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Paintshop: Hind-sight Hurricane/Natural Disaster Preparedness

As Hurricane Matthew sauntered to the eastern coast of Florida, the adrenaline kicked in. The list of survival strategies woke me before dawn the day before it was expected to hit land. My feet hit the carpet in a sprint to complete the tasks on our preparedness list.

 

My sister is a veteran preparer for and survivor of category 4 or 5 hurricanes. A pro by my definition, she not only shoulders the responsibility for securing a large home. Also she is responsible for fifteen retail stores in Florida.

 

I, on the other hand, have only four major hurricanes under my belt. With number 5 – Matthew – on its way.

 

 

Major Hurricane/Storm Preparedness Tips for Hotel/Facility Painters

 

1. Throw into dumpster everything that you should have discarded before now.

 

2. Try to prioritize supplies, tools and equipment as follows:

A. Which do you and teammates use the most?

B. Which would be the hardest to replace?

C. Which would cost the most to replace?

    TIP: Then, secure all of the above the best that you can. Get some help to do this.

 

3. TIP: Keep some recovery-type tools accessible such as hammers, screw drivers, battery-operated drills, and heavy duty flashlights.

 

4. Move everything down inside the paintshop. Onto the floor and into the corners of each room in the shop. In the heaviest storage cabinets – solid steel or heavy wood, move items onto the bottom shelves.

 

5. Make certain that all containers’ lids and covers are very tight. You don’t want the wind’s force to blow or pop off paint and solvent can lids. You don’t want it to work off solvent container caps; caulking tube covers, adhesive bucket lids, etc. Note: Minimize your potential clean-up mess as much as possible.

 

6. Use duct tape to tape shut the inside plastic wrapping/tube that houses rolls of wallcoverings. Then, use duct tape to tightly close outer shipping box of each roll. Then, either move boxes of wallcoverings into corners of inside wall closet, or the inner corners of paintshop or restroom.

 

7. Pack away all small, loose tools. Store in base cabinet drawers. Use heavy wire to double tie drawers shut. If drawers run side-by-side, or in column fashion, run steel pipe rod down through all handles. NOTE: New Orleans hotel painter used this in Katrina, and said it worked great.

 

8. Secure small, hand power tools. Tightly wrap and secure electric cords. Stuff tools into heavy storage cabinets (see no. 2), or into drawers (see no. 5). TIP: Wrap heavy-duty freezer bag around electric cord of each tool.

 

9. Pack away all large tools, including their power cords. Place in heavy storage cabinet, or empty 55-gallon steel paint drums. TIP: Hotel painter in South Florida secures a heavy-duty freezer bag a round cord of each power tool.

 

10. Place ladders flat on the floor along an inside wall.

 

11. Then, with extra manpower, push or place all heavy equipment on top of the ladders.

 

ALTERNATE TIP to NO. 8 and No. 9:

12. Lay ladders out, one side frame facing you. Then place against an inside wall.

13. Then, with help, push or place heavy equipment against ladders.

CAUTION: Please take special precautions with everything containing glass, very sharp parts, etc.

 

Bottom line: Safety is key. You want to minimize the risk of anyone getting injured (or killed) because of a container, glass, tool, ladder, etc. becoming air-bourne and aiming for a helpless human.

 

Hotel/facility painters and maintenance teammates face the threat of different natural disasters, based on the region of the country in which they work. Many of these events are similar. They feature elements such as very strong, whipping winds; blinding rains and flooding; and extreme temperatures.

 

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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Painter’s View: Keeping Connected After the “Compensated” Connection is Gone

One full year after my grandfather retired from his pastorate, he began to rekindle the closer friendships built, over twenty-five years, with certain people and families in that parish. While still maintaining a separation from them as members of the church family, he moved forward with his personal bond with them.

 

Moving forward…

 

Nearly nine years after his death at age 93, his descendants continue some of those connections with the members’ descendants. We exchange e-mails, letters and phone calls.

 

One of them is a commercial painting contractor. His oldest son is a staff painter on a Marriott property in the Washington, D. C. area. All three of us are experienced painters and decorators. Yet, we seem to be more drawn to each other by our connection through that church parish in southern Indiana.

 

Question: In the business or professional world, is it appropriate to keep connected?

 

Is it acceptable to keep in touch with former coworkers or teammates, supervisors and managers? At all times respecting their prevailing positions as staff members of your previous place of employment?

 

  1. Some companies maintain a policy that, once an employee leaves, he or she is prohibited from any and all contact with anyone there. And, they strictly enforce that rule.

 

  1. Some companies maintain a policy of marginal latitude. They allow current and former employees to keep a limited connection to each other. Trusting that both sides will preserve, respect and honor the employee’s current contractual terms with the employer. Especially in confidentiality areas.

