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Build a prep program with your paint department

Monday, May 11, 2015 - 07:00
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Even in an era when vendors are churning out fantastic finishes, along with mixing and measuring technology that essentially guarantees an exact color match, many shops still lose all of these benefits and cost savings because of the re-dos and other problems caused by poor prep work.

Fortunately, prep work — along with spraying technique, training and spray booth use, among others — is an area where vendors can provide assistance. Refer to the following steps, submitted by paint companies, to help your shop build a prep program that consistently provides the right preparation for top notch finishes.

Step 1: Prepare for the prepping
Many of the most vital steps that create a great finish are performed well before the finish is laid. The same can be said for prepping, where many of the most important steps are made before the prep work starts.

William Warner, Technical and Training Manager for Matrix and Prospray, says shops should start by making sure they allot sufficient time, space and planning to properly perform the entire repair job.

"In the front office, preparation begins in the estimate and selling phase. If each step isn’t properly accounted for, it has a snowball effect," Warner says. "I’ve seen this scenario many times. The body work gets delayed and then the paint job gets rushed to meet the delivery date."

Warner notes that some of the costliest mistakes are made well before a technician or painter even touches a job. He explains, "Overselling the job, by not setting realistic expectations, excluding a process (like blending) or promising the car too soon can put the shop and staff at a disadvantage."

Axalta Account Manager Ben Sampson similarly points out that the entire repair first needs to be addressed to build efficiency during the paint prep stage. Mapping a repair, he says, ensures there are "no surprises or extra repairs that can create unnecessary color match problems, for example, because a shop had to take care of damage at the end of a blend panel."

(Photo courtesy of Car Crafters) A well ordered, clean shop is one of the keys to top notch prep work. (Photo courtesy of Matrix and Prospray) Clean vehicles twice before they are painted--first when they enter the shop and again at the beginning of the prep work.
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