Accelerating Small Tasks

Written by on July 28, 2012 in Handheld/Cordless, Sprayers with 13 Comments

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.

Time Machines

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.

More on Cordless Time Machines.

Prefinishing

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.

 

 

Scott Burt

Scott Burt is a contractor and freelance writer whose column "From the Field" has appeared in American Painting Contractor magazine (www.paintmag.com) since 2008. His writing and projects also appear in other print and digital venues. This site is an extension of Scott's publication work, and he encourages readers to leave comments and questions about articles published here. Hope to hear from you!

Latest posts by Scott Burt (see all)

Tags:

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on Instagram Connect on LinkedIn Connect on YouTube

13 Reader Comments

Trackback URL Comments RSS Feed

Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Painting MDF Doors... : Topcoat Review | November 26, 2013
  1. RaChel says:

    So after lots of reading and lots of headaches I’m thinking this might be the gun for me. I’ve never owned a spray gun before so this is all new to me. I redo furniture using mostly latex paint and need a gun that can make shorter work of my time. I do 2-3 pieces a week. I would also like to be able to spray Polycrylic through it as well which I saw you can. Can oil based paints go through this unit? I rarely use them but do have a job that will require an oil base. Any thoughts? Can’t spend a lot but need to be able to cut my project time down a lot. Thanks!!

    • Scott Burt says:

      Rachel, this is a good choice for you. It can shoot waterborne and oil based. Just use the appropriate type of cleaning solution for each. This should cut your project time down considerably.

  2. Nichole says:

    I’m very familiar with my Pro Shot, breaking it down & cleaning it out! I’ll never let it get gunked up again and I only want to keep it happy! When it’s working well it makes small tasks a breeze.

  3. Bruce says:

    Thanks, so much. I understand…I’ve just not unscrewed the cylinder the tip screws onto or the stem the suction tube slides onto.

  4. Nick says:

    I Love the ProShot, I hate how cheaply it is made a finicky it is with clogging. It certainly does same time in small projects, but I just wish it was more reliable.

    • Scott Burt says:

      Thanks for commenting, Nick. We get clogs once in a while, but the reversible tips make them easy enough to blow out quickly. I suppose if we reduced products, we would see less. Maintenance is definitely key to keeping the PS happy. Once you figure them out, its not hard to keep them going.

      • Bruce says:

        So what do you recommend for maintenance? I thoroughly wash my Graco TrueCoat (I think they’re virtually the same), inject the blue stuff in as per instructions then run more blue stuff from the canister as per instructions.

        • Scott Burt says:

          Bruce

          Those are good habits. It depends on what you are running mostly for product through it. We run alot of latex so we break ours down periodically to make sure there is no build up inside. Replace tips as needed, and these sprayers are happiest when being used alot.

          • Bruce says:

            I’m not sure what you mean by breaking it down, as in how far you break it down. I remove the tip, clean the screen, remove the siphon tube and clean it. After all that, I run warm water through it to rinse the pump inside. Then I used the blue solution supplied with it.

            Lately I’ve been using for small jobs (1 – 2 quarts) about 3 – 4 times a week. Had one start to really make a lot of noise and was slow to prime, after only a few gallons of paint. Returned it for a replacement from Lowe’s. I’d had it less than 60 days. I’m not a commercial painter BTW.

            • Scott Burt says:

              Bruce

              I’m not as familiar with your exact unit (they are all a little different), on the ProShots, when you take the tip off, you see the threaded pattern that the tip assembly screws onto, but you can also put a wrench on that and pull that cylinder out. Behind that is the inlet valve, which has a tiny little plastic cap piece that can stick. Its fragile going in, but gentle needle nose pliers or tweezers can get in there. Also, at the bottom of the machine, where you pull the suction tube, you should see a thread pattern. Pull that and clean inside. Soak things with the blue fluid, and reassemble. Those two little moves eliminate alot of the finicky little problems with the ProShots. Its better to be proactive and solve sticking or clog issues before they happen at the wrong time.

Leave a Reply to Scott Burt Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top