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Old 11-13-2011, 03:54 PM   #1
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Default Keeping a Clean Job Site

Since the majority of our work is residential repaints, I've always been particular about keeping the job site clean. I'll often take time during the day to consolidate tools and equipment into one area, refold and stack drops which are not being used, and return things to the truck which I'm done with. At the end of the day I take the time to do some minor vacuuming or sweeping (even if it may not be my debris) and make sure my pour station is straightened up and all lids secured. In short, I try to leave the site looking at least as clean and organized as I found it that morning.

A recent experience brought home to me how this aspect of our work is one which can easily be overlooked but can be very important to our customers. Prior to my start date a drywall guy was doing extensive repairs and retexturing. Although he's no hack and actually has a good reputation, there was stuff everywhere. Now I realize that kind of work can be messy by it's very nature but this guy wasn't doing much at all to protect against over-spray or doing any cleaning up. This was in the home of an older retired couple who have many nice pieces of furniture and window treatments. They asked him if he would be more careful and be sure to clean things that got "hit". His response was to blow up and walk off the job. To be honest, I was embarrassed by how he behaved. I was able to connect them with a fellow I've been working with for over thirty years and they were thrilled with his skill and how well he cleaned up at the end of each day.

That got me to thinking (again) about how important keeping a site clean really is. It's easy to get wrapped up in what we're doing during the day and lose sight of what sort of message the condition of our work areas send to our customers. It projects a more professional image and conveys to the HO's that I feel their home and property is as important to me as it is to them. I also feel it helps me be more efficient and makes the entire place safer for everyone. Sure, we all know those homes where there is so much crap and grime that the HOs likely wouldn't even notice the debris from our job. But most of my customers maintain relatively clean homes and they will notice. I try to keep in mind that it's difficult enough for the HO to come home to a house that's in disarray simply because their stuff has been moved around and their routine disrupted. I don't need to add to that stress by leaving it messy and disorganized as well.
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Old 11-13-2011, 04:04 PM   #2
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This makes me think of how respectful it is when homeowners take the initiative of putting stuff away (nick nacks,clothes) before the work begins. Maybe even doing a little housecleaning. I have a customer that calls me every 2 or 3 years for basic wall painting but really is more like come over and help me clean my room day. Last time I made the visit I told myself that I was going to ask to her to have a cleaning crew arrive before I did. Certainly do not want to be rude or offensive but I am burnt on the whole thing.
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Old 11-13-2011, 04:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by IHATE_HOMEDEPOT View Post
This makes me think of how respectful it is when homeowners take the initiative of putting stuff away (nick nacks,clothes) before the work begins. Maybe even doing a little housecleaning. I have a customer that calls me every 2 or 3 years for basic wall painting but really is more like come over and help me clean my room day. Last time I made the visit I told myself that I was going to ask to her to have a cleaning crew arrive before I did. Certainly do not want to be rude or offensive but I am burnt on the whole thing.
Doing some basic cleaning before a workman arrives is just common courtesy in my opinion. I have refused to work in bathrooms which were unclean as well as in houses where fleas were present. Thankfully, these have been unusual situations rather than the norm.
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Old 11-13-2011, 04:33 PM   #4
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2 things that will make you stand above most res painters.
Show up when you say you are going to.
Work clean.

The rest is just gravy. ( well, almost..)
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Old 11-13-2011, 05:58 PM   #5
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Foundational Best Management Practices.
Behaving wisely, considering the space, and its environment.
Cleaning Before, and After is marketable as responsible.

That's included in the teachings of www.WashWater.org

This thread is about "positives"
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Old 11-13-2011, 06:07 PM   #6
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2 things that will make you stand above most res painters.
Show up when you say you are going to.
Work clean.

The rest is just gravy. ( well, almost..)
And if you spill any, well...
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Old 11-13-2011, 06:25 PM   #7
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I've heard this before about homeowners being responsible for pre cleaning a job site before the contractor shows up. I believe, that if the homeowner wanted to do ANY work, they wouldn't have contacted a contractor to begin with. Sometimes it's actually harder to move and clean sh!t then it is painting. This is not to say that a contractor can't charge extra or ask if the homeowner can reasonably prep the site prior to starting. However, we have to keep in mind that a lot of these repaints are elderly homeowners.

