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Old 12-24-2015, 01:00 AM   #1
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Default A few things I learned this year

Ok i just wanted to share a few things i learned this year ...

i'll do it in steps to keep the post short

PLEASE share things you learned too and help keep our trade alive and give back to this website & our trade that we all enjoy

Before i start i want to thank Cricket & all the hard working mods who keep this site running

i've myself have learned a lot here from all the great people who have posted this year .... we've had some really great threads

OK now i'm going to do this in parts ...
Part #1 Finding & hiring good painters
Part #2 Competing with other companies
Part #3 Increasing profits
Part #4 Stress release ... running a business is tough ... how to rewind & enjoy being a business owner
Part #5 Keeping the trade a live ... what we can all do to help

first here is a screen shot of my stomping ground, this is our main work area

A few things I learned this year-repaintflorida.com.jpg

as you can see by the red dots there's a few other paint contractors working in my area, in fact just a wild guess & talking to few different paint rep's every day 200 + home are being painted in my area and that's repaints, no counting new construction, commercial

so how do i compete with this? how do i increase my profit? how do i find help?

Part #1 Finding & hiring good painters

PAY A LIVING WAGE ... sounds simple but too many time when hiring your looking at per hour price

while paying a painter $5 per hour more than the cheap painter does sound like a lot of money it's peanuts in finding good help

$5 x 8 = $40 per day + add 50% for cost and it's $60 per day extra

WOW $60 per day is a lot ... not really, remember your getting quality help paying more, find better painters, less worker turn over,have more work getting done, homeowners are impressed with your help, better quality, less call backs & more referrals ... all for $60 more per day, my company's name alone is worth $60 per day

the true way to improving your profits ( more later on this ) is the service & quality your offer ... your painters are your company, keep them happy & your customers will be happy

again look at the map of my area and how many painters ( no counting the unlicensed ) painters there are but after 10 years i'm still here increasing my sales & profit each year.

it truly starts with my crew, they are the one's who deliver

this comes from my own experience ... maybe it different in your area

give me a few days & i'll post Part #2 Competing with other companies

.
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Old 12-24-2015, 08:29 AM   #2
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Sounds like an awesome post in the making.

Around here, wages aren't that important it's who has full time work (40 hours) every week....guaranteed.

$60 isn't bad, but times 6 guys = $360 per day extra. Just playing devil's advocate. But I agree if the pay is right...people will come and you get to choose the good from the bad.

Around here painters are lucky to get $12 an hour, most are a little less than $10.
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Old 12-24-2015, 08:32 AM   #3
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Sounds like an awesome post in the making.

Around here, wages aren't that important it's who has full time work (40 hours) every week....guaranteed.

$60 isn't bad, but times 6 guys = $360 per day extra. Just playing devil's advocate. But I agree if the pay is right...people will come and you get to choose the good from the bad.

Around here painters are lucky to get $12 an hour, most are a little less than $10.
I forget, where is "here" for you?
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:07 AM   #4
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And I get crap for paying non experienced guys $15 an hour. For us to land real good help it costs us any where from $20-30 per hour just their pay, no mark ups yet. I add about 10% to their pay for t&m jobs.
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:24 AM   #5
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If you're doing it right, you'll get what you pay for. Have an idea of realistic expectations and goals for each of your employees. No reason you can't weed out 95% of the bad ones during the hiring process. If you come across as desperate in your interview process, you're screwing yourself.

Think about how much time you have to invest in the hiring-firing-hiring process. Your time is your money. I'd always rather run a little lean or short handed than to have to deal with potential problems. We all know a problem employee has a real good potential to affect and infect other employees. You might end up firing the problem but you might end up losing good employees in the process.
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Old 12-24-2015, 01:09 PM   #6
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Repaint, I've never had a problem finding an employee that could paint "very good". The problem I have found with employees, "no matter how high their pay rate is" -- bad work ethic, not dependable, not responsibility, arrogant, bad attitude, don't trust them, etc, and the list goes on and on.

During the interview process, I ask an applicant, "what makes you worth the pay rate you are requesting?" And in most cases, they don't give me the answers I want to hear. I don't want to hear what they made at their last job. I don't want to hear how great of a painter they think they are.

