How your team can master spraying techniques in no time
Talk to almost any painting contractor, and you’ll hear a familiar story: It’s hard to find good painters. Recruiting new painters remains one of the toughest challenges for painting business owners.
“It’s more difficult than ever to find tradespeople,” says Mike Collins, senior marketing channel manager at Titan. “Owners are now looking into new markets for hires. For example, hiring cooks because they’re detail-oriented, or former waiters or waitresses, because they’re personable and great at connecting with people. However, these are workers who have never painted before. They require training.”
A properly trained crew can mean the difference between a professional paint job and a time-consuming call back. Investing in paint sprayer training for your team can help you save time and money, bring new hires up to speed quickly, and develop and retain your most experienced painters.
Thankfully, there are plenty of spray training resources available. Titan and Graco both feature extensive free offerings designed to expand your team’s capabilities, efficiency, productivity, and quality.
Training for Novices
“Spray training is already being used to attract the next generation of painting professionals,” says Garrett Bogart, a national account specialist at Graco. “The resources we offer are making it easier for contractors to enter the industry.”
Typically, new painters are entering the field with less experience than previous generations.
“In the past, many painters came from one of two backgrounds,” Collins says. “Either they started painting as a summer job in college and then chose to continue in the field after graduating, or painting was the family business: ‘My dad painted, my mom painted, and they taught me to paint too.’
“Now it’s completely different. Market factors and the pandemic opened the door for a lot of non-traditional hires for paint businesses, and training has become more important than ever.”
Both Titan and Graco offer free online video series designed to help new painters learn the basics of painting. Early on, these training resources can help new crew members learn the fundamentals, without the most experienced members having to find time to train them.
Titan’s Painters Tradecraft series focuses on application and breaks down a job from start to finish. Their Sprayer 101 series focuses on teaching fundamentals in a way that is simple, straightforward, and repeatable.
“For these videos, we needed to basically break spraying down to a straightforward process,” Collins says. “Make it simple. Make it repeatable. Don’t make it too complicated. People learn fast, become successful, and work up from that point.”
Sherwin-Williams also offers spray application training through its Paint Pro Training program. Paint Pro Training is part of Sherwin-Williams’ Paint Your Path program, which is designed to grow advocacy for careers in painting and help employers find and train the next generation of painters. The online courses are available in English or Spanish.
Training for Pros
But training isn’t just for beginners. It’s also for experienced veterans who’d like to expand or grow their skillset.
Graco’s Solutions for Contractors highlights a variety of specializations as well as both video and written training resources to suit different learning styles. These can be particularly useful for a contractor who needs to brush up on a process they haven’t done in a while or wants to develop a new capability.
“Contractors are looking for easy methods to train their crew,” Bogart says. “We created the Solutions for Contractors page as a one-stop shop for contractors. Our free training videos can help anyone, from a seasoned pro to a new hire, to maximize efficiency in the way they apply coatings and provide opportunities for growth.”
Training can also offer painting contractors a potential path for promotion and advancement.
“More than half of the painting businesses in the market are small, with one to ten employees,” Collins says. “Most don’t have a formal path for advancing within the business. In corporate America, you can see where you’re going at a company, and when there’s no path for advancement, some leave to go elsewhere. In the painting business, training can help quantify their experience and qualifications when it comes to promotions and compensation, which in turn will help business owners retain their talented employees longer.”
Online training isn’t the only option. For teams who prefer a more hands-on approach, Graco and Titan offer in-person training. Both feature hands-on demos of products at ProShows and local district events, where you can try out new sprayer models for yourself.
You can also schedule specialized training sessions for your team with a Graco or Titan field rep. Just speak to your local Sherwin-Williams sales representative, and they can reach out and set up a time and place for training.
“If the contractor reaches out to us directly, we’re more than happy to assist them,” Bogart says. “But usually, we get requests from Sherwin-Williams’ local reps or store managers, and we’ll set up that training with them, whether it’s at the store, the job site, or the customer’s shop.”
Graco’s reps can also offer real-time training or troubleshooting for teams working in the field through their Virtual Remote Assistance (VRA) technology.
“Let’s say that you’re a contractor having an issue in the field, and you need to be trained on something,” Bogart says. “You can call our tech service group, and they can help you get through that issue in real time remotely. Through VRA, we can see through the customer’s phone camera, have them show us the problem, and talk them through what’s going on—with no app required.”
Bogart encourages contractors to reach out with any questions throughout the training process.
“At Graco, we love getting asked to train,” Bogart says. “Anytime we can make the contractor more efficient and productive, that’s rewarding for us, and a win-win.”
Collins says he hopes these resources—from online walkthroughs to in-person training—will continue to advance painters and boost the perception of painting as a professional trade.
“Several years ago, in a focus group, we asked painters, ‘What’s your biggest problem out there?’” Collins says. “Painters said they were disrespected: ‘We are tradespeople, but when we give our quote to prospective customers, they get upset and say “Well, that’s just painting. I could do that.”’ Our industry continues to gain acceptance and recognition as a professional business. A well-trained team exemplifies that.”