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Old 12-23-2008, 11:09 PM   #1
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Default Int trim painting in South FL

I swear to buddha that there is not one decent trim guy in FL. (myself included I guess, lol)

I was in the middle of sanding base in a rather nice home today, when I had what an alcoholic might call a "moment of clarity".

Now I'm only 23, but since I've been painting on my own (since 18, intermixed with my racing schedule) I can only recall one job where the trim was in excellent shape prior to my repaint. That was a $4mil home owned by a friend of mine, the most anal guy in the world, and he fired 4 painting companies when he was building the home.

Boogers, hole, drywall texture, sanding dust painted over... And many of the homes I work in are >5 years old and $1,000,000 plus (welcome to Sarasota).

I quoted a lady $3750 to repaint her trim (crown, base, chair rail throughout---2800sq ft.). I figure this was way cheap, figuring me and my guy for a full 50hrs each, even though it MIGHT take $150-$200 in materials.

I was trying to keep the cost down because 1. She works with my girlfriend 2. Trying to prevent the shock of 5k to paint the trim


Maybe I'm just creating more work for myself? I'd say about 85% of my jobs, people didn't want to pay to have the trim done correctly.

Please feel free to point out any glaring methods in the following procedure.

1. Dust base
2. Clean base with simple green or TSP depending on severity of contamination.
3. Sand with 150-180
4. Dust and tack
5. Caulk as needed, fill all boogers, holes, knicks, dings, dongs and gouges.
6. Sand with 220, dust/tack again
7. Prime
8. Light sand 220-320
9. Dust/tack
10. Final coat (Satin Impervo, or Porter Advantage 900 series for high gloss).



Now that is my "MAC DADDY" trim process, but sadly, most of the time it's a clean/light sand/paint.

Basically just a long-winded rant, but any advice WRT saving time would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Matt
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Old 12-24-2008, 06:31 AM   #2
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looks good to me, however it is always best to prime before using any caulk, sealant, or fillers.
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:46 AM   #3
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If your doing all steps you mentioned I would say you would be hard pressed to make money and what you charged... And your right you probably won't get many people to bite a that system if you charged accordingly...

I would say clean, sand dust top coat for re paints... cetainly fill anything that is really noticable... I found out that with repaints its hard to make crappy trim look really good with out a lot of man hours.
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Old 12-24-2008, 09:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAK-Deco View Post
If your doing all steps you mentioned I would say you would be hard pressed to make money and what you charged... And your right you probably won't get many people to bite a that system if you charged accordingly...

I would say clean, sand dust top coat for re paints... cetainly fill anything that is really noticable... I found out that with repaints its hard to make crappy trim look really good with out a lot of man hours.
This is usually what I end up doing. Even though I had a dozen-ish steps listed, that is for the "MAK-DADDY" (in this case) system. Many of those steps take virtually no time, as I do 10' sections (or corner to corner) and multi-task like a hooker at Bikeweek.


The main point was, SoFL has it so bad when it comes to trim work. My parents house was $1.2 mil built in '99, and the trim has never been repainted. 1 door casing took me 3hrs!!! Drips, runs...ARHHHH

Now this is new construction guys who should be spraying... WTF is with all the brush marks?!?!?

I was 14 when their house was built, and even back then I told them to bit*h at the painters for doing shoddy work.

Get this.

They have concrete/stucco'd pillar on the back porch, about the circumference of five gallon bucket. I know this because it appears they formed the base with an empty 5 with the bottom cut out.

IT WAS LEFT IN THE CONCRETE!!! STUCCO'D OVER!!! PRIMED AND PAINTED!!! A 5 GALLON BUCKET!!!


Here is another ?. What are yall's favorite fillers for the wood trim? I use bondo/PP/wood filler depending on the application.
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Old 12-24-2008, 09:09 AM   #5
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And another ?. Any decent electric sanders that can conform to the profile of base? I have a small triangle headed unit (don't take that out of context funny guy) that saves time on casings and wide trim.
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Old 12-24-2008, 09:47 AM   #6
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When I was painting in previous winters in Florida, I noticed the quality of construction was absolute shyt. The trim was exactly as you stated. These people seem to think their homes are worth all that, wait untill the market ultimately decides their true value. Most of the homes down there, that I saw were the newer homes built in the last decade, and the builder's paint was nothing more than a white wash.

Your pricing of $3750 does seem rather low, but at the same time as you said people will say wtf, if you try pricing it much higher. But do these same people see a difference between perfection and a good repaint job? I don't think so. The steps I would take are as follows:

- using wood filler, fill in all holes
- caulk all gaps
- do a rough sanding of trim, then vacume losse dust
- brush 2 coats of a semi-gloss

It will be night and day, any further light sanding/priming coats are overkill in my opinion.
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Old 12-24-2008, 09:54 AM   #7
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BTW, if I was doing that job, I would go around filling in the holes, while another guy was doing the sanding, I would then follow behind doing the caulking. Come back the next day put the first coat on, and then finish the second coat the following day. I would go through out the whole house on the first coat, and then when doing the 2nd coat, have your other guy do clean up and move any furniture back in place.

