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Old 11-21-2012, 07:52 AM   #1
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A couple weeks ago I got a call from a customer who wanted me to put up a piece of sheet rock and then paint it. I told her that I could put up the sheet rock, but it would most likely look better and be quicker if she got someone that really knew what he was doing. Since, the initial call I have called her three times to find out what she exactly wants me to do, and what if any materials I will need. I do know that someone else has done the sheet rock. The last time I got her voice mail I left a detailed message asking if she wants to pay by the hour, or is she wants a set price. I also asked if she already has paint, or if this is something that she or I will need to get. When I did not hear back after this call, I called again. She told me, when I got her on the phone, that she would get back to me that evening. She did not.
I am supposed to paint for early next week, and I really have very little idea of what is expected.
So, my question is when should I just let a job go. Should I call again, or just wait for her to get back to me. At this point, I don't want to show up at her house next week having little idea of what is expected. I really would like the work, and I also do want to her to tell friends that I am a painter that does not show up for work.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:18 AM   #2
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Pete, if I were the homeowner I would have had reservations giving you the job. Putting up and painting one piece of drywall, in my mind is something even the newest painting company could accomplish. You start off by telling the customer you cannot do the drywall. Then you call her and shake her confidence even more asking me if she wants to pay by the hour and incude leaving multiple detailed messages asking who is responsible for buying the materials.

This was a cake walk and you turned it into a big ordeal for the customer. Try to always keep in mind, Pete..

People will pay more for "easy". They call, you call them back quickly and set an appt. You arrive on time and sound like you know what you are doing and let them know that everything in their job is standard fare for you. You get in, you get out and you don't inconvenience the customer's life. Based on what I read, I don't think you ever had this job, Pete.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:46 AM   #3
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I'll take a different point of view on this Ken. Although most painters may, we don't do sheet rock or texturing unless it is just a really small job. Out here everything is textured and getting a good match isn't a piece of cake. I have two sheet rock guys who I call to make do patch jobs and match texturing - and they don't paint. In short, I call the experts in to get the best job possible and focus on doing what I do best.

Pete - As far as the calling goes, I'll call back twice. If that fails to get a response I'll stop. It's likely they have gotten someone else to do the work, changed their mind, maybe something else has come up, etc. She shouldn't be telling anyone that you are a lousy guy for not responding - you did. It's now her choice to contact you or not so move on. And if she does call back, schedule it for when it works best for both of you - not just for her. She had her chance to get scheduled in and she blew it.
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:06 AM   #4
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I'll weigh in with ken on this one.

I always felt wall repairs were well within the skill set of the painting trade. As a matter of fact, I preferred to do small sheet rock replacements because I had the time to do it correctly.

A HO don't want to be saddled with dealing with lots of different contractors for a bunch of small tasks. Not only is it hell getting someone to do a small repair, but it is more costly.

Pete, at this point, if I were you, I'd be wondering if she wanted me to do ANYTHING. Maybe she found someone who said, "No problem, we can do it all" and they did.

I'd call and leave a message that if she doesn't contact you, that you HAVE to assume she has "decided on a different direction" for the WHOLE project and start rescheduling that time.

And seriously, learn how to do sheet rock repairs.



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Old 11-21-2012, 10:27 AM   #5
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I'm with Dan on this one. Being a one man crew like him. I don't take big drywall jobs, only something small.

Around here most of the painters list drywall and carpentry as their services. Most of them don't know sh!t. I have seen carpentry repairs done with drywall screws. If you don't know how to do it. Just don't do it.

I wouldn't risk my reputation doing something I don't have a clue how its done.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:41 AM   #6
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Sounds like you lost this job at hello.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:43 AM   #7
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On a big job, I agree that if you don't know what you are doing or if it isn't your expertise, sub it out or pass. I think all of you guys could manage one piece of drywall. The bigger picture here was Pete creating doubt in the customer's mind.

I appreciate his being honest with the customer but you can literally watch a Youtube video on how to install a piece of drywall and while you'd probably do a bit more sanding than a pro, anyone that has held a brush or swung a hammer can make it look good.. especially since one of the jobs of a painter is going to be doing sheetrock repairs where you have to use mud/spackle and a knife.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:50 AM   #8
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oh well, I don't do stuff Im not confident in either. It is better to walk away or be honest (like you did) than to have a customer not happy with your craftsmanship. I think you did the right thing.

