So another year draws to a close, it's been a busy one! This has been my first full year out on my own and if I'm honest it has been hard at times. The stress of worrying about the next job coming in was one I wasn't used to but one that actually wasn't worth stressing over! Turns out apart from two weeks in March I have steadily worked. I have fallen lucky with most of my customers this year, lovely people to work for yet sadly have had a couple of customers who decided they would not pay me, almost destroying me financially in the process Something in the new year I will ensure never happens again.
I believe over the past 12 months I have grown better as a decorator, improving my skill set as the year progressed and also improving my tool kit. Also believe I am not as naive as I was when I took my first steps into this business. So many people out there will try and take you for a ride (as I've already mentioned the couple who won't pay), expect you to do extras they don't want to pay, give them quotes for "insurance purposes" then pocket the cash when you've spent a couple of hours working out the quotes and viewing the job. Dangle the proverbial carrot in front of you with the promise of other work once you've done this one job which never materialize. One thing I have learned, and I've learned it the hard way, is to trust your gut. If the job doesn't feel right, don't do it.
Thankfully I have loved working for the majority of my customers this year, have always given 110% in providing them with a finish they are happy with. This shows with the recommendations and repeat work I've received and it's something I intend to carry on with this year. My reviews on Checkatrade are testament to that and I have decided to continue with my membership for another 12 months.
Working with Dulux as a Select member is something I have been extremely proud of this year and have continued my membership for a second year. I hope to undertake some more courses over this year, the one I took in September was good for me. Hopefully this along with the offer of a two year guarantee will set me aside to my customers from other decorators. On my blog before I bemoaned the influx of cheap painters and there are a lot out there. I won't compete with their prices, as most have no insurance, no qualifications or training, have never heard of dust free sanding and water based paints. I invest time and money into improving myself to offer my customers a job they are happy with, these don't. As the saying goes "the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten."
Over the year I have used many fabulous products, new to myself, so here are my favourites of the year.
Brushes. Proform Blaze. Absolutely brilliant in water based trim paints, only drawback is they do wear down quicker than purdy.
Roller sleeves. Fossa White Silk. Brilliant finish and a great price too.
Filler and caulks. Dunlop lightweight filler and acrylic flexible filler. I really love the dunlop range, yes they are more expensive than other brands but I have not had one single problem with them.
Masking Tape. Its a tie between Fox and Tesa. Both really good products
Paints. Having tried some Isomat satin, that will be my go to satin from next year but for ease of purchase Armstead Quick Dry satin is good too. Johnstones Aqua is my go to gloss but after using Benjamin Moore high hide primer I will be using more of their products. Also have much love for my Mirka and look forward to breaking it out whenever I can. But my one purchase that's made my year was my bluetooth headphones! So flexible without the wires and makes answering calls and still working perfect.
To finish I would like to thank the various groups I use, a few on Facebook and one forum online. The knowledge and advice I have received from them has helped so much this past year. Thank you to expert trades for creating this website for me. Thank you to my family and friends for the countless times I have whinged, moaned and stressed too. The biggest thanks goes to my customers. From the bottom of my heart I am grateful for the trust you have shown in me to work in your homes and for the feedback and reviews you have given me, along with the continued work. I hope that over the next few years I can repay you and continue to keep working for you all.