I learned young about paint shop operations. Part of my first job, as an apprentice painter, was keeping the paint shops – buildings – clean, inventory organized, and workshop spaces ready to use. (We did a tremendous volume of shop work: sandblasting, painting, finishing, etc.)
For a small painting contractor business, that may have been an easy job. For a major, and still growing, commercial and industrial contractor business, it meant a lot of steady work!
Every paint shop is organized differently. How well it works depends on the painter responsible for its operations. Also, it depends on how well it works for the rest of the team. Team members in the engineering or facility services department; also team members in the other departments within the organization.
When the painter responsible for the paint shop is not around, do enough people in the department know how to handle things? Painting-wise? Is everything being taken care of?
What follows is a two-section tutorial on Paint Shop Operations. Paint Shop I, starting here, covers organizing and storing. It’s divided into four parts: (1) inventory your inventory; (2) creating a place for everything; (3) putting and keeping everything in its place; and, (4) maintaining inventory lists.
1: Inventory your shop’s inventory – by category and subcategory.
—What do you have – types, colors, quantities, general condition?
(1) Paint – Latexes, epoxies, oils – Total no. of gallons, according to paint type, color.
(2) Finishes – Stains, varnishes, urethanes, shellac
(3) Coatings – Rust/corrosion prevention, anti-fouling, elastomeric, chemical-resistant, UV protective, waterproofing, heat-resistant
(4) Wallcoverings – Papers, vinyls, foils, flocks, textures, patterns, grasscloths; borders, murals
(1) Sandpapers – What grades; total number of sheets in each grade
(2) Caulking tubes – Types (eg. for kitchen/bath, exterior); total number of each type
(3) Solvents – 1 gal. each of most used products: mineral spirits, lacquer thinners, denatured alcohol
(4) Paint tint kit – Universal tints
C. Work area supplies:
(1) Dropcloths – At least 3 – 4 ft. by 15 ft. for clean interior use; 2 – 4 ft. by 15 ft. for
exterior use; 2 – 16 ft. by 20 ft. for wide covering.
(2) Sheeting – 1 roll 20 ft. by 100 ft. plastic; 3+ smaller rolls
(3) Buckets, sponges – 1/2 gal., 1 gal., 2 gal., 5 gal; natural sea sponges (assorted sizes, thicknesses)
(4) Masking paper, masking tapes – 1 dozen each ¾-to 1 ½ inch masking tape.
(1) Brushes – Assortment nylon or China bristle: 1-in., 2-in., 2 ½-in., 3-in., 4-in
(2) Rollers, roller covers – Assortment 3-in. to 12-in. rollers; ¼-in. to 1/1/2-in. naps.
(3) Paint tray, paint screen
(4) Broad knives, level, straight-edge
(5) Basic tool kit: Hammer, screwdrivers, wrench, pliers, clamps, etc.
(1) Spray guns, hose – Airless sprayer greater than ½ gal. perminate capacity
(2) Compressor – Greater than 6 OFM for spray painting
(3) Ladders – 1+ 24-ft. extension, 16-ft. stepladder, 5-ft. platform aluminum ladder
(4) Pressure washer – Greater than 2000 psi
(5) Garden sprayer system
F. Protective gear and Safety items:
(1) Boxes/ packages of disposable gloves, breathing masks
(2) Organic vapor respirator, also spare cartridges; dust mask supply, safety glasses
(3) Disposable plastic suits, hats, shoe coverings, vinyl/rubber gloves
(4) Signs: WET PAINT, CAUTION, KEEP OFF, Caution Tape
G. Cleaning/Clean-up Supplies:
(1) Sponges, bags of rags, buckets (2-qt. plastic), floor mops
(2) Glass/mirror cleaner, spot remover
(3) Standard trash bags, heavy duty trash bags; re-sealable plastic bags (eg. for storing hardware, switch plates)
(4) Small portable vacuum cleaner, shop vacuum; push brooms, large dustpans; dusting brushes, deck brush w/extension.
H. Vehicle/Golf Cart Maintenance:
(1) Car wax, upholstery cleaner
(2) Oil, tire gauge, tire pump
(3) Battery charger
(4) Small portable vacuum, combo mini-broom/dustpan
I. Recordkeeping, Writing, Presentations:
(1) Software programs – Excel, Outlook/Express, Word, PowerPoint, Quickbooks
(2) Printable forms and worksheets on internet
(3) Journals, ledgers, and other systems available from office supply –in-store, on-line.
Your Paint Shop inventory pertains to much more than a few cans of paint in your standard, frequently-used colors. It pertains to everything that you and every person in your department may need to perform painting-related tasks, work orders, projects, etc.
PAINT SHOP MANAGER TIP: You need to know what you have on-hand. You need to know what you’re supposed to keep on-hand. You need to know what you need to get on-hand. To be ready to go! Or, as close to that point as possible. At all times.
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Organize your Paint Shop. It saves lots of time. It minimizes mistakes, frustration and accidents. It cuts costs like you wouldn’t believe!
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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”