3 days and you're done. First day would be not even a full day. That is considering just one person doing the painting, the other guy doing any odds and ends. It's very hard finding a painter to hire that is great at painting, because most likely they would be working for themselves or you need to get them while they are fresh out of school.
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Old 12-24-2008, 10:40 AM   #8
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Yeah, the guy I use is a Fire Fighter that I went to the Academy with. He is basically my apprentice; Sanding, filling, clean up etc. I've only let him paint on my house and a few exteriors.

I want him to be a damned expert before I even THINK about letting him do precision work. I still pay him $15/hr, sometimes $20 if I'm making big $$$, and those are usually exteriors.

I believe that if you want someone to put forth full effort, you must compensate them accordingly.

I've tried to hire "pro's"....No luck.

The best guy I ever had was a 55 year old Nicgruagan(sp). Unfortunately he was an illegal, and I really don't like having someone who can't speak English at a customers house.

Guy was 3x the painter that I am, lol.
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Old 12-24-2008, 11:23 AM   #9
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I would try to do my sanding only 1 time. Unless that base is filthy I would caulk and fix holes first (assuming your only doing touch up caulking) Than sand it all, dust or vacuum, and paint it.
Also, I would lean towards two topcoats instead of primer and a topcoat.
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bender View Post
Also, I would lean towards two topcoats instead of primer and a topcoat.
Any specific/technical reason for that? With Satin Impervo I sometimes do that, but with a high-gloss, I always have to scuff the 1st coat if I want it brush out well.

That is my same reasoning for using a primer then a 1st coat. I feel the primer after the patching helps seal the filler, and the flat finish (I use BIN shellac) helps "pull" the paint off the brush, and that sometimes eliminates step 8.

I appreciate the advice guys.

Last edited by dragula; 12-24-2008 at 12:47 PM.. Reason: Brain Fart Extrordinare
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Old 12-24-2008, 05:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragula View Post
Any specific/technical reason for that? With Satin Impervo I sometimes do that, but with a high-gloss, I always have to scuff the 1st coat if I want it brush out well.

That is my same reasoning for using a primer then a 1st coat. I feel the primer after the patching helps seal the filler, and the flat finish (I use BIN shellac) helps "pull" the paint off the brush, and that sometimes eliminates step 8.

I appreciate the advice guys.
I would never use High Gloss, that is some aweful stuff. If a customer suggests it, stear them towards semi-gloss. Two things I refuse to work with are High Gloss and Oil Base...won't do it and it's not worth it

BTW, sounds like you take care of your employees, that is what I have always paid about $15-20 per hour. What I found that works even better is to pay by the day or by the job, it helps you and them get work done faster and it keeps your employee loyal. The guy that works for me ends up making around $30+ per hour when all is done, but on interiors he's making about $20.
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Old 12-24-2008, 05:08 PM   #12
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After you deduct taxes?
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Old 12-24-2008, 05:42 PM   #13
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After you deduct taxes?
Sure, however you make more money with a motivated employee than a warm body just hanging around. Bonuses can be used as well to make it work.
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:51 PM   #14
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Yep, I pay cash everyday. At the end of the week, I cut him a check for the total weeks amount, and he gives the cash from the check right back to me. This is just to have a tax record/paper trail.

Any better idea's on how to tackle that?

I admit I haven't spent much time investigating it, aka I keep forgetting to ask my CPA.
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Old 12-24-2008, 10:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragula View Post
Yep, I pay cash everyday. At the end of the week, I cut him a check for the total weeks amount, and he gives the cash from the check right back to me. This is just to have a tax record/paper trail.

Any better idea's on how to tackle that?

I admit I haven't spent much time investigating it, aka I keep forgetting to ask my CPA.
Drag

How about focusing a little less on your trim painting process and reevaluate your strategy for paying your buddy who has no paint skills $15-20/hr cash and then cutting him a check that he cashes and hands the cash back to you each week. With whatever amount of respect is due in this situation, that is one of the strangest business practices I have ever heard, and believe me, there have been some doozies passed through here this year. You are engaging in some practices that are generally frowned upon in any business community. By the way, probably not a good idea to announce these practices on the internet. Its an incredibly small world. I'm sure you are the best trim painter this side of Sarasota, but if you are 23 and have this kind of business sense, the smartest thing you could do is go to work for a legitimate paint company and learn the business, then hang your shingle back out and give it another try.



