Paint, my love: The challenges of custom car painting


Nope. It’s not the song and the comma was intentional because that’s the best way I can describe BCM Auto Garage. They love to paint cars and they just happen to be good at it.

I thought that custom car painting works is just like having a haircut. I want it like (Insert idol’s name), a usual answer you give to your barber. If you don’t have a style in mind yet, you’ll have like a few seconds to decide before you start to hear that clicking sound that comes from a sharp pair of scissors. And it seems okay too because you know your hair will eventually grow back. Now I know that having your car painted is not that simple. It is a painstaking process, which includes last minute changes and decisions that can happen on the fly. And that’s the main reason why I’m glad I chose them.

Custom car painting means choosing a color is a serious decision.

I was a hard customer when I called Bong to schedule for a custom car painting works because when he asked what color I would like my LANCER GSR to have, I was blank. So he went out his way and sent me pictures of his past works.

Awesome car show finish.

He already had two different LANCER GSRs under his name and he painted them both. A lustrous green and a golden yellow.

For a full week I was still undecided. If Bong was my barber, I’m certain that the thought of sticking his scissors in my neck has crossed his mind. But he’s not a barber and a car’s color will not change back. It’s there for years. And therefore a serious decision, a decision that Bong patiently waited for me to make.

And after two weeks I finally have a color in mind.

I want it red.

What kind of red?

The red kind of lipstick you can’t help but notice on her pretty face, the red kind of candy lips that left you wandering how soft it must have felt under your skin, the red kind of tinge that looks sweet and makes you sort of hungry. Yes, that kind of red.

Was this some sort of riddle? Bong can only scratch his head. But he came up with an answer. His love for colors interpreted it perfectly and his willingness to go beyond what is conventional allowed him to take the risk. And thus, the challenge was accepted.

Stripping it bare to the bone.

Rust proofing and smoothing it out.

Yes. That kind of RED.

The finishing touches.

Lancer GSR 97

And he delivered.

Expect changes and last minute decisions.

You see when I turned over my LANCER GSR to Bong’s care it was not just the car but a load of extra LANCER parts too and as his team started to kick-off the works I continue to bring in more. In the end, he had an extra inventory of bumpers, trunks, a hood as well as an extra set of side-mirrors, rear lights and headlights.

Even worse, I struggle to decide which part should be installed or painted. A phone call from me would usually equate to a request to reinstall or uninstall and then install a certain part. Imagine how Bong must have felt every time his phone rings and he sees my name on the screen. He must have sighed under his breath. That’s patience for you my friend.

The right team for the job really matters.

Bong once mentioned;

“Quality custom car painting works doesn’t have to be so expensive.”

True. But that’s not the only thing that he delivered.

He delivered what is essential.

What mattered is how Bong responded to change rather than following a plan. He sends pictures to show how the work is developing. This tells me that he accepts scrutiny and anticipates changes. Hence, there were no late surprises and last minute rework. In project management principles we call this a DEMO. Let’s face it, a customer’s needs and wants may change overtime. It changed a lot for me then, but the end result was exactly what I wanted it to be.

He partnered with me.

Although we agreed early on of what the scope of works will be, he didn’t limit me from what I want to happen. Instead I was empowered to add or subtract works. He even helped me dispose some of the excess parts I had and most importantly he tells me what he can and cannot do, which demonstrates integrity. I can say that he values collaboration over a negotiated contract.

I told you my vision of a color, it’s vague, and it’s an idea. You believed it can be done. Not a promise, just a hint of determination. Done, pact was made. Because it’s not really about what you can do or how you can do it, it’s actually WHY you choose to do it.

Paint IS your love.

Lambert, 10:02 pm