Tips for creating a functional and efficient finishing shop
13 October, 2021
As much as painting is done out in the field, a smooth-running shop is often the hub of a successful organization. And organization is our key word, because how a shop is organized is often the key to how well the team spokes out from there. Some shops are sprightly and new, while others have that long-time lived-in look, but here are some examples of excellent shops and tips to keep them organized, clean and safe.
Keeping it simple:
Nick Slavik Painting and Restoration, New Prague, MN
“Humans comply with simple, intuitive processes,” said company owner Nick Slavik, so his shop—newly constructed—is put together for easy access and organization.
Training new painters is an important part of Slavik's business model, so he is sure to to have an area where apprentices can make mistakes and properly learn the craft. New painters spend 1-2 weeks time here prepping for their debut in the real world.
Organization and Inventory are Key
Alpine Painting, Patterson, NJ
Alpine Painting has honed its shop organization for two generations. “You will buy more items than you need if your shop isn’t organized,” said Dave Scaturro, VP at Alpine Painting and Sandblasting.
From the Small
A lean, mean cabinet-finishing machine:
Elite Fine Finish, Humble, TX
With only 400 square feet, Louis Jasso of
Elite Fine Finish sets up his shop “lean,” and
he encourages contractors to make the best
use of the footage already available. “Our
mentality on pretty much everything is
centered around batch processing,” he said.
“Say you have a rack with 50 cabinet doors;
most people will sand the all doors, then
spray all the doors, then sand all the doors
again.” By using electric equipment and
vacuum sanders, he avoids overspray and
dust floating around the shop. “We do
everything in the one-piece flow. Take one
door off the rack, sand the door, spray the
door, put it back on the rack. We’re trying
to reduce movements and still get the job
done as efficiently as possible.”
To the Large
Plan ahead, and leave room:
Militello Painting and Powerwashing, Ambler, PA
Christian Militello can store his equipment
and vehicles inside—saving him from
having to winterize the equipment, and
protecting the trucks and wraps from the
Thanks to the genius of Scott, the
project manager, they now have a place
to paint cabinets too. “He put eyelets in
the ceiling, and adjustable tie-down straps that hang down,” said Militello. “Then, we’ll take rebar and put it in the eyelets of the hooks on the tie-down strap. We drop down some plastic, set up the filtration system and go to town. An added convenience: The whole system pulls up into the ceiling when the trucks come home.
Quality Work ... Faster
Cabinet ReNu, Mankato, MN
If you could remodel your shop right now, what would you do? That’s what DennyJahnz of Cabinet ReNu is doing right now. One thing he’s working on, as a cabinet refinisher, is to facilitate quality work faster.
Langdon & McKenzie, Garner, NC
Steve Langdon, owner at Langdon & McKenzie, says that great customer service starts by having a fully stocked, safe, well-organized shop. It’s a way to differentiate yourself, even if customers don’t visit. “It is a critical step in maintaining the utmost in quality and service to our clients. It helps with logistics, staff morale, cost and inventory control, and most importantly, a culture of safety,” he says. Their shop is a work room, meeting room, even a playroom.
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