Utah’s Unique Auto Body Voluntarily Picks Pro-Spray’s H2O Waterborne

Utah’s Unique Auto Body Voluntarily Picks Pro-Spray’s H2O Waterborne

Jeremy Weller, owner of Unique Auto Body, started painting cars in his early 20’s, and he’s now 39, so he knows what he’s talking about with paint.

Weller’s two shops in the Salt Lake City area in Utah paint an average of 10–12 vehicles daily, so he needs a paint system that provides accurate color matching with consistent quality throughout. After a decade of being with another paint company, Weller made the switch to Pro-Spray’s waterborne product—and it’s decision he’s extremely enthused about.

“We’re getting exceptional color matches with Pro-Spray that we couldn’t achieve before,” Weller said. “We didn’t feel like we were getting all of them 100% with our former paint supplier, so we started looking around. Getting away from the solvent as our main paint was a key move too.”

Unique Auto Body has now been using the Pro-Spray waterborne product for a year and a half and the new paint is already a welcome production partner.

Pro-Spray’s color matching capabilities has alleviated stress in both his locations, Weller said. “I don’t have to worry about showing a customer a car in the right light anymore. These dead-on color matches have built a sense of security with my painters, because we can now match these colors every single time.”

Unique Auto Body’s two locations employ 25 people, including four seasoned painters who know the score when it comes to producing cars at a rapid rate. Weller saw that his painters initially bucked the change to the Pro-Spray H2O Waterborne paint, but were quickly onboard and using the new paint enthusiastically.

“They saw the benefits and that’s what motivated them,” Weller said. “If we can get a better finished product, it’s a big plus. Painters are very focused on doing the best job they can, and if a certain type of paint will help them do that—they’re excited.”

Both shops still use solvent-based paint for older vehicles, but every newer car that comes through the doors is painted with Pro-Spray H2O Waterborne, Weller stated. “We’re using very little solvent right now and we’re going to phase it out eventually. It’s a convenience issue right now, but we’ve had such a great experience with the waterborne paint that we want to use it to be as our sole paint.”

The changeover to waterborne met with some hesitation amongst his painters initially, but in the end Pro-Spray won them over, Weller said. “Painters  are creatures of habit. They were a little stubborn and reluctant to change, but in the end it’s been better for them, because now they don’t have to breathe in all that solvent all the time. You can smell that solvent 100 yards away and you can’t even tell that this waterborne is in the room most of the time. It’s a huge bonus for my painters, because they’re now happier and if I can provide a safer working and cleaner environment for them, it’s a great thing.”

Weller didn’t switch over to waterborne because he had to in order to adhere to local laws, because Utah doesn’t require the use of waterborne paint. So, why did he do it?

“The color matching aspect of the Pro-Spray initially attracted us to the product, because we saw that the matches were so superior and that the depth and the intensity of the finished product looked so amazing that it became a no-brainer.”

Eventually, Unique Auto Body embraced the Pro-Spray H2O Waterborne for its earth-friendly aspects as well, Weller said. “We figured that if we can get proactive in this thing, why not? We’re getting better results, so if we can help the environment at the same time, let’s do it.”

Has the conversion to waterborne helped his business overall, Autobody News asked Weller. “Yes, I hear our customers commenting about the waterborne all the time. People in this area are into being green and we promote the fact that we use the waterborne. If we can position ourselves in a better light by using the Pro-Spray product, it’s well worth it. There are only a handful of body shops using waterborne in the Salt Lake Valley right now and we’re proud to be one of them.”

Pro-Spray’s Western Regional US Sales Manager, Paul Reid, has seen more shops switching to waterborne in areas where the laws haven’t yet required them to change over to low VOCs yet.

“It’s a new movement that we’re seeing more and more,” Reid explained. “I’ve converted at least 50 body shops outside of regulated areas within the last year or so, and I’m starting to hear that more shops want to convert all the time. Green is a huge issue and it’s going to get bigger, because shops can get better color matches from our products and the finished paint jobs are superior overall.”

According to the company’s Web site, Pro-Spray® H2O Waterborne Basecoat consists of 70 pigment-rich, shake-and-pour toners formulated using advanced European technology to deliver quick coverage, precise color match, superior metallic orientation, easy blending and fast dry times, saving body shops time and money.

Pro-Spray waterborne paint is part of a complete line of low VOC automotive surface preparation products, undercoats, primers, clear coats, thinners, activators and ancillary products backed by user-friendly color formula software, technical support and waterborne conversion, color theory and painter refinishing training.

Weller’s painters were trained by Pro-Spray’s experts and were using the H2O Pro-Spray Waterborne within one week. “Jim Wallace was the technical representative from Pro-Spray and he came down here and took us through all of the steps in a very clear and logical process. Paul Reid was also very involved in the training. We were up and running right away and they kept checking in with us to help us further. If we had questions, they were right there to provide answers. They made the transition problem-free and that was a huge plus.”

Weller had to invest approximately $4,000 in equipment as part of the changeover to waterborne, but he sees it as a modest expenditure that will rapidly pay for itself. “We had to purchase some new fans for improved air movement and then my painters had to buy new guns, but other than that, that’s all we had to do. For what we’ve achieved here, this was a very small investment.”

Reid is happy every time when he sees that a new one of his customers has stepped up to make the sage move to waterborne.

“Jeremy is a former painter, so he knew what he was getting with the Pro-Spray H2O Waterborne product. He’s also a very hands-on owner, so he got right in there with his painters. This paint is so painter-friendly and the quality is so consistent with better color-matching capabilities, that this was a logical transition for Unique Auto Body. They’re seeing better results and producing better paint jobs, so it’s a win-win on every level.”

Unique Auto Body
11500 South Redwood Road
South Jordan, Utah  84095

798 West Center Street
Midvale, Utah 84047
(801) 302-0966.

Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist and Autobody News columnist based in San Francisco.

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