It's coming up to a year of my business running. Ok thats not entirely true, the business has been going for five years but in terms of concentrating on solely working on my own jobs not reliant on others it's almost a year old. What a exciting and stressful year it's been too! From the initial fears of not having any work coming in to struggling to fit people in, it has been worth it. As the year has progressed to need to better my tools and equipment has grown. Obviously it's not something you can do in one go, unless you have the disposable income to do so, so I've tried to improve bit by bit each month. This month the investments are new ladders, a new hoover/extraction unit and work shoes. Yes work shoes. We are on our feet constantly so it makes sense to wear something comfortable.
Anyway most the tools I started with last year I still use but it is good if you can improve them. For instance I started off on domestics last year using a flex sander and a titan hoover for dust free sanding, for the combined cost of £70. It worked too, if not a little noisy but it was what I could afford and it provided me with a setup that gave my customers dust free homes. Over the year the flex sander has been upgraded to a Mirka Deros (still my favourite investment this year!) and the titan has been upgraded to a Nilfisk Alto. Using this I can run my sander straight from the hoover base without carrying two different hoses.
Ladders upgrade was a necessity really, with more and more enquiries for external works coming in over the summer was something I needed. Along with new roof bars, that was a nightmare believe me! A screw snapped off in one of the fixing points so had to get it fitted at a garage who had a right game in getting it out. Thankfully they did it and they are on now! As it stands today I have a couple more externals left, though judging by the rain outside I might be playing with fire! I do enjoy working on outsides, sadly the changeable weather makes the jobs more stressful than they should be. If only you could guarantee 3 solid dry months each year to do the work in!
I have changed all my trimming knifes for wallpapering to Olfa, much sharper cutting and better performance and my scissors to axus heavy duty. Paste I now use ready mixed all the time as it is more dependable. Given I get a lot of wallpapering jobs now it's best to have a kit and system I can rely on. It's not just tools I've upgraded, I have invested in new work clothes. Branded work clothes and new overalls and trousers too. A smart appearance is, in my eyes, a must. You could be the best at your job but you turn up with overalls and clothes destroyed in paint it's not going to give your customers that much confidence the same won't happen to their furniture! As you have seen I have upgraded my website over the past four months and it has been a instant win win for me. Very happy with the job the team at Expert Trades have done in building it for me and it's a worthwhile investment.
Next week is my papering course, hopefully will come away with some handy tips to use moving forward when papering. Always good to keep learning, whether it's things you can do already to refresh or to learn a new skill. All these will benefit both me and my customers short and long term