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Old 05-19-2018, 04:01 PM   #1
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Default Scheduling & working with GC's

I don't know how some of you PC's can work with GC's. I'll explain.

An old customer recommended me to a friend who is moving into a 3 story townhouse.

She wanted everything re-painted including cabinets. Enter the GC and after a conversation with him, I said no to the job. it was worth at least 15K and I walked away from it.

I can do the painting work but cannot tolerate not knowing the schedule and working my other jobs around it.

They go in there do some work and we're supposed to go in and do our work and then go back after the floor is installed and do the final coat. I have no idea how long each interval will take and the calendar dates.

The GC has to rip up carpet, do new hardwood floors,countertops, add new closets and a lot more.

The GC has the nerve to ask me for a copy of my quote to the homeowner so he can take a look at it. He was interviewing me like he was my boss.

He also hinted that "repaint painters" are difficult to work with. He catches himself and says he wasn't referring to me.

Where is that thread about working with general contractors? I hate them.

This is why I've avoided working for them and builders all of these years in business.

I don't like being out of control and having to answer to these creatures.

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Old 05-19-2018, 04:25 PM   #2
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The reason he was interviewing you like he’d be your boss was because he would be your boss while that project is moving forward.
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Old 05-19-2018, 04:57 PM   #3
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The reason he was interviewing you like he’d be your boss was because he would be your boss while that project is moving forward.
The boss is the one signing the cheques. --- ie, The homeowner.

I was not one of his preferred contractors. This has happened before where a homeowner insists on hiring me as the PC. The GC always resents it because he isn't getting his cut.

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Old 05-19-2018, 06:46 PM   #4
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Whenever I have been involved in a job where a GC is present, I have always been brought into the project as a sub under them. Even in the few instances where the HO is a past customer who convinced the GC that I had to be the painter, it was as a sub. Guess they want to be sure to get their percentage off the top. And to be fair, I actually prefer a GC be present and in charge rather it be one of those cluster fs that occur while the HO is trying to coordinate everything themselves while also holding down a day job and dealing with a family - all while living in the house being remodeled.
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:12 AM   #5
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lol @RH
I have a "have a day job and flippling homes like on TV. " customer. The comedy is worth the $$. Show up in a new house....and I'm like...is that a dead raccoon?

I avoid GC's....avoid new construction. I find the whole scheduling thing super difficult with the labor pool we have to work with in this industry....touchy subjects for us painters.
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Old 05-20-2018, 02:42 AM   #6
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I try not to work with GC's too. We completed the prime, ceilings, and first coat on walls for a project end of December. GC thought it would be ready to go March, here we are in May still not ready. I'm booked solid through July and what's going to happen when they call and say they are ready?
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Old 05-20-2018, 05:07 AM   #7
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I try not to work with GC's too. We completed the prime, ceilings, and first coat on walls for a project end of December. GC thought it would be ready to go March, here we are in May still not ready. I'm booked solid through July and what's going to happen when they call and say they are ready?
Yup that's exactly why I won't work for them. It's been a good 8 years since I have and I can't say I miss it.

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Old 05-20-2018, 06:24 AM   #8
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It's never easy. Good friend of mine is a GC I get a lot of work from. Earlier this spring I'm getting all sorts of calls for work, he keeps telling me "tell them you're booked. I'm gonna keep you busy." I didn't go for it. Kept booking other stuff.


While he's bouncing around in between three big jobs, there's been major holes I've been filling with my own work. One job we've been going at for months. One week here, another week there, then nothing.


It's been a bit of a sticking point in our friendship over the years. He doesn't like it when he calls wanting me to show up somewhere the next day and I'm busy.
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Old 05-20-2018, 06:56 AM   #9
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GC”s ie construction managers will bury a sub without batting an eye. I’ve seen it and been part of it. Add to that the retainer of your final payment (10%) they hold back for years.

I do estimates for other PC and see how the Painting contractors operate today. They sub it all out mostly to illegals, so in fact they become the GC . It’s a mess and I want no part of it. It’s sad really.
When the old timers died off or retired the yuppies took over it all went to Sh”t. The term stand up guy or honest man meant nothing. It’s who can we burn on this project. I could go on but it’s pointless. There’s plenty of people out there who will always do the work and get screwed.
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Old 05-20-2018, 10:55 AM   #10
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lol @RH
I have a "have a day job and flippling homes like on TV. " customer. The comedy is worth the $$. Show up in a new house....and I'm like...is that a dead raccoon?

I avoid GC's....avoid new construction. I find the whole scheduling thing super difficult with the labor pool we have to work with in this industry....touchy subjects for us painters.
I'm glad you mentioned that. I can't find good painters. I'm swamped and turning down a lot of good work because I find it difficult recruiting more painters. I have an ad on 'Indeed' and 100% of the applications I get are worthless. I mean I ask for someone with 5 years experience and I'm seeing most of them working that last 3-4 years in other industries. Their resumes are a bloody joke. Nobody puts down references to call.

I pay between $18-$27/hr so I'm not cheap.

I think I'm going to train some newbies. I'll teach them to Frog tape everything which is what I do anyway. I love having laser straight lines and the speed of the cut after taping. For the ceiling cuts, I'll use pro painters. I can teach anyone how to roll a room properly. Exteriors is a different ballgame. Learning to work on ladders can be difficult to teach.

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Old 05-20-2018, 11:50 AM   #11
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Aside from the minority of real high end jobs that are budgeted for a real high end paint job, the painting industry is driven by speed. And that means standards and best practices are often circumvented in order to meet time and cost constraints associated with labor. This includes time spent on preparation, application, product selection, and protecting surrounding areas not receiving paint.

