Craig's Refinishing Tips

Refinishing Advice for Bathtubs, Counters, Cabinets & More!

13. January 2013 12:32
by CMunro

“I Heard That Bathtub Refinishing Peels!”

13. January 2013 12:32 by CMunro | 0 Comments

Man, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that!  Well, alright, I’d at least have enough to buy a new pair of construction earplugs.  Anyway, it’s true! If all the steps in a refinishing project are not followed it will peel. Trust me I’ve seen hundreds if not thousands of peeling bathtubs and tiles refinished over the years and it all comes down to improper prepping.   There are way too many so-called companies out there who are giving the bathtub refinishing industry (and me, and you) a bad name. Believe me a lot of them have worked for us. Whether it’s cutting corners on prepping products, or cutting corners on time, it never pays in the long run.  Tub Refinishing, Inc. offers free training.  

I manage and oversee thousands of refinishing projects a year.  I can deal with the occasional run or rope. I understand dust. I know sometimes your knee touches the freshly sprayed bathtub. If it can happen, it has happened to me! But, the one thing we cannot and will not tolerate is rushing or skipping steps. It hurts us all!

Remember, refinishing is not a perfect process but we try to get it as close as we can. I will stand firm for you, for me, and for tomorrow’s refinishers.  Amen!

Happy Spraying,

- CM

9. January 2013 17:47
by CMunro

Shuffle off to Buffalo (or San Francisco)

9. January 2013 17:47 by CMunro | 0 Comments

As I may have mentioned before we complete projects all over the country, all over the continent for that matter.  This past year I’ve been to Santa Clara, San Francisco, Boston, Des Moines, Houston, Saskatoon, Toronto, and NYC.  I used to collect two coffee cups from each city, keep one for myself and give the other to mom. Lame I know, boring yes, but I probably have about $5000 in cups now. A small fortune worth of coffee cups just waiting for someone in the family’s garage sale! I’m thinking magnets next, maybe.

Anyway, the real reason I’m sitting here, reminiscing about the past is not because I’m on my third cup of java, sipping it out of my yellow Calgary, Alberta coffee cup, but it's because next week we are heading back to San Francisco for another big hotel project, and I’ll tell you, I’m stoked! Not only the fact that one of our dealers and my good friend Pete ( from Tucson, AZ, is coming up to work with us, but the food is great and the atmosphere is wonderful!  Most times I’m chomping at the bit to get home, but not while I’m in SF, home to one of my favorite football teams and one of my favorite bands.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                !/photo.php?fbid=258754340858238&set=a.240568846010121.57017.169570963109910&type=3&theater                                           

I love San Francisco!

Oh yes, a refinishing Tip!   Stick to your system (always have one) and exude a lot of patience while working in a hotel! Remember, you might be in the presence of guests, so be courteous and professional at all times!  Oh and of course do a great job! For all of us!

Happy trails.

- CM

5. January 2013 17:07
by CMunro

Advertising - Bang for Your Buck!

5. January 2013 17:07 by CMunro | 0 Comments

So you've made some money, now where to put those refinishing dollars?

Newspaper advertising (newspaper, town paper, phone book, etc) is a thing of the past for us, but if you do choose that route the best advice I have for you is consistency. Keep the same ad in the same location for at least a year.   Your newspaper advertising has little chance of succeeding if it doesn’t get noticed.  Consistency can be everything in newspaper advertising. The phone book has always been an expensive, but extremely effective form of advertising; however, in today’s internet society yellow page advertising essentially has become a "loss leader."  I can’t remember the last time I opened a phone book!  Can you?

