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Ive been painting for 6 years now and Ive always enjoy finishing wood. Wheter staining or clearcoating, it has always been the one thing i really enjoyed. I recently branched out on my to start my own company with my brother, and here rises my dilemma.

We started this job for a contractor friend of ours. He decided to build his own home from the ground up. He ran fir trim through out that he milled himself. He brought us in to the do the painting and the to spray the clear. Having done quite of few through out the years I aggreed feeling pretty confident I would do a good job.

I know that every job is different with unique challenges and variables. I followed my usual procedure sanding my down to 400 before applying benite, then spraying my first coat, then sanding everything with 400 to smooth everything out, repeating until finished.

Now, my brother said I focused to much on the details, I did take the time to make sure I sanded as much as humanly possible. I doublue checked everything, corners,high, low, and doors. He thinks that its a waste of time because nobody will ever touch most of it. I know time is money but I believe in doing the job right the first time. I dont need a customer callling to complain so I can fix it.

I started my company with the goal of doing quality work, fine and specialty coatings. im just starting out so I cant dream of charging for all that attention to detail but I want to set a standard and as my reputation grows so will the rate. i doubt a negative comment at the get go is gonna help "quality" reputation. also we are doing work for a contractor that does all his work in a great nieghborhood, couldnt it only help to do a great job?

So my questions are whose right? The other is how far must one take it to qualify as "high Quality" or Fine Finish?"

Any thoughts?
 

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Everyone has different expectations based on cost. If your going to make sure everything is top notch, then you must charge for it. When you go to a car dealer, he isnt going to sell you a porche for the cost of a escort.

Its good that you are starting out with good habits. I always like to submit scopes of work with the estimates. It is a guide for what the customer is paying for. I always put at the bottom, if they want to add or delete certain aspects to the scope it may effect price. That leaves it up to them. It also gives them a place to go, if they want to save on money.

I wont do junk work or anything that is stupid, but everyone has a different budget.
 

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what the market will bear that's a catch phrase that oughta stick, Can you survive just doing sprayed trim or do you branch out to a variety of skills, set a price that works, when established set one the public can swallow too. In the end you specialize or not, gotta pay bills, Pride can push you up and the over the hill, watch out for cliffs.
 

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sanding to 400# on raw wood is overkill; and can possibly inhibit penetration and good adhesion. even 400# between finish coats is a bit much.
you can achieve excellent finish surface without doing all that!
 

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I agree you are sanding to a cabinet finish quality on trim that is site finished. I would step up to around the 200 grit range.

Also your brother thinks you are taking it to far with sanding, but if you are getting paid for that level of finish then keep doing it. If not you are working for free and he is right.

Read this and see if it makes any sense to you.
 

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another perspective is your working for a higher end GC. If you do a great job on his house, for a fair price, he will throw you more work later.

I firmly believe in doing the best possible job I can on every job I do regardless of price. I know that goes against the common grain. However as a new business, in a crappy economy, us newbs NEED to set ourselves apart from the rest of the pack. We do this by doing excellent work, attention to sometimes extreme detail, and charging a fair price.

Till we get a foot hold and a reputation for our awesome work, we have to do this. Sure it takes a little longer. Ya we dont make as much money as the rest of the ESTABLISHED companies, however, unlike THEM we dont have a reputation. We dont have 100-1000 past jobs we did with happy clients. We have a handful.

Very few of the jobs, infact I think one job out of the 30-50 jobs I have done, have been 'on time' they have all gone over on time. Am I making a killing? No. Am I making a profit? sorta Am I paying my bills? yes. But I also have 100% tickled pink extremely happy clients. Building that reputation takes alot of hardwork and sacrifice. Part of that sacrifice is making a little less money so you will have more work and better pay later.

Something all the articles I have read state something that if I followed them to the letter would have bankrupted me by now...

Everyone (those who are established) say you should get paid for your time invested. While this does hold true, I am not arguing that it doesnt, but in the beginning, you will be working ALOT for free for your business, building your business and making it better so that you as a business will prosper later.

So while your brother is right, he is also wrong. During these difficult times, you need to go that extra mile, and do that little extra, to set yourself apart from the rest. Once you are established, you (we) will learn, and thus have a better expectation and experience on where and how to shave a little more time from each job and we will become more proffitable. Till then, sometimes we gotta eat it, to make it.

Its like, last night, I spent 3 hours reworking adding content, and other technical crap for my business's website. Did I, get paid for the time I spent on my site? no. but by investing my time, instead of money which can be used for other things, by investing my time, I have made my site better, which will hopefully lead to more calls and thus work.
 

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Most (99%) of homeowners couldn't tell the difference in trim that was sanded with 400 vs. 180. You have to find a happy medium between absolutely perfect and acceptable time. You shouldn't sacrifice quality but prepping trim in a 15x15 room (repaint) shouldn't take more than a couple of hours. If you are doing 3 step sanding on all surfaces you have gone too far!
 

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the last three people gave vary good advice id yous 180 grit. Is your brother criticizing are a part of your company stand your ground adjust your price as you get experience. Experience comes from time wisdom is applied knowledge dos you brother have any knowledge to apply are is he one of those thinkers that runs thoughts out of his mouth without experience. Perfect your trade the money will be there. remain a unskilled fool. and you will repeat your mistakes. This still take time it is called the road of hard knocks most people i meat that under stand you have been there.
 

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I think 400 is overkill. The extra smoothness of the sanding will be lost when the little dust particles in the air settle on the surface. 220 is sufficient but more importantly you need to vacuum and dust all the dust off and vacuum the whole house so there is as little dust as possible when you are finishing. Vacuum everything then clean the filter and the vacuum out and vacuum everything again. Get everything at least 2 times over and you will achieve great results, especially with spraying where you make a lot of air movement in the house.
 
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