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Old 12-24-2008, 10:43 PM   #16
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paying your buddy who has no paint skills $15-20/hr cash

That is good scratch for an unskilled laborer.
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Old 12-24-2008, 11:04 PM   #17
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That is good scratch for an unskilled laborer.
So here is what this problem means in real terms. My company did several rounds of hiring this year. There was alot of response to our ads because several other paint companies were laying off. I interviewed a few good candidates with 2-5 years of experience who I was serious about hiring. When it came time to close the deal, they would reveal to me that their "employer" had been paying them cash for the past two years, in amounts anywhere from $15-22/hr. Of course, the employee, and I use that term loosely, considers that as net pay and perceives that as his value in the field. I explain that that was great in the sense that you were subjected to no payroll taxes for 2 years, but it must be a little weird to have no check stubs, w-2, w-4 to prove your income when applying for credit, loans or a mortgage, and it must be especially weird when it comes tax time. And now, faced with the gravy train coming to an end, if you dont find a job, the "employer" has not contributed anything to unemployment insurance benefits that you could fall back on in a pinch. And so you think that whats been going on is ok and that you have been paid your actual value as a painter with 2 years experience?

This is a big part of the problem in our trade. It lowers the status of our profession and cripples the ability of legitimate employers to create appealing career opportunities for candidates. Even if you offer them the same wage on the books with benefits, they only see it as a paycut. I am amazed at the number of people operating "businesses" this way.



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Old 12-25-2008, 12:01 AM   #18
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This is a big part of the problem in our trade. It lowers the status of our profession and cripples the ability of legitimate employers to create appealing career opportunities for candidates. Even if you offer them the same wage on the books with benefits, they only see it as a paycut. I am amazed at the number of people operating "businesses" this way.
This is so true I experienced this also in 2008 while trying to hire full time help..
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Old 12-25-2008, 12:02 AM   #19
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If I answer this thread will VP and I be accused of being bullies teaming up against a promising young professional? Will there soon to be a flurry of emails sent to High Fibre from scared contractors all over the world?

Threads like this are very frustrating to real painting contractor professionals. I am starting to think there are only a few of us (businessmen/professionals) here contributing and when we criticize people who conduct illegal business practices we are chastised for it. Every month a new Severson rolls along with his industry and business genius ideas that are off the charts. This months winners are Michigan11 and dragula. But instead of pointing out their errors we should compliment them for trying. I think not. Sorry Drag, your not a businessman, your a college kid hustling a few bucks and your methods will probably get you in trouble with one agency or another.

And half of you are worried about perspective clients googling your name and finding out you contributed in a funny thread about a dead deer on the side of the road? You should be more concerned with them finding threads like this and thinking that this is what a industry professional is like.

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Old 12-25-2008, 12:09 AM   #20
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Drag

How about focusing a little less on your trim painting process and reevaluate your strategy for paying your buddy who has no paint skills $15-20/hr cash and then cutting him a check that he cashes and hands the cash back to you each week. With whatever amount of respect is due in this situation, that is one of the strangest business practices I have ever heard, and believe me, there have been some doozies passed through here this year. You are engaging in some practices that are generally frowned upon in any business community. By the way, probably not a good idea to announce these practices on the internet. Its an incredibly small world. I'm sure you are the best trim painter this side of Sarasota, but if you are 23 and have this kind of business sense, the smartest thing you could do is go to work for a legitimate paint company and learn the business, then hang your shingle back out and give it another try.

Hmmm...I read through this whole thing and didn't 1 piece of advice (besides the ad hominems).

Like I said, I've been using this guy for about 2 months now, so we are just getting in the "groove". I have not had the chance to iron out his payroll issues, so kill me. Hence why I asked for "advice".


Sorry for getting short, but I've been reading this forum for about 3 weeks or so, and while I respect your knowledge Scott, you interpersonal communication skills leave much to be desired.

As in your scenario; A professional contractor with a successful business. After reading many of you post, I've yet to determine a single productive reason as to why you post here.

You seem to be very confident in your skills, which I am lead to believe by your lopsided question to "advice" ratio in posting. In the majority of your responses, you offer the same "Well you suck go learn the business".

What is your true personal gain from this site? How does your time spent here outweigh other ventures? Being a successful businessman as I assume you are, time is your most valued commodity. So why does it appear that it is spent in such a sophomoric fashion on painttalk?

As for the $$$ issue. The guy is a career firefighter. At the end of the week, the extra $250 in his pocket makes a HUGE difference in his life. In my pocket? It would be wasted earning a measly 4.1% APR in a CD which as some point it seems will become insolvent anyways.

I am in Medical School FULL TIME and run my business FULL TIME. I feel the time I have spent on paintalk thus far to be equal to the knowledge gained, if just for the sociological perspective.

At the end of the day, no matter what you opinion, I give customers a very quality job at a fair cost, and I make a very respectable living while being able to go to school. I will not be a painter in 6 years. My plan is to groom someone to take the wheel while I am off starting my career in medicine.

So now my question to you. Do you have any good advice you could share on my payroll issue?

Or should I expect the same juvenile replies that seem to be the norm "round these parts".

Just remember your own words. Be careful what you post on the internet, it is a very small world.
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