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Old 06-22-2017, 06:30 PM   #1
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So as the title says, I am new here. I am also new to the field of painting as an employer and job seeker. I have been in the construction industry since I was 13ish years old, I'm coming up on 28 now and the depth of my experience comes from working with my father for his business. The majority of my experience comes from construction work, with a specialty in exterior siding windows and doors.

A few years ago my father expanded our company into the realm of painting and the amount of work that we have been getting only continues to rise, which is an excellent problem to have. However as we have continued through this venture, we are certainly noticing a great amount of growing pains in association with our paint work. Exterior jobs seem to be no problem, we have found a decent rhythm and provided that the Florida weather doesn't get in our way, we seem to be meeting our expected deadlines.

However I seem to be consistently encountering problems with meeting deadlines on interior work. My guys never seem to be able to get a project done in a suitable amount of time and I've had many jobs run over to the point in which I am actually paying out more money (including materials) than I am getting paid to do the job.

I'm hoping to find some advice on products or job behaviors other contractors might use to help production or save time on a job. We're a pretty simple operation as far as the tools we use. Mostly traditional brush cut and roll. We have Graco sprayers that we use, though those are usually only used exterior or in brand new construction/empty homes with the floor being removed so that overspray is a non issue.

I've had a life long struggle with finding a good painter's tape, nothing I use ever seems to actually stick or keep a hold on the line, so when I peel it away all sorts of paint has trickled behind it. From 3M tape to Frog tape, nothing seems to work for me.

On interior paints, we typically use Sherwin William's low luster Cashmere line, with fast coat white for trim. I tried to think of all the bases of info to cover here but I'm happy to answer any more questions on our procedure/products we use. Anything that might help propel us into being more productive on these jobs would be incredibly appreciated.
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Old 06-23-2017, 12:55 AM   #2
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Welcome to the group!
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Old 06-23-2017, 01:25 AM   #3
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Welcome!

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Old 06-23-2017, 01:53 PM   #4
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Welcome!

Sometimes production rates are what they are even with solid systems and mechanics in place. And although time reduction helps secure jobs with tight budgets, while feeding the competition, your rates have to reflect reality. Otherwise, it won't be worth the hassle. Bottom line, charge more. Your reputation should sell, because at the end of the day, customers just want the painting done.

Other ideas to help increase production:

1. Boost morale-Offer reasonable pay, training, benefits, and company values.

2. Develop a sound process that's adaptable to all scenarios- Stick with materials you are familiar with despite specifications. (A lot of engineers just copy and paste paint specs because they don't know). Maintain a reasonable inventory that expedites the process. Keep records so you're not guessing at every job.

3. Efficient management structure-Appoint painter leads, foreman, or field supervisors who are accountable. Provide full job scope and project time line expectations. Have operations meetings to discuss process successes, failures, and remedies.

4
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Old 06-23-2017, 02:22 PM   #5
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Welcome!

Sometimes production rates are what they are even with solid systems and mechanics in place. And although time reduction helps secure jobs with tight budgets, while feeding the competition, your rates have to reflect reality. Otherwise, it won't be worth the hassle. Bottom line, charge more. Your reputation should sell, because at the end of the day, customers just want the painting done.

Other ideas to help increase production:

1. Boost morale-Offer reasonable pay, training, benefits, and company values.

2. Develop a sound process that's adaptable to all scenarios- Stick with materials you are familiar with despite specifications. (A lot of engineers just copy and paste paint specs because they don't know). Maintain a reasonable inventory that expedites the process. Keep records so you're not guessing at every job.

3. Efficient management structure-Appoint painter leads, foreman, or field supervisors who are accountable. Provide full job scope and project time line expectations. Have operations meetings to discuss process successes, failures, and remedies.
Given the above suggestions, if you're a one man band, just be selective about the jobs that fit your production capabilities while offering reasonable profit margins.
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Old 06-24-2017, 08:21 AM   #6
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Sounds like either the estimates are wrong or you've got the wrong interior crew?
Find an old painter that's close to retirement. One with a boatload of residential experience. Put him in charge of your projects. Pay him well and minimize his labor role...believe me, he'll get the crew straightened out. if you can find 1 that's close to retirement, and only wants to work part time that's even better. it works well for us!

And we use ipg tape. Pg5, and their blue tape. Use either your trim paint or gardz to seal the edge and your lines will be crisp. And tell the guys to dry brush that edge, not hammer it. Tape is a guide, not a crutch.

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Old 06-24-2017, 10:08 AM   #7
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If your crew isn't meeting deadlines its likely that you under estimated how much time it would take to complete the job or your processes aren't efficient or some combination of both.

