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Archive for the ‘Paint Methods: Company Policies’ Category

Paintshop: What Hotel and Facility Painters Need to Do Their Jobs

*** A lead painter, whose hotel was damaged by Hurricane Maria’s winds, reminded me about a post that I missed submitting. Perhaps, you will find something here that can help you in 2017.

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A hotel chain’s Senior chief engineer in South Carolina emailed about team preparedness, after the October 29, 2014 post. (“Hotel Engineering Team Training: Pilot Project 2015”)

 

“We’re a small group of specialty brand inns.  Our paint applicators are all experienced in brush, roller and spray. None of them requires formal instruction on using new products, tools (and) equipment. Each painter is good at picking up on things, and running with it.

 

“Our budget is always tight. The 2015 budget can be stretched to purchase a few newer types of products, tools and equipment for each paint shop.

 

“I emailed all of our engineering directors. Each submitted a similar short list of needs. All of them requested the following:

 

1.  Samples of new formulations of basic paint products that may fit our property needs.

‘My application specialist needs to test out a product before he can decide whether to go with the newer product, or stick with the standard one.’

 

2. Small samples of products as they come on the market.

‘Our chief engineers push for their painters and maintenance techs to get to test out any new product, supply, tool, or piece of equipment before they get stuck with it.’

 

3. Free new painting and maintenance tools to try-before-we-buy.

‘Promising new tools come on the market. I want my painter, and maintenance people, to be able to try a few of them, at least. . .It makes no sense to buy a new tool for my paint shop, before we know if it will work for the painter that has to use it.’

 

4. New spray gun, or spray system pre-purchase testing

‘Each of our painters does a lot of spraying, interior and exterior. At some point, a spray gun becomes too costly to repair, or rebuild, even with thorough cleaning and careful maintenance. Replacement becomes sensible option. Some of the new spray gun systems can be expensive…’

 

Question 1: “Bob, who do we call to get small samples of products as they come on the market?”

Answer: “In your capacity, contact the product manufacturer’s testing division. Explain your interest and need in testing new products before you buy them. Tell them about the products, including theirs, that your painters have used in the past. Share a short list of pros and cons. Offer specific engineering departments and sites within your chain as “testers and test sites.”

 

Question 2: “How do we get samples of new paint/finish products that may fit our property (ies)?”

Answer: “Talk to your regular paint supplier/distributor first. If that doesn’t work, contact the paint manufacturer’s representative for each respective product line.”

TIP: “It might help to seal the arrangement if you can offer your paint applicators’ experiences with the product as ‘painting trade testimonials.’ Check in advance with a few of your painters.”

 

Question 3: “How do we get to test out new tools and equipment free? Try-before-we-buy?”

Answer: “Contact the respective tool manufacturer – “Trade/contractor services.” Talk with the director or assistant director of their “after market” research testing center. Find out what type(s) of research data they need.

 

“And, if you know that you can help meet their need:

“FAX a 1-2 page “Trade Testing-Based Proposal. Offer to provide “after market” tool use data. State how many “testing” locations you can provide and their location. For each, describe:

(1) approximate acreage and age of developed area, also property layout;

(2) structures: number, square footage, style, relevant substrates;

(3) paint shop job description, capabilities.

 

“For the tool, describe (1) need: current and projected; (2) use: how, where, and frequency; (3) purchasing plan: minimum quantity, initial order; approximate purchase date(s).

 

TIP: “Keep your proposal brief, and to the point! Do not offer the expertise of any specific dynamo painters under your umbrella. At this point, do not “bank on” any staff member to help pull this off.”

 

Question 4: “How can we get at least three spray systems to try out? Pre-purchase testing. Longer than one day for each system.

“Next year’s budget: I can fit in the purchase of one system for each property, after March 30. If our applicators know how to use the system, each engineering department can save sizeable funds, now going to outside contractors…”

Answer: “Spray systems for commercial and/or industrial use tend to be expensive. Phone the manufacturer’s nearest rep. Especially if you already use one or more of their spray guns and spraying systems.

