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Old 01-14-2010, 06:26 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by sayn3ver View Post
it seems pointless to try and start a business without having any knowlege of the trade
Do not let this discourage you, people do it successfully all the time. Some of our best members have no knowledge of the trade.



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Old 01-14-2010, 11:37 PM   #22
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You have your own belt??? Hired!
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:52 AM   #23
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You have your own belt??? Hired!
That might be a bigger commute than he was looking for Jay, of course if the price was right...
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:22 AM   #24
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That might be a bigger commute than he was looking for Jay, of course if the price was right...
Yep, could be.

Anyhow, look around learn some things and hopefully we can expect much from you!
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:11 PM   #25
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SayNever...

Honestly your best bet is to find the most established, and highly regarded paint contractor in your area and start out as a helper for them.

You will learn so much in a few years, then you can start a VERY successful painting company.

I know people who have been painting for 20 years who never had the experience of working for an efficient, quality company, and who started their business without any real experience.

20 years later they are still struggling along, but they are stuck doing thing the way they have always done them, and they never did them right in the first place.

I know guys that have worked for an established paint contractor for 3 years then started a company that are 4 times better, more knowledgable, and more successful that the guys who have 20 years in the trade working for themselves, but never was exposed to efficient systems. so they still suck after 20 years.

------------

I like the fact that you were trying to find someone in your area to work for. I dont know if that breaks any etiquette in these forums or not, but you sound focused, and humble to me.

And with an education, and drug free lifestyle, you sound like you would be an asset to any employer.

I can take a smart kid and teach him how to roll a wall in 20 minutes better than most guys could roll a wall after 1 month of teaching themselves how to do it.

The problem is when greenhorns won't listen because their ego prevents them from learning.

It sounds like you are on the right track. Trust me about finding the best painter in your area and going to work for them. They have methods and strategies that are so much more efficient than the ones you can figure out from common sense.

Everything from how to deal with customers, to what kind of work is most profitable, to scheduling etc.

Don't try to re-invent the wheel.

Good Luck.
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:55 PM   #26
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SayNever...

I know people who have been painting for 20 years who never had the experience of working for an efficient, quality company, and who started their business without any real experience.

20 years later they are still struggling along, but they are stuck doing thing the way they have always done them, and they never did them right in the first place.

I know guys that have worked for an established paint contractor for 3 years then started a company that are 4 times better, more knowledgable, and more successful that the guys who have 20 years in the trade working for themselves, but never was exposed to efficient systems. so they still suck after 20 years.


Good Luck.
So true. I see contractors all the time, in fact I had one apply to be a sub a few weeks ago. A guy in his mid 50's who claimed he had been painting since he was in his early 20's. Knew all the buzz words, had his own spray equipment and 3 guys that worked for him. Tried him on a small job and what a joke. I had one of my foreman monitor him and the lack of detail, sloppyness and dishonesty was unbeleivable. I got rid of him and had my own guys finish it off. It all comes down to compentency, you would think that years in the trade would establish that but it does not.

Welcome aboard.

If you are going to work for another painting contractor I would probably suggest you keep your long term plans to yourself, most guys wouldnt be that keen on hiring you and training you to be their competition. Most painters start off working for someone else and 15 years later they are still there working for someone else.
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Old 01-17-2010, 02:07 AM   #27
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If you are going to work for another painting contractor I would probably suggest you keep your long term plans to yourself, most guys wouldnt be that keen on hiring you and training you to be their competition.
I can see your ponit here. But he wouldn't want to feel like he is being sneaky.

I don't see any problem if asked saying "I would like to start my own business one day"

The main thing is, if he does a real good job, is profitable for the contractor, and makes him money and is a good employee for 3-4 years, most contractors I know would give them their blessing when they left.

If you like someone, and they did good work for you, and were a stand up employee, it's hard to begrudge them wanting to move on or strike out on their own.

However that being said. 3-4 years is really bare minimum, I learned really key things after 10 years, and I still occasionally learn a really key thing that makes me more pro.