This is number 1 to me - attitude, a person that listens, a person that follows directions, a person that appears for work every day, a person that is easy to get a long with. And once I have found this person, if need be, I will teach them how to paint if they have the ability and ambition to learn. I tell a guy this, if you can't follow direction and listen to me, I don't care how great of a painter you are, you are worth zilch to me. I don't care for headaches.

I have hired everyone under the sun to include, trainees to 40 year experienced painters. It all goes back to my #1 requirements above.
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Old 12-24-2015, 05:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by GrandCitiesPainter View Post
Repaint, I've never had a problem finding an employee that could paint "very good". The problem I have found with employees, "no matter how high their pay rate is" -- bad work ethic, not dependable, not responsibility, arrogant, bad attitude, don't trust them, etc, and the list goes on and on.

During the interview process, I ask an applicant, "what makes you worth the pay rate you are requesting?" And in most cases, they don't give me the answers I want to hear. I don't want to hear what they made at their last job. I don't want to hear how great of a painter they think they are.

This is number 1 to me - attitude, a person that listens, a person that follows directions, a person that appears for work every day, a person that is easy to get a long with. And once I have found this person, if need be, I will teach them how to paint if they have the ability and ambition to learn. I tell a guy this, if you can't follow direction and listen to me, I don't care how great of a painter you are, you are worth zilch to me. I don't care for headaches.

I have hired everyone under the sun to include, trainees to 40 year experienced painters. It all goes back to my #1 requirements above.
I would bet that every one of those dots on RPF's map believes that they too have great work ethics. And yet, were one of those arrogant employees most painting contractors complain about.

Bottom line, the painting industry, in general, doesn't develop workers to transition into leadership roles because mom and pop shops are autocracies that have little interest in their workers development, other than to exploit the labor they provide in an effort to meet tight margins. Therefore, most painters don't have incentive to be loyal, and often times, become painting contractors themselves. It's the nature of the business.

Employment in the painting industry really only flourishes in government, or large private industry that have the resources to develop and transition employees, IMO.

Last edited by CApainter; 12-24-2015 at 05:10 PM..
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Old 12-24-2015, 05:33 PM   #8
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60 bucks a day around here is not a livable wage and I am in NC I would of thought Flordia would of been similar.

10% mark up on a employee on time and material job would mean you are probably loosing money, and not worth the effort of doing the job.
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Old 12-24-2015, 06:47 PM   #9
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I questioned the 10% also. Just thought it was a figure that worked for him.

Now, if you're billing out as an example $60.00 per hour T&M and add 10% it would make sense.
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Old 12-24-2015, 06:50 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dave Mac View Post
60 bucks a day around here is not a livable wage and I am in NC I would of thought Flordia would of been similar.

10% mark up on a employee on time and material job would mean you are probably loosing money, and not worth the effort of doing the job.
you miss read the post ... i said

"WOW $60 per day is a lot ... not really, remember your getting quality help paying more, find better painters, less worker turn over,have more work getting done, homeowners are impressed with your help, better quality, less call backs & more referrals ... all for $60 more per day, my company's name alone is worth $60 per day"

i was trying to say paying more than the average painter makes get you the quality help , i also said 50% for cost

kinda lost where you misread that my pay was $60 a day or 10% mark up

just trying to set the record straight

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Old 12-24-2015, 06:59 PM   #11
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I mis read I thought you were saying 60 bucks a day was good LOL my bad

the 10% was directed at dave, thinking if he is billing 30 bucks and hr and only making 10% of time and material, maybe I mis read that also, LOL

Merry Christmas
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:02 PM   #12
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I would bet that every one of those dots on RPF's map believes that they too have great work ethics. And yet, were one of those arrogant employees most painting contractors complain about.

Bottom line, the painting industry, in general, doesn't develop workers to transition into leadership roles because mom and pop shops are autocracies that have little interest in their workers development, other than to exploit the labor they provide in an effort to meet tight margins. Therefore, most painters don't have incentive to be loyal, and often times, become painting contractors themselves. It's the nature of the business.

Employment in the painting industry really only flourishes in government, or large private industry that have the resources to develop and transition employees, IMO.
When I am hiring, I ask an applicant, "what hourly rate are you looking for"? When they say, "I want the $ky"! My next questions is, "what makes you worth the $ky?"

Whether an applicant believes they have a great work ethic or not, I want to hear their values. If their only sense of value is, "Im a great painter", that's a red flag to me. A great painter, doesn't always make a great employee. Skilled painter and great employee, are not synonymous.