When I first started my painting business I looked online for advice on how to bid jobs. Needless to say I lost a lot of $$$ basing my estimates on other companies production rates. Now that you been at this a couple years you should start looking back at old jobs and comparing your estimate to the actual cost of the job. Try to figure out where things went wrong on the jobs where you lost money. Or bid your interior work to be T&M.

Also, don't worry what other companies are charging. Focus on your company and your numbers.


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Old 06-24-2017, 10:39 AM   #8
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If your crew isn't meeting deadlines its likely that you under estimated how much time it would take to complete the job or your processes aren't efficient or some combination of both.

When I first started my painting business I looked online for advice on how to bid jobs. Needless to say I lost a lot of $$$ basing my estimates on other companies production rates. Now that you been at this a couple years you should start looking back at old jobs and comparing your estimate to the actual cost of the job. Try to figure out where things went wrong on the jobs where you lost money. Or bid your interior work to be T&M.

Also, don't worry what other companies are charging. Focus on your company and your numbers.
The OP did mention that they are getting a lot of paint jobs rolling in. I'm not sure if this is a consequence of his reputation, advertising methods, or requests from the building section of his father's construction business. Either way, it sounds like he's backlogged and the pace to keep up is creating pressure.

That pressure often disguises itself as inadequate production when it could be inadequate scheduling, including estimates. After all, painting requires physical out put. Humans cannot sustain the pace of a machine, no matter how good we think we are. There will be an ebb and flow of production based on the environment and demands.
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Old 06-24-2017, 10:46 AM   #9
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Sounds like either the estimates are wrong or you've got the wrong interior crew?
Find an old painter that's close to retirement. One with a boatload of residential experience. Put him in charge of your projects. Pay him well and minimize his labor role...believe me, he'll get the crew straightened out. if you can find 1 that's close to retirement, and only wants to work part time that's even better. it works well for us!

And we use ipg tape. Pg5, and their blue tape. Use either your trim paint or gardz to seal the edge and your lines will be crisp. And tell the guys to dry brush that edge, not hammer it. Tape is a guide, not a crutch.

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I like your idea of a part time field supervisor. This would be a perfect job for a retiree collecting a pension, social security, or both. The qualified candidate would likely agree to substantially less pay than a younger would be supervisor with ten to twenty years left in their painting career.
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Old 06-24-2017, 11:48 AM   #10
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The OP did mention that they are getting a lot of paint jobs rolling in. I'm not sure if this is a consequence of his reputation, advertising methods, or requests from the building section of his father's construction business. Either way, it sounds like he's backlogged and the pace to keep up is creating pressure.

That pressure often disguises itself as inadequate production when it could be inadequate scheduling, including estimates. After all, painting requires physical out put. Humans cannot sustain the pace of a machine, no matter how good we think we are. There will be an ebb and flow of production based on the environment and demands.
Another likely reason for being swamped right now is the time of year we are at. We are getting calls every day from people wanting their painting done before fall. Sorry, but if we didn't have a conversation eight weeks ago...
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Old 06-24-2017, 11:56 AM   #11
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Welcome.

I think lilpaintchic made a great suggestion. Hiring a very experienced residential painter should pay dividends in terms of production/speed. He or she has been around the block enough to know the most efficient order of operations for each particular job, and the corresponding "most appropriate" tools (maximization of sprayer use, when to tape versus when not to tape, using 18" rollers whenever possible, etc).

I did not have the benefit of working under an experienced paint crew before I started my little business, and I'm sure that that kind of experience would have helped me immensely.

I've learned tons from this site, and I think there is no substitute for knowledge that can be gleaned from the experience of others. If you feel stuck in terms of interior work being done too slowly, seek out somebody who can tackle this problem for you.
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Old 06-24-2017, 11:59 AM   #12
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Another likely reason for being swamped right now is the time of year we are at. We are getting calls every day from people wanting their painting done before fall. Sorry, but if we didn't have a conversation eight weeks ago...
Unfortunately, app based companies that offer convenience and expediency to their customers, neglects to recognize the dynamics of traditional businesses, in terms of scheduling. Now, consumers are conditioned to have everything on demand.

