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From sandblasting to heritage projects: Jeremy shares journey

What started as a school holidays gig for pocket money has led painter Jeremy Quinn down the rabbit hole into the wide world of painting.

Jeremy’s dip into the painting industry is a demonstration of just how wide-spanning the industry is.

He currently runs his own painting operation – Quinns Painting operating across Victoria on a number of projects, most notably touching up heritage buildings.

However, Jeremy could never have envisaged his work in painting would go this far.

Image: Supplied by Jeremy Quinn

Palette potential

Growing up in the Sunbury area to Melbourne’s north-west, Jeremy spent his high school years painting during the holidays.

He knew he wanted to dabble in the trades, and his experience with the paintbrush made the profession an obvious candidate.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, I tried plumbing and carpentry among other things,” he said.

“But I eventually decided that painting was what I wanted to do. I left school in year 11 and started my apprenticeship.”

Image: Supplied by Jeremy Quinn

Whether it was the team around him, or the ability to flex his artistic muscles, there was something about painting Jeremy thoroughly enjoyed.

“I felt like painting had more of a team environment – when I’m working on-site with painters, you’re all working together on stuff rather than just by yourself on your own thing like other trades,” he said.

“That’s what really captured me at the start. I enjoyed being able to see a finished product, not just having it plastered over, framed or covered with a roof.

“I enjoy being able to make something nice and bright and be able to see what it looks like at the end.”

Business splash

Once Jeremy had finished his apprenticeship, he did what all 20-something Aussies do and travelled across Europe on a gap year.

Upon his return Down Under, Jeremy found himself jobless, but somehow not lacking in actual work to do.

“I was scratching around thinking maybe I could work for a new company,” he said.

“But I started picking up a few jobs here and there, and before I knew it, Quinns Painting sort of started from default.

“It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t find another job, but the work started piling up that I realised I could keep going.”

He teamed up with mate Mitch, and before he knew it, Quinns Painting was off and running.

“I was 23 at the time, so the idea of starting a business hadn’t occurred to me,” Jeremy said.

“The business always grew organically in terms of getting new clients.”

Image: Supplied by Jeremy Quinn

Freshened up 

Quinns Painting has grown to a team of about 25-30 staff across painters, admin, estimators and management.

It operates across Victoria, offering services including industrial, commercial and house painting as well as facility management and more recently sandblasting.

“We’ve got a great team, everyone that works for us is fantastic,” Jeremy said.

“Each person is experience and capable which – hiring people like that always makes your job a lot easier.”

An area Jeremy is particularly proud of is his business’s entry into heritage work, which was about seven years ago.

What started as a job on buildings around the University of Melbourne and the Woolsheds in Footscray quickly grew to be a staple service of Quinns Painting.

“Getting those kinds of jobs under your belt; you learn a lot and you gain a tonne of experience through them,” Jeremy said.

“A client will want something we may not have done before, and we’ll give it a go.

“Then we become pretty good at it – with the heritage jobs, we knew what we were doing but it’s an entirely different beast. It put a bit of a different spin on things.”

Image: Supplied by Jeremy Quinn

As you can imagine, working on heritage buildings is another kettle of fish when it comes to painting.

“You have to work closely with architects and suppliers – there’s a specialist for everything,” Jeremy said.

“You can’t deviate from that, you’re not trying to make anything look new, you’re trying to preserve the look of the place to make sure it lasts another 50-100 years.”

Image: Supplied by Jeremy Quinn

On your side

Something that’s benefitted Quinns Painting is the assistance it gets from the Master Painters Association of Victoria and Tasmania (MPAV).

Between estimation help, business advice or health and safety expertise, MPAV has helped many a painter get their operations off to a flying start.

“They’ve got really good communication in terms of work relations, new rules and regulations,” he said.

“I also believe having a strong association like Master Painters is really important for the industry.

“From the first two years into my business, I joined Master Painters. The team there has always been available to answer a question or have a solution for you, they’ve always been good to me.”

Find out more about Quinns Painting at quinnspainting.com.au or @quinnspainting

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