I got thrown into the fire.
I mean I was actually on a job site.
But through it all, I learned some valuable information.
I want to share with you 3 things about production rates that are widely overlooked by most painting contractors today.
I’m Ron Ramsden, I’m a DYB coach and a painting contractor in Massachusetts.
Most people know me as the painter who is outside the bucket and I’m not actually physically painting.
We had a homeowner who had a really bad experience with a contractor of a different trade, a few years ago.
The first question she asked me, when I provided the estimate, was would I be there.
I kindly explained that I would not be there.
I told her that I would stop in on the job and she offered to pay extra for me to be present.
I was there for few hours every day and she felt more comfortable.
The first day, I was there for few hours, then a little less and a little less day by day.
It worked out really well, we all got paid but I also learned such invaluable information which I want to share with you.
Production Rates: How do we determine a production rate?
Take this for example.
We have one of our painters taking all of the staining and painting it in a house
We were talking about the process, priming it and then two coats to finish on top of that.
Most of the time we would say that it is going to take 30 minutes for each window to paint.
That is derived from past experiences and tracking.
There’s a lot of things we don’t take into consideration when we have a painter who is tracking themself by phone, clock, or a wristwatch.
They round off the 22 minutes they take for sanding, filling etc to 20 minutes per window.
They were not breaking them down as actual prep.
They were also rounding off the time taken for whole window and door to 35 minutes or 45 minutes.
We wanted to actually find out what amount of time each step was taking us.
That way we could figure out if we could make that step go faster, and we did!
First of all, we used a buddy system.
Who is measuring and how are they measuring?
In this system, the person painting will time themself.
Someone else in the same room also times them.
We found out that when they are actually painting, they are following the steps.
They’re prepping four or five windows and they are not always carrying that number over to something else.
That was exactly what we want them to do.
It was really interesting that we were actually getting a differential of about 20% overall on timing.
It included many factors like grabbing an extra tool from the shop, picking up a phone call or using the bathroom.
In the buddy system, the other painter didn’t really care how long it took the other painter to paint.
His job was to time the first painter while doing his own work.
The result opened our eyes and we actually had to change our production rate on certain things.
Sometimes I was the guy myself who timed the other painter and that was a great experience for me.
In our production rates, a lot of things get missing and these are the lost hours of the day that nothing is produced.
Who is actually responsible for that missing time?
We want our crew leaders to be early on the job site to set up.
It’s easy if we are working outside.
When we are painting inside, most of the time we can’t get into a house until a certain time.
The homeowner is running around, trying to get ready.
The kids have to get to school and we are unable to set up at 6:30 in the morning.
We are normally all walking through the door at the same time.
Everybody needs a set project to do.
They need a responsibility.
The apprentice or the newer guy should be doing certain things, while the higher paid project manager/crew leader should be getting right to work.
We found out that the setup was a missing link.
We weren’t allowing enough time for setup, as well as the cleanup process at the end of the day.
We are a very clean crew, we vacuum, wipe things down, pick up the drop cloths, but also keeping in mind that they have to live there, so make it livable even though you may have to come back tomorrow.
I figured out where I went wrong, I was allotting setup for the first day but I wasn’t allowing setup for every single day.
This means that when the guys get into the job, they already know what they are doing because it’s day two and they actually have to get all their gear together.
It might mean re-plastering of kitchen cabinets and making sure the couches are covered and drop clothes are laid down.
I was allotting 15 minutes every day so that was a missing link there.
Hence, I started allowing 30 minutes of every day for 2 people to do the full cleanup; sweeping, moving things and the other guys would stay busy almost towards the time to leave.
The guys should know what they have to do and the tools they need on the job.
What I often found is people walking around a bit.
They are running out to the vehicles or truck to get other things while working.
I want to teach them what they are going to need for the job.
An equipment list or a tool list could be quite useful for that job.
We are not trying to turn our production upside down.
We are trying to save 15 minutes.
We want to add 15 minutes of production a day.
Why do we want to save those 15 minutes?
Let me explain this with an example.
Earlier, I was on a job, which was the stain to conversion to paint job.
We had 4 employees on that job who worked 8 hours a day.
My goal is to gain 15 more minutes of production from every employee.
I know we can do it and I know we can do much better than that.
We are going to be able to do an hour’s worth more of production.
Doesn’t look like a lot, but it all adds up!
I am going to show you how it breaks down.
I know some people out there billing $35 for their production rate.
I talked to someone today in a mastermind group, he mentioned that he is billing $75 an hour.
We said about $50 an hour.
$50 x 5 Days, because we saved 1 hour every day, is $250.
We have 50 weeks a year, assuming we have 2 weeks off.
$250 x 50 weeks gives us $12,500!!!
It might work, it might not work, but if I can shoot to save $12,500 by having each guy be a little more productive every day, I think it’s a win-win.
$12,500 will buy half my boat this year, look at it that way.
I hope this helped you and I hope this makes you think about your production rates.
Whether you are on the job site or not, see if you can save that extra 5 minutes.
If you are bidding out to paint a door and you are assuming it’s taking 35 minutes to paint the door, but it’s actually taking 45 minutes, you are not winning by putting 35 minutes down there.
Put 45 minutes, bill according and if you don’t receive those jobs, because your price is higher, you are not losing.
You are losing when you are guessing it’s taking 35 minutes and it’s really taking a lot more.
If you want to get in touch with me, send me a message on Facebook, or email me at Ron@dybcoach.com
We can chat via Facebook, email or we can exchange phone numbers.
I would be more than happy to talk with you on the phone.
I am Ron Ramsden, a DYB coach and a painting contractor in Massachusetts.
I am helping people make more money in the painting business.
Have a great one!