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Sometimes it pays to hire local, says Brian Buchanan, the owner of BZ Painting.

BZ Painting has been painting the inside and outside of Flagstaff houses and businesses for 40 years. Buchanan has been with the business since 1981 and knows what kinds of paints and stains work best in Flagstaff’s fickle weather conditions.

However, Buchanan’s knowledge comes with a price tag that’s higher than what a firm from Phoenix might quote a customer. Those firms don’t know the weather conditions in Flagstaff, he said, and which paints work best.

That’s not a dig at those companies, he said. It’s just that they’re not used to the conditions in Flagstaff.

“Just as I wouldn’t be used to the conditions down in Phoenix,” he said.

The key to a quality paint job is in prepping a surface correctly and then protecting the paint by applying more than one coat, he said. Buchanan insists on his painters using a primer and two coats of paint on each job. He also uses high quality paints with low volatile organic compounds or VOCs to give the best color and coverage and protect the health of his workers and homeowners.

He also insists on making things right if a customer isn’t happy with the results or to fix any mistakes. Some Phoenix firms are hard to get ahold of after they’ve finished a project or to get them return for touch-ups. BZ Painting offers a two-year warranty on its work and will come back at any point during that time period to fix potential problems.

BZ can mix nearly any color and the company keeps a color profile for each job they do for a customer, all the way back to the late-1970s. So, if there’s ever a need to repaint a room or touch up a color, the info is readily available. The company also hangs wallpaper, does sandblasting, special concrete floor finishes, log homes finishes, faux finishes and commercial, residential and industrial painting jobs.

They even do some historic restoration projects, Buchanan said. They’ve worked on projects for the National Park Service at El Tovar Hotel in the Grand Canyon and at Riordan Mansion.

“I’m not trying to be the cheapest, I’m trying to be the best,” Buchanan said. “I want to give people the most bang for their buck.”

Buchanan is the second owner of BZ Painting. The company was founded in 1978 by Bill and Marcie Zoltoff. Buchanan joined the company in 1981, left for a few years and then came back in 2002 and purchased the business in 2005.

It was the Zoltoffs who taught him that customer service is everything, Buchanan said.

“Bill insisted on making things right and he would send us back time and time again to fix something, until the customer was happy, even if it meant losing money on a job,” Buchanan said.

He also borrowed the idea of giving customers paint touch-up kits after finishing a job, so that customers could make instant repairs to any dings or dents that happened during everyday life.

Buchanan carried that idea forward after he took over the business, which is why contractors like Loven Contracting recommend BZ to their customers. He also tries to return the favor by buying most of his supplies, paints and even his vehicles locally.

He also hires locally and treats his employees like family, he said. Actually, some of his employees are family — his two sons Mark and Micah, have worked for the business for years.

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The reporter can be reached at or (928)556-2253.


Education/Business Reporter

Suzanne writes about education and business. She covers the local school district, charter schools and Northern Arizona University. She also writes the Sunday business features.

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