As far as cleanliness, work site management just gives one more motivation. The alternative just adds stress.

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Old 11-13-2011, 06:58 PM   #8
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I used to move everything when I started a job, but now I have the HO take pictures off the wall and remove anything fragile off of shelves and book cases before we get there. I still end up moving most of the bigger furniture just because alot of HO's cant do it themselves without help. I do need to start charging more for this service though.

On another note, We did a job last winter for a family and the house was pretty filthy. I'm a painter, not a janitor but I don't know how to up-charge for cleaning without coming across as a real jerk
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Old 11-13-2011, 07:49 PM   #9
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Default Enviro-Positives will deliver it, to paying customers

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Originally Posted by CApainter View Post
I've heard this before about homeowners being responsible for pre cleaning a job site before the contractor shows up. I believe, that if the homeowner wanted to do ANY work, they wouldn't have contacted a contractor to begin with. Sometimes it's actually harder to move and clean sh!t then it is painting. This is not to say that a contractor can't charge extra or ask if the homeowner can reasonably prep the site prior to starting. However, we have to keep in mind that a lot of these repaints are elderly homeowners.

As far as cleanliness, work site management just gives one more motivation. The alternative just adds stress.
You are an "Enviro-Positive"
thare are still too many enviro-negatives,
but that makes bigger opportunity for the Enviro-Positives to take contracts awaay from enviro-negatives.
It has always been, so.

Capitalism will pay for protecting the environment,
and Enviro-Positives will deliver it,
to paying customers.
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Old 11-13-2011, 08:02 PM   #10
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Default NOT being the janitor, nor coming across as a real jerk:

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Originally Posted by mpminter View Post
I used to move everything when I started a job, but now I have the HO take pictures off the wall and remove anything fragile off of shelves and book cases before we get there. I still end up moving most of the bigger furniture just because alot of HO's cant do it themselves without help. I do need to start charging more for this service though.

On another note, We did a job last winter for a family and the house was pretty filthy. I'm a painter, not a janitor but I don't know how to up-charge for cleaning without coming across as a real jerk
I suggeest having a printed "Best Management Practices" Sheet,
Hold it out in front of your customer, or better yet..
give him a copy, and go over it together.
He should see it as professionalism, by a meticulous supplier.
just write those BMP's carefully

It's a finesse thing..
NOT being the janitor, nor coming across as a real jerk:

Management IS about "Herding Cats".
Eh?
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Old 11-13-2011, 08:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpminter View Post
I used to move everything when I started a job, but now I have the HO take pictures off the wall and remove anything fragile off of shelves and book cases before we get there. I still end up moving most of the bigger furniture just because alot of HO's cant do it themselves without help. I do need to start charging more for this service though.

On another note, We did a job last winter for a family and the house was pretty filthy. I'm a painter, not a janitor but I don't know how to up-charge for cleaning without coming across as a real jerk
We had a thread not too long ago about pre-work letters (Pre-Work Preperation Letters for Customers) which spell out what the HO needs to do prior to the start of the painting. In mine I stress cleaning around toilets, behind stoves and refrigerators (if applicable), and the moving of pictures and fine breakables. If I have to do any of this there will be a charge based on time. I explain this fully to the HO when I deliver the contract. I don't come across as a jerk about it - it's just business. If it involves my time over that factored into the bid there will charge for it (it is sometimes interesting to see how quickly the HO can suddenly do it when they realize there will be an extra charge). If you don't take this stand people will just assume you'll deal with it and then take advantage of you. Moving larger things is sometime unavoidable and I factor time into the bid for that. I have a large selection of sliders for furniture as well as one of the Easy Lift levers (As See On TV!!!) for getting really heavy items up enough off the floor to insert a slider. It was money well spent.

