SO YOU WANT TO BE A PAINTER?

Five tips on how to succeed as an automotive painter

BY JOSH DOBSON

OK, you’ve been sweeping the shop for about a year now. You’ve seen what everybody does around the shop and know what you want to do for a career. You want to be a painter. You want to make vehicles shine. Well, if that’s the case, here’s five things you need to know to become a great automotive painter.

Step 1: Patience

Oh man, do you need patience! Automotive refinishing is a very fulfilling and rewarding trade, but it takes a long time to master. I’m not trying to intimidate you, but you need to know it’s going to take some time to learn. Just when you think you’ve got it … BAM, you get a big run, the blend panel is full of sand scratches or the metallic is all blotchy. Remember, this isn’t supposed to be easy; just be patient and you’ll be rewarded in the long run.

Step 2: Focus

You have to focus every day on your process. Sometimes when you miss the smallest detail, it can end up turning into a major mistake. Stay focused on those details and you’ll begin to dial in your process. Finding what works for you and sticking to that routine will help you immensely in the long run, as it will provide you with the proper template to achieve amazing results.

Step 3: Determination

Determination is essential in order to excel when times get tough. There will be plenty of situations over the course of your early career when you will question your ability to complete a job. Learning from these situations, and staying determined to constantly improve is what this career is all about. Succeeding in these times of self-doubt will determine your future and teach you the lessons you need in order to confidently tackle anything that comes your way.

Step 4: Confidence

Don’t let the nay-sayers get you down. When you’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into your work and someone isn’t quite happy with the result, it can be hard to take. Whether it’s a boss, co-worker or even a customer, have the confidence in yourself to address the issue and fix it.

Step 5: Sense of humor

You have to be able to laugh at yourself when you mess up. It’s OK, and it’s going to happen again and again. You’re only human! Until they find a way to put a robotic arm in your booth, they need you to do the job! It’s important to remember to laugh because, after all, you’re just playing with paint!

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