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Spray Paint Experts: Discovering the Three Main Characteristics of a Skilled Decorator

Spray paint

It’s essential to spray paint, to know how to spray paint effectively, and to make money as a decorator from spray painting. But, I suppose that is easy to say as a training academy offering spray paint courses.

So, I want to be honest. We’ve been guilty over the last several years of heavily pushing the first 2 points claiming the last will fall into place because 99% of the time, it will. But we realise there’s more that can be done because just having the spray skills isn’t always enough. To make money from spraying, and I mean a lot of money from spraying, you need to know more about being in business than just decorating.


Three main characteristics of a business owner.

I have a book on my shelf, one I highly recommend. E-myth revisited. In it, the author, Michael Gerber, breaks down the three characteristics needed to run an effective business. The technician, the manager, and the entrepreneur. Over the years of growing PaintTech Training Academy, we’ve discovered just how important these three characters are, and through growth, we’ve been able to bring on certain people to fill these roles. PaintTech is now bigger and stronger than it’s ever been. But knowing what it’s like to be a small business owner/decorator, I realise you don’t have the same advantage as we do now, and you (yourself) need to meet all roles.


Decorators are technicians by default.

You probably became self-employed or run a small business as a side effect of wanting to become a decorator. You knew you were good at painting, and you knew you could make some money from it. You probably got started with little start-up costs. You were effectively a technician, a craftsperson. Not a manager and certainly not an entrepreneur. But by default, you’ve needed to become all three, you might just not know it.

Spray paint

You’re now a manager.

Since being self-employed, you’ve been made to submit tax returns by saving your receipts, keeping a note of your invoices and even trying to work out the digitalisation of the HMRC. Not what you first expected. And for those who are more experienced, you might have even had to employ or at least bring on other freelancers to manage. You’ve also needed to take training and buy more expensive equipment. You’re now an untrained manager who’s unknowingly winging it.


Growing as an entrepreneur.

You’re a skilled technician, a manager by default, but now you have to decide whether to become an entrepreneur and grow your business (you’ve just never seen it this way before). Any of the above roles can grow a business, all it needs is a consistent flow of customers, but to grow effectively, to grow with purpose, and in the right direction requires an entrepreneurial vision. This role is so far apart from being a technician; it’s also a skill set that could be shared amongst any business. It’s something us technicians need to be trained in. So, both this role and that of a manager is something, if not skilled at, should be either outsourced, given to employees, or trained upon. Training is the better option for decorators who want to grow steadily alone or with only a few employees. It’s the more manageable way.


Project management.

Going back to my opening comment. It’s easy for us to push spray paint courses. We’ve been running these courses for years, upskilling the decorators to be even better technicians. But, as a respectable training organisation for the construction sector, we need to consider the bigger picture. We need to help decorators see themselves as managers and entrepreneurs. It’s our job to help decorators learn how they can make much more money by managing their projects from quoting to completion. We also need to make sure decorators can learn such things without cost. It’s why we’ve created three essential courses that are entirely CITB funded.


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Estimating for Painting & Decorating

Our estimating for painting & decorating course has been created to help decorators learn how to quote jobs effectively. I’ve all been there, after a quick look around the house you’re making a pot-shot quotes that you think will give some profit on top. Maybe you considered a day rate or square meterage rate. Perhaps you just lowballed to get the job across the line. We are in desperate times. But by the end of the project you’re 4 days over and have a snag list for things you didn’t even create.


This course assumes no previous knowledge of pricing and will build up your knowledge by looking at some common pitfalls decorators fall into when pricing their work.


Project Management in Construction

These two courses are brand new at the time of writing this, so there’s a real buzz around the centre to be delivering these. The fact that they are also CITB funded is unbelievable value for decorators who can spray paint. You don’t need to have completed the estimating course to take the introduction course. Though, we advise you to take the Project Management in Construction Introduction course before taking the Intermediate course. In these courses, we’ll introduce the basic concepts and practices around running small to medium size projects.

As a skilled decorator, it’s easy to think you are experienced at project managing jobs; you’ve been doing it for years. But I challenge you to consider your role. You’re a skilled painter, a trained spray painter. If you consider my above example in the E-myth book, you’re a technician. An excellent technician. This course allows you to plan from a manager’s perspective, enabling you to see things differently.

The course walks you through a tried and tested system, introducing you to essential documentation, tools and structures for running a project. You will learn the importance of setting clear project goals and objectives with clients, plus how to structure your projects to meet the agreed time scales and costings. You leave the course with a project structure in a box.

In addition to developing your managing skills, we’ll introduce you to your entrepreneur side by making you think about how these skills can enhance your business reputation, leading to future referrals.

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