Lynn Jackson – The Blogging Painters http://bloggingpainters.com The Online Resource for the Painting Industry Sun, 11 Jun 2017 18:14:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 24038750 Understanding Project Manuals http://bloggingpainters.com/understanding-project-manuals/ http://bloggingpainters.com/understanding-project-manuals/#comments Sat, 26 Nov 2016 17:11:23 +0000 http://bloggingpainters.com/?p=11807 Project Manuals are the other tool that is provided, along with blueprints, to enable us to assemble an accurate bid. Whether you are bidding to general contractors or directly to the owner of a project, often you will be provided with an FTP site link where you can download the “Plans and Specs”. Once you […]

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Lynn Jackson

Lynn Jackson began his painting career over twenty years ago under the watchful eye of a master painter. After many years of learning and perfecting his trade, working both on his own and for contractors, he finally settled in Northern California. Lynn continued to paint, while also earning a Master’s degree from a California State University.

In 1985 he took a position running a newly formed painting company for Hignell & Hignell, Inc. With a C33 painting contractor’s license in hand, he set about growing that company into one of the largest and most profitable painting operations in the area.

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Project Manuals are the other tool that is provided, along with blueprints, to enable us to assemble an accurate bid. Whether you are bidding to general contractors or directly to the owner of a project, often you will be provided with an FTP site link where you can download the “Plans and Specs”.

Once you have these “Bid Documents”, you can either print them or import them into your estimating program, such as On-Screen Takeoff, eTakeoff, or a number of free programs that you can access from certain sites such as iSqFt or BXWA .

Format and Structure

Commonly known as spec books, project manuals (along with the blueprints), are your road maps to many of the projects you will be bidding. They are intended to tell you exactly what the owner and the architect want you to do, how to do it, and when to do it.

csiVirtually all spec books follow a standardized format which has been determined by the Construction Specification Institute. Although each one may vary to some degree with regards to layout and content.

General information and requirements referred to as the Contract Documents are included, as well as instructions (specifications) for each trade. Each of these sections has been assigned a “division” number, normally ranging from Division 01 to Division 33 or higher. Sometimes, you will see the contract documents designated as Division 00.

Sections

Each division is comprised of several sections. Each section is further subdivided into parts and their subsections. Every section addresses a specific trade or function of the project. For our purposes, the areas of a project manual that will contain the majority of the information relative to painting are divisions 00, 01, and 05 through 09. This is not to say you do not need to pay attention to the other divisions as an architect may include information within any one of them that could possibly impact your bid. Items typically covered in Division 00 (Contract Requirements) are as follows:

• Who the owner is.
• When and where to submit your bid
• M/W/ESB/DVBE requirements
• Safety and environmental concerns.
• Bonds you must supply.
• Mandatory prevailing wage and per diem rates.
• Insurance requirements.
• Submittal and substitution procedures.
• Change order procedures.
• Guarantees.
• Standard contract language.

Division 01 (General Requirements) may contain some of the items listed above, as well as instructions relative to:
• Preconstruction meetings
• Publications used to establish standards
• Requirements for submittals
• Directions for use of temporary structures
• Project record documents
• Testing and laboratory services available

You are responsible to be familiar with and to comply with all of the aspects of the contract requirements and general requirements.

blueprintsDivision 09 – Painting, provides much of the information that you will use to put together your bid. Within this Section is where you will find the instructions you need for painting, wall coverings, and occasionally special coatings. (Special coatings can also appear in Division 07, Thermal and Moisture Control). Usually, this section is comprised of three main parts: General requirements, Products, and Execution.
Part 1 supplies a broad scope of general ground rules which you will be asked to comply with. These may include assurances of quality, environmental, and governmental regulations and a number of other instructions. Exactly which surfaces you are to paint will be found here as well as which ones you are not to paint.

In Part 2, you will typically find specific directions as to which manufacturers you can purchase your materials from, which materials are called for, and occasionally what colors have been selected. More often than not, you will see something similar to “Colors to be determined by the architect”. This can have a big impact on your costs if deep base colors are selected as they usually are considerably more expensive, and often don’t cover very well.

