Tribble Painting Company makes changes for post-COVID-19 shutdown painting
ANN ARBOR, me. – The Tribble Painting Company has been synonymous with exterior and interior painting in the Ann Arbor area since 1992.
According to owner Todd Tribble, who started painting in 1985, the company has done over 10,000 paint jobs in Ann Arbor, Plymouth, and Canton in the past 30 years.
For Tribble, his love for painting came after working outside of a family friend’s home when he was 18. He said he didn’t know much about painting at the time but liked the customer interaction, the practical aspect of the industry, and being able to see results at the end of the day.
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Usually the painting company handles around 500 jobs a year, but this has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Tribble, roughly 40% to 45% of the company’s estimates happen between March and May, exactly at the time that COVID-19 was shut down. It was also when the Tribble Painting Company began planning work for the season.
“It had a serious impact on us,” Tribble said, explaining that lost deals in the painting industry won’t be made good later in the year.
The company paints both outside and inside. (Tribble Painting Company, Inc.)
According to Tribble, customer responses have been mixed due to the pandemic. Some clients have canceled or postponed estimates and assignments, while others were excited about starting new projects.
“But we saw everything from A to Z,” said Tribble. “We had people who canceled outside estimates – which meant they didn’t even want us walking around outside of their home alone – we had internal clients who wanted us to start their projects as soon as possible after the house was lifted and everything in between. ”
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A decline in estimates wasn’t the only impact of the pandemic. Tribble was unable to hire as many seasonal workers as it normally would and had to lay off employees.
Fortunately for the Tribble Painting Company, there is now a pent-up demand for painting. As more people work from home or out of work, they start to notice changes they want to make to their spaces while they can.
The surge in demand has helped Tribble bring back all 20 of its employees. Still, some changes had to be made to the way the painting company worked.
Company cars now have portable sinks so workers can wash their hands before and after each job. Each employee has their own set of tools, and any shared tools are put in a bucket to signal that they need cleaning up. Tribble Painting Company employees wear masks, have a health check-up every morning, and are given more gloves and disinfectant to clean high-contact surfaces.
Employee of the Tribble Team at the Tribble Painting Company. (Tribble Painting Company, Inc.)
The company had to rethink how employees interact and move, which could slow down some painting work. According to Tribble, the painting company doesn’t want to send large groups of workers into client houses.
“We think about the crew sizes that we send into a house differently than before. We used to like to be very efficient with people. We could come in and get it [painting] done very quickly. We’d send in more people. We got your hair in and out, ”said Tribble. “But now we need to mitigate or offset the effects of bringing new people into your home.”
In the past, a large team could get a painting job done quickly, but smaller, socially distant teams mean slower completion times.
Overall, Tribble feels happy. Current customers have offered to make large deposits during the shutdown to ensure the company can pay their bills and it has seen an influx of new customers.
“I feel very lucky to be living in the community we live in. We have always tried to be an active part of the community and I feel like people really want to reach out to us and support us because we are there, ”Tribble said.
The Tribble Painting Company is located at 7885 Jackson Rd.
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