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Pros & cons of running a spray paint decorating business

decorating business

For most of you that read this, you are probably experienced decorators. Whether you’ve been running your decorating business for only a few years; or are more established, say 20 to 30 years in the game. We might even have some decorators reading this who, like me, have been painting for way longer than anyone would ever believe.  

But, however long you’ve been decorating, you’ve probably realised along the way that running a decorating business really isn’t as easy as you first thought it would be! We all get into this industry because we are creative, we love to make things look good, but soon realise there’s more to being self-employed or a business owner than you could have ever imagined. 

Firstly, you have to be the painter. That’s the obvious bit! But with that, you have to be onsite Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm, 6, 7, 8 or maybe even 9pm if the homeowner isn’t there just to get projects finished. Then you have to fit the time for marketing in between. Social media posts are a definite, maybe some blogging, shooting videos, sending text messages, and calling your warm leads. And then, on top of that, doing home or site visits to quote for upcoming work. It’s hard, nothing like the perception of sticking a name on Checkatrade, fielding a few calls and just turning up to paint. Don’t get me wrong, you could do that but that won’t grow your business. 

So why would we make your life even more difficult and convince you to try your hand at spraying?  

 

Well, simply because we know it will actually make life easier! 

There’s a common myth amongst want-to-be spray painters that spraying is hard and takes longer than traditional brush and roller. We’ve heard it before; even Trevor thought the same back in the day. Recently when Ian caught up with him for a chat to look back at his career over the last few years, Trevor mentioned how he bought a machine before even considering our courses; he gave it a go and got so fed up with spraying he put the machine back in the garage and went back to the good old brush and roller for another six months.  

 

You wouldn’t believe how many times we hear the same thing from decorators who do our training, if this is you too then don’t worry because it happens all the time. But when we break down who is struggling to spray, it’s always those that think they can do it by watching a few videos on YouTube rather than attending a course and learning in a training environment. We watch it all the time on Spraying Makes Sense; “you don’t need training, just go online and learn for free”! However, we know from experience and from talking to so many people that this actually adds to the cost, it adds to the frustration and actually adds to the number of people that give up and go back to how they have always done it! 

Breaking down the misconceptions around Spraying. 

With so many misconceptions about spraying, we decided to break some of the main ones down. We won’t focus on the technical aspects of spraying; we’ve done that before. Here, we will go over the pros and cons of running a spraying business and the misconceptions around it because this is often the part that decorators often struggle with. In Trevor’s interview, we realised that there was way more to spraying than just spraying, and that was how to manage a business, promoting spraying as part of your business and gaining the right customers are also a huge part of it.  

 

Cost – You have to use a bucket load more paint. 

Ok, the pun was intended in the above title. But we hear so often that a downside to spraying is that you use a lot more paint, and Trevor said just that in his video.

And do you know what? This can be the case, but it’s unusual. Once you understand the setup it can reduce the paint consumption massively. It’s all about the right combination of product v’s tip and the pressure you set the machine to. It’s overspray most of the time that causes the extra paint and that’s mostly down to the pressure being too high. But here again, the training is essential because we go through all this on the courses and explain it all to you in detail. There are so many lightbulb moments in the training, and this is just one of them that makes so much sense once it’s explained to you.  Spending a little bit of money on the right course now can save you a vast amount on materials in the future. 

 

Time – Spend less on labour. 

This is a big one; Labour. The make or break of any business and is often the biggest overhead. 

Most decorators do it alone, struggling well into the evening and over the weekends to do it all themselves. You can’t afford additional help because your prices aren’t set right, and there’s not enough profit in the project to even pay yourself a little bonus for the extra hours, let alone someone else. But at the same time, the project is bigger than you thought; you’re already three days past the intended completion date, and you still need to think about the snagging list. Ahh. 

Wouldn’t it be great if you had money in the project for a helping hand allowing you to complete projects quicker than you currently do? Something that’s not as costly as employing staff or subbies? Although once you start spraying you will end up taking on even bigger projects and will need them to grow more, but that’s a conversation for another time.. 

Well, (clears throat) try spraying. 

Spraying reduces your need to hire additional labour. It also allows you to charge more based on the improved result (but that’s for another blog as well). 

Spraying is like Bruce Waynes Bat Belt. No need for Robin or Cat Woman! 

With the speed of spraying, you can complete the job in less time, meaning your one-man band can start to compete with the bigger companies in your local area.  

 

We did mention it a bit a little earlier, but let’s say you do need to hire labour because now you could do with someone to do all the masking for you, or the time-consuming tasks like prep, leaving you free to spray?  It means you can get support in the less experienced areas, and you as the skilled sprayer can move onto the next job. This would be a really good way to maximise the use of your time, ultimately leading to an increase in your profits.” 

 

The bad – So what are the drawbacks? 

So, we’ve mentioned several positives that spraying brings to your business, but what about some negatives? Well, as far as we are concerned there aren’t any negatives really. But there are some major mind shifts that you need to make. Again, we’re highlighting these because Trevor mentioned some of them up in the video, and we’re sure others have thought the same. 

The biggest one is planning out your project. There’s no point denying that you’ve needed to run to the merchants at the last minute or halfway through the day for some materials. We’ve all been there. But spraying doesn’t always give you that option. You can’t just run to B&Q or Wickes for a new hose; everything needs to be ordered, so it’s essential to plan your projects accordingly and have backup equipment with you. But, the flip side of this is it does actually save you time. No more running to the shop and breaking your flow. This means what can be seen as a drawback is actually a positive way of working. 

 

Why run a decorating business that sprays? 

As Trevor highlighted, spraying becomes more than a job; when done right, it’s highly enjoyable and like Trevor, it can become your happy place. It takes work and is not easy, but if it were, everyone would be doing it. Trevor always knew there was something unique about spraying, something that would give him the edge, so even when he put the machine back in the garage and went another six months before trying, he never gave up. Trevor has by far been one of the most progressive decorators we’ve trained. His commitment to his business, to spraying, to being a better decorator has been massively rewarding to see. Not only is his business thriving but so is he as a person, he is so much more comfortable and confident in everything he does, from the spraying to dealing with customers. Because he understands spraying, he is confident with it, and that comes across in all communication with his customers. 

Looking closer to home, it was the same for Ian. Who also threw his sprayer in the skip out of frustration in the early days. But like Trevor, he knew he needed to find a way to make it work.  And that’s why years later we started PaintTech Training Academy, to ensure that decorators could access training that would help them to find the best forward with spraying, and to try and ensure we can mitigate any pitfalls before they even happen. Petes vision was to make sure that training didn’t just end with the course, he knew that there needed to be support afterwards too. We know that the courses are only the start of the journey, not the end. 

Courses 

PaintTech Training Academy courses, aren’t designed to just teach spraying. They have been created to ensure you have the systems in place to hit the ground running and then develop yourself, with those skills. To date, we have trained thousands of tradespeople to spray paint, apply plaster and deliver other services like paper hanging and worktop refurbishments – all with a growth structure. If you want to know more, please speak to a team member. 

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