8 Often Disappearing Interior Painting Products Under $12

Written by on December 26, 2015 in Interior Products with 11 Comments

We have been saying it for years – “it’s not the elephants that will kill you, it’s the mosquitoes”. This means that usually it is not the bigger issues that cause the most problems.

In the world of interior painting products, it is the smaller, seemingly innocuous issues that really sting. And the cumulative effects they can have on your production, quality and profits.

Interior Painting Products

(Click to enlarge)

Sure there are major events, like a sprayer goes down and blows a day of labor while a couple guys stand around wondering whether to dry roll or not.

But, the sneaky smaller problems, often in the form of product disappearances can have a more costly impact over the course of the year. These are interior painting products that you just can’t seem to stock enough of in your inventory.

You either straight up run out, or other trades help themselves to these things when you aren’t looking, or your employees stock their own toolboxes with them and use them up on side work.

Being without these things affects quality and production, as well as schedule and profits.

There are many more items that could be on this list, and it sure brings to light the reality that painters use a lot of products that don’t cost very much, but they sure can cost a lot to be without.

[Related: Accessory Loss Prevention Tip]

If just one of these items comes up missing each day, at an average cost of $5, that would be $1000 loss over the course of the year (assuming 200 working days).

You can buy a lot with $1000.

What are your most commonly disappearing interior painting products?

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!

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11 Reader Comments

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  1. The pacster says:

    I have all of those products for sale all the time! And all the free stir sticks anyone could want, including 5 gallon sticks! These are things no real paint store should be without. The problem stems from some retailers being driven solely by profit margins and sku control and not the actual needs of professional painters. Seek out the “true” paint stores and never settle for not having these simple items available every day!

  2. Michael says:

    While I think that keeping track of item’s is important, I spent a couple years away from painting and was trained in retail management. The philosophy they taught was that there is an average amount of “shrinkage” to expect in inventory due to being lost, misplaced or stolen.

    Employee theft should absolutely not be tolerated. Most of the time mine will ask/tell me they are taking a roll of tape for something.

    My first thought was, if $1k a year goes missing, how many employees does it take for that to happen? If it’s 1 employee that is probably unacceptable unless you have very high margins.

    But if it’s 10 employees? That’s 1 employee “losing” something every other week which would be easier to stomach, and recover, with the gross sales.

    But, out of everything on that list, 5 in 1’s being misplaced seems to cause the biggest production hit. I keep 5 on the trailer for me and 2 employees and there are times that all 3 of us will take one home in our pocket, and not really worry about it until there is only 1 or 2 left on the job.

    That leaves us trying to do tasks with the wrong tools, which leads to inefficiency.

    • Scott Burt says:

      Thanks Michael. The intent of the post wasn’t all about employee loss per se, although that does happen. You are correct, though, “shrinkage” can happen in a lot of different ways. We have worked a lot in new construction over the past couple of decades, and it is amazing how other trades are comfortable just kind of helping themselves to painter supplies (because we carry a lot of practical stuff). Bottom line is the production impact of not having what you need when you need it, as you noted!

      • Michael says:

        That’s true Scott. I don’t do much New Construction- 1 this year, and I have to go back to 2010 or 2011 (can’t remember) to find the last one.

        I work out of a 6×12 trailer that is locked up tight when we aren’t on site… But now that you mention it, on that NC, I did have one of the other tradesmen wander in to my trailer and then yell out the door at me “Hey, where are your rags? I need one”

  3. 5 in 1’s
    Olfa knives
    And painters rags

  4. Chris Haught says:

    It was white rags for me! Crew used them like kleenex. Seemed like the bigger the bag I bought, the faster they used them!

  5. Bucket hooks and cut pots. I don’t think anyone is “stealing” these, but they are holding onto them so they have enough, making sure that someone else is without. I actually think I solved the bucket hook problem this year by flooding the guys with hooks. When there are lots and lots, they don’t get hoarded. Cut pots, though, require cleaning, so while we have dozens of extras, there are never enough that are clean. So they still disappear.

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