 

  1. Some companies rely on their current employees to use sound judgment, fairness and cordiality when dealing with their former coworkers. And, they trust them to set suitable, reasonable terms in sustaining those relationships.

 

  1. A handful of companies, by comparison, actually promote qualitative, mutually beneficial connections between and among current and former employees. The view of leaders and enterprises is:

 

“What’s good for their people can be very good for the business.”

 

Within which policy framework do you, as a former coworker, do you function?  Within which framework do you, as a current coworker, function?

 

Question: How does it strengthen your ability to be a top quality worker? And, a fulfilled, well-rounded human being?

 

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

PAINTSHOP: “You Have Just Been Awarded $5,000…”

You’ve been awarded $5,000 to spend on any painting projects of your choice. Where to start? How to decide? So many areas need work.

 

1. On what projects will that $5,000 reach the furthest? And, do the most good?

 

2. Is it really your decision to make? Or, are some members of management standing nearby hoping that you will select projects/areas that they want done, now that you – paintshop – have the budget to do them?

 

3. Do you need to make a list of your top five choices? Then get approval from management?

 

4. What kind of time frame are you looking at for spending down that money? Can you spread it out? Can you reserve some of it for a project later?

 

5. In that available time frame, which projects can be taken care of with minimal down time related to guest and staff ability to use the space or area.

 

These little tips may get your juices flowing now. Before that possible miracle gift falls in your lap.

 

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Every hotel or facility painter deserves some dream money for the paintshop.

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Thank you for checking in with “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik.  All rights reserved.

Paintshop: Productivity

Some days are more productive than others. Some are much more productive.

 

  1. The weather cooperates.
  2. Everything seems to click into place at the right time.
  3. Everyone and everything stays out of your way.
  4. Your boss or supervisor leaves you alone and does not sidetrack you.
  5. Management occupies themselves with their own problems.
  6. Teammates handle their tasks and work orders on their own.
  7. Guests stay out of your way, or complain about other things.
  8. Everything runs smoothly, and you have what you need to do the job.

 

 

At the hotel, the chief engineer periodically came along and told me to slow down.

 

“You’re working too hard…doing too much.”

 

Several times he asked, “What drives you, Bob? I’ve never seen anyone get so much done. Every day.”

 

“It’s in the genes,” I told him once. “You, too. You work like a dog.”

 

But that’s who I was: a high producer. Even on very detailed projects. With me at least, it was an attribute and skill that was very genetic, on both sides of my family.

 

We all loved what we did. Whatever the task, job or project might have been. Simple or complicated, it didn’t seem to matter. We simply enjoyed doing whatever we needed to do. And, we rarely looked at it as too much to ask, or as boring.

 

10 Tips for Tapping Your Productivity Powers

 

1.Keep everything in your carryall that you’ll need to handle basic tasks and work orders.

Example: 2-inch paint brush, 1 sheet No. #300 grit sandpaper, 1 sheet #1000 grit sandpaper, scraper or 10-in-1 tool, lightweight hammer, standard and Phillip’s screwdrivers, gloves, eye goggles, rag, 1-liter cool water.

 

2. Organize the paintshop so that you can find things quickly, and move them easily.

 

3. Set up your golf cart so that you can carry whatever basic supplies you need for the entire day. Note: This will require the creative use of space, plus 2-3 small storage containers.

 

4. Keep your basic inventory ready to go. Promptly requisition and check on materials and supplies before they run out.

 

5. Maintain and post a weekly calendar where everyone in engineering can refer to it.

 

6. Let your engineer know in advance about any job/project problems that you foresee.

 

7. In advance, ask for help from your engineer and/or teammates to handle work orders or projects that require more manpower than you have on your own.

 

8. Finish what you start in as timely manner as possible.

 

9. Always have several, different-sized and types of projects going. This enables you to use shorter spans of time wisely and creatively.

 

10. Give yourself regular breaks every day. Especially when you’re working on a tough work order or project, working outdoors in the heat and humidity, or working with products/materials that require precision, concentration and/or ample drying time.

 

I never wait on someone else to decide how productive I’m going to be, or need to be. That’s my call, really. That’s my responsibility as a professional.

 

And, frankly? If you do consider yourself a professional, and you do enjoy painting and decorating for a living, being highly productive will come as naturally as skillfully manipulating paintbrush.

 

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High productivity is a matter of conscious and conscientious choice – and unconscious commitment.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Hotels and Resorts: It’s Halloween Time!

For their young Halloween guests, most hotels and resorts host some scary activities and events.

