An oft-overlooked aspect of being a professional painter is the amount of time on the job that involves something other than painting. Whether it’s time spent setting up scaffolding or time folding drop cloths, a significant amount of time in professional painting is spent doing something besides actually painting. When pricing a job, it is important to properly evaluate both the financial and practical ramifications of time not spent painting. Be reminded to absolutely account for the other work involved in the job when putting together a bid or proposal, or you face the prospect of losing money and damaging your reputation.
As we’ve discussed before, it is essential to see a job all the way to its conclusion. That means a final evaluation of the work after the paint has dried. In some cases it is acceptable to return at a later date and inspect the work, but many times you must remain on-site until the paint has completely dried and cured. Planning accordingly is important for a variety of reasons. Without understanding how drying time effects your work and your ability to move on to the next job, you run the risk of having an unprofitable paint business instead of a thriving enterprise.
Here are 5 ways drying time effects you as a professional painter.
- Time is money – The first item on the list is the most critical. Failing to account for drying time can impact your ability to move on to another job. For example, budgeting ten hours for a job when, with drying time, it actually will take 14 hours split over two days can be a financial disaster for your organization. Allocating resources (including yourself) for the right amount of time and in the right places is key to running any profitable service organization, including a paint company.
- Don’t Keep Them Waiting – If you need to stay at a job site until paint is dry so you can test sheen, thickness or gloss, then you need to make sure and schedule your time accordingly in consideration not only of your current client, but your next client as well. Having another job waiting while you are waiting on paint to dry can frustrate your next customer just as running off before the curing is complete can frustrate your current customer. Make sure you don’t schedule the next job to begin a few minutes after the last brush stroke has happened on the current job. Instead, build in plenty of buffer to give both jobs the proper amount of attention.
- Not all paint is created equal – Water-based paint will dry quicker than most acrylics and oil-based paints. Measuring or testing any thickness, sheen, or color of a finished paint job should all take place after the paint is completely dry. Make sure you know the expected drying time for the paint you are using so you can plan accordingly. If not, you could end up delivering inaccurate test results to your client, leading to confusion and more work for yourself.
- What does the weatherman say? – A surprising number of professional painters don’t account for changing moisture conditions in their paint planning. Bad weather is one thing, but working in a dry-dock or while the tide is coming in and not properly planning for the coating to dry completely on the substrate is sloppy and unprofessional. Watching a fresh coat of paint ruin when it isn’t dry in time due to conditions you could have planned for is a costly mistake.
- One step at a time – Some primer works best if paint is applied on top of it while it is still a little wet. Some paint won’t adhere to an undercoat that isn’t completely dry. Planning efficiently is important, but using your materials the way the factory intended can be the difference between a great looking job and one that peels and blisters.
It is likely that you had never considered the practical ramifications of drying time aside from telling clients how long they should keep from touching the walls or sitting on benches. But as you can see in the examples above, drying time can greatly affect the quality of your work and the financial bottom line for your organization. It may seem simple, but not properly accounting for the real time involved in a paint job can lead to unhappy customers and an unprofitable business. For more tips and suggestions for making sure every job turns out great, sign up to receive our newsletter!