 

“If you’re confident that you can provide important data not yet at the manufacturer’s fingertips:

“FAX a 1-page proposal letter. Offer to supply certifiable testimonials from both your top, and less experienced, sprayers. Include their experience in using that manufacturer’s spray systems, also their experience using any comparable system made by a top competitor.

“Briefly describe how your sprayers can provide feedback that will help the manufacturer build and sustain its market base for that specific spray system.

 TIP: “Please do not offer to provide any data that you’re not certain you can supply.”

 

Some needs transfer into future situations. Some useful ideas turn into future opportunities.

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Thanks for reading “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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Hotel/Facility Painters: Is Outsourcing Your Paintshop Services in Your Future?

It should come as no surprise to any hotel/resort staff member, when the news arrives that the management and operations of a certain department will be outsourced.

 

Other mid-to-large sized for-profit employers have been farming or “outsourcing” for needed services for years. More and more local, county and state governments have been contracting out for the management and operation of entities under their umbrella.

 

What throws a hard, curve ball is when the outsourcing company is going to move in its own people to staff that department, which is a part of the organization. EXAMPLES: Food and Beverage/Catering, Pools and Gazebos, Housekeeping/Laundry, Security, Sales, Conventions.

 

With a large department, the outsourcing company may opt to employ certain existing hotel staff members. Persons experienced working in that area, and with its targeted guests and visitors.

 

Usually, these persons need to complete new, pre-employment forms for the external company. Including for federal and state tax withholdings. Usually, the persons do not need to go through the hotel’s Human Resources’ job application and screening process.

 

So far, hotel engineering departments have been exempted from the contracted outsourcing system of employment. Some exceptions exist.

 

  1. The property owners decide to outsource the management and operations of the entire hotel business. Here, existing staff can sign on with the external company, or a designated staffing company.

 

  1. The outsourcing company “out-sources” the hotel’s engineering department services.

Note: Designated staff members may be able to apply to the outside company, to continue to work at the same hotel.

 

  1. The outsourcing company decides to switch engineering operations to a temporary and on-call arrangement. For all positions and tasks, or for certain positions and tasks.

Note: Usually, some of the current engineering staff members are offered the opportunity to work in his/her current – or a similar – position, but as a temporary or on-call worker.

 

In all cases, some positions are eliminated. Some job quotas are reduced. A lot of department re-organization takes place.

 

In smaller businesses – eg. hotels and inns, clinics, hospitals – the services of a full-time painter may not be needed any longer. They may not be affordable. Within the budget.

 

Thus, the career hotel/facility painter needs to be ready to adapt. And, to switch “employers,” if and when the time comes.

 

At the same time, take note!

 

Not all outsourcing arrangements work. Many get axed at some point. Department management and operations are returned to in-house people. Former staff members may be re-hired. Experienced employees are put back in charge of operating their respective department.

 

After reasonable tries, more city and county governments are voting against renewing their contracts with outsourcing companies. Businesses are tightening up qualifications and expectations for their outsourcing contractors. They are more closely, and accurately, computing the bottom line.

  1. “Are we really saving money? “
  2. “What’s the trade-off been within – and for – our community?”

Hotels and resorts are listening to their experienced staff members, about major organizational and ethical problems dealing with the outsource company’s people. Hospitals report losing once loyal employees and community support. Also they report an increase in serious liability quality-of-service and patient treatment issues.

 

What can a hotel painter do to influence top management and owners in deciding which way to go?

 

  1. Show a greater and more sincere interest in your hotel, and especially in your teammates. What’s really going on with them? What’s great, so-so, not good at all? Share in any on-going dialogue among your coworkers. Your bosses, too. TIP: Hold back a little here. Keep “person,” “personal,” and “personality” out of this.
  2. Show an interest in the “outsourcing” discussion. Periodically, exchange a few ideas with your chief engineer. Especially, if you’re the lead painter and help him handle a lot of the troubleshooting.
  3. Discreetly ask questions. Try to find out the reasons management is looking at outsourcing your job. Or, the entire engineering department.

 

THEN, ZERO IN ON YOUR POSITION…YOUR FUTURE.