Ok, I agree that’s not true for everybody. Though the demographic is shrinking the yellow pages can still be quite effective especially now that the phone book companies will try anything to sell phone book advertising!   And let’s face it, a large portion of homeowners with bathtubs as old as themselves still let their "fingers do the walking" and most likely are not reading this post!
Signage/Lettering on the side of your vehicle is by far one of the most cost-effective advertising campaigns a company can use. A typical company vehicle on the road making daily service calls will result in millions of visual impressions a year.  In your target market area your mobile advertising will be seen by thousands daily.  At the same time, the company that creates our van lettering makes our lawn signs. Another great, cost-effective advertisement that we utilize, only leaving at job sites we will be returning to (we put them up when we start, and take them down when we leave, but in the meantime, anyone in the area knows that their neighbor has put enough trust into our company, to let us into their home and refinish their bathtub, shower, tile, etc...). 

And then there's the 800 pound gorilla.  The internet.  It's simply the future of advertising.  We have essentially put most of our advertising eggs in the website basket. Whether you build your own site or hire a web development company, you must look professional, stay on top of it, and always have current content. It can be quite expensive, but without it you will be dead in the water.

The number one advertisement of course, and I’m sure this goes without saying, is “referrals.”  Unfortunately, it takes years and years to acquire a good referral base. 40 years and still rocking in the bathtub refinishing industry, and believe me when I tell you that Costumer service is #1 in our company! Having good customer service is a great way to ensure referrals.

There are many ways to build excellent Customer Service. Start with being on top of it right from the first call. No voice-mails, No answering machines, No “have to get back to you” calls. Also, I‘ve always believed in having a business line. If no one’s there to answer calls, have the calls transferred to your cell phone. Make the company extremely accessible.  When there’s a problem with the work that was preformed is when your reputation is most on the line. Be accessible, concerned, and prompt with correcting the issue. No matter how big or small the problem may be I’ve found taking care of it in this fashion relieves customer anxiety, as well as cures most negative feelings.  In other words when they realize you care about them, they will always have good things to say about you and your company.  I’ve always believed that you do one good job and you’re lucky if three people hear about it. Do one bad job and you can bet twenty people will hear about it!

So have great customer service and quality workmanship, and it'll be the best advertising you'll ever get!

1. January 2013 12:47
by CMunro

First Thing's First - Get the Right Sprayer!

1. January 2013 12:47 by CMunro | 0 Comments

This being the first post for "Craig's Refinishing Tips for Professionals" I thought we could start it off with a frequently asked question by the “new” refinishers:

Question:  “What type of Sprayer do I use?”

Answer: High Volume, Low Pressure (HVLP). HVLP Spray Systems consists of a Turbine Unit, a Hose and a Gun. Spray Tech, Titan, Graco, Fuji, Wagner, etc, are just a handful of many to choose from.  The price you want to spend and the reviews you will read will help determine your choice of system.  Here are a few of the traits I look for in selecting the spray systems for our company.    

Let’s begin with the most important part of the spray system, the Gun.  Always test drive the gun before you buy. After 20 years and spraying thousands of bath fixtures I’ve found comfort is very important. The weight of the gun, how it fits in my hand and the balance are all factors I pay extra attention to.   Ease of the fluid and air adjustments will be just as important. As a reminder, a #3 or #4 fluid set is used to spray Shurbond Top Coat finish.

On to the Turbines: Turbine units come in 2, 3, 4 and 5 stages.  The stages are determined by how many Fans (Blades) the turbine unit has. The amount of blades provided corresponds to the amount of pressure and amount of air the turbine unit will produce. Two (2) stage units are used for thinner materials, stains, lacquers, etc. Thicker materials will need more power.  We use 3 and 4 stage machines. Btw, A machine with a good cup holder is always a plus!!

The Hose:  Hoses tend to be very bulky, heavy and a common cause of operator fatigue. I always choose a flexible hose, it reduces fatigue on those long spray jobs. 25’-30’ max lenth.

To sum It all up, comfort, ease, power and mobility of a new spray system are important characteristics to be taken seriously. Always remember, the more comfort  and ease of the equiptment, the happier the technician, the better the final product..

Happy Spraying.
- CM