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Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter

 
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:12 AM   #1
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Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


Painting has it's own unique set of challenges. That can tend to work on the one who does this for a living over a period of time. I've seen it happen. The worker of the brush begins one way and becomes hardened, turning into "The Bitter Painter".

Maybe its the customer who always tries to take advantage. Or the ups and downs. Or all those who think "anyone can do it". Maybe underlying this some people think that the American Painter fits an underlying need in society, that's never really talked about.

Myself, I've learned to set things right from the straightaway, to guide the project from the get go and not be afread of calling a customer out, in a sense, polite of course, when the situation calls for it. Setting boundaries and doing things the pro's way.

Another way is to get at least 1/3 down. Never had that much of a problem with anyone who does. Of course it's a little harder to do these days with so much fraud happening.

What's been successful for other healthy painters here? As some of these forces don't seem to relent.
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:20 AM   #2
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


Before you start or give your quote, have a mutual understanding with the customer for everything (every room, every trim, doors, ceilings, repairs, etc.). Ask if there's anything else...or "what about this?" stuff, and get those down. And then proceed.

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Old 12-10-2017, 11:02 AM   #3
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


Are you talking more personal burn out?
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Old 12-10-2017, 06:27 PM   #4
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


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Originally Posted by Unger.const View Post
Are you talking more personal burn out?
I wasn't. But I guess it could be part of the mix, or a lot to do with some cases...
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Old 12-10-2017, 06:43 PM   #5
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


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I wasn't. But I guess it could be part of the mix, or a lot to do with some cases...
My advice stands. It saves a lot of grief, since you can calmly address the new issues with a baseline (sure I can do it, it'll only cost x additional...no problem.
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Old 12-11-2017, 01:06 PM   #6
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


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Originally Posted by artinall View Post
I wasn't. But I guess it could be part of the mix, or a lot to do with some cases...
I feel ya there. I overscreen phone calls or emails for new bid requests.

Unless I hear key things I blow them off (sorry too much work. Not doing quotes till spring).

I probably let go of good business before it can even start.
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Old 12-11-2017, 06:19 PM   #7
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


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Originally Posted by artinall View Post

Or all those who think "anyone can do it"..
This hits a nerve with all trades here.

Yes painters get hit the hardest imo. I know I can walk into any room (especially with natural daylight present) and tell if the room was painted by a pro or not. Prep and maintaining a wet edge are foreign to many.
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Old 12-11-2017, 07:06 PM   #8
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


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Originally Posted by Unger.const View Post
I feel ya there. I overscreen phone calls or emails for new bid requests.

Unless I hear key things I blow them off (sorry too much work. Not doing quotes till spring).

I probably let go of good business before it can even start.
I no longer take calls direct, except for those I know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rselectric1 View Post
This hits a nerve with all trades here.

Yes painters get hit the hardest imo. I know I can walk into any room (especially with natural daylight present) and tell if the room was painted by a pro or not. Prep and maintaining a wet edge are foreign to many.
And those standards are a reflection of the other type(s) of work you do

It's that mentality. Fed by much of the culture - the advertisers, TV shows, etc. And yet the quality of painting affects by far the most visible surfaces that are seen throughout the home.

What I see is a denial by so many customers to come to terms with this. They go cheap ( hey - what a coincidence, low cost = anyone can do it ) and then complain about the quality later. One form of trying to feel better on to the next, which some might say could be dysfunctional, to put a term on it.

If they only knew how a higher grade finish could end up costing them less in the longer term.

Last edited by artinall; 12-11-2017 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 12-11-2017, 08:21 PM   #9
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


When looking over a job at time of estimate i get a feel for what the customer wants. I am continuing to aim towards people who expect quality and are ok paying for it. There are other customers who are more budget conscious and that is ok too as long as you know who you are working for and their expectations are clear.

As far as addressing issues that arise during the jobs when it comes to something unforeseen, we will address it the correct way, no short cuts.

We are allowed to use "painters discretion" when appropriate, to make something look right, no the customer is not always right, in fact they are usually wrong.

I too am asking for more money up front on bigger jobs, not taking calls from people i don't know, and put off doing estimates sometimes when i shouldn't, but it puts me in control of them.

Finally, i find i rarely want to work for people younger than me.
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Old 12-13-2017, 08:52 AM   #10
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


If you are licensed, bonded and insured there should be no problem getting a deposit. It's pretty traditional with up front costs. Get that straight before scheduling a trip out.
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Old 12-14-2017, 04:27 PM   #11
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


Quote:
Originally Posted by artinall View Post
What's been successful for other healthy painters here? As some of these forces don't seem to relent.
Your avatar looks like one of those cheap disposable natural bristle brushes you buy at Home Depot. Did you use green paint and not clean it enough? How does that cheap toss away brush perform for you now?

Last edited by Caslon; 12-14-2017 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 12-14-2017, 04:45 PM   #12
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


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Originally Posted by Caslon View Post
Your avatar looks like one of those cheap disposable natural bristle brushes you buy at Home Depot. Did you use green paint and not clean it enough? How does that cheap toss away brush perform for you now?
Not even remotely close.

Sounds like you were a bit "late" in answering this thread. Maybe.