 

  1. Update the hotel’s job description for your job. Provide a clear, detailed picture of exactly what you do there. Include both standard and special skills and abilities that your hotel’s painter must have. To get the job done! NOTE: Now is not the time to underestimate and undervalue what the real job entails. Now is not the time for humility.
  2. List the types of tasks, orders, projects, and emergency jobs you have done. Estimate the frequency with which you’ve done each. Indicate the location of each on the property. TIP: Keep your own on-site painter’s photo gallery up to date, and captioned!
  3. List the customer service functions you perform. That includes for team members, fellow staff members, managers; guests, visitors; suppliers, vendors, contractors; inspectors; and the community.
  4. Offer your experience and insight as input to the (a) chief engineer and (b) general manager. Limit what you offer in information to details that will positively support your bosses’ true position. Also, their short-range and long-range goals.

 

Final Note: As the staff painter, you are often in a unique and influential position. You tend to come into regular contact with coworkers and managers in many of the departments and work areas within the hotel’s organization. You tend to “brush shoulders” with certain aspects of the hotel or facility’s actual business.

 

Bottom Line: You may be able to play a key role in management’s decision to outsource. Or not.

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“Press toward the mark that you want to leave behind.”  RDH

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2012, 2015, 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Hotel Painting During Slow Seasons

 

In lodging, the slow season varies in different regions of the country – even in certain areas within a given state.

 

The climate – weather – has a lot to do with it. So do school terms, vacation times – both school and employment; busy seasons in a specific industry, trade or business.

 

In Florida, the slow season tends to fall between the second week of January through March, or even April.

 

If you’re a staff painter working in Florida, the slower season is a good time to get things done. Fewer guests and visitors, fewer emergency calls and work orders, and fewer interruptions.

 

But, the “slow season” is also the period of lower revenues, lowered budget, and much fewer resources.

 

If you’re a contract painter, the slower period may be the right time to branch out and to do some freelance work.

 

SIX SLOW SEASON SOLUTIONS FOR THE STAFF PAINTER

 

  1. Before Day 1 of the slow season, decide with your chief engineer (a) what work orders and projects must stay on the roster, and (b) what projects must be shelved.
  2. Take a closer look at that list of necessary work orders and projects. Whittle it down by 25 percent.
  3. Then, prioritize those according to daily and weekly jobs.
  4. Next, establish a budget, or cost estimate, for each – based on the supplies needed to do each.
  5. Take a closer look. You may see that the list of necessary work orders and projects can be shortened. Example: Working on “bathrooms re-paint” project can be spread out over a longer period of time. Say five bathrooms a week or every two weeks, versus five a day.
  6. The toughest time: Shelve the “necessary” work orders and projects that require the most outlay of money for materials and supplies. Note: That may be the most money for few supplies.                  TIP: This amount may end up being your allotment for paintshop emergencies. Your contingency fund.
  7. Now you’re ready to schedule out your work load for each week during the dry spell, budget-wise.
  8. Be prepared for additional cutbacks (a) across-the-board organizationally, then (b) unilaterally throughout your Engineering Department.
  9. When you’re asked or expected to perform paintshop miracles during an already “bare bones” massive budget freeze, here’s what you do next:
  10. GET CREATIVE. GET TOUGH. GET WISE.

 

Seek out and volunteer to perform other essential tasks in your department – eg. maintenance, grounds. Volunteer to split your work-day time. Help out in another busier department that has also suffered staff cutbacks – eg. housekeeping, kitchen, guest services

 

Your bottom line objectives during any slow season:

  1. Keep the paintshop running.
  2. Keep your job.

 

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“Slower season” does not mean it’s the time for you to slow down on the job.

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Thank you for staying on task, whatever your regular job description.

 

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob” blog.

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

Surviving a Hotel or Hospital Property Sale

The rumor mill has been grinding out “guess whats” for weeks. The “hotel” or “hospital” where you work is up for sale.

 

The order comes down, straight from the top.6uT

 

‘Be on your best behavior.”  “Keep this place running smoothly.”  “Keep your mouth shut.”

“You never know who might be watching – or standing in front of you.”

 

“Don’t blow it!”