I would have forgotten about the job after she said she would call back.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:20 PM   #9
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Thanks for the advice,
I may have left out some details that may be important to this discussion. I called her back after the initial call. And, she told me she told my wife (who took the message) that she had someone do the sheet rock and that she still wanted me to paint. But, since the initial call was so vague, I just wanted to clarify what needed to be done. Also since time was getting short, I wanted to know if I needed to give the women an estimate before I arrived at her doorstep next week. The only thing that I had gotten out of the client is that she wanted a wall painted and that I would paint it the week after thanksgiving.
I have done sheet rock, and I know that putting on the joint compound is a lot harder than it appears to be. That said, I may just to it own my own next time.
Also, at this point I think that I am just going to wait for her to call me.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:49 PM   #10
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I was called to quote painting a house, and then took the drywall installation, taping, floors and trim work..... Made it easy for them and Merry Christmas to me!

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Old 11-21-2012, 01:01 PM   #11
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Pete,

as with everything in life, the more you practice and become accomplished at something, the easier it is.

Drywall repair/replacement is something I would highly recommend you get familiar and good with. The North Shore is full of that type of stuff.

And it wouldn't hurt to learn how to do real plaster repairs also. When painting, we did a LOT of horsehair plaster repairs in MetroWest and the South Shore.



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Old 11-21-2012, 02:52 PM   #12
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Learning how to hang drywall, patch, and texture, made me the best painter I could've ever been.

Here in the San francisco Bay Area, Local 913 IUPAT includes drywall finishers. In other words, it's not a stretch to have painters installing and taping drywall. However, i would be less likely to take on a substantial drywall install job because the pros can do it much faster.

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Old 11-21-2012, 03:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROOMINADAY View Post
I was called to quote painting a house, and then took the drywall installation, taping, floors and trim work..... Made it easy for them and Merry Christmas to me!

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Bragging aside, I don't see how this really helps the OP?


To the OP, definitely being honest about your ability is the best idea. Although, considering what happened with this customer, you should probably consider learning how to do these wall repairs for future work.
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Old 11-21-2012, 03:31 PM   #14
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I learned how to do drywall repairs so I wouldn't have to find a drywaller that complained about coming out to do small stuff. Then have them miss half of them and the other half looking like an amateur did them.
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete the Painter View Post
A couple weeks ago I got a call from a customer who wanted me to put up a piece of sheet rock and then paint it. I told her that I could put up the sheet rock, but it would most likely look better and be quicker if she got someone that really knew what he was doing.
I think you lost it here.

For future reference, if you can't do it, know someone who can. I would bet whoever did the drywall knew a painter or was one him/herself.

Selling yourself. "Yes mam. I would be happy to repair the wall and paint it. It will look great!. I will send you an email with a solid number in writing. When would you like to have this completed by? Before or after T-day?" Followed with you having a guy hang and finish just sells better than what you quoted up there.

Get their contact info. Follow up with a number if you didn't give one on the spot. E-mail or telephone. Then let it go. If they didn't call back on their own, they don't want it.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:20 PM   #16
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I leave it to those pros. I have only done one ok size ceiling repair 4x5 it did come out good, I usually prefer to leave it the those pros, they are faster and better at that than I am. I only did that repair because the carpenter was so far behind and with our schedule I really had no choice. My old boss (15 yrs with him) did all the sheet rock repairs.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:29 PM   #17
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I agree with Ken's first post. Customers' want confidence that you have the skill set to make this a "easy" exchange. I would suggest practicing your drywall techniques or having a guy you can call to handle that portion. This would mean you are paying him so the customer is not inconvenienced. In these parts drywall repair is a lot of my calls so if I lacked the skill sets I would be losing money. I think you lost this job early on. Chalk it up as a learning experience and move on to the next one. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:37 PM   #18
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Dido. On small jobs like that. If you don't do it all, the next guy will. Painters need to broaden thier skillset a little bit. You'll become a more valuable company/person..
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:59 PM   #19
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I had a job turn from just patching and painting painting to installing corner beads, mud and texture, and when the hanger feel off the scaffold and busted his head open, then we finished the hanging about 3/4 of the job. luckily I had a whole crew of dw I was able to call on.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:10 PM   #20
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I sure am glad we all agree in this thread

But at least we've given Pete some food for thought.



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