Part 3 of this Section is comprised of details relative to inspecting the surfaces to be finished and assuring that they are ready. (If you paint it, you bought it!). Be sure that the drywall contractor’s work is acceptable, scratches are sanded out of wood, all surfaces are free of dirt or grease, and so forth. In addition, you will commonly receive instructions as to acceptable temperature ranges you can work within, drying times to allow between coats, protection of surfaces not to receive finishes, proper preparation, and (pay special attention to this one) detailed instructions as to how you will be required to apply materials. This can be critical if you are limited to application by brush or roller only, or if you are directed to backroll coats of paint.

Conclusion

concludeProject Manuals are typically large, somewhat complex and will vary in style and content to some degree. You are, nonetheless, responsible for the entire contents. Pay particular attention to Divisions 00, 01 and 09 (099000), but keep in mind that any other division may have information you could be responsible for.

Other than these three divisions, you are most likely to find painting requirements and specifications in Divisions 03 – 08; Concrete, Masonry, Metals, Wood, Thermal Protection and Doors.

 

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Lynn Jackson
Lynn Jackson began his painting career over twenty years ago under the watchful eye of a master painter. After many years of learning and perfecting his trade, working both on his own and for contractors, he finally settled in Northern California. Lynn continued to paint, while also earning a Master’s degree from a California State University. In 1985 he took a position running a newly formed painting company for Hignell & Hignell, Inc. With a C33 painting contractor’s license in hand, he set about growing that company into one of the largest and most profitable painting operations in the area.

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Hiring, Firing and Training http://bloggingpainters.com/hiring-firing-training/ http://bloggingpainters.com/hiring-firing-training/#comments Sun, 16 Oct 2016 21:43:13 +0000 http://bloggingpainters.com/?p=11646 There are several things to consider when you think about what type of work you want to do. Generally speaking, it’s better to do a few things well rather than trying to do it all. Consider what types of work are available in your area, what you are best equipped to do and what it […]

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Lynn Jackson

Lynn Jackson began his painting career over twenty years ago under the watchful eye of a master painter. After many years of learning and perfecting his trade, working both on his own and for contractors, he finally settled in Northern California. Lynn continued to paint, while also earning a Master’s degree from a California State University.

In 1985 he took a position running a newly formed painting company for Hignell & Hignell, Inc. With a C33 painting contractor’s license in hand, he set about growing that company into one of the largest and most profitable painting operations in the area.

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There are several things to consider when you think about what type of work you want to do. Generally speaking, it’s better to do a few things well rather than trying to do it all. Consider what types of work are available in your area, what you are best equipped to do and what it is that you do well. This will help you to determine what niche you want to aim for and, in turn, the makeup of the crew you will need.

Hiring

employeeDepending on the size of your operation, I would suggest a mix of skill sets and levels. A strong superintendent to help oversee your operations is key to your success. This is especially true as you grow your company. At some point you will realize that you can’t do it all yourself; marketing, estimating, contract administration, supervising, hiring, and the list goes on, doesn’t it? A reliable and capable superintendent will not only protect your interests, but will also allow you to grow. This admittedly is the most challenging person to find. I have always started with someone who has a solid foundation in the trade, and who I know I can trust. You can build on their abilities from there if need be. One critical part of your superintendent’s job description will be to supervise and train your forepersons.

painter

Depending on your volume, you will need some number of forepersons to run your crews. These key people should also have a proven track record as well as the capacity to work with and supervise people. There seems to be a common mistake that just comes naturally when we promote from within. That is when a foreperson position becomes available we automatically tend to pick our “best painter” for the job.

That seems to have some kind of logic to it, but I have found that

not all excellent painters are excellent managers.

On the other hand, sometimes they are. I would just suggest to you that you need to be aware of this potential pitfall and promote carefully, and be willing to commit to the necessary training. The main body of your workforce will normally be made up of journeymen and apprentices. If you don’t have a Union affiliation, you may just refer to them as “painters” and “helpers”, but they are also vital to your success, as they are the people “getting it done” for you.

Your avenues for finding help are probably only limited by your imagination. I would suggest a few of the more common ones: Membership in a local Union is one obvious resource. Union halls can provide skilled people on short notice, depending on availability of course. .

employeesOne last word on hiring; I would encourage you to avoid falling victim to the pressure of demand. You will always have commitments to meet, but a “warm body” may provide only “cold comfort”. Put another way, you may fill a position, but if that person doesn’t show up for work consistently, or when they do, don’t perform, they are more of a liability than an asset. Learn to evaluate your personnel quickly. In my opinion, it shouldn’t take more than a week or two to figure out if a person is a good fit. I find that people most often fit into one of four categories: they are a “keeper”, they need training (provided they are trainable), they need motivation or they need a different job.

