Earl’s paint team includes two other people. Earl paints all trims and moldings, both inside and out. His nephew John cleans and primes all surfaces. Keith tapes off edges while John is priming, and then follows behind with the sprayer or roller to paint the walls.
Adrian’s paint team also includes three people, but they work in a different manner. Each member goes to a different room in the client’s house and begins taping off edges. Then they prime the paint surface. Once the primer is ready, each team member begins painting the walls. Then, when the walls have been completely painted, each individual begins working on the trim in the room.
Earl’s team can finish panting an entire house in a day or two. His team’s system works well because each person is working in concert with the other two at all times, leading to efficiency in the team’s paint work. No one is standing around waiting for paint to dry. No one is putting down their paint brush to tape off the next room. Adrian’s paint team is woefully inefficient. Instead of working together, each team member goes it alone, making incremental progress along the way. Adrian’s team takes twice as long to paint a house as Earl’s team, and as a result, Earl can charge a more aggressive price and book twice as much work for his crew.
Does your paint team work in harmony, complementing the efforts of each member? Or is your team made up of independent operators working near each other, but not really together?
Putting Together an Efficient Team
The most important thing to remember when building your paint team is to find people with skill-sets that are useful in tandem with the other team members. For example, if you run an automotive paint business, it makes little sense to employ two painters for the paint room and no painters skilled at air-brush finish work. If you have an interior home painting business, make sure that someone on your team is great at painting trim and molding, while someone else is expert at using a roller without wasting paint. This isn’t to mean that multiple painters won’t perform the same task. In fact, your team will be strongest if everyone knows how to do a little bit of everything. That said, the best way to work efficiently is to minimize the amount of time any one painter is standing around waiting for his or her turn to work. In many cases painters are paid by the hour and not by the job. As a result, any time wasted waiting to work is costing you money.
Benefits of Better Teamwork
Better teamwork means that jobs won’t take as long, which can lead to considerable financial gain for your company. You won’t waste money paying employees waiting to work. Your jobs can be completed more quickly, meaning you can book more of them. And, perhaps most importantly, the quality of the finished paint work will be improved. Allowing painters to focus on performing a specific task or set of tasks well means that the quality of their work will increase. Repetition is the quickest path to excellence and organizing your team in a way that develops individual, complementary skills in each member will improve the overall quality of work for the entire team.
Rotate the Roles
At the same time, be cautious to not have any specific task be the domain of a single individual. If Jesse is the only painter that knows how to operate the sprayer, then the entire operation slows down (or closes completely) when Jesse misses work or goes on vacation. Try to find a way for each crew member to get some experience with two or three different roles besides their area of specialization, so that you always have expert-level coverage for each part of the job, regardless of who is at the job site.
One of the keys to a successful paint business is having paint crew skills that allow for efficient, organized, and high quality workmanship. Putting together a team that works well together isn’t difficult, so long as you understand the results you’re after and the benefits they’ll bring. Look for painters with different skill sets and then develop them. Match team members that can learn from each other. Mostly, keep in mind that an organized and efficient paint crew is a competitive advantage and will improve your bottom-line. Click here to learn more about owning and operating a paint business!