A Painter’s Guide to Balancing Your Business

3 tips for improved time management

It’s the curse of success—what you always wanted when you first became a painting contractor. Leads are rolling in, and jobs are plentiful. In fact, there’s more than you and your team can handle. How do you juggle all these jobs and balance your existing workload without losing the quality your customers have come to expect?

For some painters, the answer might be expanding the business, but for many, the problem isn’t having too few resources—it’s not managing those resources effectively. And as a business owner, the most important resource you need to manage is your time. To keep your business healthy and growing, it’s important to make sure you’re using your time as effectively as possible.

“I’ve heard ‘time is money’ over the years,” says Brandon Vaughn, owner of Wise Coatings and chief strategist of Conquer Coaching. “But time is not money; it’s actually infinitely more valuable than money. We can choose when to spend money and when not to spend it. Time is the opposite. We choose to spend it, whether we want to or not—every day, every minute, every second.”

Here’s three tips to help you better manage your time to ensure productivity, prevent burnout, and keep both your team and customers happy.

Triage effectively

“Triage” is all about sorting out your priorities. In emergency situations—like hospitals and warzones—triage refers to the process used by medical professionals to determine who gets prioritized for treatment when there aren’t enough resources to go around at once. Who needs emergency care, who can wait, and who’s already beyond helping?

As a painter, you may not be dealing with life-and-death situations, but some days are certainly more hectic than others. When the phone’s ringing off the hook, someone needs a callback, and your week’s already booked solid, how do you decide who gets your attention?

For those moments, it’s handy have a triage framework of your own for determining how to handle multiple problems, needs, or projects all coming up at the same time. For example, the Covey Time Management Matrix recommends sorting things on your to-do list into four categories: “important and urgent,” “important but not urgent,” “urgent but not important,” and “neither important nor urgent.” Knowing your priorities in advance—and having a framework to help you sort through complications that pop up in real-time—can help keep you and your team focused on what really matters and prevent stressful situations.

Delegate more

In the Sherwin-Williams PRO+ Business Training Series episode “Taking Your Business to the Next Level,” Vaughn identifies the “DIY death trap” that many painting business owners fall into.

“How many of you have ever said, ‘If you want it done right, you’ve got to do it yourself? No one will work as hard as me,’” Vaughn says. “It feels harder to teach someone else how to do it than it is to just do it ourselves. … But is that really true? For me, it certainly wasn’t.”

Vaughn says the change that revolutionized his business was when he started training people to actively replace him—first on the job site, then in the office and on sales calls—until finally he could step back and focus on high-level business decisions. While he was initially scared that others wouldn’t perform to his standards, he found that when you hire the right people and trust them, it actually makes the business run much smoother.

To find future team members who can become leaders for your organization, check out Sherwin-Williams Careers in Painting, the industry’s first free, paint-focused website. Use our guide to register and post a job listing in just 15 minutes.

Use PRO+ductive Solutions

You can also enhance your team’s productivity by taking advantage of resources available to you through the Sherwin-Williams PRO+ Program. The Sherwin-Williams PRO+ Program is an exclusive program designed to help you manage and grow your business, boasting PRO+ductive Solutions that can help maximize your efficiency.

One easy way to save time is with free jobsite delivery. Cut out all the wait time and drive time—not to mention the mileage on your vehicle—and have Sherwin-Williams bring you the paint and supplies you need when you need it.

“Sometimes you have the whole crew at the house or the job site, and they’re ready to paint—and then you run out of material,” says Wilber Vargas, founder/owner/manager of Wilber’s Painting in Maplewood, New Jersey. “With job site delivery, we usually have the material right there within half an hour or an hour. It saves me so much time to not have to drive to the store and look around for the right material. They bring it right to us.”

You can also access cutting-edge products that can save you time on the jobsite. The Full Circle Radius 360 Sanding Tool can sand 3 times faster than a traditional sanding pole*, the Purdy® Revolution 14” Frame lets you paint 45 percent faster**, and the Mi-T-M® Job Pro® 4000 Pressure Washer can cut cleaning time nearly in half***. That’s in addition to innovative Sherwin-Williams coatings, such as the fast-drying Gallery Series™ Waterborne Topcoat and the extreme temperature-resistant Latitude™ Exterior Acrylic Latex.


No matter what challenges your business is facing today, using these three tips can help you better manage your time and accomplish more in a day without sacrificing your standards of quality. Take advantage of the resources at your disposal to set up your business for success.

* Sanding is 3x faster when compared side-by-side to a traditional pole sander and sandpaper on prepared drywall.

** Compared to average completion time using the Purdy 9 1/2″ roller and 9 1/2″ frame.

*** Comparison cleaning time vs entry level Pro washer as measured by cleaning units (GPM x PSI)