Firing

That seems a good segue into the topic of Firing, which I will keep short. Having to let someone go is never fun for anybody, but it is nonetheless part of running a business. If you are fortunate, hire wisely and carefully and treat your staff well, you will hopefully have people that will stay with you for years. There are times however when we all have to terminate someone’s employment. This should only come after you have exhausted the steps mentioned above, by providing training if it is needed or the appropriate motivation (each person is different), and giving everyone a fair chance. If it does become necessary to part ways it can, and always should be, done with courtesy and respect.

Training

Allbright_PaintersConsistent and thoughtful training is an ongoing and critical part of any successful company. You are primarily responsible to see that you have a program in place to meet this goal. You train your superintendent, he or she trains the foreperson who in turn trains the crew; it starts with you. I often hear a foreperson complain that they don’t have time to train because they have a production quota to meet. It falls on you to empower them to take the time to improve the skills of those under them. It is surprising how little time it can take to stop and show someone a correct brush or spraying technique, and what lasting returns that investment can achieve.

This mentoring mentally needs to be ingrained in your crews, as it pays dividends directly to your operations. 

Author information

Lynn Jackson
Lynn Jackson began his painting career over twenty years ago under the watchful eye of a master painter. After many years of learning and perfecting his trade, working both on his own and for contractors, he finally settled in Northern California. Lynn continued to paint, while also earning a Master’s degree from a California State University. In 1985 he took a position running a newly formed painting company for Hignell & Hignell, Inc. With a C33 painting contractor’s license in hand, he set about growing that company into one of the largest and most profitable painting operations in the area.

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Attributes of an Excellent Coach http://bloggingpainters.com/attributes-excellent-coach/ http://bloggingpainters.com/attributes-excellent-coach/#respond Sat, 16 Apr 2016 17:08:40 +0000 http://bloggingpainters.com/?p=10986 Introduction Yes, you get to wear yet another hat! Most of your crew are probably highly motivated self-starters. Some people however, if left to themselves, will not rise very far above average. This is where the role of a coach can be a critical factor in tipping the scales of winning or losing. It may […]

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Lynn Jackson

Lynn Jackson began his painting career over twenty years ago under the watchful eye of a master painter. After many years of learning and perfecting his trade, working both on his own and for contractors, he finally settled in Northern California. Lynn continued to paint, while also earning a Master’s degree from a California State University.

In 1985 he took a position running a newly formed painting company for Hignell & Hignell, Inc. With a C33 painting contractor’s license in hand, he set about growing that company into one of the largest and most profitable painting operations in the area.

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Introduction

coaching for paintersYes, you get to wear yet another hat! Most of your crew are probably highly motivated self-starters. Some people however, if left to themselves, will not rise very far above average. This is where the role of a coach can be a critical factor in tipping the scales of winning or losing. It may sound like it’s piling on one more task to your already over-filled plate, but often a few minutes or even just an encouraging word can have a big impact.

 

Setting Goals

One very important role of an excellent coach is to set goals for your staff. People need to know what is expected of them. This also has the added benefit of helping you to evaluate their performance. Goals should not only be general, as in your mission statement, but they also need to be specific to the project or task at hand and should be set each day.

Something as simple as “OK Chris, I would like to see you get these six rooms sprayed out by the end of the day. Do you think you can do that?” This approach gives your team the opportunity to “buy in” to the plan, and gives them a sense of ownership; also pride when they achieve their goals.

book2When they do, you should be sure to acknowledge their accomplishment. This has a very positive effect. Another aspect regarding feedback to your crew is that it should be specific. “Hey, good job today Sue.” is certainly positive. However, if you add “I really like the way you used that 30 gallon trash can to spray out of. I think that was way faster than continually switching out 5 gallon buckets.” Sue knows you were paying attention to the fact that she came up with a time-saving idea.