I've had plenty of great painters work for me, and then call out sick their 4th day of employment. And every other week thereafter, they have some poor excuse for not coming to work.

As far as training employees. The only way a mom and pop shop can afford to train an apprentice, is on the job training.

You know, most trades like, plumbing, electrical and HVAC, if this is what profession you chose to enter, you go to a trade school for at least 2 years. And this training is paid for by you, the one learning the trade, not the employer. Other than on the job training, a small painting contractor can not offer off site training.

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Old 12-25-2015, 09:53 AM   #13
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When I am hiring, I ask an applicant, "what hourly rate are you looking for"? When they say, "I want the $ky"! My next questions is, "what makes you worth the $ky?"

Whether an applicant believes they have a great work ethic or not, I want to hear their values. If their only sense of value is, "Im a great painter", that's a red flag to me. A great painter, doesn't always make a great employee. Skilled painter and great employee, are not synonymous.
I
I've had plenty of great painters work for me, and then call out sick their 4th day of employment. And every other week thereafter, they have some poor excuse for not coming to work.

As far as training employees. The only way a mom and pop shop can afford to train an apprentice, is on the job training.

You know, most trades like, plumbing, electrical and HVAC, if this is what profession you chose to enter, you go to a trade school for at least 2 years. And this training is paid for by you, the one learning the trade, not the employer. Other than on the job training, a small painting contractor can not offer off site training.
I agree with you. Unless you have entered a union apprenticeship program, or a training program offered by the organization you've been employed with, painting is simply learned by the seat of one's pants. And the industry standards and applications are merely interpretations from painting contractors who've learned the trade by the same means.

But as far as hiring, what can you expect a painter to say who only has his word to demonstrate any measurable qualifications. I would think a job description and a defined pay range would help to eliminate any temptation for the applicant to embellish.
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Old 12-25-2015, 10:38 AM   #14
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One of the best posts on painttalk Repaint,

Looking forward to the rest!
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Old 12-26-2015, 11:09 PM   #15
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One question that is always good to ask during an interview is "where do you see yourself on 5 years" when they have ambition you can help them get there and when you help someone get to a better point in their life they are that much motivated to help you right back.
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:21 AM   #16
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One question that is always good to ask during an interview is "where do you see yourself on 5 years" when they have ambition you can help them get there and when you help someone get to a better point in their life they are that much motivated to help you right back.
Would you prefer the answer to be the typical, "In your chair". Or, would you like to hear something like, "A pivotal part of this company"?

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Old 12-27-2015, 02:03 PM   #17
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I'm thinking RF is trying to win another "painter of the month contest!" Just kidding! Great start to a great thread. I agree with your approach of trying to pay more than others for good painters. That has served me well over the years. The booming economy here has made that harder lately as everyone is raising wages but in the end that's a good thing too as its really hard for painters to afford to live anywhere near where they work around here.
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Old 12-27-2015, 02:42 PM   #18
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One question that is always good to ask during an interview is "where do you see yourself on 5 years" when they have ambition you can help them get there and when you help someone get to a better point in their life they are that much motivated to help you right back.
I had a women ask me that question on a first date way back when.
It puts a person in the mindset of looking into a crystal ball or being some sort of psychic. Very awkward question to have to answer.

Here's my answer to that question. Hopefully I am still healthy and happy in 5 years.

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Old 12-27-2015, 02:46 PM   #19
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I'm thinking RF is trying to win another "painter of the month contest!" Just kidding! Great start to a great thread. I agree with your approach of trying to pay more than others for good painters. That has served me well over the years. The booming economy here has made that harder lately as everyone is raising wages but in the end that's a good thing too as its really hard for painters to afford to live anywhere near where they work around here.
Hi Damon. As far as paying a painter good, so to speak. If you pay a guy too good, he may feel that he only needs to work part time to make ends meet. Too much pay could lead to many call outs.
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Old 12-27-2015, 02:51 PM   #20
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I had a women ask me that question on a first date way back when.
It puts a person in the mindset of looking into a crystal ball or being some sort of physic. Very awkward question to have to answer.

Here's my answer to that question. Hopefully I am still healthy and happy in 5 years.
I would think that a date with some sort of physic would be a pretty crappy date.

Physic (noun): a medicine that purges, laxative.
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