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Maximising your productivity

From the Resene Trade blog

It’s always a good time to be thinking about your productivity. Even if you are already rushed off your feet, it’s still something you should be constantly working to improve.

There are many variables that contribute to the success of a paint contracting business.

  1. Pricing correctly with an awareness of your ‘real’ cost structures and a good understanding of the margins needed to remain in business and be successful;

  2. The technical knowledge and skills that you and your team have;

  3. Your ability to network, communicate and market your business which ultimately will secure contracts at good margins;

  4. Managing the productivity of the painting process.

The last point, productivity is rarely considered, or only in a cursory way and yet is the real key to the success or otherwise of painting businesses. Too often the focus is on securing future work, often at unacceptably low margins or on input costs, such as the cost (per unit) of the paint used and/or the accessories and tools used to apply the paint.

In contrast the most successful painting businesses are acutely aware of how productive their business is and will target ways or look for opportunities to improve productivity.

Once a professional painter moves away from being a sole trader (aka one-man-band) operating on their own or with a mate undertaking smallish painting contracts to a larger enterprise that employs other painters, the business model needs to change to be successful and remain so. No longer are they able to simply work harder to make a dollar, they need to sell and manage the time needed to complete projects for home and business owners and construction projects. The dominant cost, no matter the size of any painting task is the time needed to complete it. Even though a painter starting a business can very often work harder and smarter than others, once staff are employed, maintaining productivity becomes the essential management task.

1. If you are selling time, then the following is important:

2. Measure productivity in order to understand where opportunities are (or might be) to improve:

Productivity improvements are always possible and the people and businesses that chase and keep chasing improvements are generally the most successful.

Article thanks to Nick Nightingale,
Resene Managing Director

June 2020

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