It’s not the elephants that will kill you, it’s the mosquitoes.
This old adage holds particularly true for paint contractors. It is the smallest, most tedious tasks that bog down production. And often the small projects show the most profit evaporation. Finding the areas that are hurting the most and correcting them is key. But sometimes, a change in process can only be driven by a change in products and/or tools. Its rarely a simple matter of just doing the same thing you have always done, only faster. That doesn’t usually end well.
We can’t make more time in the day or week, but we sure can save a chunk at just about every turn. The cumulative effect of a bunch of these types of tweaks can be profound.
We identified a couple of years ago that tasks requiring less than a gallon of paint were profound suckers of time. Take a small task that requires spreading just a quart of paint.
The video above shows an example from just yesterday (a late friday afternoon), where my last task of the week was to get back to the shop and shoot almost 300 lineal feet of baseboard, basecap and shoe mold with paint so that it could dry for a monday morning delivery.
Here is the decision making process:
- Brush/mini-roller – would take at least an hour, with awkward handling
- Airless sprayer – no way
- Air assisted – too small a quantity of paint to bother
- hvlp – possible, but requires reduction for latex paint and gun cleaning time is longer
- cordless – yes, requires no reduction and less than 10 minutes with cleanup.
This is one small example of how we turn the low margin situations into high margin successes. The more ways you find to do this, the more hours you save. While we love cool tools, we love profitability and reducing our working time even more.
The Graco ProShot isn’t a tool we pull out everyday. In fact, it would be the last choice for many of our daily tasks. But for this type, the time suck task, cordless is often the best solution.
Used intelligently and with proper planning and coordination, prefinishing – especially on items like base and shoe – can save significant amounts of time on the backend of a project. Some contractors do not favor this practice, but baseboard usually goes down with mostly inside miter joints that require little to no carpenter joint sanding on installation. They can go in very clean, and since more often than not, in the homes we paint, they are being installed on wood floors, it is a turnkey operation for us to fill, caulk and apply just one finish coat post installation.