What Tools to Provide Painters on Day One

Painting Contractors:

What tools do you provide your new painters on day 1? I am going to share what we provide, why we provide them, and that one thing that everybody gets that’s different and makes working on the job a pleasant experience for all employees.

I am Ron Ramsden, a DYB coach, also a painting contractor up here in New England.

We hire a lot of newbie, green horn painters; these are painters that have never painted professionally before. Unfortunately, they don’t have many tools, such as brushes and other sorts of things they need. I don’t want them running out to the store, buying a bunch of things that they don’t need, or not the kind we use as a professional painting company. They may be going in and buying the 3 pack of brushes on discount and we don’t want them to do that.

And secondly, the newbie painters probably are not going to be painting for quite a while. There is so much to teach them before they ever even hold a brush in their hands. They might not know it, even if you explain it, but when they are hired as a painter, they assume they are going to start painting a room on day one.

So, I am going to share with you what we provide them. Some of these items are new, some of them are used, we don’t always provide brand new tools and one reason is sometimes the new hire doesn’t last more than a day or two.

First things first, we give everybody their own plastic buckets. This seems really simple, but they all get their own plastic bucket.

We also give everybody a ladder hook; this is the bucket hook to hang on the ladder. Everybody receives one. We buy these in bulk through Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore. We always have a bunch in the shop, so we grab one of these, hook it to the bucket. 

Now, if they decide to leave, we let them know we expect all these tools back. If they leave within the first couple weeks, we are going to expect what we’ve given them back, this is not a gift for ever, it is a gift if they decide to stay.

Okay, what else do we give them? Of course, we give them a roller handle. We give them a decent roller handle.

We also give them a couple grates. We let them know these aren’t throw-aways; we actually re-use these. You can rinse them off and use them over and over. We like to have two on a job. Just in case one is wet with one color, they have another one, so we provide them a couple of those.

What else? We give them a tool to clean their brushes: a small wire brush.

We always throw a roll of painters tape. We have cases of these in the shop. We don’t want him or her to be looking for tape on the job. Obviously, this is something that we are going to replace quite often and we go through a lot of blue tape.

What else do we provide? Well, some people need to wear masks, obviously, for safety concerns. Some of the older painters don’t wear them all the time, but we do provide them a mask, usually in a two-pack. One for sanding and one for painting. 

What else do we provide? We provide a really good, dripless caulking gun. We buy these at Sherwin Williams super sales and we get them on a super deal. We buy these by the case so there is always one in the shop.

What else are we giving to them?

We are giving them a sanding sponge or two inside their little kit.

We are giving them a small putty knife.

We give them a 5-in-one.

We also give them a can opener. We don’t know where we got them but we have hundreds of those.

We also throw a few clean rags in there, so they know they should have a clean rag.

What else? We buy small rollers; we call them whizzy rollers, hot dog rollers, whatever you call them. We always throw these in the package also.

You can see, we are giving them a kind of like sampling of a little bit of everything.

We give them an old brush that’s been laying around, a dust brush. They might even want to try to use this for painting, but we want to show them what a dust brush is, what we use it for. 

What else? We give them some throw-away chip brushes. Everybody has these. The trucks have whole boxes of these, but we like them to have their own. Of course, we don’t expect them to last, but we let them know, this is for those little touch ups, these kind of odd ball things: get them dirty, throw them out, don’t clean them.

We also give them a couple of premium paint brushes. Everybody likes a different paint brush. Of course there are different paint brushes for different applications, (oil or acrylic) but we don’t want to pigeon hole them to using one paint brush.

What will happen is they’ll be working on a job and a co-worker offers to let them try their paint brush to see if they like this style/brand. Maybe they are using a Picasso, maybe you are using a Purdy, and sometimes the other guy will let you try them out.

Then they fall in love with a certain type, so I do not want to mandate they use a certain paint brush other than latex for latex and oil for oil, obviously.

Here is the differentiator:

We provide colored, waterproof electrical tape. This one right here, no one is actually using this color yet. We buy these at Home Depot. You can go to the electrical aisle and there is a row of probably 15 different colors of electrical tape. Some of the guys even have ones with Batman on them, which you can get in specialty stores.

They are able to wrap the handle of their tools with their colored electrical tape. The exception being the throw-away chip brushes. But they are asked to wrap the bucket handle, the hook, the caulking gun, the brushes, etc.

Anything of value, we want them to put their color on it.

The reason is that when we have anywhere between two to eight painters on one job, they look down at the bucket, or they look down at the brush, they know it’s theirs. Boom, instantly.

We don’t want them taking things out, borrowing something from someone else’s work bag and then getting into an argument over who’s tools are whose. Those little arguments change the mood of the job and we want to avoid it. 

So, this is the key: providing everybody with a 2 dollar and 50 cents or so, colored, waterproof electrical tape and have them warp everything in it.

You will notice I didn’t give them a work bag, we do have work bags. I have used work bags behind me. I have empty bags over here, over there, we don’t provide new hires with one of them yet because they really don’t need it, they can put everything in this bucket.

If they want to invest in their future, and we are hoping they do, they are going to go out to Home Depot or such and pick out a bag of their own.

If we find they need a bag and they can’t afford it, we will provide them with one of our bags later down the road if they decide to stay with us.

So to recap: we’ve got dust brushes, chip brushes, the little whizzy rollers, a couple of rags, a mask, grates, a sanding block, a small wire brush, a putty knife, a really good caulking gun, a quality roller, a roll of painter tape, a bucket, colored, electrical tape, and of course, we give them a paint brush.

So, that is what we provide for our painters. It is not a lot of money, but we are investing in them, hopefully, for them to stay on the team, feel like they are part of the team, and also make the company money in the long run.

I would love to hear what you provide your painters. Please share it in the comment line, I would love to hear it. You can also reach out to me at Ron@DYBCoach.com, find me on Facebook, many of you already do.

I would love to chat with you; once again Ron here, a DYB Coach, painting contractor and these are the tools of the trade for the first day painter.

Have a great day and happy painting…

About the Author

Ron Ramsden is the owner of the successful Ramsden 1-800-PAINTING, who implemented the DYB SYSTEM, and crushed it in 2015, and now coaches other painting contractors around the nation to do the same.