Two At a Time!

With applicants to work in a paint store is as rare as a gallon of Pro-Mar 200, dealers continue to share their concerns for the tightening labor market.


The effects of the labor shortages felt in paint stores around the nation.


When Russ Brasher, the owner of the Paint Garden in Riverside, California agreed to be a guest on my podcast there was only one condition: We had to record the episode on a Sunday.


Unable to hire enough qualified bodies to staff his recently opened second location, Russ is making up the shortfall and currently spending six-days per week behind the counter at one of his two Southern California stores.


I was really grateful to Russ for making the time to record a podcast with me during a time normally reserved for family and football. You'll be able to hear that episode in just a few weeks.


Commuter’s Delight


When I owned my paint stores in the Bronx the trip from my bed in Stamford, Connecticut to the counter at Tremont Paint would take two-hours: The ritual beginning with thirty-minutes to shower the smell of last night’s cigar from my face and dress for the day.


Followed by a 24-mile commute south to New York's northern-most borough, THE Bronx. The 90-minute trip a lethargy along Connecticut's route 95. The segment of highway long the poster child for the nation's crumbling infrastructure which is about to get an upgrade.


As a “work from home,” I sold the stores which had supported THE Lipton’s since 1907 in October of 2019, it takes less of a commitment to get to work on time. Thirteen stairs are all that stand between me and there being a labor shortage at the corporate headquarters of THE Revolution!


But for independent paint dealers with counters to staff and doors to unlock, the labor shortage is no laughing matter.


With the nation’s labor woe's looking like a long-term problem, independent paint dealers will need to look to their existing staffs to handle the increased demand for coatings caused by the coronavirus pandemic.


The Training Wheels


In my blog last week I wrote about the outsized return dealers receive for their investment in employee training.


A few dealers emailed me during the week, “Where do we start?”


In my stores, when I wanted to know how we could do the job better, I would start by asking those doing the job.


Who knows better than a driver, where the driver’s time is being wasted?


The same can be said for those who tint your paint, answer your phones and stock your shelves.


After those conversations dealers will be left with a clearer understanding of what tasks are slowing down their processes. Giving them the ability to train staff to relieve those “bottlenecks.”


By engaging your staff in this process you worked towards creating more output for the same hours of work while also creating a collaborative process which your employees will appreciate.


Making them more likely to stay.


And during a labor shortage which is currently making each employee irreplaceable, hanging on to their current employees is a dealer's best strategy for keeping the schedule filled.


Gobble Gobble


My sister Marci is hosting our family’s Thanksgiving feast this year and despite her considerable skills in the kitchen it’s my cornbread stuffing I expect to be the evening’s big hit!


Loaded with cornbread, sausage and a host of other ingredients less important than those two, I like to finish it in a 15-inch cast iron skillet. The size ensuring that there’s enough of the sought-after crispy edges, to avoid conflict.


Happy Thanksgiving y’all. And Go Bucks!






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