Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

In July, I helped a painter friend find a skilled commercial painter to take over his job, during his long rehabilitation from a work injury. One month earlier, Scott (not real name) had suggested the interim arrangement to the hotel management as a solution. He had me in mind to do the job; I was unavailable at the time.

The journey-level painter had been working on a long-awaited, special restoration project, that was part of the property’s upgrade. It required a tight time and spatial schedule, and some skills that the other engineering personnel did not have. And, management did not have the budget to contract out to get the project completed.

The interim arrangement, for a non-management position, was the first for the hotel, and the fourth or fifth for the hospitality corporation. It required the written authorization of the chief of engineering, general manager, and corporation’s southeast region director of operations. In late June, everyone gave their approval, contingent on who would be filling in for Scott.

Basically, here’s how the “interim painter” arrangement worked.

1.  The hotel property hired the painter as a temporary staff member, and insured him under a short-term employee liability and disability clause.

2.  The painter was issued a staff member number, I.D. badge, computer access password, discount dining/shopping card, uniforms, and a set of master and paint shop keys.

3.  He was assigned an engineering department locker, parking space, the regular painter’s golf cart, and mobile communication equipment. NOTE: He was not issued any keys to areas that did not relate to his temporary job there.

4.  He clocked in and out with other first or second shift staff members.

5.  Once a week, the regular painter had clearance, from his attending physician and hotel management, to come back on site to inspect the interim’s progress. Also, the one-to-two hour walk-through gave the painter the opportunity to offer needed instructions or advice.

6.  The interim painter was accountable for the special project only. And, he was answerable to the chief of engineering. Note: During the three-week arrangement, the hotel’s general manager came around once or twice a week. Out of curiosity, primarily.

7.  In a pinch, the interim painter handled several of the regular painter’s key tasks. Also, he assisted the chief engineer and other regular team members to solve two critical emergency repair situations.

8.  The interim painter was issued a hotel payroll check on the same dates – 1st and 15th – as the regular staff members. All required payroll taxes were deducted.

9.  Final inspection and sign off of the project was conducted by the chief of engineering and  the corporate director of operations. Arrangements were made for the regular painter to be present.

10.  A simple “project completion” celebration buffet followed the inspection, held in the morning. The lunch was open to all first shift staff members, during their respective lunch breaks.

The interim arrangement was a big success. The project was completed ahead of schedule. It exceeded the company’s standards. Everyone, especially management, was pleased with the results. The interim painter got a great job reference. My friend got an unexpected pay bonus.


My painter friend is back on the job. In early August, he told me that the hotel corporation was looking into replicating the “interim painter” solution.

On large construction projects, it’s common for construction management companies or commercial contractors to hire “specialty painters” or “project painters.” Generally, they are high-performance and detail-oriented journey-level craftpersons. And, they are hired to perform work that the regular crew members are not equipped to handle. For whatever reason (s) – eg. craftsmanship level, company workload, time constraints, physical stamina and strength, product and surface experience, tool and equipment proficiency.

“Interim painters” are a newer phenomenon within the realm of facility painter – eg. special hotel staffing situations. It is gaining popularity, and becoming more necessary. Like in administration and management, some front-line responsibilities and projects must be taken care of, versus put on hold – or shelved.

Also, fewer properties are keeping full-time painters on staff. Thus, facility/engineering teams must regularly adapt and reinvent themselves.

Facility/engineering teams’ skill-sets must change, as needed, to keep up with property management and operation’s priorities, policies and restrictions. A broad scope of generalist engineering and maintenance abilities are essential in carpentry, HVAC, electrical, mechanical, painting, plumbing, tiling and carpeting, even groundskeeping. And, computer and technological proficiency are a necessity.

Engineering teams must be able to work on/with/around advancements in design, build and construction. Currently acceptable methods and practices, products and materials, etc. Moreover, everyone in the department must function in compliance with both established and newer environmental, health, safety, and materials handling standards and codes.

Their biggest job? Facility/engineering teams must keep on their toes to help the facility/the business satisfy guest and customer needs, demands and expectations.

An interim – fill-in – staff member can be the answer to a stretched-thin, stressed-out engineering department’s “wish list.” (Or, that of any other department.) Especially when one of its top workers gets injured, or has to take an emergency leave.

The “right-fitting” INTERIM can contribute the following benefits to your organization and people:

     1.  Initiative – takes charge, gets things done; is pro-active and independent;

     2.  Normalizing – helps restore sense of order, and conformity;

     3.  Talent – skilled, experienced, able to do job right;

     4.  Energy – physical, psychological, social, even spiritual;

     5.  Responsibility – accountability;

     6.  Interest – in project/job, company, people (staff, guests), effecting results;

     7.  Maturity and mastery – sound decision-maker, perceptive, professional.

Interim staff members or employees are unique. They make great project workers or co-workers. Usually, they are persons of integrity and self-responsibility. They are highly-skilled and knowledgeable…clear-headed and focused…very adaptable and resourceful. They are friendly and fun to be around. And, they tend to fit in amazingly well with the regular group.

GIVE IT A TRY!  Whether you’re an “interim” type, or someone in the employer’s solution – “hot” – seat.

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Diversify! Stay strong! Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”


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