So 2 months ago I spent a good amount of time scraping 20 layers of peeling paint off the wood siding of a house originally built in 1908. It wasn't much fun. The homeowner suggested I try her fancy scrapers. I politely took them, eventually tried them for a few minutes and quickly dismissed them as not much better than my trusty old standard scrapers. Promptly went back to what was familiar. Familiarity feels good.
Fast forward two weeks...
Still have 2 days of prep work left, me getting sick of scraping, a week behind schedule, weather threatening to put an end to painting season, and the homeowner still singing the praises of her Swedish-made BAHCO carbide scrapers. Bottom line - my stubbornness was costing me money and now I couldn't afford to not try something potentially better.
Those BAHCO scrapers are a game changer. Sure, they cost 5 X what my regular scrapers cost and the ergonomics take a little getting used to, but they very quickly pay for themselves and start saving you time and making you money soon after. Had I used these tools from the beginning, it certainly would have saved me at least two days prep time. Making even $200/day with those days, the new scrapers would have netted me $330. Or 2 days off. That is called an investment, not an expense. In my case there was no risk to trying the new tools as the homeowner was wiling to let me borrow them. All that stood in my way was my own resistance to change.
And I had actually thought about getting some extra labour onboard to help me finish the job. That would have cost a lot more that those 2 new scrapers. Good tools cost you once but they are a write-off, they repeatedly help you generate more income quicker, and they usually pay for themselves within a job or two.
Not only did the new scrapers work much faster, but they did a much better job, which in turn further cut down on sanding time. The blades stay sharp up to 50x longer, further cutting down on replacement time and expense.
Other examples of good investments are larger format applicators like 14" and 18" roller cages, covers and trays for bigger walls and surfaces. 3" brushes for bulk brush work. Power tools like sanders or paint sprayers for volume jobs. Spray tip extensions for reaching higher ceilings, rather than working off ladders or scaffolds.
It has been interesting to note over the years how methods that are quickest and easiest often lead to superior quality results as well. Take a moment to consider what tools are available to you from time to time. Investing in the best tools for a particular job is a good place to start working smarter.
In up-coming articles we will look at other ways of working smarter, not harder, by considering how systems, technology, scheduling, etc can help your business.
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