Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Posts tagged ‘Budgeting’

Consulting in the Painting Trade

 

Why do highly skilled, innovative and excellent employees turn to self-employment and consulting? 

 

In October, I surveyed fifty-two journey-level painters that had left “boss situations.” All had gone into contracting and/or consulting. All possessed over 15 years of previous experience painting, in an employee or staff member capacity. Examples: contractor, facility, government, private corporation, institution, school system, property management company, etc.

 

Many of the painters “commented” with the following reasons for offering consulting services:

 

  1. Decision-makers already seek out their creative ideas and advice.
  2. These people tend to listen, use and follow suggestions.
  3. They tend to pay well for the expertise and direction.

 

Another reason given: RESPECT!

 

Three former employee painters described the well-known “suggestion box” scenario.

 

Some employers set out suggestion boxes to impress employees with their “inclusion” policies. They might read the suggestions. Often, they are filed away, or “shelved.” The employees, including the painter, hear nothing more about them.

 

Decision-makers that tap consultants will actually read those employee suggestions. They will act upon them. Moreover, they will include the employees in those follow-through activities.

 

Why do skilled, successful and excellent employers turn to consultants that, previously, were highly skilled and excellent staff painters?

 

Twenty-five employers with staff painters on board were surveyed a month earlier, in September.

 

Many “commented” with three reasons they turned to painting consultants that previously served as staff painters.

 

  1. The consultant will work as smart and hard for them, and they worked before, as employees.
  2. The consultant will take the time to learn and understand all about them, their business, their problems, and their circumstances.
  3. The consultant will do everything in his or her power to (a) find the right solutions and (b) help them – customer/client – actually put those solutions into practice.

 

Another term for it: MUTUAL RESPECT!

 

In painting and decorating, consulting is an important part of every project. It is a key element in every successful and trusting painter and client/customer relationship.

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Reach out. Give where you can. Build a network.

Root yourself. Help others do the same.

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Many thanks, to everyone, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2015. Robert Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

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Painting It: Balancing a Painting Budget

When sizing up the expenses for a painting project, what should you ask yourself first?

Normally, you want to know what the final finish products will cost. Reasonable enough, since

they are comparably the most expensive items.

 

Painting to achieve durability and quality is what establishes the basis for a budget. It’s very simple: you get what you pay for.

TIP: When two gallons of paint are separated by costs greater than half the price, the most expensive is not necessarily the best. Don’t let a paint salesperson tell you differently.

 

The type of paint. Well, that’s a different story.

 

A specialized coating, such as acrylic clear coat for protecting wood, may cost $50 a gallon.

A urethane for painting exterior metal could cost up to $125 for the catalyst, base and solvent. A finish that you’ve selected for your garage floor could cost you at least $70 a gallon.

 

I base the total cost of a painting project on the following things:

 

  1. total square feet of surface to be painted, and the number of coats of paint.
  2. total linear feet  of moldings, trim, fascias, soffits, etc.
  3. type and number of doors – eg. louvered, flat, recessed paneled.
  4. time in labor for preparation, priming, and finish painting. This can be underestimated!
  5. cost of preparation and painting products and materials.

 

The cost for paint and materials is a fixed price based on the present market value.

 

Where money is dramatically lost or saved, labor comes into play.

 

The time estimated to perform the work is critical to the total quoted price of a job. Usually, this is figured on the total number of “man hours multiplied my dollars-per-hour charge, or as a contracted price per unit.

Example: Painting a door costs $25; painting 10 doors costs $250. To each total, add cost of paint, preparation materials, and necessary supplies.

 

The labor charge must also be adjusted for the degree of difficulty or the extensiveness of the process. Bottom line: It is “experience” that establishes competitive labor charge or rate.

Example: Refinishing a piece of furniture.

What’s involved: Stripping, then cleaning the surface; using wood filler, process of repeated sanding, application of multiple coats of finish, and waxing.

What can happen: An “inaccurate estimate” in any one of these steps could cost you your entire profit in completing the whole piece.

 

The inventory for painting tools and supplies can be charged as a fixed monthly expense.

Example: You purchase 10 rolls of masking tape and 25 sheets of sandpaper on average per month. Cost: $40 per month, times 12 months: $500 a year expense. Items such as brushes will be purchased based on use. TIP: Always make allowances for projects which require more.

 

Productivity is another area which can offset the budget, in a positive or negative way. The quantity of work performed in any given time period can create a profit, cause you a loss,

or allow you just to break even.

 

“Why so much of a difference,” you might ask? The business model says: By decreasing time in labor, your profits will increase. That’s not true, necessarily.

 

What happens to that anticipated profit, when a rush job results in poor work and client rejection? You need to redo the job. And, YOU have to foot the bill for materials and labor the second time around.

 

Typical labor-saving materials, tools and equipment in the painting process.

 

  1. Airless spray painting for large spaces, or areas such as vertical/horizontal siding.

 

  1. Airless spray painting for large amount of preinstalled moldings.

 

  1. Conventional spray equipment to apply oil stain to preinstalled moldings.

 

  1. Easy-release masking tape to prevent pull-off of existing finish.

 

  1. Pressurized roller system when painting a lot of walls in one color.

 

  1. Industrial-grade paint stripper when removing wood finish.

 

  1. Largest size roller cover you can manage for the specific work to be done.

 

  1. Plastic sheeting to cover furniture when painting overhead.

 

All application methods, materials, tools, and equipment serve to save time. The use of a spray finishing system far exceeds the level of productivity of brush and roller work.

 

Budgeting is all about saving money. And everyone wants to do that.

 

When quality is your prime concern, however, make sure to save enough money for what is most important.

 

A TOP TIP: Always shop around for products, materials, supplies, tools, and equipment. Including rentals! Prices can vary between different supply houses – same company.

 

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Thanks, everyone, for staying on-course — and for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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Copyright 2015. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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