That kind of praise has a deeper impact. As I mentioned, the other aspect of setting goals comes into play when they are not met. This gives you the opportunity, as coach, to get with your crew and figure out why. “Did something or someone slow you down?” “Was there an equipment problem, or maybe a product issue?” This way you can make your team part of the process of formulating a “recovery plan”, to get things back on track.

Mentoring

Included in every excellent coach’s tool box should be a Mentoring program. Investing time in your staff to develop their skills will pay dividends to your company’s success. You personally need to mentor your foremen and superintendents. They in turn should have a well-defined mentoring plan to share their years of experience with their journeymen and apprentices. This ultimately has the effect of increasing everyone’s skill level, which benefits you.

bookI often have been met with resistance when trying to implement a mentoring program. I’ve heard things like “I’m not a babysitter.” The other argument is usually that they don’t have time. Here is where you get to practice your coaching skills by convincing them that it can be something as simple as taking 5 minutes to show an apprentice the correct brush technique to speed up their cut-in production time.

The other issue that is often at the heart of resistance is that the foreman is afraid that if they take time to teach, they won’t make their production goals and will look bad to you. You need, as coach, to empower them to take “reasonable” windows of opportunity to demonstrate better brush, spraying, masking techniques, or whatever. Everyone wins if you have a strong mentoring program. The other added benefit from a mentoring type work environment is that it sends the clear message to your employees that there is opportunity for growth and advancement by working for you.

Conclusion

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, the sense of being valued and of having the opportunity for advancement is even more important to people than how much money they make. Being an excellent coach can also build stronger relationships and respect, often leading to higher productivity and quality from your crews, and less employee turnover.

Also, always remember: “Praise in public, but criticize in private.”, and treat everyone with respect.

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Lynn Jackson
Lynn Jackson began his painting career over twenty years ago under the watchful eye of a master painter. After many years of learning and perfecting his trade, working both on his own and for contractors, he finally settled in Northern California. Lynn continued to paint, while also earning a Master’s degree from a California State University. In 1985 he took a position running a newly formed painting company for Hignell & Hignell, Inc. With a C33 painting contractor’s license in hand, he set about growing that company into one of the largest and most profitable painting operations in the area.

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Negotiating With General Contractors http://bloggingpainters.com/negotiating-with-general-contractors/ http://bloggingpainters.com/negotiating-with-general-contractors/#comments Mon, 22 Feb 2016 00:53:59 +0000 http://bloggingpainters.com/?p=10810 Introduction When bidding to and working with general contractors, there are a number of things that are critical for your path to success. These include Marketing, The Bidding Process and Contract Negotiation. Marketing Your success starts with smart marketing. I would encourage anyone to evaluate the General Contractors within their target market area. You can […]

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Lynn Jackson

Lynn Jackson began his painting career over twenty years ago under the watchful eye of a master painter. After many years of learning and perfecting his trade, working both on his own and for contractors, he finally settled in Northern California. Lynn continued to paint, while also earning a Master’s degree from a California State University.

In 1985 he took a position running a newly formed painting company for Hignell & Hignell, Inc. With a C33 painting contractor’s license in hand, he set about growing that company into one of the largest and most profitable painting operations in the area.

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Introduction

When bidding to and working with general contractors, there are a number of things that are critical for your path to success. These include Marketing, The Bidding Process and Contract Negotiation.

Marketing

marketingYour success starts with smart marketing. I would encourage anyone to evaluate the General Contractors within their target market area. You can even grade them as an “A”, “B”, “C” etc. contractor, based on certain criteria. The key item to consider is their reputation with other subcontractors, or if you have worked with them before, your own experience. Ask if they are fair and honest, do they pay on time, stay on schedule, do they communicate well and do they keep their commitments? By making these assessments you can build a list of preferred customers to bid to. Building relationships with this target market will also increase your odds of success if their projects tend to be more of the “negotiated” type rather than being open to all comers. This increases your chances substantially.

The Bidding Process

One of the goals of building such quality relationships is to be included on the customers “preferred vendor list”. By maintaining contacts with the estimators and project managers, you can keep in the loop with their available bids. This provides a huge advantage over your competition that is chasing bids through the Plan Centers that provide less selective opportunities.

