Canadian Contractor

John Bleasby   

CONTEST CLOSES THIS WEEK! Should Wes give his senior painter the brush-off?

Canadian Contractor

He’s experienced but he’s grumbling, and that’s causing problems

Wes McGruer has had a successful painting business for the past 30 years and is the ‘go-to guy’ for premium coatings in his town. Wes usually has a backlog of work but, like everyone in the trades, he still has to give estimates and visit prospects. Curtis, Wes’s right- hand man for a dozen years, manages ongoing projects in Wes’s absence. Curtis is excellent on the brush and completely understands Wes’s passion for high quality work. Assisting Curtis are two younger painters, Phil and Ross. Wes thinks they’re good kids and figures they have potential to take a bigger role in the small firm if they keep developing.

However, Wes has a problem. Curtis is now 41 years old, and his attitude towards both the work and towards Wes is changing. He grumbles about Wes behind his back, particularly about Wes not being on the job as much as he used to be.

In addition, December was the slowest in years and Wes asked Curtis to take a couple of weeks off – without pay. Curtis thinks he should be on salary, not on the clock, after 12 years slogging it out for his boss. Curtis’s grumbling is so intense that young Ross told Wes he doesn’t want to work in such a negative environment and is considering leaving. Wes isn’t sure what to do. Although Curtis is still a valuable and trusted employee most of the time, he doesn’t need the negativity on site or the personal attacks.

What would you do if you were Wes?

  1. Wes should fire Curtis and train either Phil or Ross to take over as project manager.
  2. Wes should offer Curtis a stand-by fee during quieter periods so he is happier and stays with the company.
  3. Tell Curtis to stop complaining to the guys and come to him directly if he’s having problems.
  4. Wes should be on the job site more to keep the waters calm amongst the crew, and try to spend less time out giving quotes and seeing prospects.
  5. Something else. You can propose any other solution you see fit.

dcs575t1_2-cropHOW TO ENTER
Email your answer to John Bleasby (
by October 26.
Please give about a paragraph of explanation.

If your answer is chosen, you will win a DeWalt Flex Volt Circular Saw
(Model DCS575T1)
with a retail value of $399.


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1 Comment » for CONTEST CLOSES THIS WEEK! Should Wes give his senior painter the brush-off?
  1. Marten B says:

    I think Wes should have sit down with Curtis. Seems to me like there is more going on then the painting thing. Wonder if home life is creeping into work life. If there is no problem there, then where is the real problem. Often the grumbling is not the root of the problem. Curtis has to understand that Wes is the owner and can do as he see fit. Having to take some time off once in a while is part of construction, we all have that. Would be nice to keep Curtis around but only with an attitude change.

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