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How do you know you are doing a good job? It seems like a simple question to answer but it plagues me. I have done my follow ups and I have not "lost" a customer and have had very few fixes. Mostly a "Hey you missed a spot". But when I look at my house I always bump into demons. A bush mark here and there, the cut in extends or doesn't meet the ceiling, the roll over on the corner is noticeable, and etc. Am I being over critical? Do customers not care that much? Maybe they like me because I'm reliable rather then good and don't want to hurt my feelings? Maybe I'm doing a good job and need to relax? Is it just me?
 

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I think most of us tend to be our own worst critics. I jokingly tell customers I will usually see and deal with “issues” they would never notice. But I’d rather that be the case than having them point out stuff to me.
And like you, I tend not to be nearly as critical when working on stuff in my own place - especially if it’s something my wife wanted done.
 

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Truth be told, I am perfect and my work could be too. But I find being perfect puts other people off. So I purposely introduce some mistakes just to make everyone else feel better. 😝

But seriously, I am my own worst critic and, while there are occasional exceptions, my expectations for how things end up looking / getting done are basically higher than those of the clients. Like RH (and probably the rest of us), I also fix things that it's unlikely that anyone else would ever notice of pay mind too. The clients often end up knowing this, actually, and since they see me running around trying to be a perfectionist, I'm convinced that they actually look that much less closely.

We just look at these things differently. We know how it's "supposed" to go and where the flaws are likely to be introduced, or even where we know we've left them. Most people don't have that point of view.

And, also like RH - at my own house? Meh. Not all that obsessed.

I'd say the way you know is just to read your customers. And if they aren't whining and complaining and they're asking you back. Well, then you're doing a "good job."
 

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There's no perfect painters, or perfect paint jobs in the entire world. We can always talk a big game on the internet about how great we are, take pictures of wet trim pieces and claim we brush everything out to look like glass, paint rooms in 6 minutes perfectly, but we do all suck. Everyone in this field has left a bad cut line, brush marks on trim, a roller line or two, some runs or sags somewhere, or did a wonky drywall patch before. Anyone who claims to not have not ever done this is a liar. Just look at every paint job in the world around you, there's no perfect ones. The biggest thing you can do is just continually improve and try to stop making those mistakes to the point where they become a 1/100 rarity compared to on every job. The way to not make those mistakes is less about "try harder" compared to finding out why you make them and thinking of ways to improve and analyzing why the mistakes occur (is it material, is it technique, is it prep?)

For improving, though, I think it's important to never settle into your current work quality. Eventually you'll reach a point where there is less and less you can learn, but you can always be doing better in some manner somehow. The worst painters I've found (including myself early on) are very Dunning Kruger and consider themselves good painters even if they're awful. So if you consider yourself a mediocre painter you're probably significantly better than average.

I think at the end of the day, firstly, you should always be doing better than the guy before you. That's your first standard to meet. If it's a situation where you'll be worse than the guy before you or somehow you can't really promise a long lasting quality job, be up front and say that to the customer rather than promising the world and leaving them disappointed. It's better to turn down jobs you lack confidence in being able to really properly do or that you even get an "off" feeling about compared to slogging through and losing money and making a bad relationship happen. The second thing is managing to meet the customer's own expectations, and managing their expectations. In painting especially but in all finish work in construction there's always compromises made, no matter what. You can't use Aura and skim coat every wall in a Section 8 rental, and most customers understand that, but for the ones that don't, if you can't meet their insane expectations of skimcoating every wall and using Aura for $1000 flat in a rental, then skip the job entirely. On the flip side, if you get a call about lacquered drywall with Fine Paints of Europe and you honestly have no idea how to do it and the customer's house would be an experiment on your end, be upfront with them and potentially turn down that job as well. I could give more examples of this kind of thing with finish construction in general (ie, someone has the wrong type of subfloor construction but wants marble floors for the same price as laying it on a slab...) but it's kind of all about managing the customer's expectation and being open on your end. It's better to tell them bad news or no first, rather than backing yourself into impossible to win situations.
 

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[Edited stuff]
Just look at every paint job in the world around you, there's no perfect ones.

