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I've been really busy and gave him a few jobs. One job was to paint and install a new Bilco cellar door using Rust Scat alkyd tinted to match the siding. After the work was completed, the customer called saying the paint doesn't look right in one section. I go inspect it and my cousin apparently sprayed the outside with 2 coats and the inside with 1 coat, except for 1 panel he thought would be on the inside which looks like it needs another coat. And when I talked to my cousin about it, all he did was bad mouth the paint saying it sucked and he had to use "a little bit" of water to thin it out. I have a few things lined up for him to do, but I don't think he's worth keeping around if it will F'up my reputation. What would you do?
 

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If he is unwilling to do the work up to your standards and by the standard operating procedures of your company then you should not think twice about cutting him loose. Working with family is tough and letting someone go is never a good experience, but it's your business and your reputation that is damaged if you let this stuff slide.
 

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(This one is turning out to be long...)

I grew up working in a family business (lumber & building supply). It probably worked ok because it was my dad and his brother in charge and I was the son/nephew. So there's already an established vertical / authority relationship there. They could just order me around and upbraid me and whatnot. (I did quit once though and my dad was all over on my case about it. So yeah, I "got in trouble"). That relation doesn't necessarily exist between cousins.

I did work a lot of that time with an older cousin who had more experience, and he was actually a really good teacher who looked out for me. Of course, that worked because our relation was horizontal - we were both under the "bosses" (both were his uncles).

Most of my recent painting has been for a GC who is a good friend of mine. It's been like 10 years and it's never been a problem. He's gotten on my nerves some once in a blue moon, and I'm sure the same goes in reverse. But at the start we communicated really clearly about very basic things that would privilege a friendship over a business relation. E.g. I told him that I needed to know that anytime he used me for jobs that he was also making money. And that, in a more general sense, whatever I did was working well for his business. I.e. I was making sure that he knew that I knew the difference between "friendly favors" like throwing me some work, and "business" - and that his business was it was all about. I purposely put him "above" me and made sure that he knew it.

I once needed some basic grunt labor on a job. My daughter's teenage boyfriend had done a little painting with his dad/grandad and was available. On the way to the job, we had the "pre-talk." I basically just said the quality of the work is my responsibility, so I am the boss and whatever I say goes regardless of what you might have learned elsewhere. It's about establishing that "vertical" relationship up front, but not in a A-hole kind of way. Just an "it's my job, so here are the ground rules" kind of way.

Anyway, now I'm just prattling on. (Lots of experience working with people close to me). Short story: if you can't sit down with this cuz and establish - on a friendly level - a "this is my business, and it is business" kind of vertical relationship - then...Well, you don't need to fire him. But you set the stage for whether he will fall in line with your business needs or decide not to accept work from you. (I.e. if he doesn't want to meet your needs, then he can quit).

That will depend on multiplying two factors: 1) your ability to communicate clearly about it (in a family/friendly sort of way) and 2) his temperament in that regard. Some people just can't be worked with...
 

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Am I the only one that picked up on the fact that he was thinning Alkyd paint with water. lol.:unsure:
Doh! I know I blew past it being focused on the "family question." (And I could tell you a story about the guy who once "cleaned" my brush with water...after we'd been in oil all day. But you get the picture. This was earlier days when I was just on someone else's crew. He didn't last long either.)
 

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Not a fun situation to figure out by any means. Your thread title and post suggests you already know what you want to do.

Maybe the firing will be temporary...similar to walking off a job to get a customer's full attention and give you time to reevaluate....cuz thinning alkyd with water points to training/teaching or managing (he's not ready to set off alone on your projects).

You mentioned your reputation might get f'd up...in the similar situations I had (friends not family) I chose to protect my reputation.
 
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