I was discussing one of these businesses with my wife and daughter this morning. It is called Munchery. Check it out. It s dinner on demand. Pretty cool for the person on the go. Which everyone seems to be these days. Unfortunately, their service areas are limited at this time.
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Old 06-24-2017, 01:20 PM   #13
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I like your idea of a part time field supervisor. This would be a perfect job for a retiree collecting a pension, social security, or both. The qualified candidate would likely agree to substantially less pay than a younger would be supervisor with ten to twenty years left in their painting career.
We pay him the same as our top production guy. When I hired him I told him "I'm not hiring you for speed and agility, I want your experience, not your sweat." A well seasoned guy:
1) appreciates not having to compete with young bucks. 2 different jobs...thats been hard to train him for, cuz he's a well seasoned worker. I really have to work to keep him grounded.
2) is worth his weight in gold.
3) is worth paying a higher wage as a part time guy. His wage is sustainably and there's room for raises. With 40 years in the biz, he's earned his $tripe$ out of respect if nothing else. Pay the man, he's earned it.
4) he knows all the tricks, and can teach the younger guys. 1 guy with a solid bag of tricks=$. 4,5,6 guys being taught those tricks=$$$.

Also, it takes YEARS to bring good interior guy(s) up to speed. Be patient. Sell the right jobs for your crew and find a good sub for stuff that your crew struggles with. Have a sub blow it out, get you to 80% and have your guys punch out the last 20%. We do remodels and repaints. It's rough sometimes but you can't make a screwdriver be a hammer.


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Old 06-24-2017, 01:50 PM   #14
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We pay him the same as our top production guy. When I hired him I told him "I'm not hiring you for speed and agility, I want your experience, not your sweat." A well seasoned guy:
1) appreciates not having to compete with young bucks. 2 different jobs...thats been hard to train him for, cuz he's a well seasoned worker. I really have to work to keep him grounded.
2) is worth his weight in gold.
3) is worth paying a higher wage as a part time guy. His wage is sustainably and there's room for raises. With 40 years in the biz, he's earned his $tripe$ out of respect if nothing else. Pay the man, he's earned it.
4) he knows all the tricks, and can teach the younger guys. 1 guy with a solid bag of tricks=$. 4,5,6 guys being taught those tricks=$$$.

Also, it takes YEARS to bring good interior guy(s) up to speed. Be patient. Sell the right jobs for your crew and find a good sub for stuff that your crew struggles with. Have a sub blow it out, get you to 80% and have your guys punch out the last 20%. We do remodels and repaints. It's rough sometimes but you can't make a screwdriver be a hammer.


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Number four is looking really good to me!
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Old 06-24-2017, 02:33 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by lilpaintchic View Post
We pay him the same as our top production guy. When I hired him I told him "I'm not hiring you for speed and agility, I want your experience, not your sweat." A well seasoned guy:
1) appreciates not having to compete with young bucks. 2 different jobs...thats been hard to train him for, cuz he's a well seasoned worker. I really have to work to keep him grounded.
2) is worth his weight in gold.
3) is worth paying a higher wage as a part time guy. His wage is sustainably and there's room for raises. With 40 years in the biz, he's earned his $tripe$ out of respect if nothing else. Pay the man, he's earned it.
4) he knows all the tricks, and can teach the younger guys. 1 guy with a solid bag of tricks=$. 4,5,6 guys being taught those tricks=$$$.

Also, it takes YEARS to bring good interior guy(s) up to speed. Be patient. Sell the right jobs for your crew and find a good sub for stuff that your crew struggles with. Have a sub blow it out, get you to 80% and have your guys punch out the last 20%. We do remodels and repaints. It's rough sometimes but you can't make a screwdriver be a hammer.


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You must have just hired this guy. Wasn't it not too long ago you wanted to fire everybody and start over?

I agree that paying higher wages to those in management positions, or consulting, should be the precedent of an organization's structure. There needs to be a value placed on those positions of responsibility, or no one's going to give it the respect it deserves.

However, and unless you are going to require a full time position, a retiree whose given the opportunity to work part time as a means of augmenting their fixed incomes, shouldn't demand the whole kitten kabootle. There's room to negotiate something equitable for everyone. Otherwise, hire a younger person full time for that position that can kick ass for years to come.

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Old 06-24-2017, 03:50 PM   #16
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You must have just hired this guy. Wasn't it not too long ago you wanted to fire everybody and start over?

I agree that paying higher wages to those in management positions, or consulting, should be the precedent of an organization's structure. There needs to be a value placed on those positions of responsibility, or no one's going to give it the respect it deserves.

However, and unless you are going to require a full time position, a retiree whose given the opportunity to work part time as a means of augmenting their fixed incomes, shouldn't demand the whole kitten kabootle. There's room to negotiate something equitable for everyone. Otherwise, hire a younger person full time for that position that can kick ass for years to come.
Yup, hired him a couple of months ago. Wish I had done it much,much sooner.

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