3-4 won't make you as efficient and seasoned as someone who experienced an efficient business model and has been improving that model for 20 years, but 3-4 years will at least give you an overview of how everything is done so that know which tree to even bark up when approaching a project.

I have seen guys use their own common sense to tackle projects, and I literally could do the same job 4 times better AND 4 times faster from all the things I learned working for efficient companies.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:32 PM   #28
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My goal really isn't to just work for a few years then start my own business. I don't even know if I would ever want to. I would not mind becoming somebody
s go to guy if I was compensated accordingly though. Some of us just don't have the organizational skills to run a business nor want the hassels that accompany it.

I will take everyone's advice and start looking for the " good contractor" in the area. How do I figure out who the best is? Once I do fiure out a few good contractors do I just call them directly and ask I they are hiring or should I ask around local paint stores?
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:41 PM   #29
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Check with the paint stores and don't be hesitant to call the better contractors in your area but be ready to be lumped into the mass of guys already calling in with the "are you hiring?" question. I like how you handled this thread, maybe a similar nice introduction would help your chances of talking to the guy in charge and impressing him.
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Old 01-17-2010, 10:50 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by sayn3ver View Post
My goal really isn't to just work for a few years then start my own business. I don't even know if I would ever want to. I would not mind becoming somebody
s go to guy if I was compensated accordingly though. Some of us just don't have the organizational skills to run a business nor want the hassels that accompany it.

I will take everyone's advice and start looking for the " good contractor" in the area. How do I figure out who the best is? Once I do fiure out a few good contractors do I just call them directly and ask I they are hiring or should I ask around local paint stores?
Call everyone you can untill you land a job. Be honest about your experience, do not try to beef it up, let them know that you are wanting to learn the trade. Sell yourself.
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Old 01-18-2010, 12:12 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by sayn3ver View Post
My goal really isn't to just work for a few years then start my own business. I don't even know if I would ever want to. I would not mind becoming somebody
s go to guy if I was compensated accordingly though. Some of us just don't have the organizational skills to run a business nor want the hassels that accompany it.

I will take everyone's advice and start looking for the " good contractor" in the area. How do I figure out who the best is? Once I do fiure out a few good contractors do I just call them directly and ask I they are hiring or should I ask around local paint stores?
I like your attitude. Your not trying to bite off more then you can chew.

Besides contractors, you should also check out all the utility companies, school districts, and government/city agencies, for painter positions.
Many(baby boom) employees have begun to retire from these places, leaving opportunities for guys like you to fill. They may or may not require experience, depending on the training programs they offer. The benefits can be superior to private industry, particularly medical.

Good Luck
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Old 01-18-2010, 07:35 PM   #32
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I like your attitude. Your not trying to bite off more then you can chew.

Besides contractors, you should also check out all the utility companies, school districts, and government/city agencies, for painter positions.
Many(baby boom) employees have begun to retire from these places, leaving opportunities for guys like you to fill. They may or may not require experience, depending on the training programs they offer. The benefits can be superior to private industry, particularly medical.

Good Luck
Good Idea CAp. Plus you get pretty good benies out of those kind of jobs.
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Old 01-18-2010, 07:43 PM   #33
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http://jobsearch.usajobs.gov/search....nter&pg=1&re=0
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:46 PM   #34
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Good post Bikerboy. We'll get this kid a job sooner or later!
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:00 AM   #35
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Once I do fiure out a few good contractors do I just call them directly and ask I they are hiring or should I ask around local paint stores?

Well assuming you want to do residential painting, you can ask who does high end custom residential.

Ask the paint stores. Call interior designers. Also finding GC's who remodel/build the expensive homes in your community and ask them.

The name of the painters that turn up most who are regarded for doing immaculate high end work will be your guy.

-------------

There will be drawbacks if you decide to just get any job with any painter.

You just wont learn like you would with an experienced painter.

Two of the painters I worked for were THIRD generation painters. That is 3 decades of grandfather father and son, all pooling their knowledge and experience to do things in the most efficient way.