When you do receive an invitation to bid, or a RFP (Request for Proposal), the email will typically include a link to their FTP site where you can download the bid documents. You can then print the Plans or import them into your takeoff software program.

blueprintOnce you have your bid put together, I would suggest sending a preliminary “Scope Letter” to the General(s) to allow them to preview what you intend to include in your bid. Within your scope letter be clear and keep it concise. List your “Inclusions”, “Exclusions” and “Clarifications”. One thing to note; Most Generals don’t like to see the word “Exclusions”, as it causes concern that they may not have the painting scope completely covered. It is better to say that you assume a particular area of work to be “by others” (Transparent finishes, traffic markings or any task you normally don’t perform), and offer an alternate added pricing to cover it, even if you need to get a sub bid from someone else for it.

The scope letter is an excellent communication tool, and most Generals appreciate it. This can also help to set you apart from your competition who may not include this professional courtesy. One other item that is appreciated is if you point out any omissions or errors in the plans or specifications. If the Generals can rely on you to be their expert, this will help strengthen your relationship and further set you apart from your competitors.

 

Contract Negotiations

After your bid is submitted and evaluated by the customer, and you are the “apparent low bidder”, you will receive a call or email typically, inviting you to a “descoping” meeting. These are to ensure that you have everything covered. Be sure to respond in a timely manner. Review your bid and scope of work thoroughly before your meeting, so you are well prepared. During the meeting be positive and ready to offer suggestions and solutions that may help you and the General to succeed on the project.

If it turns out that there are any scope items that you have overlooked, or if there are questions you don’t readily have answers for, simply say “I’ll get back to you on this.” This will give you time to form a response and avoids shooting from the hip, which can often create problems.

handshakeAssuming everything is in order, you will (eventually) receive your subcontract. When it arrives, read it carefully and thoroughly; all of it. You will need to confirm that the price accounting, the scope of work, schedule, insurance requirements, dates of the plans and specifications and all other details are in line with your expectations. One of the main items of focus is the Scope of Work. Read each Inclusion and Exclusion. If there are any issues you do not agree with, make a note (list) to discuss with your customer. You may need to gather any pertinent emails or backup documents to support your contention of items you feel are incorrect. These often occur as a matter of oversight, and you should approach this phase of the negotiation as such. You don’t want to appear argumentative or contentious, but you do have to know which items are critical; “Hills worth dying on”. You should respectfully request that the contract language be amended to correct any errors, or to capture any inclusions, exclusions or clarifications you think are necessary. Do not simply write the changes into the contract yourself, as this is usually not acceptable. Once the contract is to your satisfaction, sign it and prepare to execute your work.

Conclusion

Hopefully this article points out the value of a well thought-out plan to identifying your best customers to build and grow relationships with. As pointed out, this “relationship-based” approach can be a benefit to both parties. Being seen as a team player and an asset will definitely pay dividends in the long run.

Let me know below if you have any questions.

 

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Lynn Jackson
Lynn Jackson began his painting career over twenty years ago under the watchful eye of a master painter. After many years of learning and perfecting his trade, working both on his own and for contractors, he finally settled in Northern California. Lynn continued to paint, while also earning a Master’s degree from a California State University. In 1985 he took a position running a newly formed painting company for Hignell & Hignell, Inc. With a C33 painting contractor’s license in hand, he set about growing that company into one of the largest and most profitable painting operations in the area.

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The Bidding Process http://bloggingpainters.com/the-bidding-process/ http://bloggingpainters.com/the-bidding-process/#comments Sun, 16 Aug 2015 22:13:50 +0000 http://bloggingpainters.com/?p=9646  Putting it all together  The first step to any bid is of course to gather the quantities, whether you are measuring an existing structure or doing a takeoff from a set of plans. From there you must “extend” your numbers, either manually or by entering the information into an estimating program. There are many such […]

Author information

Lynn Jackson

Lynn Jackson began his painting career over twenty years ago under the watchful eye of a master painter. After many years of learning and perfecting his trade, working both on his own and for contractors, he finally settled in Northern California. Lynn continued to paint, while also earning a Master’s degree from a California State University.

In 1985 he took a position running a newly formed painting company for Hignell & Hignell, Inc. With a C33 painting contractor’s license in hand, he set about growing that company into one of the largest and most profitable painting operations in the area.

The post The Bidding Process appeared first on The Blogging Painters.

