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Old 02-16-2018, 10:56 PM   #1
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Default Apartment Turnover (repaint) newbie

Hi my name is Alex and I am new to the contracting world and I started out cleaning homes and then got into commercial properties then landed a contract cleaning luxury resort style apartment communities and was asked by one of the communities if I offered painting and carpet cleaning and if you know me well then you know I answered yes to paint and carpet cleaning... With that said I now offer apartment turnover services whereas we paint each apartment units and clean carpets and clean the units in preparation for a new lease.

My question to the professional painters of this group is how do you handle apartment (repaint) when the pay is so little? They are paying me 18 cent per square ft for same color repaint and 24 cent for color change but it's mostly all same color. Do you only do touch up paint and skip over what looks good? I am making $155 to $250 a unit not including cleaning and carpet cleaning. I am trying to figure out how to pay my painter hourly or by the job? I service all 5 of their properties and each property is from 250 units to 500 units all new construction. I am currently doing 30 units a month between 2 of their properties and will soon be asked to expand into their other 3 properties so I want to make sure I have my pay method and work method on point so I can make sure i turn a profit and look good to the service manager at each property. Thank you in advance

I will mention this I am doing very well at one of the apartment complexes (my home base complex) I only do touch up painting and the paint matches up perfect so there's no need to repaint the entire unit and I am turning a nice profit on each unit. Some service manager are a little more picky than others. They provide all paint (contractors paint)
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Old 02-17-2018, 12:15 AM   #2
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I use to do apartment repaints. I would get $60 for a one bedroom, 65 for a two, and 70 for a three, providing there were no extras. I know you are gasping, reading that, but I could also crank out around 3 per day. This was over 15 years ago too.

Its a totally different form of painting. It is kind of like a touch up with an airless.I used 3" tape to very quickly mask off outlets and switches. I also had 6" paper for doorknobs, and around certain corners where overspray was prone. I threw a couple sheets on countertops. We were painting the exact same colors, flat walls and lids, semigloss doors, kitchens and baths.

I would come in, set up a drop with my pump and paint on it, get into the semigloss,, and using a combo of cardboard, and plastic sheilds, and a 411 tip, very lightly respray the semigloss areas, and doors. The, I switch over to the flat, and using a plastic sheild, going from bottom to top, and side to side, start at the base, and move up the wall. I use cardboard sheilds for the sides to the doors and windows, cabinets, etc. I would scrape paint off the plastic sheild, and let the cardboard sheilds dry, grab a brush, do any touch up I could find, then grab a spray bottle of cleaner and a scrubby pad, and look for overspray, and clean it. All in all, about 2 hours per unit. Then I would load out, and move to the next one. It sounds crazy, especially with hardly masking anything, but I watched a couple people do it, then I understood. It took a couple months to get good at it though. After we left, the carpet cleaners would come in the next day, so any paint dust in the carpet got cleaned.

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Old 02-17-2018, 01:48 AM   #3
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In the 90's I worked for a union contractor for 13 months at the McClurg Court apartments in Streeterville/River North, these were two twin 45 story towers connected on the ground floors to each other. https://www.rentcafe.com/apartments/...t/default.aspx

They had hired extra help because they were remodeling all the kitchens and baths in both towers along with the regular repaints that were done after a lease was over and the tenant moved out.

The first morning I was teamed with one of their regulars and as we were getting off the elevator, he says to me leave your ego behind as we went into a unit, and he tells me here's how we do things. No outlet or switch plates are removed, they just slopped over everything with a 3/4" sleeve, most of the units were the same color in flat latex for both walls and ceilings, the exception being the kitchens and baths which were semi-gloss. You just bumped the ceiling line with the mop and only cut in what was visible after this slop and mop.

I didn't like this go and blow approach at all, but I did it for 13 months as it did pay the mortgage and put food on the table. As they say, you gotta do what you've gotta do!
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Old 02-17-2018, 07:43 AM   #4
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Hi Alex, I removed the other duplicate threads as it's really only necessary to post in one area of the forum, and you're getting responses to this one. Thanks for your understanding.

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Old 02-17-2018, 10:24 AM   #5
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No worries moderator that's fine.
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Old 02-17-2018, 03:28 PM   #6
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I got started in much the same way. The best way for us was either a "touch up" (self explanatory), a "partial" (paint a few full walls, all sills, and touch up other stuff, or a "full paint" (again self explanatory). We were able to do several per day usually and it all kinda evened out as most of the units were t/u's or partials, same color/sheen. We'd mop it all out with a 1 1/4" Wooster and move on. Everything was textured so it worked out great with very little cutting required. Pm sucks though cuz they don't pay well, want everything done yesterday, and don't pay for at LEAST 30 days. It is a good place to cut teeth but if you wanna make better money ya gotta get better customers.

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Old 02-17-2018, 06:57 PM   #7
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I did ALOT of apartment repaints "back in the day." It's a tough gig if your goal is to make money. It sounds like you may have that partially covered as you are pretty much prepping the WHOLE apartment for the new tenant.

Speed, as you know, is of the essence. Anything that gets you to fly through them is worth trying whether it is spraying, using 18" wide rollers, skipping ceilings, etc. Strangely, I always felt as though I should always paint everything when re-doing an apt. I hated just touching up spots or skipping walls because I felt like the new tenant deserved a "clean slate" before moving in, but, I did as the management requested and collected my checks.
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Old 02-24-2018, 04:31 PM   #8
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Wow! Brings back memories. I worked an apartment complex too, back in the day. If you're just starting out, it's a great way to get experience at working quickly because it's survival. You're not going to make any money if don't. Don't sweat the details. Get the units clean looking as fast as you can, and move on to the next one.
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