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How Much Does A Painter Earn?

July 31, 2014

There’s a moment. For just the briefest instant when you think you can catch yourself. Your brain scrambles desperately for a solution. It thinks,

Sure, I might be able to save this.

It hasn’t caught up with your body which knows it is going down. And going down hard.

My brother fell off the roof. I think we’ve all fallen off the roof at one time or another. If we were 10, and he slipped and landed on the lawn then maybe there’s a lecture from Mom. Worst case often a trip to the hospital and a cast to show off at school.

My brother wasn’t ten when he fell off the roof. And he didn’t land on the lawn.

When a 220 lbs man hits cement one of those things is going to yield and it won’t be the concrete. When a business owner, and father of 2 pancakes on the driveway, you start to worry about lifetime quality of life.

Did you know that the personal assets of a business owner, or even a senior manager are typically protected from litigation? So, you can sue Joe’s Automotive for screwing up your power steering pump, but you cannot go after Joe’s personal assets. They are protected. Except in one case: payroll taxes.

See, if you as a manager fail to pay taxes for your employees, the state and the feds can come after you personally. It’s one time where the senior manager is exposed to personal risk.

While running Agile Studios as the EVP, we switched accountants. We were a small shop of about 10 people. We weren’t quite big enough to really need on-site bookkeeping, but we were too big for my boss (or worse, ME) to do it in his garage.

I found a company that would process our payroll and make sure all the taxes were out and make sure the employees were getting their checks or direct deposit or whatever. The charge for this service wasn’t huge, but as a small business you try to make every penny count. Our receptionist spoke up,

I could probably do payroll. I mean, I’ve taken some accounting classes. It’s totally something I could handle.

I talked to my brother. Him of the falling off the roof fame. He’s a CPA. And he runs a CPA firm.

Rodney, you have be really carefully. If your receptionist screws up the payroll taxes the government will come after you personally. They’ll assume you were conspiring to defraud your employees.

He recommended we go with the payroll processing company, because not screwing up payroll was one of the things they were supposedly good at. Otherwise they wouldn’t have been in business.

The lesson was the same one my dad used to in talking to my brother after the roof incident.

Why were you on the roof?

I was painting and I slipped.

How much do you think a painter makes?

I don’t know. . .$20 / hour maybe.

And in your role as owner of Bliss & Co CPA firm, how much do you make?

More than that.

See the point?

In project management we call that risk/reward tradeoffs. How much would a mistake cost me? In the case of my brother it could have cost him everything. How much do I need to spend to mitigate my risk? In his case $20 per hour.

At Agile studios the risk was personally facing financial ruin. How much did we have to pay to mitigate that risk? A modest processing fee every month.

Money well spent.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children and one grandchild.

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