Photographer / Amy Payne
Andy Danforth, owner of Elite Pro Painting in Avon, started his business in 2008 with family members and friends, and says he and his staff will soon paint their ten-thousandth home.
“We’re really proud of that,” Danforth says. “If you look at our company overall online, the reviews are great. When it’s hard to find the bad, that says a lot.”
Danforth says the truth of how his business started is actually somewhat embarrassing.
“I actually worked for a competitor for a while, and I learned what not to do when it comes to running a painting company,” he says. “I saw something that could be improved upon, so we started a paint company to do just that.”
After leaving the painting company at which he learned a few valuable lessons, Danforth worked for his dad at a pallet company. He founded Elite Pro Painting twelve years ago as a local, family-owned, professional painting company that offers interior and exterior painting in the central Indiana area.
Over the course of his year in the pallet shop, Danforth spoke with his long-time best friend, who had worked at the same job for fifteen years. Once he heard what Danforth was doing, he dropped everything to help, and he’s now Elite Pro’s general manager.
“Our first year was really hard,” Danforth says. “In fact, the first eight years we didn’t see our families much. We just poured everything into it. I would change that a little bit if I could go back, but at the same time, I think that’s why we’re here today.”
As a business owner, Danforth’s business philosophy has shifted over time. At the start, his focus was heavily on financial gains.
“The focus was always that we wanted that boat, we wanted that pool, or whatever it was,” Danforth says. “We never got those things, but five years ago we changed our focus. We began to understand the servant attitude. If we make people’s lives better, it’s more beneficial for everyone. And that’s literally how we wake up every day and look at this.”
Danforth insists that this servant attitude not only sets his company apart from others, but has also been the reason behind much of the company’s success. Anytime the staff has experienced hardship, they’ve fallen back on serving the community while waiting for business to get back on track. They also focus day-to-day business operations on making customers are 100% happy.
“We offer supervision on jobs,” Danforth says. “Most companies don’t have project managers, but we dictate that process because we have a vision of quality for our customers. If it’s not something I’d do in my own house, I don’t allow them to paint.”
In fact, Danforth’s customers don’t pay a dime until the job is done and the customer is 100% satisfied.
“It’s more expensive to do it that way, but it’s the right thing to do,” he says.
Danforth also says his warranties are different than most painting companies, and cover nearly anything that would need to be fixed.
“We’ve changed the way warranties work in the painting industry in Indianapolis,” Danforth says. “If you tell us you’re not happy, we’ll come fix it. I’ve never denied a warranty claim, and I’ll continue to do that. But if we do things right on the front end, which is why our supervision is there, then it shouldn’t happen at all.”
In addition to serving customers wholeheartedly, Danforth and his family believe in serving the community as well, and 10% of what Elite Pro makes on any job goes toward Gift Kindness, a ministry that helps to feed those in need throughout the community. When the coronavirus pandemic shut the doors of many businesses this past March, Danforth found a creative way to lend a helping hand to those in need.
“Painting was the last thing on everyone’s mind,” Danforth says of the coronavirus-related shutdown period this year. “No one wanted us in their house, so we shifted our focus again and decided to deliver meals to the community. We delivered a few thousand meals to local people who were laid off or lost their jobs. Our theory was, when the smoke settles, we want everyone to know we’ve got their backs and we’re part of this community.”
The experience was extremely eye-opening for Danforth, and he has continued to look for opportunities to give, donating to the Avon Education Foundation and sponsoring events for Misty Eyes Animal Center.
These acts of service continue to impact Danforth and connect him to others in the community. During the winter, Danforth often provides free painting services for local churches, business and charities. One particular winter, his staff painted the senior services building in Danville, and simply seeing what this local organization was doing has stuck with Danforth for years.
“That was a turning point,” Danforth says. “I didn’t realize what those people were doing. It’s just awesome seeing their heart out there in the community and how they’re helping others.”
Danforth owns Elite Pro along with his family, and works with his wife, mom, dad, nephew, his cousin’s husband, and others.
“A lot of people try to separate themselves from family in their work,” Danforth says. “It’s been an amazing blessing. Everyone has our best interest in mind, and not everyone’s family is that way. They’ve been amazing.”
Three years ago, Danforth added commercial painting to Elite Pro’s list of services. He is looking forward to getting started on painting The Barlow, a mixed-use development in Plainfield.
The Elite Pro staff offers no-touch, no-appointment quotes, and uses Zoom calls to discuss quotes and work that needs to be done.
“You have to pivot, or you’re done,” Danforth adds. “We are willing to work to literally give you anything you want, and we love our community. I really do think people want good things around here. We really want to be a part of keeping it that way.”
Elite Pro Painting is located at 383 Williams Court in Avon. For more information, call 317-668-0210 or visit them online at EliteProPainting.com.