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“Mommy was on her Blackberry” !

Posted by Administrator on Oct 7, 2009 in Uncategorized

"Mommy was on her cell phone" !
When I came across this picture I just had to add my two cents. This portrait of little children “getting into the latex goes on everyday across the nation and around the world. Sure their “having a blast”, from the looks on their faces!” But one has to ask themselves, ” where was the adult supervision? And also who in their right mind would leave an open can of paint around youngsters? Not only is the room “trashed” what about the thought of the kids ingesting the harmful product? No doubt the furniture and floor will never be the same and mom and dad have their work cut out for them cleaning this mess up!
The bottom line for this caption is “Kids and paint don’t mix” !

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1

“My husband is going to paint the house”!

Posted by Administrator on Sep 23, 2009 in Uncategorized

"My husband is going to paint the house"!
“I guess we should have HIRED A CONTRACTOR”!

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4

I told her “not to paint the vinyl columns”!

Posted by Administrator on Sep 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

I told her "don't paint the vinyl columns"!. While erecting 2 front porches in Farmington, Connecticut this past month a customer insisted on painting the white vinyl columns green with a second rate latex paint. I tried to persuade her that it wasn’t a good idea due to possible adhesion problems. Or at least wait until they were installed.

Sure enough the columns peeled and blistered as the construction continued. Now what an unsightly mess we had on our hands. The paint did not cure properly and now the columns need a lot of sanding to feather the damaged areas.

These columns were 125 dollars each and trying to persuade a customer not to do something doesn’t always work in a contractors favor. Fortunate for myself I was not the painter on this job and was not liable for the damage.

The painter prepared the columns with denatured alcohol which was recommended by the paint salesman. Whether this did more harm than good is the question. After inquiring about the proper application and methods to properly paint vinyl, it was suggested that a primer should have been used. It was also suggested that sanding the bad spots and repainting them would not do them any justice. In order for the columns to look mint, a power washing of all the paint would be necessary. A reapplication of a quality latex paint after the washing was the only way to make them look great.

It was unfortunate to encounter this problem especially when it was evident even before it started. After spending thousands of dollars on materials and constructing the porches to the proper specs the whole way, the paint job is always a reflection of a contractors work.

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4

Craigslist for better or worse

Posted by Administrator on Jun 20, 2009 in Craigslist for better or worse

Craigslist

Craigslist

As a frequent advertiser under the “skilled trade” section of Craigslist I am under the following impression of it’s readers. Craigslist is a great free advertising site for just about everything. It has a following that tops all in the services that are offered. Its geographical boundaries are phenomenal.
Most of the postings are indeed legitimate in nature and benefit many who seek certain items and services.
As a skilled contractor however it is disturbing to constantly be under the impression that you will work for practically nothing. Craigslist shoppers should understand that there are many highly qualified contractors who have vast amounts of experience and talent. They should also understand that the prices of materials, labor, and transportation equate into the final estimate. Getting the cheapest price is not always a good rule of thumb for the consumer, and one should be very leery of this. Does the consumer dictate the price at the gas pump, the grocery store? No of course not.
Gas and grocery prices are what they are and the consumer pays for them at the checkout counter. They do not ask for a lower fuel or grocery bill. How is it then that tradesman and qualified technicians be treated any different?
Craigslist shoppers should respect the contractors pricing or do the job themselves!
This being said, “you get what you pay for”.

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2

Painting Contractors Punchlist Pressure

Posted by Administrator on Jun 18, 2009 in Uncategorized

Punchlist Pressure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Punchlist Pressure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Every experienced contractor whether a painting , building, electric, or plumbing knows the feeling when the job is coming to an end. There are a lot of loose ends to tie up. A lot of little things that need to be done to get the final payment. These “little things” where not over looked they were put on the back burner while the bigger more important items were dealt with.
From a painting contractors stand point touchups are quite common, as well as skipped nail holes, sagging caulking, over spray etc. The customer is quite keen on what needs to be rectified before they issue the final payment. Often the customer will have several other people look over the job to get various opinions. Recently I experienced comments from other individuals on a job and the punchlist “fix it” list required me to remidy the previous contractors errors.
These prior errors where not in my contract to remedy and were pointed out near the tail end of the job. Although small things were noted it dawned on me to fix or to disagree and try to get more money. Rather than haggle over who’s mistakes they really were and end the job on a sour note, I proceeded to repair the prior contractors mistakes and gained a happy customer in the end. Sometimes contractors have to swallow their pride and just go along with the customers demands.