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 Putting it all together

bidding The first step to any bid is of course to gather the quantities, whether you are measuring an existing structure or doing a takeoff from a set of plans. From there you must “extend” your numbers, either manually or by entering the information into an estimating program. There are many such programs available, such as eTakeoff at eTakeoff.com, Eagle Bid at www.evergreentech.net and PEP Cloud at www.paintestimating.com.

Once you have your calculations completed, there are still a few things to consider before the bid is ready to submit. Let’s look at some of these variables that can influence how you want to present any given bid, or if you want to bid the project at all.

Types of bids

As a preface, let me say that my focus here will be on bidding to general contractors, but many of these principals apply tobidding from plans dealing directly with owners as well.

First, you must determine what type of bid this is going to be. There are basically three types; negotiated, select, and competitive. Of these three, the negotiated bid is the most desirable. In this situation, an owner will choose which general contractor they want to run their project and negotiate a price with that company. With the negotiated bid, in addition to the price, your reputation for honesty, quality and how easy you are to work with can be deciding factors.

The select bid is the next best situation to find yourself in. It is similar to the negotiated bid, but rather than choosing one single general contractor, the owner will comprise a list of a select few that will be asked to bid on the project; usually three. As with the first example, your chances of winning such a bid are still better than with the typical, open or competitive bid.

The competitive bid is probably the most common of the three I have mentioned. This is when an owner puts a project out to bid on the open market so to speak. Your chances of winning a competitive bid are statistically the smallest. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bother bidding on them, but it is something to take into consideration.

Proximity

The distance your crew and you have to travel to a job can have more of an impact than just the travel time involved. The distance to the nearest paint store, should you need supplies, can be a factor. What if you experience equipment failure? Supervision becomes a more difficult task as well. In light of such possibilities, you may want to increase your bid accordingly.

 Quality

 Basically, high quality work goes for a premium. “Blow and go” production type jobs don’t. If you know that a high level of craftsmanship is going to be required on a job, you will need to adjust your bid to account for the extra attention that will be demanded.

Time constraints

 Assume you are bidding an interior repaint of a school, it is summer and the contract documents stipulate that the work must be completed before school resumes session. They further stipulate that if you are not done by the deadline, that you must finish the work during evenings or on weekends, and/or liquidated damages will be charged to you for failing to meet the schedule; these can be substantial. These added constraints add a risk factor that again commands a higher rate than typical jobs.

Prevailing wage

These jobs are typically for federal, state, or city agencies, or for schools. With prevailing wage jobs, you will experience increased expenses for your bookkeeping needs, as you will often be required to submit “certified payrolls”, and see to it that your crews are paid weekly and at the prevailing wage required.

Owner/Architect/General

Who are these people? Have you worked with them before? Were they easy to work with? Did they pay on time? Did they honor your change orders? Were they difficult to please? Did they interpret the plans differently than you did? All these are legitimate questions to ask yourself.

Present work load

How full is your plate? If you presently have a substantial amount of work in progress, you may decide not to bid any additional work. If you choose to do so, you should bid it at a premium rate. You don’t want to submit a ridiculously high number, but you clearly have the option in this case to make the extra work well worth your while.

“Apparent Low”

OK, so you’ve submitted your bid, and you’re wondering how you did. In the case of “sealed bids”, there is typically a bid opening that anyone can attend to find out immediately who won. If you are the prime contractor on a project, you can typically contact the issuing authority and ask who won the bid. If you were bidding as a subcontractor, you can call and see which of the general contractors was the “apparent low” bidder. Once you know which firm won the bid, you can call them, congratulate them, and asked if they “listed” you for the painting.

Conclusion

When you do receive an invitation to a bid from a customer, respond to it, even if you are not able to submit a number at the time. It is common, that after a certain number of “no bids” from you, that you will be considered non-responsive, and dropped from their bidders list. Sometimes you just can’t help it, but when at all possible, submit a number. If you are not able or interested, at least respond and say “Catch you on the next one.”

Thanks to Lynn Jackson for this guest post.

