Hiring, Firing and Training

Hiring, Firing and Training


There are several things to consider when you think about what type of work you want to do. Decide 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 the makeup of the crew you will need. Whatever that mix may be, you will inevitably need to develop skills in Hiring, Firing and Training.


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. This person is key to your process of Hiring, Firing and Training.


Forepersons are also key to your operation. They should have a proven track record as well as the capacity to work with and supervise people. One common mistake that just comes naturally when we promote from within is that we automatically tend to pick our “best painter” for the job. I have found that not all excellent painters are excellent managers. I would advise that you need to be aware of this potential pitfall, to 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.


I would suggest a few avenues for finding help: Membership in a local Union is one obvious resource. Advertising in newspapers and word-of-mouth are a couple of other possibilities. You should also consider using various websites such as www.Bloggingpainters.com or:

• Job Readiness Programs

One 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, they don’t perform, they are more of a liability than an asset.


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 options such as 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.


Consistent and thoughtful training is an ongoing and critical part of any successful company. Be sure 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 operation

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About the Author

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.

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