A Good Tool for Scheduling Painting or Remodeling Projects

Posted by David Chism | Mon, Aug 10, 2015

 A Good Tool for Scheduling Painting or Remodeling Projects

Update: As of Jan­u­ary 2016: The blog fea­tur­ing Smartsheet is still just as pop­u­lar with my clients. Noth­ing new to report. 

Man­ag­ing the sched­ul­ing of paint­ing or remod­el­ing projects can be a real jug­gling act. When I was active in my fam­i­ly’s paint­ing busi­ness, the sched­ule seemed to adjust and change dai­ly. Some­times, the headaches hap­pened when a crew called last minute and said they were not fin­ished on a Fri­day and need­ed 2 more hours on Mon­day morn­ing to fin­ish up, and they did not call their next project to let them know they would not be there Mon­day morn­ing. With­out the right tech­nol­o­gy, a home improve­ment sched­ule can be one of the most painful parts of run­ning a business.

It appears that a num­ber of build­ing con­trac­tors have set­tled on using pro­grams like Microsoft Project over the years and have been hap­py with the prod­uct. I have not looked into MS Project recent­ly, but MS Project seemed to served that niche fair­ly well dur­ing the years that I was active in the trade.

Yet, many paint­ing con­trac­tors I work with and have met over the years did not or still do not use MS Project and instead rely pri­mar­i­ly on MS Excel, Google Sheets or just a white­board. My dad’s com­pa­ny still uses a white­board and it works. How­ev­er, the three men­tioned above still are not the best option if you real­ly want to be more effi­cient at sched­ul­ing and avoid some of the headaches of job shuf­fling when you encounter prob­lems like inclement weath­er, or jobs not fin­ish­ing on time.

Smartsheet is the Answer

I have writ­ten about Smartsheet in a num­ber of pre­vi­ous posts. Smartsheet is a leader in the cloud com­put­ing project man­age­ment world. They have built a prod­uct that can do what you have always wished a White­board, MS Project, Excel and Base­camp could do if they all played nice­ly with each other.

When you first look at Smartsheet, you would think it is just like any oth­er spread­sheet soft­ware. A blank sheet looks just like open­ing an Excel sheet. Yet under­neath those columns, rows and cells are some very pow­er­ful project man­age­ment tools that can help with mak­ing your sched­ul­ing quite a bit easier.

Once you cus­tomize the sched­ule the way you want, you can choose sev­er­al ways to view the sched­ule: Google Cal­en­dar, Smartsheet Cal­en­dar, iCal, or as a Gantt chart.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 4.52.31 PM

If the job is going a few hours over or you just need to move the date, you can adjust the dura­tion of the project. It will move all of your sched­uled projects with­out screw­ing any­thing up! This hap­pens when you use predecessors.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 4.49.42 PM

Ok. So MS Office and oth­er sched­ul­ing pro­grams can do dura­tions and pre­de­ces­sors. What makes Smartsheet unique and better? 

Smartsheet also uti­lizes sev­er­al key fea­tures that make it a great option for sched­ul­ing paint­ing projects. One of those fea­tures is called resource man­age­ment. From one screen, you can see if you’ve under or over­booked your team.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 4.59.53 PM

You can also upload pho­tos of projects, file attach­ments, share updates and col­lab­o­rate with your team. Final­ly, if you want to dig deep­er, you can make the sched­ul­ing pro­gram into a com­plete project man­age­ment sheet that helps with tasks for each job. It all depends on how you want Smartsheet to work for you and your paint­ing company.

You can cre­ate most of the sheets your­self — it is not all that com­pli­cat­ed to learn. Yet, Smartsheet is a very pow­er­ful cloud pro­gram. The more you use it, the more you will be amazed at the things you can add down the road. The sky’s the lim­it for what it can do for your busi­ness. I know a num­ber of paint­ing com­pa­nies that use Smartsheet on an advanced lev­el for account­ing, project man­age­ment, job cost­ing, project task, col­lab­o­ra­tion, web forms, hir­ing, train­ing and much more.

The cost of Smartsheet is more than rea­son­able. It starts at just $14 a month!

If you would like help cus­tomiz­ing Smartsheet, let me know! My team can help.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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