Author information

Lynn Jackson
Lynn Jackson began his painting career over twenty years ago under the watchful eye of a master painter. After many years of learning and perfecting his trade, working both on his own and for contractors, he finally settled in Northern California. Lynn continued to paint, while also earning a Master’s degree from a California State University. In 1985 he took a position running a newly formed painting company for Hignell & Hignell, Inc. With a C33 painting contractor’s license in hand, he set about growing that company into one of the largest and most profitable painting operations in the area.

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Tracking Production Rates http://bloggingpainters.com/tracking-production-rates/ http://bloggingpainters.com/tracking-production-rates/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 01:04:40 +0000 http://bloggingpainters.com/?p=9016 Field budgets        Your field budget is generated from your bid. The total amount of time and materials that you have bid for each phase of the project makes up your field budget. This tells your superintendent and foreman on the job exactly how many hours and how many gallons of paint that […]

Author information

Lynn Jackson

Lynn Jackson began his painting career over twenty years ago under the watchful eye of a master painter. After many years of learning and perfecting his trade, working both on his own and for contractors, he finally settled in Northern California. Lynn continued to paint, while also earning a Master’s degree from a California State University.

In 1985 he took a position running a newly formed painting company for Hignell & Hignell, Inc. With a C33 painting contractor’s license in hand, he set about growing that company into one of the largest and most profitable painting operations in the area.

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Field budgets       

Your field budget is generated from your bid. The total amount of time and materials that you have bid for each phase of the project makes up your field budget. This tells your superintendent and foreman on the job exactly how many hours and how many gallons of paint that you expect them to use for each step of the process. These budgets can be easily generated by using estimating software.

Once on the job, your superintendent and foreman can use this tool as a guideline to help them steer the project in the right direction and act as an early warning system to alert them to the fact that corrections are needed. This is a far better approach than waiting until the project is completed, and trying to figure out why you lost money.

timecardsTime Cards

Hand in hand with the field budget are your time cards. These are basically simple spreadsheets that must be filled out by your foremen, and there are several apps that can help you manage time as well.

Tracking Production

We are all aware of the need to track, early and often, how our crews are performing on each job. This task can be made fairly simple by using time cards, which you can purchase or create yourself. These don’t need to be terribly sophisticated, just basic spread sheets that you can populate with the project information and rows which depict each task and the hours estimated for them. One suggestion is that you use the first column to assign a code to each task. When your foremen fill out their time cards, they should indicate the code that each employee was working on for that day. For example, the first column and row of the time card would have code 101 (Or any number of your choice). Moving to the right, the next cell would indicate “paint walls”, the next would show the hours used that day for painting walls and the next one, the total number of hours that were estimated for that task. The last cell should be for the percentage of the total that has been completed to date. Each day’s time card can be totaled weekly, and used to populate a Job Phase Overview Report. This lists, by codes, the total number of hours used on the job to date, compared to the estimate, and shows the differences. This makes it very easy to spot where you are winning or losing. The Job Phase Overview Report can be used in weekly production meetings to help your team evaluate the progress of each of your projects and to determine any necessary adjustments.

Daily Reports

JD Power report on Paint IndustryOne other tool I would suggest is the use of Daily Reports. An accurate set of daily reports from a job will arm you with information that can help when bidding future work. Another benefit derived from the practice of keeping daily reports, is that they can serve as activity reports, should you need to refer to them at a future date. It’s not unheard of for a general contractor or owner to come to you during the course of a project, and question you as to what may or may not have been done on any given day. With your daily reports in hand, you have documented evidence of the number of people you working on any given day and what tasks they performed, material purchases, temperature and dew point readings, any conditions or events that may have impacted your production, documentation of directions from or correspondence with the customer and any other information you choose to include.

These reports can all be generated as easily as using a spiral notebook and handwriting, using a shared Google spreadsheet or a number of apps on the market. The important thing is to track and monitor everything you do.

Thanks to Lynn Jackson for this guest post.

Leave a comment below and tell us how you track!

 

 

Author information

Lynn Jackson
Lynn Jackson began his painting career over twenty years ago under the watchful eye of a master painter. After many years of learning and perfecting his trade, working both on his own and for contractors, he finally settled in Northern California. Lynn continued to paint, while also earning a Master’s degree from a California State University. In 1985 he took a position running a newly formed painting company for Hignell & Hignell, Inc. With a C33 painting contractor’s license in hand, he set about growing that company into one of the largest and most profitable painting operations in the area.

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