Local painters needed

Published 2:05 am Saturday, July 9, 2016

Local contractors say they are in dire straits.

Not because of the lack of work available, but due to the lack of a good work force for the jobs.

On a wing and a prayer, David Wilson of Sherwin Williams reached out to the Star-News this week to try to help local contractors locate some new, dedicated employees.

Contractors Nathan Reed and Stephen Salter said they have enough work they could run crews seven days a week, but they are constantly having trouble finding employees to get them 40 hours a week.

They’ve reached out the Manpower, but to no avail in finding dedicated employees.

They say construction in Covington County hasn’t taken a hit like it has in other areas, and the pay is decent and painters have the ability to increase their pay.

Starting painters make about $12 an hour, but can earn upward of $18 an hour.

The lack of good, quality employees is negatively impacting their businesses as well.

Salter said this week he had to cancel a job because one of his workers backed out.

Reed recently lost a job because his help didn’t have a vehicle and the customer hired a contractor who could start then.

“That hurts my reputation,” Salter said.

And they have to turn down jobs for lack of manpower.

“I turn down three to five jobs a week,” Salter said.

Reed has the ability to run as many as five crewmembers and Salter can run two to three.

The pair said it’s an issue all contractors are facing.

Wilson said things have changed drastically in the last 20 years.

“Twenty years ago, people go into a trade and went out and learned the trade from working under someone,” he said. “That has since changed.”

Some of that could be attributed to the massive push years ago for students to go to college, rather than learn a trade. The state department of education has in recent years returned its focus to having career ready emphasis, as well as college.

They are looking for people – male, female, any demographic, who are reliable, have their own transportation and are willing to learn.

They are even willing to work a college student or someone who wants a summer job.

“We just need to know their schedule so we can work with them,” Reed said.

They said they can offer good money, and have the ability to secure benefits, if needed for employees.

All they expect is for employees to be on time, have a vehicle and a good attitude.

“The ball is in their court,” Reed said. “We will pay the guy what he’s worth.”

Employees can work more than 40 hours a week for 50 weeks a year.

“We can offer someone a career like a technical school,” Salter said. “Somewhat like an apprenticeship.”

Wilson said with the lack of skilled craftsmen and the average age increasing for contractors, it will soon cause prices to have work completed at homes to skyrocket.

Without steady employees, the businesses are likely to tank.

“I could keep at it four maybe five years tops,” Salter said.

“I could go out right now, but that’s not who I am,” Reed said.

Paint purchased locally also helps local paint stores.

Wilson said for every $10,000 worth of paint per employees equates to $100,000 to $125,000 in business for a company.

Anyone interested in a painting job should call Sherwin Williams at 222-1164.