I painted housed from roughly 2001 up until June of 2014. I started painting in Kentucky as a second job. From there I moved back to southern California and painted for someone there until I moved to the Paso Robles area in October of 2003. In Paso Robles I worked for two different painting contractors before getting my own painting license in March of 2006.
So I painted for about five years for other people and then had my company for over eight years. I decided to close (I prefer to say I retired) my company after all that time for many reasons: 1) I grew tired of the work 2) it was extremely difficult to find quality help 3) when we got pregnant my wife and I talk about it and thought me being a work at home dad would be cool and 5) I had started a new business sometime back doing social media marketing and online community management for businesses so leaving the painting company was a viable option.
In fact, the online work I had started two or more years prior to our son being born. The decision was made to start scaling back on the painting company and grow the online business. It finally worked to completely close the business in June of 2014. That first year and a half of my son’s life consisted of me working at home on a computer as well as taking him to painting job sites when needed.
It was pretty stressful doing both businesses and taking care of him during the day. Stressful…but an experience that changed me to the core. So let’s fast forward to yesterday, May 12, 2015. I finally decided to take my truck down and have the ladder rack (otherwise known as a lumber rack) removed. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal and it didn’t to me…but as I watched them take the bolts off and bring the forklift over to lift the rack off…I had some feelings I wasn’t really expecting.
You see, I was a ‘painter’ for 13 years of my life. I had a ladder rack on trucks for about 9 or 10 years. It’s like being married. It’s like having a kid. Painting was my living. My painting company was my baby. I started it from nothing and grew it into something I was quite proud of. I met amazing people and had prominent members of San Luis Obispo County as customers that turned into friends. I paid my bills with this business.
The flip side was the stress. Scheduling, answering the phone, bidding, invoicing, chasing money, dealing with the economy, and on and on and on. The painting business messed with my sleep more than anything else I have experienced in my life. The winter season was slow. There was a lot of local competition. People didn’t understand why painting a house could be so expensive. And with all this, I have no regrets. The business taught me more than college ever could.
So back to the ladder rack. As I sat in the parking lot with my son, Sammy, and we watched them remove another fundamental part of my life…it brought many thoughts and feelings to the forefront. I started painting 11 years before Sammy was born. After he was born I was in situations where I had to hop in that truck with the ladder rack and take him to jobsites with me. So much had changed in the lifespan of my painting career.