 

Then you hear that the strangers walking around are prospective buyers.

 

“Keep on your toes. Stay alert.”

 

For weeks… months, the staff sees a steady stream of serious buyers canvassing the property.

“Be extra courteous and hospitable,” management team tells everyone.

 

The stream of prospects reduces to a trickle. It might even stop altogether. Or so it seems.

 

Then the big guys show up. With their cameras, webcams, custom-apped smartphones, tape measures, calculators, etc. It appears that they’re walking around every foot of the place. Staff spots them everywhere. Even in secured, private areas.

 

Things quiet down again. You see a handful of the same people moving around the property. Checking things out very carefully, several times. The rumor mill shuts down.

 

Word leaks out: The property has been sold. The G.M. confirms it. An announcement to all staff includes the name or names of the new owner/owners, and their take-over date.

 

All this while you’ve needed to get your work done.

A lull hits the entire organization. An eerie type of mourning engulfs the place. A very brief time is allowed for everyone to accept the news.

 

The transition work begins for everyone.

 

You – and probably everyone else on staff – start asking the same questions:

 

  1. What are the new company’s policies and rules?
  2. What are the new company’s practices that every staff member is expected to follow, effective immediately?
  3. What are the new company’s policies, rules and practices specifically aimed at your department? For your job as “Painter”?
  4. What kind of help will be available if you run into any problem trying to work under the new system?
  5. How long do you get to make the transition?
  6. Is your job at risk? How long do you have?

 

Usually, change takes place very quickly, when a hotel or hospital property is sold.

 

They “clean house” thoroughly. Bodies are moved out at sometimes a shockingly fast speed. And, heads roll.

 

The chain of command may change. Management may change drastically.

 

For those staff members left, job descriptions change and switch. Work shifts and schedules may change. Pay scales, dress codes and benefit packages will probably change.

 

New owners, new managers, new game.

 

Surviving the sale many not be your call. Surviving may, or may not, be what you think.

 

 A few tips for surviving the sale of your workplace

 

  1. Promptly start getting ready for whatever may be coming down, at the first hint of a possible change of hands.
  2. “Keep your nose clean,” as my father once advised.
  3. “Zip your lip,” as my grandfather used to say.
  4. “Prepare for every possible scenario that may affect you,” as I’m suggesting via this blog.

 

Final note: Some property sales move silently and swiftly. No signs. No rumors. No strange visitors milling around. No news!
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Surviving the sale of your work property comes down to your self-preservation skills, and attitude.

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Thanks for following “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop: Equipping Engineering Techs with Right Paint Colors

My biggest staff painter challenge was ensuring that the other engineering techs to use the correct paint products for handling “painter” work orders on my days off. Mainly touching up surfaces in guest rooms and visible public areas.

 

They had neither the “eye” nor the time to match paint products in the shop to the paint colors of smaller areas needing repainting.

 

Yes, it was easy for them to find all of the cans of yellow latex paint, for instance. A paint chip was displayed on the lid of each container. And, it was easy to identify which cans of yellow paint had been used in the guest room originally in Building Two.

 

However, it was difficult to select the exact matching tint of yellow latex needed to touch up a particular spot or wall in a particular room. One reason: Over time, the original paint color on the wall would have faded or discolored. Why: Due to sun exposure, repeated household chemical cleanings and/or surface damage.

 

In most instances, after returning from days off, I’d quietly re-touch up the “touch-ups.” No big deal was made about the error in paint color selection. Nothing was said about the added time that it took to back pedal, and redo painting work orders. And, I’d never say a word to the tech about the chief engineer’s or general manager’s related complaints.

 

Painters, here’s one method to simplify the paint color selection job for your techy teammates.

 

  1. Go through all of the paint cans in the shop.
  2. Create a chart showing a chip for every paint can you have.
  3. Take the paint chip chart along as you make your daily rounds – eg. guest rooms, public areas, activity rooms, offices.
  4. Match each chip to the surface/area that it matches, and notate information.
  5. Back in the shop, add surface, area/wall and room information to every paint can label in the place. Write date that you matched the paint chip to surface.
  6. Group and shelve the paint cans according to building and room/area.
  7. Put up a small “poster” to identify those products by area.
  8. Make up a quick-reference wall chart for your engineering teammates.
  9. Give each guy a little one-on-one tour of the paint can setup. Show how to use the set up to their advantage.