Since then I have known two other 3rd generation painters, and across the board these people are by far the most efficient.

I am not saying there are not 1st generation painters who have been exposed to these techniques and who know them well ( like me ), what I am saying is EXPERIENCE COUNTS.

You could work 5 years for a slouch, and you basically you still wont know sh*t. In fact you may be less attractive as an employee to an efficient detailed painter then if you knew nothing at all.

----------

You must understand, there are lots of different ways to "skin a cat". ANd every paint contractor thinks THEIR way for any given task is the most efficient and best way.

But they can't all be right. Some techniques are actually better, faster, and less complicated than others.

----------

If you acquire a bunch of bad habits and knowledge from a painter who is average, you will be setting the foundation for your own knowledge.

You could go your whole career and not even know about techniques that would make certain task TWICE as efficient.

----------

Just one example out of 1000s I can think of, is all of the really experienced efficient painters I know have extendable planks and ladder jacks as a indispensable tool that they use for stairways and other odd sets.

But I know painters that have been running their own business for 15 years who have never owned a plank or a ladder jack, and who just forage and improvise for random objects they can set under the leg of a ladder every time they come to an uneven set.

"I have never had a problem doing it this way"

They have always done it that way, so that is proof in their mind that there is no more efficient way of accomplishing the task.

-----------

Now that is just one example. When you tally up all of the various tasks of painting, I could literally come up with a THOUSAND different tasks each that is done a different way/level efficiency by different contractors, and
when you work for a contractor, you are going to be learning THEIR way to accomplish each of those tasks.

------------

Some contractors are more efficient at one task, but less efficient at another.

But the GOOD contractors are going to be the best and most efficient at MOST tasks.

But not just painting tasks. Ways of strategizing a job. Ways of interacting with a customer. Ways of establishing their target demographic. Ways of hiring and dealing with employees.

There are many topics which can determine your foundation for establishing a successful paint company, or being a top notch hired gun.

There is a LOT of variation in how different contractors do all of these things, and some ways are MUCH better than others.

-----------

Your goal if you want to not only learn to paint, but to be the best "go to guy" you can, is to learn from the BEST.

-----------

If residential is what you want to do, that means custom high end residential.

More often then not the highely regarded custom high end residential painters in your area will be efficient, because high end customers may not know painting, but they can recognize a slouch in a hot second, and they aren't paying top dollar for the kind of experience that having a slouch in your house brings.

-----------

Also, if you can, try to find such a pinter who does a fair amount of new construction. I learned the most from a company I worked for that did a lot of new construction.

We did a LOT of houses per month. We did the same tasks over and over in an efficient and systematic way. And with each house ALL of the tasks are represented interior and exterior.

I saw on the average 2 houses a month completed from start to finish for several years. Even for tasks that I was not actually doing such as spraying trim, I SAW it being done repeatedly, and systematically, in the context of an OVER ALL system for completing the house at least a hundred times in those first few years.

That expereince has been the foundation of everything I know now.

-----------

I prefer repaints now, but for learning new construction provided me with the most opportunity, and the most structured learning environment.

Learning in repaints is not bad, and don't turn down the opportunity to work for a highly regarded painter who does repainits, but jobs vary quite a bit from job to job, and it is harder to have task repetition, and also cover the entire range of painting tasks on each job.

For example you might be re-doing someones deck on one job. On the next job you might be redoing exterior trim, and painting a new garage.

On the next job you might do an entire interior. On the next job you might be re-finishing some kitchen cabinets. On the next job you might be repainting an exterior.

But in new contruction you do ALL of those things. EVERY TIME you do a new job.

-------------

But they are both valuable, and most important if you want to learn is to find the highly regarded contractor and work for them, even if he does not do new construction.

-------------

I would suggest making your resume.

Write a cover letter in which you describe that you enjoy painting, and are eager to learn the trade. Explain that you want to do nice work in nice homes. Definately make the offer you did that you are available to be drug tested 365 days a year. Mention your education. Mention that you are willing to learn and are a hard worker. etc. And any other thing you feel are beneficial to mention.

