New Year, New Color, New Look

The painting market is one of the fastest expanding segments owing to the growth in the construction industry. With the boom in the construction of residences, the quality of paints is also evolving in the country. As of now, there are over 88 paint factories in the country compared to just less than 10, two decades ago. This has created opportunities for many people who have an experience of putting a colourful touch on walls, whose business grows drastically as the holiday approaches, reports BERHANE HAILEMARIAM, FORTUNE STAFF WRITER.

Wendi Dereje, a father of two, paints his home not only to give it a new look; but also to make it more welcoming. Just a week before the New Year, he was busy getting his home painted instead of relaxing like on other weekends.

He was rushing to paint his new house built in Qality along DebreZeit Road. Working at the Bank of Abyssinia (BoA) for over eight years, Wendi, whose monthly income is about 23,000 Br, usually welcomes the New Year with a new colour.

“It will help my family have a good spirit,” he said. “Painting the house before the New Year will tempt positive vibes into our routine.”

With holidays fast approaching, visits by relatives and friends become frequent. Especially during New Year, many people rush to enhance their homes with paint. Adding exterior and interior paint colour is the best way for people like Wendi to beautify a home quickly and inexpensively.

Wendi bought different paints from various retail shops located around St. Urael Church, on Haile Gebreselassie Avenue. He prefers to use Quartz products manufactured by Nefas Silk and Kadisco paint factories.

“White paint for my bedroom and a good wallpaper at the back of my bed made my morning awesome,” said Wendi, who has spent over 40,000 Br to paint his entire house that has ten rooms built on 147sqm of land.

He used quartz paints, rough styling texture for the exterior parts of his house considering its excellent weather and fade resistant nature, making it ideal than other paints.

“Besides being a new trend used by many residences, using fine quartz minimises the risk of injury for my children if they accidentally encounter with the wall while they are playing,” he said.

“Nothing is more satisfying than putting a colourful touch on walls,” said Biniam, who uses word of mouth marketing to expand his business.

While bringing satisfaction for people like Wendi, painting creates a job opportunity for people like Biniam Mitiku, a 21-year old painter who is engaged in painting works of various residences and companies.

Although he has not taken any training in painting, his experience of six years make him one of the many specialists in painting.

“Nothing is more satisfying than putting a colourful touch on walls,” said Biniam, who uses word of mouth marketing to expand his business.

Unlike some businesses that spend thousands on advertising to get the attention of customers and fail to get noticed, there are business owners like Biniam that do not spend a dime on advertising, yet they win clients who do marketing for them for free.

These customers tell stories about a product and recommend it whenever they get the chance.

“The more you satisfy your client, the more you get work,” he said. “Word of mouth marketing system is the best way to catch the attention of many.”

Biniam’s business grows during holiday seasons when people are more eager to change their interior paint. He gives services to at least around five customers in a month. This will reach 15 as the holiday season approaches.

He charges his customers depending on the scope of the work, the type of paints and size of the houses. Then, considering these factors, he negotiates the total price for the paint job with his clients, billing his customers between the range of 10 Br and 15 Br a square metre.

Kadisco, along with other factories, shipped 103 million dollars worth of paint to various countries, accounting for 3.6pc of the country’s total export earnings.

“The cost increases as your preference increases,” he said, “If it involves designing on the columns, beams and parapets, the price will reach as high as 300 Br a square metre.”

Then depending on the magnitude of the work, he hires daily labourers, paying them between 150 Br and 200 Br based on their skill and experience in the business.

For many people including Biniam, the growth in such businesses is linked to the boom in the construction industry.

“People are more inclined to construct houses now than ever,” Binam said, whose clients have doubled over the past half a decade.

As of now, the construction industry is going through the boom in Ethiopia, contributing over 56pc to the industry sector. The government has invested profoundly in the construction industry to improve road infrastructure, and at the same time to provide low-cost residences for the locals.

The construction industry accounts for close to nine percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and more than half of the country’s annual budget, making it clear that Ethiopia has a well-developed construction industry.

With a rise in population, opportunities exist in the construction of residential, commercial and industrial buildings. One of which is the painting industry, which involves many players from factories that produce the paints to painters.

Founded in 1968, Kadisco Paint & Adhesive Industry S.C is one of the 88 paint factories in Ethiopia, providing over a hundred types of paints. Kadisco sells paints with a price ranging between 113 Br for four litres of paint and 395 Br for a 16lit gallon depending on the types and texture of the product. The price has shown an increase compared to what it was five years ago.

“The business is growing in quality as well as quantity,” said  a manager working at Kadisco. “In addition to witnessing a tremendous growth locally, the business has even made it to the export market.”

Kadisco, along with other factories, shipped 103 million dollars worth of paint to various countries, accounting for 3.6pc of the country’s total export earnings.

“The market is untapped although it is flourishing,” said the manager, who has seen the number of painting factory growing exponentially over the past half decade.

Despite all these ambitions and positives, the business seems masked in huge doubt for those who are at the bottom of the business pyramid- painters.

“Delay in payments is a big challenge for us. It impacts our effectiveness and project delivery schedule negatively,” Biniam said.

Nevertheless, this does not seem concerning for experts like KidusDagnachew, an architect and experienced interior designer.

“People’s awareness of interior designing helps the painting industry to thrive,” Kidus said.

The growth in technical and vocational schools, which has doubled over the past decade to more than 500, also contributed to the rise in people that have mastered the business, according to Kidus.

“The number of youngsters that graduated in home painting and decoration is increasing year-by-year since training centres are functional everywhere,” he said.





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