I don't think it's unreasonable for basic cleaning to be part of the HO's prep for painting. For my part, I will clean up my stuff. The least the HO can do is the same.
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Old 11-13-2011, 08:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirocco Jerry View Post
I suggeest having a printed "Best Management Practices" Sheet,
Hold it out in front of your customer, or better yet..
give him a copy, and go over it together.
He should see it as professionalism, by a meticulous supplier.
just write those BMP's carefully

It's a finesse thing..
NOT being the janitor, nor coming across as a real jerk:


Management IS about "Herding Cats".
Eh?
Exactly.
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Old 11-14-2011, 01:02 AM   #13
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One thing I don't allow on my residential job sites is my workers smoking while working. there is nothing worse than discarded cigarette butts in someone's garden.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:28 AM   #14
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One thing I don't allow on my residential job sites is my workers smoking while working. there is nothing worse than discarded cigarette butts in someone's garden.
Eating on site needs to be monitored as well. Couple years back there was a NC interior being done across the street from where I was working. Guys had the windows open, loud music playing all day which the entire neighborhood had to listen to. One guy would make a fast food run at lunch and bring back food. The crew would break and eat outside. Within ten minutes you'd see food wrappers and napkins being blown down the street and into the neighbors' yards. This went on for about a week. I heard that more than a few people complained for suddenly one day the music was way down and I didn't notice the garbage as much. Thing is - the neighbors shouldn't have to complain.
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:52 AM   #15
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Keeping a jobsite clean and the owner's property protected is just a sign of showing respect, not only for the homeowner, but for yourself. Working with the elderly poses a lot of challenges as they are not always able to move furniture and clean. It never really bothered me to do so for them and the time involved wasn't all that much. Keep in mind that the elderly may not be up on all the new electronic methods of networking, but they do have their own way of doing so and it is quite effective. Probably one of the easiest ways to build a referral system for your company.
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Old 11-14-2011, 11:00 AM   #16
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Keeping a jobsite clean and the owner's property protected is just a sign of showing respect, not only for the homeowner, but for yourself. Working with the elderly poses a lot of challenges as they are not always able to move furniture and clean. It never really bothered me to do so for them and the time involved wasn't all that much. Keep in mind that the elderly may not be up on all the new electronic methods of networking, but they do have their own way of doing so and it is quite effective. Probably one of the easiest ways to build a referral system for your company.
We live in a college town. There's a certain class of customer my wife and I affectionately refer to as the "College Gentry". Very nice older people, quality homes, unwilling or unable to do their own painting, want top quality work and service and are willing to pay for it, and most importantly - they all know and talk to each other. Working with some of them can be a real challenge - often lots of extra patience and hand holding is required. But being able to trust someone and knowing they will get a great job for their money is very important to them. I've gotten into their circle and now whenever I work with a new customer from this group I figure on getting at least two or three direct quality referrals. Love that ripple effect.
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Old 11-14-2011, 06:08 PM   #17
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You can figure 1 man hr for cleaning, for ever 7 hrs worked on repaints/remodels, and you can come up short if you aren't careful.

Dust and untidiness are something that bothers me. I have had homeowners tell me not to worry about sweeping, and I will still do it.
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Old 11-14-2011, 06:22 PM   #18
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My paint crew already knows the drill, I hate pigs!
I'd have to say drywallers are pigs for the most part. I kinda fell into some hanging board, tape/mud and texture. I hired out all but the texture. We are working in a social security office, night and weekend work. The 1st night I walked in a complete mess "WTF" so we cleaned everything up and showed them what I expected the next go around. Plastic every where, drops laid out like a red carpet where there is no plastic, and at entry points of the building. Then I expect complete pick up of plastic, trash and vacuuming every day. Exteriors repaints get drive ways and walk ways rinsed down daily.

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Old 11-14-2011, 06:40 PM   #19
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Being clean is an integral part.

...this obsession is the seed to the 'quirkiness' of being a painter.
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Old 11-14-2011, 09:29 PM   #20
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Being clean is an integral part.

...this obsession is the seed to the 'quirkiness' of being a painter.
So did that lead us to becoming painters or did being painters make us become that way?
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