After finding out who the top 3 painters are in your area, send them your resume, and call them to explain you are looking to work for a top notch painter and theirs was one of the few names that came up.

If they are not hiring, tell them you would appreciate it if they would keep you in mind for when they need someone. Then make contact with them once a month to keep in touch. When you talk to them keep it brief so as not to bother them.

In the mean time if you have to go work for whatever painter, do that. And if you get called randomly, make sure to let your prospective employer know that you need to give your current employer two weeks notice.

Or possibly find another job other than painting in the mean time. I would feel less bad for example quitting a job at a corporate restaurant because re-hiring is a lot easier for a corporate restaurant than for an individual paint contractor. ( I have worked for both ) There are multiple people to pick up shifts in a restaurant, and a painter may only have two employees.

Also if the opportunity is just to good to pass up, this way you aren't burning any bridges in the industry you plan on making your career in.

-----------

Keep us informed on your progress.

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Old 01-19-2010, 03:20 PM   #36
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sayn3ver,

Even though the painting industry includes many different fields of expertise, the fundamentals are generally the same. However, if your pursuit is high end residentials, then everything LastCraftman said should be considered. Also,learning how to stain wood, and properly patch damaged walls, is a must. It helps to be friendly, organized, detailed oriented, and patient in this field.

If it's commercial your interested in, become an expert with airless spray equipment, including access equipment, like sicssor lifts and rolling stages. Be prepared to move quickly. It helps to be flexible with your hours, able to work well with a team, and have excellent endurance.

If your goal is Industrial painting, becoming proficient with conventional spray equipment is a must. Also, understanding the importance of protective coatings and the surface preparation required for these specialized coatings, is invaluable. Knowing how to QA/QC with industry instruments is also a requirement for becoming an expert in this field. It also helps to be confident in enclosed spaces, comfortable with heights, safety oriented, and assertive.

A lot of the personality traits I mentioned, were based on my observations over the years, and don't necessarily apply. Many companies offer combinations of the above painting fields, and more I didn't mention, including specialties like wallcovering, or faux finishing.

Good luck. And I wish you much success.
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Old 01-19-2010, 10:24 PM   #37
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Thanks everyone for the absolute mountain of information.

I suppose my next priority is the create a solid covet letter and resume. I had some graphic design classes in college and know a little typography. In this industry do employers just look for plain resumes in size 12 times new roman or is their creative freedom like art resumes ( majored in electronic art ).

Second I suppose I really need to hit the local paint stores and ask around.
I was in a Benjamin Moore store today. I asked if any of the regulars were hiring, and the two guys there laughed.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:38 PM   #38
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Duplicate post. I deleted it.
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Old 01-19-2010, 11:39 PM   #39
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In this industry do employers just look for plain resumes in size 12 times new roman or is their creative freedom like art resumes ( majored in electronic art ).
Keep it business. There may be a couple who are impressed by creative liscence, but non of them will be UN impressed if you don't get creative, so odds are better to keep it business.

Instead, express enthusiasm in your eagerness to work and to learn, and your articulate presentation of your words.


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I was in a Benjamin Moore store today. I asked if any of the regulars were hiring, and the two guys there laughed.
I would not ask who is hiring.

I would ask "Do you guys know which painters in town do high end custom residential work"?

I wouldn't even ask who the "best" painter(s), is because this puts people in a position to make a qualitative judgment preferential to on of their customers and they won't want to have to do that.

Some may respond by asking if you want to get work done, in which case you can be prepared with the response that you are looking to find a real good company to get a job with.

But center your first question about who does a specific kind of work.

If they know two or three names will come to mind and they can point you in the right direction.

------------

As far as who is hiring, Craigslist, or your Newspaper can tell you that.

Part of my strategy of finding out specifically which painters would be good to work for and writing a resume and cover letter assumed the fact that in these economic times, the painters might not be hiring right now.

In which case getting your resume and cover letter in there, and staying in touch with them will put you at the top of the list.
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