A day in the life of me, a Decorating Contracts Manager

So where to begin…
…wake up, walk the dog and arrive at the office

8.00am, so here I am in the office, double checking my appointments, today is going to be extra busy, seven site visits, with the last one being in the evening.

I will be looking at completed jobs and work in progress projects in High Wycombe, Speen, Berkhamsted, Tring, Aylesbury, Finchampstead and Slough but first stop the coffee shop…

Costa Coffee

Its 9.00am and I’m on the road… well 100 yards from the office, at a well-known bakery company, R&D Division, where Phil, our Supervisor has been hanging some amazing Image Vinyl supplied by Tektura wallcoverings, this type of work is precision at its absolute best the vinyl is supplied in sections, so no room for errors.

I took this picture of Phil, pasting the wall ready to hang the next section of vinyl.

Image Vinyl

9.30am and off to Speen, a village in the heart of the Chiltern countryside. I am nearly late due to negotiating a lorry on a country lane, I would have expected a tractor not an artic.

So at this traditional brick and flint cottage, which we have worked at before, I inspect the external redecoration to the woodwork and windows, I always specify Dulux Weathershield Undercoat and Gloss system for these type of jobs due to the longevity of the product.

Leaving the painters to continue with staining the weatherboards and gable ends, the client shows me inside the cottage, I spec up some internal decoration work ready for the office to create a proposal, the client has a budget and so to meet this, we agree that I will price at our lower rates and so that there is no compromise on quality we will do the work during our quieter time in Winter.

Just before I leave, I quickly email the spec sheet that I have just filled in to Lisa, our Administration Assistant, so that she can raise a quotation using our electronic quoting software.

On my way out, I took a picture of the cottage.

Cottage in Speen


It’s a beautiful day and peaceful drive through the lanes out towards Berkhamsted, where we are carrying out full internal decorations throughout three new build plots in St Leonards.

I put a team onto this project to really get this project underway, the mist coating to the newly plastered walls should now be completed, so I expect to see the emulsioning to the ceilings and walls underway, which it is and it’s looking good. I like to keep up to date with interior designers’ “in colours”, and today it’s about fifty of shades of grey!

Seriously though, tones of grey are extremely popular especially in the Farrow and Ball range as they can be accentuated with boldly coloured accessories.

A quick meeting with Andy, our Supervisor on site, we check through the painting schedule and specification it’s looking like the following week we will be able to start on the woodwork including skirtings, architraves and spindles. I leave Andy to order in the specified products, Satinwood for the woodwork and Osmo oil for application to the internal doors.

Project in St Leonards

On the road again…

It must be nearing lunchtime as I pass ‘The Boat’ and see people disappearing through the pub entrance, I make a mental note, ‘looks a nice place, right next to the Grand Union Canal, Sunday afternoon get together with mates…’ I pull into a layby, quick bite to eat and check my messages, make a few calls and confirm my next appointment with the site manager in Tring.

Arrived in Tring at 12.15pm another three new build plots, by the same developers that I have just visited in St Leonards. A quick walk around with the Site Manager, all looking great, 2 plots completed and signed off, I go back to the car and email Sharon, our Office Manager, she will check through the project admin and raise the necessary completion paperwork for me to sign off tomorrow.

Painted kitchen in Tring

Next stop is Waddesdon near Aylesbury…

The time is 1.30pm and I arrive, we have been working in Waddesdon since early Summer, I have a small team of decorators, headed up by Julian, working on the external decoration to a number of properties connected to the Waddesdon Estate. Most of the properties are residential and by keeping the same team on site they can easily move from property to property without causing too much disruption to the residents.

To date, we have completed several residential properties in the High Street, Main Road, the Social Club and several Farmhouses and outbuildings.

I am here to take a quick look at Collectors Corner in the High Street today and to see that the scaffolding is in place and check the risk assessment ready for us to start the external decoration. All is good and I take a picture for our records.
Then make a note to send the specification sheets and health and safety documents to my team of decorators first thing in the morning.
Then onto 5 Arrows Hotel to organise with the manager when we are to start as we need to work around up coming functions.

Five Arrows Hotel in Waddesdon

A quick pit stop for a builder’s mug of tea to keep me going while I make a few calls and answer several emails that have come through. Ready, Set the Sat Nav and Go! My next site is an hour and 25 minutes away, it’s getting near to school kicking out time, so if I keep to the M40 and M4 I should be okay. Finchamstead I am on my way…

… arrived its now 3.45pm.

This is one of our larger sites, the project has been running for the last 6 months, complete internal and external decoration to three new build properties.

We are nearing completion and I am here today to make sure the finish and colour matches that Dulux Decorating Centre (DDC) have helped us with have been successful and that the client and new property owners are happy with the results.

After a good walk round with the Site Manager and our Supervisor, the properties are beginning to look stunning and the clients are extremely happy. I take some quick pictures, again for our records and send a tweet to DDC thanking them for their help.
We are using Dulux Weathershield Undercoat and Gloss and Weathershield Smooth to the exterior. For the interior walls and ceilings Dulux Contract Matt.


Dropping back onto the M4 and I am hoping for a 40 minute journey to the last site of the day, the night shift project is HSBC in Slough High Street and we have been contracted to carry out the internal decoration for a retail fit-out company.

Its early evening, and I arrive to meet our decorator just as he arrives to start his day! This is an ‘out of hours’ project, due to the property being a High Street Banking establishment with an extremely high level of security.

We are painting the ground floor, first and second floors. We are also hanging wide vinyl on the customer facing walls. Most of the materials have been sourced by our client, our decorators will always have a selection of sundries in their vans and I also keep a box of sundries in my car just in case they run short.

run through the schedule with the decorator to ensure the timings are going to plan, and if any potential ‘hold ups’! Everyone on site, seems to be happy to work through the night, so I sign myself out of the last site visit of the day, or is it…

…well sort of, I call it the ‘social site visit’ its 7.00pm and I have arrived at The Chequers Inn, near Wooburn Green, its time to relax, I quickly add some reminders in my mobile for tomorrow, then enjoy a beer and a bite to eat with friends, oh yes and check that the decorating we did previously here is still looking great, which I check pretty much once a week!

Chequers Inn

I hope you enjoyed my adventures, today was a particularly busy day, my job is to always make sure that every project gets full attention from start to finish. That it is completed on time to a high quality finish.

If you have a decorating project, commercial, industrial, residential that you would like a quotation for, please give us a call 01494 465566 or complete our enquiry form.

Thank you for your interest, I hope to see you soon.

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