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1

Cold Pizza Painting Party – invite with caution!

Posted by Administrator on Mar 16, 2009 in cold pizza painting party

Cold Pizza

Cold Pizza

You finally got every one together to paint your 3 bedroom condo and the date has finally arrived. This should not take long. A couple of 5 gallon pails of flat off white paint will do. A couple of packages of inexpensive brushes and roller sleeves that leave fuzz on the wall will be good enough. Old chairs and stools will suffice as step ladders. Worn out sheets will now become used as drop cloths. A couple of new spackle knives and your ready to go. Now comes the moment of truth, who can really paint well and who cannot and is just there for the pizza party!

You soon learn very early on who “got it” and “who doesn’t”. Paint on the carpet, door knobs, glass, and paint all over themselves is a tell tale sign of those who don’t. They must have the lunchtime pizza on their mind. So you try to figure out a way of politely of taking them off of their duties and handing them the masking tape for the duration of the day. To your demise they would rather continue painting!

Be nice but firm insisting that this is your domicile and you really don’t want to spend several hours with razor blades, soapy water, and Goof Off cleaning up their mess. Trying to interest them in another task may be difficult but some gentle persuasion should do the trick.

If they are reluctant tell them the others are starting to get hungry and send them to “pick up the pies” a few towns over. By the time they get back the pizza will be cold but in the long run it will be worth it.

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0

“Honey I just fired the painters”

Posted by Administrator on Mar 16, 2009 in honey I just fired the painters"

Honey I just Fired the Painters!

Honey I just Fired the Painters!

So you saw a home made paint contractors sign down at the end of the block and decided to call. The job that they were doing on the exterior of the house looked good from a distance. There were drop cloths not all canvas but bed spreads as well along with some old wood ladders and some twisted metal steps. Their vehicle parked in front of the house looked like it should have been retired long ago. Without actually going up to see the job at close range, or researching their references you gave them a shot as well as a third down.

On the first day they set up the ladders carelessly against the gutters leaving a few dings and dents in them. Not to mention stepping on the tulips you just planted. The painters return after a lengthy lunch break to start scraping with the paint chips decoratively filling your garden bed. Now its time to power wash with a garden hose on the front porch roof where the owner slips and falls on the wet shingles.

Later that evening you receive several phone calls from neighbors asking you what all the commotion is at your house. The paint crew arrives for a second day and starts to paint the house with oil base instead of latex as agreed upon, not to mention that the color is way off. After mentioning this to the contractor he agrees and begins to clean his oil brushes with water.

As the contractor heads out to the paint store he leaves the rest of the crew to paint the shutters while they are still attached to the house. “Honey I just fired the painters”.

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“A glass of water please” the ideal customer from a contractors eye

Posted by Administrator on Mar 4, 2009 in A glass of water please

A glass of water please

A glass of water please

Not every customer is the same in regards to their generosity. Enough has been written on the pros and cons of the professional contractor. But what about the pros and cons of the customer the contractor is working for? Although it is best to maintain a professional relationship during the coarse of the job between the two parties offering drink or food to the contractor doesn’t hurt.

Unless of coarse the job is turning into a disaster. From the contractors stand point there is know doubt that they will perform their duties better when the conditions that surround them are comfortable.
Does the customer need a few pieces of furniture moved around at the end of the job? What about hanging up that new light fixture? These two examples were not included in the contract. However if one treated the contractor and helpers with generosity the contractor will be more than happy to do a couple of “freebies”.