The bottom line being that the least the customer has to pay for labor and a contractor's overhead and profit, the more appealing the painting product is to the average home owner. And when you can stack a paint job with low wage workers you can sort of end up with a decent paint job in a minimal amount of time. At least for what the average homeowner is willing to pay for.

So at the end of the day, speed is the biggest hurdle for every painter. Not cut lines, and roller marks.

And sadly, there aren't many environments in this industry that will allow you to slow down if you aren't augmented by a pension, or working spouse.

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Old 05-20-2018, 12:00 PM   #12
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Aside from the minority of real high end jobs that are budgeted for a real high end paint job, the painting industry is driven by speed. And that means standards and best practices are circumvented in order to meet time and cost constraints associated with labor. This includes time spent on preparation, application, product selection, and protecting surrounding areas not receiving paint.

The bottom line being that the least the customer has to pay for labor and a contractor's overhead and profit, the more appealing the painting product is to the average home owner. And when you can stack a paint job with low wage workers you can sort of end up with a decent paint job in a minimal amount of time. At least for what the average homeowner is willing to pay for.

So at the end of the day, speed is the biggest hurdle for every painter. Not cut lines, and roller marks.
That may be true for you but I've always separated myself from the blow and go guys.

Nothing but a quality job will satisfy me and there is a market out there for painters with higher standards. Trust me, everyone says they called me because of my 5-Star rating on Google. Being on the first page in both maps and organic Google search helps too. I have more keywords ranked than any painting company in my city by a large margin.

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Old 05-20-2018, 12:06 PM   #13
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That may be true for you but I've always separated myself from the blow and go guys.

Nothing but a quality job will satisfy me and there is a market out there for painters with higher standards. Trust me, everyone says they called me because of my 5-Star rating on Google. Being on the first page in both maps and organic Google search helps too. I have more keywords ranked than any painting company in my city by a large margin.
And I'm certain the minority I speak of are all members of Paint Talk. But in general, the majority of who I describe is standing right in line with you at the paint store.
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:33 PM   #14
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And I'm certain the minority I speak of are all members of Paint Talk. But in general, the majority of who I describe is standing right in line with you at the paint store.
I'm not in competition with those types of painters.

That crew advertises in Kijiji and Craigslist. I've never been a "race to the bottom" type of guy.
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Old 05-20-2018, 12:58 PM   #15
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I'm not in competition with those types of painters.

That crew advertises in Kijiji and Craigslist. I've never been a "race to the bottom" type of guy.
And I'm sure neither has the rest of the Paint Talk community. But in general, the industry is driven by speed and the lowest possible costs for the construction application known as the painting product.

Last edited by CApainter; 05-20-2018 at 01:00 PM..
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Old 05-20-2018, 03:44 PM   #16
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Don't hate me guys,
I've just about given up on Americans.
They either don't want to be there, don't care, have no work ethic, critical thinking skills....or....even if they meet all those critieria....and don't have a drug/alcohol problem...and have transportation....they simply have no capacity to use a brush.

I've decided to start learning spanish. Every immigrant I've worked with I have been at least 90% happy with the outcome. Hell, the only other painter I trust to do my work here is straight from Greece.

GC's and intelligent, focused labor. The bane's of the professional painter's life.
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Old 05-20-2018, 04:08 PM   #17
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Don't hate me guys,
I've just about given up on Americans.
They either don't want to be there, don't care, have no work ethic, critical thinking skills....or....even if they meet all those critieria....and don't have a drug/alcohol problem...and have transportation....they simply have no capacity to use a brush.

I've decided to start learning spanish. Every immigrant I've worked with I have been at least 90% happy with the outcome. Hell, the only other painter I trust to do my work here is straight from Greece.

GC's and intelligent, focused labor. The bane's of the professional painter's life.
I hate hiring smokers. They constantly take smoke breaks and many of them probably take a quick toke as well. I don't follow them around or keep hidden cameras. It always ticks me off to see them take these smoke breaks. I get angry about it.

When hiring I always specify non-smokers but they tend to lie and just show up at the job. I should fire them right off the bat but I'm usually pressed for time and need to get the job done. The mindset of most painters is "can we get away with not doing this or that" That blows my mind. Just do the damn job right. Do I really have to tell people that? Yes, unfortunately.

I should also ban cell phones at the jobsite. (I'm half joking) Some painters are constantly on the phone. How do you PC's handle this?

Last edited by Mr Smith; 05-20-2018 at 04:12 PM..
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Old 05-20-2018, 04:32 PM   #18
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If I have a good employee who doesn't use their phone a lot I don't worry about it.If there is a problem I take 10 minutes off their time every time I see them using it. I tell them I will do it and they believe it at the end of the week.
When I lived in AZ. all my employment problems would have vanished if I spoke Spanish. And these people were legal.
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Old 05-20-2018, 06:30 PM   #19
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legal or non legal, from GC down to laborer---solid people with integrity are a tough find. That's what I'm after. If we end up with a shady worker, they find out where you live, and end up holding some invented stuff against you....trouble trouble trouble.

I'm with @kmp on docking cash. I'm not a hardass to people, I care about others lives and talking is a good way to spend time....but if a worker is screwing production rates due to their bad habits, either their pay is cut or they are cut. Whatever the particular habit may be.

On the note of spanish, Rosetta stone is actually very user friendly, easy to use. All NJ libraries offer free subscription to it....the only "social benefit" I actually take advantage of : )
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