Does Spraying Make Sense?
How it all started for me and the questions I needed answers to:
- Where do you get an airless sprayer from and which one do I buy?
- Who will give me quality instruction on how to spray?
- Have I got the confidence to take the plunge in offering a spray service to my existing and new customers?
- Are Youtube or similar help videos going to be the best way to learn?
- Are there any other decorators in my area who would consider learning together and supporting each other?
- What about all the negative feedback from other decorators; will I be put off going down the spraying route?
- What about all that masking?
- Is there training available near to where I live?
- Are there customers out there who would want a spray finish?
- Do I just stick to what I know best and use brush and rollers like every other decorator?
Well these were just a few of the questions that have been whirling about in my head for a couple of years!
My local Dulux Decorator Centre were trying to promote spraying and for us decorators to buy a starter kit. Graco airless spray machines were the ones they were promoting but they were around £2000 and this was putting me off. It was a big chunk of money to find and getting my wife to agree was just another hurdle as she says I am always buying gear!!
Funnily enough it wasn’t a fellow decorator that convinced me buy a sprayer; it was a builder who convinced me.. I mentioned to him that I was getting a lot of private new build work from existing customers and mentioned about spraying them. He simply said, “Will it make your life easier? Will it make a better job? – YES I said so he replied – “Well get it then! Us builders and joiners think nothing of buying thousands of pounds on equipment to speed up and do a better job and you are whittling on about 2 grand, its an investment so go and get one Bev”.
That was all I needed to hear.
Two weeks later I bought a Graco St max 490 and absolutely love the little machine. The added bonus on buying a machine from Graco was that a rep would show me how to set it up and spray on a job. About a month after buying the machine the rep came out to a job I was working on and we sprayed a room together – I found it was easier than I thought… He left me to finish off the whole 4 bedroom house by myself and this is how it all started.
From there I have sprayed numerous new houses or new extensions and got quicker at setting up and setting down. Masking is a challenge but with practise I have got quicker. Most of the time I spray new plaster with contract first then hit it with my Mirka sander and take out the blemishes for a super smooth surface because what’s the point of giving a nice spray finish if the plaster is poor. Then I finish with the vinyl matt. I am now getting calls from new customers that have heard I offer a super smooth spray finish and they book me for their new houses that are being built.
So most of my spraying experience is through trial and error, but I knew I needed more support and training. I had seen that Dulux offered spraying courses but going down to Slough was a bit of a Trek for me. Then on Twitter I saw that someone I followed was offering a book called the Guide to Airless Spraying. I figured I could do with reading a book on spraying so I asked Mr Fast and Flawless Pete Wilkinson if he could send me a copy. I enjoyed reading it as it was clear, informative and a very honest book.
I then noticed on Twitter that Pete and PaintTech Training Academy were doing spraying courses in Preston – this was what I was waiting for and jumped at the chance to go to Preston, so a few months ago I did the Introduction to Spraying Course.
From there I took my son to the Academy with me and we had a fantastic day. We all just gelled together as a team with the other 3 decorators who had similar decorating experience. Pete was great at explaining and demonstrating throughout the course and my son felt totally included, valued and it has definitely helped him. I will be getting him a new sprayer.
Where do I go now?
Next I want to learn how to spray wood trim, use the correct size tips and learn new techniques on the Advanced Trim Course that PaintTech Training Academy are running in Preston. The Facebook group Ian Crump set up a few years ago called Spraying Makes Sense is a really helpful tool and full of like minded decorators looking for the same answers as me with varying levels of experience BUT the exclusive Facebook Support Group for all those who have been on one of the PaintTech offers personal support from Pete Wilkinson and Ian Crump. We are not alone! It’s a great place for questions and answers without feel stupid asking for help or something you are not sure of, be-it any aspect of spraying.
We would love to meet more guys who have the same passion for learning how to spray better and just support and encourage each other in our trade. A brotherhood where we can just be ourselves, to pass on knowledge and promote better practices, whether we are a one man band or a bigger decorating firm. There is plenty of work out there crying out for a top quality spray finish and we can all take it on.
I want to encourage more decorators out there to give spraying a go! If you think that your days of learning new skills is over, then think again.. I am 56 and still eager to learn but I also want to invest in my business and keep up with this ever changing trade. I want to equip our apprentices with spraying or, if you are like me have a son in the business so he can carry on and take over the business one day! He will thank you when your retirement sadly comes around and appreciate that you invested in him and taught him the art of spraying.
So, if you are asking me – Does #SprayingMakeSense? Yes it sure does; just do it!!!!
Written by Bev Reid Painter & Decorator
Go to PaintTechTrainingAcademy.co.uk to see the courses that PaintTech have, too see available dates at Preston, Lancashire or Edenbridge, Kent or to book.