The ideal customer doesn’t get upset when everything is not going according to plan. Yet with proper communication understands that not all jobs proceed as well as others. The customer should give the contractor the benefit of the doubt. Ninety five percent of the time the situation is rectified and there was no need for all the stress.

The check is good is one of the best endings to the job besides customer satisfaction. There is nothing more aggravating to the contractor than having to worry about money. These are just a few examples of the ideal customer from a contractors standpoint.

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Contractor / Customer Win – Win Situation

Posted by Administrator on Mar 4, 2009 in Win / Win situation

Win Win Situation!

Win Win Situation!

From a contractors stand point he or she must feel comfortable with the home owner(s) before entering into a contract before making the necessary improvements. This being said the homeowner(s) must know exactly what they want and the procedure that is going to get them to the final result of their project. Homeowner(s) do not like to be surprised in the way of unexpected disruptions to their environment. Furniture and pictures must come down or be covered up. Computers and tvs must be undone etc. Basically the room under improvement is going to be totally in disarray for a certain time period. It is up to the contractor to note this disruption to the homeowner(s) prior to commencement of the project.

As a home owner they must expect a certain amount of disruption to their living quarters so that the improvement will be done in the most professional way. For an entire room to be painted furniture no matter how large or small must be moved away from the walls. Cords, wires, and draperies etc. must come down until the project is complete. This is an uncomfortable situation to the homeowner(s) but it surely provides the contractor to perform the work professionally.

“DUST” can be a major challenge to both the contractor and homeowner(s). Where the contractor has patched and taped a hole or structural crack requires sanding. If the room contents are not well covered as well as entry ways into other rooms, there will be a “Dust Storm” that is time consuming for the contractor to clean up and a unprofessional situation that it happened in the first place. The homeowner(s) should make sure that the contractor takes every necessary precaution to protect the homeowners valuables from start to finish.

Getting the cheapest price by the homeowner is usually not a wise decision. The old adage “you get what you pay for” is true. If a contractor feels he or she is not getting the money they deserve they will cut corners on their workmanship and materials. Using a better grade of paints and materials should be spelled out in the beginning. This assure that the contractor does not use commercial grade paint when the homeowner(s) expect name brand quality.

Daniel Rowe owner of Rowes Painting and Carpentry Sayreville, NJ

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A customer with “Color Confusion” a loss of time and money for the contractor

Posted by Administrator on Mar 4, 2009 in Customers with color confusion

Color Confusion

Color Confusion

A customer with COLOR CONFUSION can be a roadblock to the painting contractor from securing the job, let alone completing it. Some people have no idea of selecting colors and this can be an aggravation to the contractor. Especially when a customer finally decides on the color choices. The contractor drives to the store to put in his or her order for the custom colors, which I might add are NON-RETURNABLE.

At last the contractor finally applies the color to the walls, ceiling, etc. only to the dismay of the customer who “thought the color would look different”. The contractor has just wasted valuable time and materials by not communicating effectively with the customer prior to the colors application.

The contractor could have avoided this awkward situation in several ways. First if the contractor for sees Color Confusion on the behalf of his or her customer it is up to him to paint only a sample wall or ceiling, let it dry and let the customer “sleep on it”. This saves time for the contractor not painting the entire room to the dissatisfaction of the customer. It also saves money in that the contractor only purchased a quart of non-returnable paint as opposed to 5-10 gallons which will probably never be used.

Secondly the contractor can cover him or herself by stipulating in the contract prior to the commencement of work, that any changes in color after the customers selection will be an addition to the total price. With this being said, when a contractor has a customer with Color Confusion paint only a sample large enough to give a general impression. State that the color will dry a shade darker, and look different as natural light gives it different casts during the day. Let the customer “sleep on it” because the next day they might have changed their mind again!

Daniel Rowe owner of Rowes Painting and Carpentry Sayreville, NJ

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