Why not take it all in....think about it some more...I'm sure you can do better!
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Old 12-14-2017, 08:58 PM   #13
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


We include a nice, clean scope of work with every proposal. This gives us a foot to stand on incase any disagreements occur.
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:20 PM   #14
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


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Originally Posted by DiaperRiot View Post
We include a nice, clean scope of work with every proposal. This gives us a foot to stand on incase any disagreements occur.
That helps. Painting however seems to be inherently detail-exhaustive and includes the descriptively evasive. There are grey areas by nature. Sometimes it is impossible or impractical to include everything (or exclude where necessary) on larger projects.

There has to be trust with the customer, or else you're destined for problems, imho.

Likewise, the customer also has to place their trust with the painter, per our standard ways of proceeding with the job. Or disagreements can arise there too. "Painter's Discretion" as Ohio Painter pointed out.

Sometimes trust issues crop up later in the job, when a customer has something to gain or lose or else they might sense you are at a disadvantage or stilted in a sort of weak place for some reason (such as from being physically worn out or even unattentive). - That killer instinct.

If there is even a hint of a trust issue -- I won't begin.
On the flipside, many customers are great to work with.

Last edited by artinall; 12-14-2017 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 12-15-2017, 03:39 PM   #15
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


I've enjoyed this thread. We have a lot of these type of discussions over on Painttalk.com.
I'm 40 years into it........I have a 4 year business administration degree......you can imagine the grief I get sometimes. "Wow, that dude went 4 years to college, to what?, be a painter?" I don't get it as much as I used to, but I would always say to myself, "Everyone tells you to do what you love. I love painting. What's the problem with doing something you enjoy?"

The customers that do give the most grief are indeed the bargain hunters. I try to accommodate them as there are slow times and I'm sometimes willing to take on some of those "junk jobs" just to keep the ball rolling. These, of course, are the people who then take the longest to pay you, if they pay at all, and seem to have ungodly expectations for what they are being billed.

Like most of you, I have a nice, solid client list and I would rather work for my regulars rather than take on a new customer and all the baggage that possibly entails.
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Old 12-15-2017, 08:11 PM   #16
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


As a seasoned veteran of the trades i could go on and on about all the things that cause "burnout"...

Truth be told, "burnout" is self inflicted....

Instead of "running around for the next job"...

"Walk in and own the next GOOD job"

Attitude is everything
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Old 12-15-2017, 09:01 PM   #17
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


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As a seasoned veteran of the trades i could go on and on about all the things that cause "burnout"...

Truth be told, "burnout" is self inflicted....

Instead of "running around for the next job"...

"Walk in and own the next GOOD job"

Attitude is everything
You equate bitterness with burnout. When I think of burnout, it affects will, lowers the energy levels and direction one takes. A bitter painter can be full of energy, albeit not the pleasant kind.

Attitude is certainly important. So is dealing with the reality of the process of what painters do, as the project progresses, and effectively dealing with it while keeping the antenna's up and fully extended for proper signaling.
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Old 01-09-2018, 02:52 PM   #18
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


KISS: I only do work sent to me by previous clients, if I smell even a hint of future problems then "I'm booked up for the next 6 months" and materials must always be paid up front. After about 3 years on my own I started to be able to get picky. I think I may have good instincts for trouble. In any case I never became bitter! Once, many years ago, something like my 4th independent job,I had a fit in front of a PIA client! I just screamed at her, "GO AWAY AND LET ME WORK OR WITH OR WITHOUT MONEY, I"M DONE HERE!" She crawled into a corner and let me finish. When she called again 3 months later I said "No Mrs PIA, I won't work for you, you are abusive. You need to learn how to respect trades before you are entitled to have any of them in." Then she started screaming about the destruction I had caused her house. RIGHT! That's why she is calling me to do more work! I said "You must be mentally unbalanced, I caused all that damage and you want to invite me back to do more!" I just hung up the phone at that point.
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Old 01-09-2018, 02:59 PM   #19
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


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KISS: I only do work sent to me by previous clients, if I smell even a hint of future problems then "I'm booked up for the next 6 months" and materials must always be paid up front. After about 3 years on my own I started to be able to get picky. I think I may have good instincts for trouble. In any case I never became bitter! Once, many years ago, something like my 4th independent job,I had a fit in front of a PIA client! I just screamed at her, "GO AWAY AND LET ME WORK OR WITH OR WITHOUT MONEY, I"M DONE HERE!" She crawled into a corner and let me finish. When she called again 3 months later I said "No Mrs PIA, I won't work for you, you are abusive. You need to learn how to respect trades before you are entitled to have any of them in." Then she started screaming about the destruction I had caused her house. RIGHT! That's why she is calling me to do more work! I said "You must be mentally unbalanced, I caused all that damage and you want to invite me back to do more!" I just hung up the phone at that point.
Uhhhh.... ok.

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Old 01-09-2018, 03:22 PM   #20
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Re: Avoiding Becoming A Bitter Painter


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Uhhhh.... ok.

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I would leave the business before I'd let the HOs get me down. After 30 years, I have a good stable and am now painter for their kids. I do not need to buy into trouble!

Early on I had to place to many leans and go through to many court collections. I just don't do that anymore. I love painting and want to keep loving it.

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