 

NOTE: My engineering teammates made it clear that they did not like the hassle they got from the bosses, hotel management and guests  about the use of the wrong paint products and/or colors.

 

FOOTNOTE: You are bound to run into this type of problem. It really can’t be prevented totally.

 

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE: Do your best to keep the paint products in the paintshop organized and easy to access. Also, go easy on your teammates. They’re just trying to cover for you when you’re unable to be there.

 

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Train your engineering teammates in the paint touch-up methods that work for everyone.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painter’s View: Maintenance Tech and Nurse Follow New Hospital Procedure

A local hospital has a new procedure for each floor nurse. Every hour, she or he must check on every patient under his or her care. Then, the nurse writes his or her initials in the appropriate “hour” space on a sheet of paper taped on the wall in each respective patient’s room.

 

Here’s what a relative observed…

 

  1. The nurse on each shift did enter the room and did initial the appropriate sheet(s) of paper.
  2. Some nurses at least glanced back in the direction of the patient’s bed before initialing the sheet of paper.
  3. Those same nurses were likely to actually speak to the patient during at least 50 percent of those quick log-in visits.
  4. The same shift nurses were likely to return promptly to the room and check on the patient’s welfare.
  5. The same shift nurses tended to extend patient care in empathetic, cheerful and thorough ways.

 

During the night, a hospital maintenance tech entered the room at the same time as a male nurse. Quietly, they chit-chatted while doing their respective jobs.

 

The maintenance tech checked on the operation and controls of the HVAC system. The nurse checked on the patient’s comfort level, bed, wall lighting fixture, etc.

 

Both men completed their tasks about the same time. They arranged to meet or coffee at break time.

 

Nurse Louis wrote his initials onto both sheets, taped onto the wall. Maintenance tech Juan pulled out a mobile device. He pushed a few buttons on the keyboard. Then he returned the phone to his pocket.

 

It turned out that Juan had a new procedure to follow, too. Each time that he left a work area, he had to log it into the engineering department’s daily data base.

 

Also, both men were originally from Puerto Rico. And, both were working at jobs they loved.

 

When I picked up the relative after dismissal one evening, Louis removed the I.V. and disconnected the mobile monitor. With great pride, he told me about the maintenance tech, Juan.

 

“Juan is the smartest, most honest man I know. And, the hardest worker. The best maintenance tech in America. Well, in Florida. He’s as good at his job as anyone with a big education and degrees. Like me.”

 

In those few words, Nurse Louis said a lot about himself, too. And, he revealed why he was among the few shift nurses that actually looked back and checked on his patient each time that he came along to initial each daily log on the wall.

 

Kudos to Maintenance Tech Juan and Nurse Louis.

 

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A man of merit on the job is a man of worth in any community.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

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

Upcoming Blog Topics for 2016

Hello, Everyone,

Looking forward to a new year full of opportunities – and challenges (of course)?
How about checking in here, when schedule permits? And picking up tips to help your painting job easier?

 

10 Upcoming Topics…

 

1. Building a Spray Booth: Affordable Options.

A. The Portable

B. The Recyclable Space

 

2. Hotel Painting Tips for Engineering/Maintenance Techs: An Update.

 

3. Spraying Dos, Don’ts, and Maybes.

 

4. Painting Methods: Adapting for Ability Changes.

 

5. Painting Methods: Adapting for Environmental Changes and Challenges.

 

6. Painting Methods: Adapting for Property/Structural Changes.

 

7. Painting Methods: Adapting for Company Policy Changes.

 

8. Our Brain’s Memory: The Basics.

 

9. Memories Are Made of This: Four Main Types.

 

10. Our Brain’s Memory: At Our Workplace.

 

Painting and decorating offers a full spectrum of creative opportunities. Even in pursuing the most mundane tasks. And, embarking on the most exciting new projects. Enjoy them all!

 

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

 

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