 
A lead painter friend is on the staff of a 350-room hotel that goes all out.

 

Four years ago, Marco and the rest of the engineering staff converted a 12 feet by 24 feet wood and steel storage shed into a 3-room children’s playhouse.

 

For Halloween each year, the “residence” is turned into a “Haunted House.” Complete with ghosts swinging from the chandelier, skeletons jumping out of closets, witches brewing huge round caldrons of brew – Apple Cider – for the young guests.

 

Originally, the storage building was purchased with money raised through fundraisers.

 

Marco and Ben, the night painter, had painted and decorated the playhouse.

 

For the “Haunted House” project, they put together a team of very enthusiastic helpers.

 

  1. Front desk host and two housekeepers sewed sheer, glittering nylon net gowns for the lady skeletons, and outfitted men skeletons in sea captains’ uniforms. Note: Also they made a giant octopus with an eye patch and crutch, and a shark with a mouth that opened.
  2. Two maintenance techs made a guillotine that slammed shut over a long-haired skeleton. Note: Also they created creaking, tipping floorboards and wobbly, levitating outdoor  and fence sections.
  3. Chief engineer and hotel concierge built an ingenious ladder that lowered from the ceiling with a massive growling bear-headed skeleton.
  4. G.M. and I.T. director installed a weird combination music and eerie sounds’ system.
  5. People in sales created scary 3-D posters and banners advertising the “Haunted House.”
  6. Purchasing director and assistant engineer made the ceiling fixtures sway and turned two candleabras into dancing, shrieking ghosts.
  7. Several housekeepers turned old sheets into ghosts that stood on the roofs, or swept down into the paths of unprepared children.
  8. A large group of staff turned out on a Sunday afternoon to help bake hundreds and hundreds of pumpkin sugar cookies, mini cinnamon bars and multi-colored mini sandwich cookies.
  9. The day before the Haunted House was to open, the engineering team fixed it so the playhouse couch and chairs would rock back and forth, even levitate from the floor.

 

This year, Marco and Ben have added a few knee-jerkers and blood-curtlers to the “Haunted House.” They painted the walk so it appears that it is dipping, moving and disappearing under the children’s feet as they try to walk to the House. Also they’ve created a tub of bubbling apple heads that rise out of the water and swoop around in the air.

 

An old ladder has been splotched and splattered in reflective Bright blood red paint. And half “heads” and finger-missing “hands” rise out of table tops and the countertop.

 

Marco calls this year’s “Haunted House” a staff masterpiece.

 

“We’re open evenings only, from 6 to 9. Our “Haunted House” welcomes all children to ages 14, or 5 feet height. And, every guest leaves with a “Trick or Treat Bag” that contains two large cookies, two snack-sized candy bars and a juice box. We have ‘Apple-Head’ or ‘Grape-Blood’…”

 

Do you need any helpers, Marco and Ben?

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Have a super fun and memorable Halloween, everyone!

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop: What is the Best Paint?

Paints and coatings are similar. What separates them from each other is their ability to retain color and their durability of sheen.

 

The typical factors, which can affect this, are (1) surface exposure to the sun, (2) cleanliness, and (3) humidity.

 

First of all, to find the “best possible paint” for your application, consult paint store and manufacturer recommendations.

 

As a rule, you get what you pay for. Normally, the best quality paint will have the highest price. With the modern development in coatings research, the quality of paint is at its highest level. Now, there are paints which combine primer as part of their formulation.

 

Usually, I prefer to use a suitable primer, then let it dry. And I apply a top coat, especially designed for that surface and that primer-top coat combination. To each his own, however.

 

Each surface requires a paint that is specific to its requirements. You wouldn’t put latex paint on bare steel. And, you wouldn’t prime the steel with the recommended primer and then apply a latex finish paint. If you don’t know the difference, you might.

 

There are “best paints” for every class of surfaces. Here are a few of them.

 

  1. Exterior masonry. Use an elastomeric coating. It’s a high-build, water-proofing material.
  2. Steel. Use epoxy primer and finish. They provide an extremely durable, chemical resistant finish.
  3. Interior drywall. Use acrylic latex. It leaves a highly washable, color retentive finish.
  4. Non ferrous metal. Use oil galvanizing primer. It has excellent adhesive properties.
  5. Automotive. Use urethane. It has ultimate durability, high color retention, resist abrasions.
  6. All surfaces. Use oil-based paint. It provides excellent durability, color retention, resist stains.

 

Then, there are my “best brand paint picks.” Opinions may vary. Yet, there are standards of quality, cost and reputation for each manufacturer.

