving for my money? What level of prep can I expect? What paint will they be using? How many coats are they proposing and why? Will I be required to buy the paint at retail prices? If there is an issue or scope change, how will that be resolved?
  • Am I confident my project will be managed professionally and completed in a timely fashion? Keep in mind, when hiring a paint crew, you are the project manager and any issues that arise will be up to you to resolve with the crew.

Hiring Protect Painters. This comes down to value and our ability to help you understand what you are receiving for your painting investment. First, we have already answered every question about the crew that will be performing the work. We only work with experienced and professional paint crews that have been directly referred to us. We run backgrounds checks, review their previous work, ensure they are properly licensed and insured, are equipped to do the work assigned and have a demonstrated reputation for the highest-quality work.

We have a dedicated, experienced project manager that serves as your single point of contact for the entire process. We offer a two-year warranty on our work and provide detailed estimates that will tell you exactly what work will be performed, how it will be performed and the specific materials we will use. We have interior designers with whom we can coordinate a color consultation for you. Our estimate includes the materials, offered at a price below what you will pay at the store. And we pride ourselves on delivering a premium painting experience focused on our Five Pillars of Performance- Communication, Professionalism, Attention To Detail, Cleanliness and Customer Satisfaction. In short, we do all the work so you don’t have to.

Thomas Bryant, Project Manager

Thomas joined the Protect Painters team in 2019 as Production Manager, bringing 14 years of painting knowledge and experience to the team. At a young age, Thomas started helping his uncle with his local painting business. He worked summers and weekends learning all he could about the trade. After graduating high-school in 2009 he decided it was time to venture out on his own, starting a small local painting company In Hanover County where he learned the ins and outs of owning a business.

As Project Manager with Protect Painters his primary responsibility is to ensure projects run smoothly and our clients are happy. He is a problem solver- he coordinates and schedules projects, maintains timely and consistent communication with customers, provides the painters with all of the information and materials they need and ensures that jobs are completed to the highest quality. Throughout his entire painting career a great pride in the finished product has been Thomas’ calling card.

Thomas hails from Montpelier, Virginia. When he’s not working, he is spending time with his family. He married his high-school sweetheart, Hannah, in 2013 and they have three children, Breyer, Tatum and their newest addition to the family, Levi. He is an avid hunter and outdoorsman and you can often find him in the woods or working on a project around the house. And if you have the time, ask him about his hounds!

We asked Thomas, “What do you most enjoy about the painting business?”

I truly enjoy the look on a client’s face after a project well done. Additionally, taking what the customer has envisioned for their interior or exterior project and making it a reality; there are so many creative ways to transform a room or the exterior of a home with paints and stains. And painting is one of the most affordable ways to dramatically change the look of an interior or exterior living space. The personal satisfaction and sharing in the happiness of our clients makes coming to work every day a lot of fun.

I also enjoy leading and managing projects and crews, giving me an opportunity to continue to hone my leadership skills. We have great crews we work with every day, and the personal relationships I have built with painters around town has been awesome. To help them complete projects through leadership and support, to help them solve unforeseen problems that might arise, and to put the production puzzle together every day to keep clients and crews alike satisfied is a great source of pride.

We also asked Thomas, “What are the top 3 Questions you heard regularly during your time with Sherwin Williams?”

Why Prime?

-Priming a surface helps seal out any foreign stains, grease or sheen from the existing coating. It gives you a fresh canvas and allows the distribution of sheen to be more consistent and effective at any angle. "Paint & Primer" paints work well but offer no additional bonding properties and refer more to coverage than traditional problem solving a true primer can give.

Why so many paint options?

-Each project is different, so the manufacturer will have a variety of products geared towards specific situations and that perform better on certain areas and substrates. Great examples being, using a highly scrubbable & washable coating in high traffic areas such as hallways or kitchens, or using an Enamel Finish on wood work and trim vs. regular latex for an additional slicker and tougher coating for wear & tear.

Flat? Satin? Semi-Gloss? What do I choose?

- Each sheen has its advantages and disadvantages. Generally, flat paint has no sheen or reflective properties. It has a dull appearance but works great on ceilings and plaster walls. The dullness of sheen allows it to hide imperfections on the wall, making hallways look flush and even. Satin/ Eg-Shel finishes have a warm sheen that reflects light off the walls creating a larger, brighter space. The sheen allows it to be a washable surface making it good for high traffic areas. Semi-gloss and gloss give the same benefit as the satin/eg-shel finish, but at a higher brighter sheen. The disadvantage to sheen is the shine tends to cast shadows and highlight areas in walls that may not be as flush. Choosing the right sheen for the right surface or intentions of the space is critical to the visual results of a satisfactory paint project.