[More edits]

I think at the end of the day, firstly, you should always be doing better than the guy before you.

[More edits]
One of the things I hate is that I am always inspecting paint jobs. I go to a restaurant? Use the restroom? Go to a friend's house? To the store? To drop my car at the shop? I'm looking at the paint job. I can't help it. And I'm usually thinking I could do better than the last guy! Lots of not-so-great work out there. Of course, that's probably what others painters are saying about my work too. ;)
 

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There is always room for improvement. The longer you paint, the better you get, just like any other job or trade. If you see things in your own house or jobsite and know what happened and how to fix, just carry that thought to the next job. I know I have used numerous brushes to get where I am today. I started using the little 2" short handles brushes for everything. They did a good job, but not as quick as I like. Then I tried the rembrandts, now I only use the picassos 2.5 long handles for interior. I don't paint a whole lot anymore, the guys do most, but when I do I still cut clean, or try to be better than the last guy. I think for me the best method to always get consistant results and a really nice looking job is this. Pole sand the walls, strain the paint, use the right cover for the paint, weenie behind my cut to reduce visible brush marks on all. Pretty simple.
 

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A painter/company that does a decent paint job but excellent customer service will almost always be more successful than a great paint job and so so customer service. Most people can not tell the difference between 7 and a 10 in paint job quality on a 1-10 scale. They can tell the difference in showing up late, not cleaning up, not answering phone calls. Obviously you can not do a terrible paint job but a decent paint job and excellent customer service is the most important. There is post on here about perfection not making a successful paint company It might still be a sticky if not I will try to find a link and post it.
 

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Interesting topic. After 42 years of doing this my thoughts are this: If you know you did a good job, if the customer is pleased, and, you don't get any callbacks to correct anything, well, be proud of the work you did. Customers expectations are all over the place and rarely match up with what we deem as a "good paint job." I used to be OCD about every job I did. 99% of the time, things I obsessed about rarely caught the attention of a client. These days, I often skip that extra coat on woodwork even though to me it actually could use one and simply move on unless the customer thinks it needs an extra coat.

And, let's be real. Even if we COULD obsess and go over the top with a high quality paint job, customers couldn't afford the perfection, and, we, the contractor would lose money and TIME and would quickly be out of business.
 

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Yep, Alot of the time you just have to feel what is important to the client. Do they really want that extra un-needed coat on the trim, or do they just want you the heck out of thier house ASAP! It's like when you thought that you had to take your girl out for dinner, when all she wanted was a hug..:unsure: Or maybe she wanted both.
 

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Perfectionism is a byproduct of insecurity.
Mmmmmm...I'm mulling over that one. There is this little thing called "pride in craftsmanship." There's nothing about pursuing perfection that makes one insecure. It could just mean that you're serious and you give a damn. Of course, knowing the limits of just how "perfect" various things can be is just called wisdom, maybe.

Confidence is a byproduct of fallibility.
That one I don't get at all.
 

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Mmmmmm...I'm mulling over that one. There is this little thing called "pride in craftsmanship." There's nothing about pursuing perfection that makes one insecure. It could just mean that you're serious and you give a damn. Of course, knowing the limits of just how "perfect" various things can be is just called wisdom, maybe.



That one I don't get at all.
If you subscribe to the premise that man is imperfect, then pursuing perfection is an exercise in folly. Being troubled by man's imperfection can ultimately lead to a sense of insecurity and subsequently, an endless pursuit of the unattainable, Perfection.

Accepting man's imperfection, or fallibilities, only lends itself to confidence given that growth, through practical means of goals setting and the administration of best practices, is attainable.

Contentment in what you do is relative. Chapter 7 in "A Painters Guide to Understanding the Universe: And, how PVA Sealer became the laughing stock of the Industry. Simon and Shuster
 

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Joe, I could’ve told you what you were getting yourself into but figured you needed to see it for your self. Go ahead and lob something back, CA’s just getting warmed up.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Joe, I could’ve told you what you were getting yourself into but figured you needed to see it for your self. Go ahead and lob something back, CA’s just getting warmed up.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
🤣 Oh yeah. I've seen it. And I can spin some yarn myself. The question? Do I presently have the energy for it?
 
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