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  • Writer's pictureAntony Berry

The pound doesn’t stretch as far as it used to…

t’s well documented that prices continue to rise, while salaries remain fairly static. Press reports on the petrol price hikes recently - and not forgetting the interest rate rise, prompted me to write this article which hopefully offers some food for thought. I won’t dwell on why prices are rising, save for mentioning material costs have also sky rocketed in 2018, by as much as 20%! I will concentrate on what you can do to maximise your investment when decorating your property.

1. Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents P*ss Poor Performance

I might have ‘borrowed’ this saying from the British Army, but it always holds true. Don’t impulse purchase your colour scheme. Think long and hard about how you use the room or space, and whether or not you are going to keep the existing fixtures and fittings. Are you going to swap your sofa next year? Are you going to move and how will other people perceive those colours when the house is up for sale? Does the colour enhance or clash? Is it in harmony with the age and period of your property. How do the rest of the occupiers feel?

If in doubt, we’re always here to help and offer advice. In our opinion if you are considering a bold change of colour, think about testing it on a smaller area first, rather than painting the whole room. You would be surprised at just how many people end up completely repainting an area after a colour they ‘fell in love with when they saw it on offer’ is completely different out of the tin and on the wall. The same goes for wallpaper, what looks good on the test ‘strip’ might look completely different in a larger space, and think about how light interacts with existing features in your room. Also think about how changing other features like light fittings and curtains will alter the look and feel.

It’s always better to redecorate and then buy fixtures and fittings which tie in with the space, rather than the other way round. A carefully chosen scheme, decorated with professional products, should be the envy of your friends and neighbours and should last for years. Rushed schemes often end up being recovered which increases costs.

2. Plan ahead

We often hear from potential customers just that little bit too late. A common issue would be a desperate customer ringing with a few days’ notice before carpets and furniture are due to arrive. Our advice would always be book in advance. We will always do whatever we can to help, and juggle planned in works to accommodate you, but be realistic with timescales. We appreciate the customers who often book in up to two months in advance, even if they only have a rough idea of exact dates. We hate to turn business away, but we would rather do that than risk our reputation and achieve a result that’s below par. You guys deserve our best work, and that’s what we always aim to deliver.

3. Avoid cheap materials

It might be really tempting to try and save costs by buying some cheap ‘one coat’ that was on special offer down the DIY store, but the professional paints produce the best results in the longer term. Not only are they of the finest quality, they are unbeatable in terms of durability and quality, the pigments are superior and will last a lot longer. A professional paint will not ‘yellow’ in the same way as a cheaper paint. We might spend a relatively long time on preparation, but the quality finishes can only be achieved through sanding, filling and preparing all your surfaces properly. Back to the British Army, remember what happened when we gave them inferior boots?

4. Fully prepare your space before work begins

Vase your great aunt Dot left you in her will? Priceless family heirloom? Try and clear the space of all clutter before we arrive. Make sure the area is well ventilated, heating is turned off, or turned down (especially over the summer months) and well lit. On countless occasions I arrive at property where the room fixtures are untouched. We will take the greatest of care and always use preventative measures and dust sheets, but help us to help you protect your treasures. Clear them first and we can concentrate on achieving the space of your dreams rather than tidying up. Less time in your space will reduce both cost and inconvenience.

5. Communicate your budget and vision

It’s rare that we don’t visit you to talk to you about your project before we will provide you with a costs estimate or quote. In return, if there is a specific budget in mind, or if the price has to be fixed, communicate that to us. We just might be able to come up with some options for you that can change the scope to fit your budget and timescale. We design and prepare a lot of individual pieces, murals, heritage painting and one-off projects. Our specialist team didn’t paint the Sistine Chapel (but we could have). So, if it’s a one-off showstopper you need, tell and let us translate your ideas into a bespoke design. But if it’s a freshen up of your staircase, we can tailor the scope of work appropriately. If the costs estimate is different to what you expected, then ask us to explain. That way, you will be better prepared for the extent of the work required.

We completely understand. It’s your home, your project and your budget so you don’t want anyone coming in and doing things in a way you perceive to be incorrect. Communicate any concerns with us. Sometimes costs will increase from original estimate, such as a drastic colour change which requires several more coats of paint to achieve a professional finish, or additional works. We will always keep lines of communication open so you can keep on track of budget and timescale and we will aim to be flexible to achieve that. We will always accommodate your needs when possible, but please try to remember we will also be working to timescales agreed with other customers. Our aim will always be to deliver each piece of work to the highest possible standard. Keeping customers’ happy helps us to thrive.

6. Consider other work required

On large scale projects where other trades are working in the same space, leave enough time for them to complete snagging and final works, before we arrive. We understand completion dates and targets, and we also understand that sometimes things are just out of our customer’s control. It is always risky having different trades working in the same space, and traditionally painters and decorators will be the final trade on any project, that’s because our work can be easily damaged. We hate to ask you to pay more, because someone forgot to tell us the project was running late and other trades have inadvertently damaged your new walls and skirting boards. Also consider if plaster work will be dry and skirting boards and architraves will be back in place or will need to be changed before we start work.

7. We only use reputable tradesmen

The Paint North team have decades of experience working will all types of materials in every conceivable space. We are time-served and fully qualified. We take pride in everything we do. We use local suppliers wherever possible, and we have worked with other reputable tradespeople on a huge range of projects.

It makes a world of difference. That’s why we love to Paint (the) North!

Go on, help free your hard earned cash from feeling "squeezed" talk to the professionals, talk to Paint North.

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