Top 2 Production Mistakes and How to Eliminate Them

Written by on December 19, 2015 in Contractor education, Interior Products with 5 Comments
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Here is a quick look at 2 paint production mistakes that can spread through paint companies in a subtle way, leaving owners wondering why profits were low, in spite of selling high estimates.


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Inject Some Power into the Program

Failure to implement power tools to eliminate manual labor is by far the number one production mistake we see - painters using sanding sponges to prep walls and trim (interior and exterior) instead of power tools. While we don't really care which brand of tools you prefer or can afford, it is most important to understand that it's not 1980 anymore. Investing in professional level equipment and learning how to use it is the fast track to efficient results and better numbers. To be clear, if you are stuck in the "manual labor trap", your estimating surely reflects that...and your painters use up all the time (and more) that you estimate for labor on jobs. The top categories to look at in your company are surface prep and finish application. If there is too much time being spent hand sanding and cleaning up the mess, look at power sanders and dust extractors. If the time suck is brushing and rolling, implement spraying on a larger scale. Of course, training your employees and getting their "buy in" is key.

Change the Way You Work

If you hadn't noticed, paint products have changed in the past decade. The paints started changing first, and then the applicators, fillers, abrasives and everything else had to follow suit to work with the new generation of products. We still scratch our heads over painters who complain about primers not being sand-able, when the problem is more likely the abrasive they are using. Or complaints about adhesion when the prep and application were all wrong. Bottom line here is that product will always drive process in painting. Today's paint products are geared for faster turn around than your painters may be used to. If painters try to use new products the way they used old ones, the experience and the results won't be what you want. It's bad for morale, and creates even more resistance to change. Oil trim paints and china bristle brushes were great, but so were horses and buggies in the years before the automobile. Build better field leaders in your company. Learn more at #trainthetrainer...

Where Do We Go From Here in 2016?

2015 took us to Boston, NYC, Dallas, Chicago, Connecticut and lots of other cool places for paint industry education. The New Year will find us in many new areas, and one of the biggest will be the PDCA Expo in New Orleans. Here's what that looks like, courtesy of the PDCA Website:The Painting and Decorating EXPO will be a four-day event filled with educational lectures, trainings as well as a trade show to wrap up the event. The EXPO will provide contractors with the proper tools necessary in order to excel in the industry. The Painting and Decorating EXPO is a great opportunity to network within the event. The EXPO will also feature a tradeshow highlighting the latest products and services in the industry. The Painting and Decorating EXPO as well as the trade show will give you the opportunity to network with peers from all over the country. For further information feel free to visit us online at or give us call at (800) 332-7322. Come and meet up with us on the road to raising the bar for the paint industry!

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Scott Burt

Scott Burt is a contractor and freelance writer whose column "From the Field" has appeared in American Painting Contractor magazine ( 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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  1. Basic Psychology of Low Grit Sanding : Topcoat Review | December 27, 2015
  1. Ted Brackett says:

    I just watched your JLC video, “tips on how to clean & maintain paintbrushes”. It is absolutely ridiculous that this job is still being done by hand. I was a painting contractor for many years and have developed the world’s first cleaning system for any paintbrush. It is The Brushmate, it is a professional paintbrush cleaning power tool, and will THOROUGHLY clean any paintbrush from the very tips of the bristle, to deep within the heel, IN 90 SECONDS!

    I am currently seeking investor participation to go into production of this amazing product. It has been bench and market tested over the years and a number of mature designs and prototypes have been made. This opportunity is for the US painting contractor markets and the homeowner/DIY markets.

    Serious inquiries only, please contact me to receive the executive summary which outlines the entire opportunity, with video links to see how it works.

    If you want to change the way an entire industry works, contact me at:

    Ted Brackett
    Seraphim Enterprises

  2. Nice end of year wrap up. Thanks Scott and Todd

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