 

  1. Interior/Exterior house paints: #1 Glidden; #2 Sherwin Williams; #3 Behr.
  2. Wood finishes: #1 Minwax; #2 Olympia.
  3. Masonry: #1 Glidden; #2 Sherwin Williams.
  4. Fine finish metals: #1 DuPont, #2 Sherwin Williams.
  5. Industrial coatings: #1 Sherwin Williams.

 

There are many paint and coatings’ manufacturers out there. Do your research, especially when you are questioning a surface’s compatibility with a particular paint type. Paint failures or a reduced life of the sheen can occur if the wrong selection is made.

 

 

A STORY OF EXTREMES

 

As a commercial painter, I was once assigned a job to decorate the front offices and lobby of an automotive body shop. My job was to paint all of the drywall ceilings, with a flat white latex, and to apply vinyl wall coverings to all of the walls and the electrical cover plates. It sounded simple enough.

 

But as I got started, I saw several of the body shop workers carrying stack s of wood moulding into their service area. And when the doors arrived – about 12 of them, they were taken to that area as well.

 

I was busy doing my own work. Until one day, I went back and discovered a couple of body shop employees working on the doors and woodwork. They were painting them.

 

I thought:  Well, that’s just fine. Then, I realized that the paint they were using was not the run of the mill latex or oil I would have used. I was shocked, yet totally amazed at what they were doing.

 

The owner had chosen to finish his woodwork with automotive paint. I never heard of such a thing. On his own, the owner decided to experiment.

 

The product he chose to use was a two-part urethane with a clear coat final finish.  The finish was known for its unsurpassed durability and extremely high gloss.

 

Okay! I waited and continued with my duties. In the last days of my work, I got to see the carpenters putting everything up. Room by room, they installed the doors and the trim. Then the body shop guys sprayed the last coat of clear coat.

 

We had a party upon completion of the project. And we got to witness the end result. It was beyond words.

 

THE DOORS! I’m not kidding. You could see yourself. When you walked along the casing or baseboard, you could see your reflection as you walked by. Not only that: This interior finishing had the most durable finish I had ever seen.

 

When I talked to the owner, he said: “I want my shop to be the only one of its kind. I want it to be perfect. I don’t care how long it takes. And money is no object.”

 

By the way, he invited shop owners from all over the area to the party. So they could admire the work done on his body shop. And, I even got to take a bow.

 

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Creative results are often the harmonious blend of the norm with the impossible.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s View: How Management Can Hold Onto Their Good People

In 2015, I read this quote by an icon in the Hospitality industry:

 

“When a good person leaves, look to the leader for the reason.”

 

Many things can be done to hold onto a good worker. Things that are above board, fair and constructive; also cost-effective in the long haul.

 

 

TWENTY-ONE WAYS TO HOLD ONTO A GOOD WORKER

 

 

  1. Honor the work anniversary of each staff member.

 

  1. Level with him or her about why you can’t afford to issue a pay raise.

 

  1. Regularly, offer staff members discount and gift cards for items sold at the hotel. Make the amounts large enough.

 

  1. Show that you’re serious about his or her written suggestions and “observations.” Authorize the staff member to look into one or more of them.

 

  1. Encourage small “teams” of staffers to follow through on at least one idea, that is doable at the time.

 

  1. Monthly, host an informal coffee break with staffers. Select and rotate the day of the week.

 

  1. Find out about your workers. Who are they? What do they like about working at the hotel? What special challenges are they dealing with?

 

  1. About your staff members: Who aspires to advance with the hotel, or in the industry? Doing what? Who is taking classes, or wants to do so? Who is interested in on-the-job training?

 

  1. Who is interested in “doing something else” at the hotel? What? When? Are they willing to work into another position?

 

  1. Encourage participation in staff activities and events. See that scheduling is convenient, costs are very low or free, and time commitment will not interfere with their personal responsibilities.

 

  1. See that a variety of staff activities and events are offered. And, put in an appearance at as many of them as possible.

 

  1. Promote team member mentoring and support. Encourage staff members to cover each other’s backs.

 

  1. Maintain an “open door” policy. Encourage all supervisors and managers to do the same.

 

  1. Do little things to let staff members know you are there for them. That does not mean you have to agree with them on an issue, or they with you.

 

  1. See that your workers get what they need to do their regular jobs.

 

  1. Never put any staff member in the middle of a conflict between you and his/her supervisor, or another staff member.

 

  1. Never accuse any staff member of any wrongdoing unless you’re sure – and your proof is 100 percent reliable.

 

  1. Never remove a benefit or offer unless it is the only option. Then, be up front about it and make the change as promptly and smoothly as possible.

 

  1. Forget the favors. Just be fair and honest!

 

 

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Managers that cover the backs of all staff members will find their own backs covered, too.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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