Faffing around that comes with being a decorator

Updated May 10, 2024 | Posted Oct 18, 2021 | Professional insight, Life of a Decorator | 4 comments

Is it just me who gets frustrated with all the unpaid faffing around that comes with being a decorator? I thought I’d have a 4-day week this week. Bit of pottering around on the Monday, then some time to myself. It’s now half 4 and I’m sat here p*ssed off.

I finished a big outside job on Friday, in fact, we stayed on till 7 to get it boxed off. It was mint, but the client picked up on a few bits and wanted me to nip back, fair enough. That was an hour and a half this morning after I’d done the school run. Then I nipped into see a client about colours and products, followed by paperwork. Then emptied the van and cleaned my sprayer. Literally a full day’s work that I’m not even getting paid for.

I normally do all this faffing around on a Saturday before picking my little girl up. So even though I only do 5 days a week on the tools, I’m working 6! That can’t be right? I can’t be bothered doing it anymore!! I work too hard. I put a post on the Forum the other day and other decorators seem to get all their organising done in the evenings, or whilst on the tools. I don’t know how they do it!


Another thing that annoys me on top of the faffing are the expenditures!! I cross threaded my spray gun a couple of days ago, £175 for a new one!! Dust free sanders and paint brushes aren’t cheap either!! Nor is liability insurance!! It’s none stop! It all comes off my bottom line. I seem to be working more but earning less!

F#cking cost of paint too!!! I’m embarrassed passing it onto the customer now!! I used to make a healthy profit on everything!!

Then Mrs Johnstone has a moan at you because she thinks you’re “too expensive”, they don’t have a clue!! The chances are, I’ve already spent 2 hours going to see her and pricing the work. Then more time talking through colours and products with her. Then another hour packing the van. Followed by faffing around to pick the materials up.

It’s like an extra half a day for every decorating job I do. All completely unpaid!

Anyone else get fed up of all the faffing around that comes with decorating?


Final Thoughts


Decorating isn’t as easy as people seem to think. The baggage that comes with the job isn’t accounted for by the outside world. Some other decorators seem to be oblivious to it and are happy faffing around for a pittance.

That’s another thing that annoys me a little bit; decorators not charging enough. It cheapens the trade and makes it more difficult for others to win work. Like the trade isn’t hard enough so we’re making it even harder for ourselves.

I’m writing this blog while I’m annoyed. I know it isn’t always like this, but I feel done right now.

Updated May 10, 2024 | Posted Oct 18, 2021 | 4 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.
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  1. Scott

    I sort of agree but honestly sounds more like a mid life crisis. Just buy a convertible l, I did. Sorted it right out 👊

    • Mike Cupit

      lol, great advice Scott!! I’ll look into that as soon as I’ve finished clearing my van

      • Phil Coker

        I agree. I recently jacked in self employed after 28 years and went on the books for a company. No more doing a full day then going home and washing brushes/Rollers out for 20 mins. No more paint to buy. A van provided so no fuel either. All materials/safety gear provided too. The little things make a difference.

  2. Steve Gibb

    Honestly, all this gets built in to the price, I’m pricing for 5 days and get done in 4 or 4.5, never on weekends, I aim for a 4 day week and if it doesn’t get done, skip Friday start again Monday , or what ever day. Gotta get a day on the golf course, life’s what you make it 😉 stopped pandering to the perceived norm some time ago .


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