With Mike & Mickie Cooper

 Editor's Note: Mike & Mickie Cooper own Murals & More LLC in Franklin, Tenn., 20 minutes south of Nashville. Michael has been painting murals professionally for more than 25 years, with hundreds of exterior and interior murals under his belt. Both Mike and his wife, Mickie, have been teaching mural classes all over the country as well as in their studio in Franklin. They make a unique team in that they are right- and left-brained. (We will let you figure out which one is which.) In this column for Focus on Faux, they are providing lively commentary and also hope to dispel any myths about the illustrious world of mural painting. Mike and Mickie invite you to send questions about the industry and try your best to stump them! Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and put "Fresh Perspective" in the subject line.


This month's topic...

How to Get Ready for an Out-of-Town Job

Once you get your business up and running, and your reputation starts to grow (positively, we hope!), you might inadvertently venture outside of your normal travel range for work—by getting a call to do a project out of town. It can happen!

We once got a project in Cheyenne, Wyo., because the client happened to be dropping his daughter off at Vanderbilt and saw one of our murals. He was so impressed, he hired us to paint one for him—thousands of miles away! What did we say? Of COURSE we'll do it! Then we went back to the studio to figure out exactly what it was that we just agreed to do. We have done many projects out of town, and each OOT (out of town) project comes with its own unique differences.

To do a project locally, you already know what you have to budget for. For travel projects, here's what you have to consider: lodging, food and gas are logical to start. But are you taking help? Figure for them as well!

But what happens when you run out of some product that you need? Did you bring enough? Any local suppliers? You need to research that beforehand. Special equipment? Who locally rents lifts or even hot water pressure washers? Make some calls and line up contacts.

Are you going to need extra hands? Hire some local folks. Your expenses will be far lower. You can find workers on Craigslist, or art department secretaries at the local community colleges may have an idea of who can help out and is willing to do the basics.

Make sure you take all these items into account when pricing a job.

Doing a project out of town can be a total nightmare, or it could be the most fun thing you've done since...well...you know.  All it takes is a little planning, a little forethought, and you can throw another one into your ever-expanding portfolio.

Put this list in your file to go over whenever an OOT project presents itself:

  • Lodging (get lodging with a kitchen if you're gone for more than three days)
  • Food (three-meals-a-day eating out or cooking meals yourself)
  • Gasoline
  • Supplies
  • Paint/Product
  • Do you need a lift/scaffolding/ladders? (If you have to rent, make sure you get all of the credit forms filled out before you get there.)
  • Get your helpers lined up before you get there if you need any.
  • Look at the weather (in the case of an outside project). If a lot of rain is expected, plan accordingly as it will take longer for some products to dry before next application.
  • Safety, both for yourself and your supplies. Lock up your supplies out of sight, especially the items that cannot be replaced in the city where you are working.

Note: Remember to take and bring back all cables for computers, iPads, cell phones, etc.


Now, go paint something!


—Mike & Mickie Cooper
    Murals & More LLC