This week we catch up with Darren Fleming of df decorators.
Darren is a City & Guilds qualified painter and decorator with over 25 years experience in the trade, covering London and surrounding areas.
You can find out more about Darren and his company here:
How and when did you start decorating?
After helping my Dad decorate the kitchen he said you’re not bad at this, if you like it try to get a job doing it. So I started as an apprentice with a local family decorating firm in 1989 ish, stayed working with them for about 14 years until I was laid off, so I went self employed and haven’t looked back
What’s your favourite part of the job?
Seeing an old run down room fully transformed in a beautiful room and seeing the delight on the customers face ………. Well most of the time
What’s your least favourite part of the job?
Chasing payments, although to be fair I haven’t had to do it much. Also hate when the customer knows best or so they think! And another thing I hate is when you have taken the time to go and look at a job in your own time, work out a price after sourcing the materials, in your own time then typing the quote up in detail and sending it, in your own time then nothing not even a thanks but no thanks
What’s your favourite decorating tool / piece of kit?
I have just purchased a Mirka Deros and extractor, I’d heard lots of decorators saying it’s a game changer, so much easier and healthier also cleaner for the customer. And they were 100% correct on every aspect
Tell us a funny/memorable story about a job:
Working on an external with the family firm I started with, it was a big estate with lots of buildings, I was on a balcony painting the railings one of the guys I worked with was painting the windows in brown gloss, he left the paint on the top of the double ladder on a hook as he went to the toilet, his brother came along and moved the ladder the paint went all over the wall and all over his head, he was bald and looked like a walking Malteaser. I nearly p**sed myself
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made on a job? The biggest ‘oh sh*t’ moment?
That would be when I was working on a staircase and I over-stretched trying to reach the corner instead of just moving the ladder. It tipped, I buckled and landed on the stairs, cracked my ribs and boy did it wind me and hurt like hell. Moral of the story, don’t be lazy just move the ladder
If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would be the first 3 things you’d do with the money?
I’d make sure my mum and dad were comfortable, treat all the family to a big holiday in Disneyland Florida and get a nice house with a big garden
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
To be able to go invisible. So many places you get in for free and so much you could have
If you weren’t a decorator, what would you be?
Unemployed. No not really, I’d be something in the building game as I couldn’t stand being at the same place all the time
If you could change one thing about the industry to improve it, what would it be?
I’d make the opacity of all water based paints better. I have just moved to water based from oil and although it’s easier to use, doesn’t smell and dries quicker, the opacity can be shocking at times
What do you get up to when you’re not on the brush? Any hobbies?
I have 2 young daughters so most of my time is keeping them occupied and entertained, I’m also the family cab driver. When I do get time I enjoy going to the theatre with my wife and having meals out and like watching Arsenal as painful as it sometimes is
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice to make you a better decorator, what would it be?
Listen to what your told, never be afraid to ask how something is done, why is it done and never stop asking questions
Thanks again to Darren for taking part. Remember, you can find out more about Darren and his company here:
Remember, I am looking to talk to as many decorators as possible over the coming months so we can share knowledge and hopefully raise the profile of the industry as a whole.
If you would like to feature in ‘An interview with a decorator’ please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org , DM me on social media or via the contact page on my website.