Juggling in the Rain

We’ve all been there:  You have an exterior job scheduled to begin Monday, but the forecast is calling for rain Tuesday and Wednesday.  Your crew can get the house power-washed, but things might not dry out enough for painting until Friday.  Now what?! Scheduling problems are more likely to happen on exterior jobs, and painters can’t take the day off because the weather doesn’t cooperate.  No one likes to start a job that can’t be finished, but when you wash a house or it rains, you need to allow time for the surface dry properly.  Otherwise, trapped moisture can result in huge bubbles in the paint as the sun draws the moisture out.  If you learn the art of juggling, you’ll be able to keep your crew busy in any weather. Educate your clients – Explain the stages of each job (prep, drying, painting, drying, etc.) and why some stages take longer than others.  Most clients prefer a job well-done to a rushed job.  Explain how weather affects the various stages of the project. Prioritize – When possible, prioritize exterior jobs for fair-weather days.  Consider offering a “Rainy Day Special” to clients with small jobs who are flexible with scheduling.  When your crew can’t work outside, you’ll have interior work lined up.  This will help keep your crews busy no matter what the weather does. Contingency Plan:  Training – Keep your crew active and engaged (or risk them looking elsewhere for work).  If you run out of interior one-day jobs or you just need to fill half a day, it’s a good opportunity to train your employees.  Have a...

Job Site Safety

The exterior painting season in New England is in full swing.  We are so eager to dig into all of this exterior work, but it’s important to make sure we aren’t sending our employees into the field unprepared.  We’re going to share a few easy safety measures that everyone on your team should take.  Here we go: Respirators – Just because you’re outside doesn’t mean you’ll breathe fresh air.  Respirators should be worn when sanding, spraying, and working with chemicals that produce fumes.  And if you suffer from outdoor allergies, a respirator will help protect you from all this pollen!  There are many options available; choose a respirator based on the hazards you and your crew are exposed to.  Do a respirator fit test to make sure everyone is good-to-go. Note:  Respirators may need to be replaced more than once a year.  Check them regularly! Ear protection – Again, being outside doesn’t mean that loud noises are less loud.  We sometimes forget the noise of our equipment, the radio, area traffic.  Continual exposure to loud noises can cause permanent damage to the ear drums.  Year from now, when you are retired and enjoying your favorite music or sporting event, you’ll appreciate that you can still hear it!  Wear ear protection every day. Safety Glasses – Now-a-days you can look cool in tinted safety glasses, which not only protect your eyes from flying debris, they also protect from the sun’s harmful rays. Note:  Don’t forget the sunscreen and protective clothing. Off-the-Ground Safety – When you get to a job site, locate the power lines around the house and make sure everyone is aware...

The Dirt on VOCs

Greener Choices VOCs – volatile organic compounds that evaporate at room temperature – are the chemicals in paints cause them to be durable and to provide good coverage.  VOCs are also the chemicals that give you headaches, make you feel dizzy, make you cough, and make your eyes burn.  Long-term exposure to these chemicals can cause cancer in humans and in animals.  VOC emissions contribute to the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It seems that the negative effects out-way the benefits of these chemicals.  The good news is that there are low-VOC options available which still perform well! When selecting a product, read the label – the VOC levels should be less than 250 grams/liter for latex paint and less than 380 grams/liter for oil paint.  Lower is better! Work in a well-ventilated space. Have your crew wear masks when they work to cut down on the VOCs they inhale. Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, and many other retail brands offer a variety of paints that are better for everyone concerned:  your crew, your clients, and our...