American Painting Contractor Magazine

August/September 2012

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Decorative Touch The Gift That Keeps On Giving Victor takes advice from Hollywood and measures the worth of his leftover paint By Victor DeMasi impression I kept revisiting for days. The hero Billy Beane (excellent Brad Pitt) brings a new view to recruiting ballplayers for the Oakland Athlet- ics. His statistical analysis mea- sured things ignored by others: times getting on base, critical defensive plays made and success in clutch situations. His "stats" challenged traditional measures: hitting average, runs batted in and home runs as the yardstick of a player's worth. He established a new paradigm for worth. Hated by the old guard with their time-hon- ored system, he shocked by trading highly paid stars for a bunch of so- called losers. He put together a championship team at very low cost (losers work for less). He had a different perspective. It's the Holly- wood version, but I am not making this up. He still manages Oakland. Now, I am not thinking of dumping my best sash man for a lower-paid draft choice. I am talking about what we really pay for what we receive – measuring worth. I thought about a quart I paid $20 for recently. That was the cost for a custom-color quart color matched for some speaker covers surrounded by wallpa- per. I left the job for 40 minutes to and from the paint store; add 20 minutes standing in line with a Spanish armada and a gallon of gas for the ride. Not quite right color, so I repeated process. That means: ($20 + $35 (1 hour of my time) + $4.25 (a gallon of gas) + language practice (priceless)) x2 = $118.50. I 16 • August/September 2012 APC That's a pricy meatball. I've paid a lot for paint in 35 years, but this is how I deal with it to milk an extra dollar. My milking starts on the job. To preserve recently caught the flick "Moneyball." It etched a deep paints, I punch a drain hole in all cans with a 5-in-1 tool and clean the gutter before resealing. A swatch on the side of the can makes for future color identification. Unloading back at my crib, I mark with a Cans bottoming out can stay. Rather, I keep their custom selections painted on 12-inch- square card stock for future reference or a written formula (whites noted as well). If they need to know their colors, they have to come to me. After a year, all paint becomes stock and can be mixed for future projects. Standard off-whites are easy enough; hav- ing a selection on hand allows a quick sam- pling for the next job. I also box them in for a large bucket to white out some low-priority project or for tinting up darker formula. Mixed glazes and decorative formulas are usually left in tightly sealed plastic containers at the job in a place where they will avoid being discarded. For extra longevity, plastic containers can be sealed in large plastic zip locks. I have gone back to find material still fresh up to 10 years later, and if dried out, the mixing instruc- tions are usually on my file card. Before I complete any project, I Smart use of leftover paint can save time and money. Sharpie the paint chart number on the side of the can next to the swatch, possibly the customer's name for a touch-up reference that might come in the next few months. Keepers go on my basement shelving sys- tem with the information visible: color, sheen and original job. Salvage wood obtained Dumpster diving built that shelf system – no cost there. My paint cellar has easy access from the outside, allowing easy movement of stuff in and out. In the winter it keeps the material from freezing. I seldom leave large amounts of leftover paint with my customers unless requested. like to inform the customer of my file. They think they are done with me, but water leaks, electrician activity or bad kid behavior can all inspire them to call me for a repeat performance. Colors come in and out of style. The deep blue/green Kelly of the '80s is now more likely a green to the yellow side – still deep green, just a different one. Over the term of a few years I find some colors being requested again and again. Having stock from past gigs gives a free color sample and often substantial material to start rolling. Back at my storeatorium, labeled quarts to the ceiling can be found. Used to create samples for customers, I can pull a plausi- ble selection in no time and load them in a soda crate for ferrying to the job. All can be done before or after work, leaving more continued on page 18

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