Readtime 5 : Eddy Suckling : Jul 19, 2022

Usually, the objective of being in business is to successfully provide for your goals in life and become financially secure for the future. Great ideas – but increasingly challenging!

For over 20 years our direct involvement with contractors and coating manufacturers – both key players in the construction industry – has given us insights into...

The top three critical challenges are:


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Project Quality

Business sustainability and supporting life needs and goals Increased. More efficient work output capability reduced installation costs.

Reputation enhancement, building business value through performance.

You, the coating applicator, are the face of the finished project. You installed the material. Most likely, you are the guy who owns the tools and pays the wage bill. The buck stops with you. It is your financial outcome, reputation, and livelihood that are at stake. If you are serious about the profitability and sustainability of your business and future, it is essential that all three challenges are addressed correctly.



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Productivity + Quality = Reward: Reputation & Profitability




Productivity, Quality, and Reward are closely linked. All are unavoidable factors in the equation outcome. Get your productivity right, and your Reward of Profitability goes up; get it wrong, and it goes DOWN! Get your quality right, and your reputation grows in your favor. This leads to repeat business, referrals, and recommendations – very powerful for your business. Get quality performance wrong, and you lose. Big time. Not only will there be a loss of profits through fix-ups and re-do’s, but what about your reputation? People talk, and bad news travels fast, a very powerful negative influence on your business.

The right balance between Productivity and Quality will multiply your Reward. 



Productivity in the materials coating sector comes down to how many square feet/meters can be applied in an hour. Labor is the most expensive cost of any project. If the productivity potential of your labor is restricted by inefficient methods, it will be the most inefficient cost you have. It is also the biggest variable and influenceable cost.

The good news is that you can influence the cost of labor on a project in your favor. And by the way, this is NOT by reducing the hourly rate for your staff!! That is counter-productive and shouldn’t even be a consideration. Your staff may be your biggest cost but by enabling them they also could be your best performing asset. Train them, enable them, look after them and they will deliver you the Reward.

Labor is an ongoing cost. You cannot complete work without it. The value of Productivity of that cost is only increased by enabling your workers to increase the hourly cover rate. Only then you will complete the project with less labor cost. The longer it takes the more costly it is to you.

Compared to labor, training and tools are a once-only investment or cost. But the right “once-off” investment can multiply the Productivity output of your ongoing labor cost!

Remember, you will only be paid for the successful completion of the project regardless of how long it takes you. Do it right quicker, the more profitable the project is for you. Take longer, and that extra labor cost will come out of your profit.



Conflicting with the aim to reduce time on a project is the requirement to maintain quality. However Quality – the Q of the equation is vital for your Reward – reputation and profitability.

Very often when the pressure is on to get a job completed, the deadline is close and the project is well behind, you look for shortcuts to save time. Mixing time is reduced to save time, and more liquid is added to make it mix faster. “It’ll be ok, just get it down!”

It won't be ok...

The quality of the project suffers. The finish may be substandard. The integrity of the coating will be compromised. Non-acceptance of the installation and therefore nonpayment to you is a large risk. Remedial work may need to be completed – at your cost – before you get paid for the original sum less any late penalties. The cost of the extra remedial work is entirely your irrecoverable cost. Down goes your profit! And it does not stop there.

Imagine the cost of remedial work being required after the whole project is completed! Envisage the scenario: you have installed a specified product on a factory or office floor. After the factory, the equipment has been installed or the office is carpeted and fitted out it is discovered that the floor coating is not adhering to the concrete substrate. Complaints are laid, the floor is inspected, samples taken for analysis and inquiries made as to what went wrong. Sample analysis finds that the coating did not fail because it was faulty, it wasn’t installed correctly! The surface wasn’t prepared properly or the material was not mixed sufficiently. Not the material supplier's fault. The buck will likely stop with you, the installer. What is the outcome of this? What will be your Financial Reward?

You may have insurance or other cost-covering safeguards. But what about your Reputation? Material manufacturers can at least influence by recommendation or even specify who is qualified to work with their materials to uphold product warrantees. Project managers will have their known sub-contractors and may only allow approved installers on their projects.

  • Do you want repeat business?
  • Do you want to stay in business?
  • Is it worth the risk… all because you're trying to save some time……???



So we now see how Productivity and Quality directly influence your Reward – reputation and profitability. Again I say, the outcome is not “set in concrete”. You can influence and change the result.

Time is constant (or maybe it is speeding up?) There are only 24 hours in a day. A person on foot can only get so far on a day. On a bike, you can go much further. In a car, how much more? Same person, same goal, same time, same labor cost. Different tools. Who gets there first? How much further can you go? Who has the least effort? Who is in the best condition to enjoy the destination?



Enable your labor.

Work Smarter – Not Harder.

The choice is yours. The outcome depends on you.