Big Job, Big Payoff? 5 Steps to Better Planning for Large Paint Jobs Reply

Frank turned the job down. Flat out didn’t want it. No bid, no thanks. His office manager wondered why and Frank was quick with a response: “More money doesn’t mean more money.” The office manager didn’t understand, so Frank explained, “Just because a job pays more money doesn’t meant it’s right for us. I’d run circles around myself planning for that job and it still wouldn’t be very profitable. Just too many details to manage and I’m not interested. I’d rather go with what I know.”

And that was the end of the conversation about why Frank’s paint company turned down a big paint job just outside of town. But his office manager still wondered why the company wouldn’t be interested in such a big project. What she didn’t know was that Frank had been through this before long ago and had since decided that planning for large paint jobs simply wasn’t his forte.

indoor large industrial paint job

Large paint jobs require complex planning.
Image courtesy of Vanessa Kauffman.

Its one thing to paint a few bedrooms or give a truck a new coat of paint. All things considered, that kind of work is relatively simple to plan for and simple to execute. You can calculate how much paint is needed using a standard formula and completing the job entails a little planning, a little work, and collecting payment.

But what about larger jobs? What about jobs that span days or even weeks and require lots of workers to complete? This type of job is as much about logistics as it is about actual paintwork. Frank may have been more willing to take that large paint job if he knew how to properly plan for something so large-scale. Even if you’ve never taken on a larger paint job before, the opportunity can still be within your reach if you take the time to prepare. Here are five details to keep in mind when planning for larger jobs that should help your team maximize profit while saving time.

  1. Time in transit.  Losing productive time to travel can make a good job suddenly unprofitable. From a trip to the paint store to buy more paint to a job so far out of town that workers incur outsized expenses getting to and from work, do not underestimate the time and expense of extensive travel associated with a job. Make sure that your bid includes commuting charges or has padded extra travel expense into the final cost.
  2. Actual job materials.  Most professional painters focus on the cost of paint when bidding on a job and forget that rollers and drop clothes bring additional expense that can materially impact total cost. When planning for a large project, take care to account for any extra materials that will help your team work at an optimal level. For example, if your team of four painters is painting the inside of a large home, make sure there are enough sprayers, rollers, and drop cloths for all four to be working at the same time.
  3. Payment terms.  Most smaller paint jobs are performed with an agreement that when the work is finished your company will be paid. Larger jobs for larger organizations often include purchase orders and work orders and, unfortunately, extended payment terms. In your planning for a large paint job make sure that you have accounted for any delays or interruptions in your cash flow cycle so that employees and vendors aren’t left wondering when you will pay your bills.
  4. Pieces and parts.  In many cases, a large paint job may seem expansive to the painter but is only one small part of the paint work a client actually needs. During the planning phase, be proactive in engaging the client about what near-term paint needs they might have. It is less expensive for your crew to perform all the work at once and those are savings that can be passed on to the client. More importantly, don’t fall into a trap of coming and going without compensation to perform another small piece of the job; perform as much work as possible in the context of a single job opportunity.
  5. Proper staffing.  Larger paint jobs can certainly be accomplished by smaller crews of professional painters. At the same time, however, there are economies of scale available to you if you can bring enough workers along to finish the job at a high level of quality in a shorter amount of time. While it may not seem like much, getting the job done well an moving on to the next piece of work is much better for your team then lagging over the same work for days or weeks on end.

Large paint jobs can be great for a paint company. They fill the pipeline with activity, enhance your reputation and brand, and provide the opportunity for your team to work in one location for an extended period instead of racing around town from one job site to the next. That said, there are risks and pitfalls to large jobs that are often overlooked by paint professionals, which can leave you avoiding large jobs in the future like Frank. But if you keep the challenges above in mind, you should be well on your way to ensuring that your large paint jobs are profitable, brand-building endeavors, rather than drains on your time and money. Click here to learn more tips and tools for professional painting!

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