Residential Paint Contractors – What You Need to Know
Painting, like any other craft, is more complex than it seems. It comes with its own equipment, specialized knowledge, and skill set. In other words, everyone can paint … but not everyone knows how to do it the right way.
So, it’s worth considering hiring a painting contractor to ensure you get the best and longest-lasting results for your paint job.
What Is a Painting Contractor, Anyway?
A painting contractor is a painter who works for a general contractor or is hired directly by a homeowner. Painting contractors are usually small outfits, ranging from the solo painting pro to the small company of 15-20 painters. They mainly focus on painting, but some specialize in other areas like staining, wallpapering, and drywall repair.
Should You Do it Yourself or Hire a Pro?
Here are a few of the big ones to consider:
Even though you might save a few bucks by doing it yourself, don’t forget about all of those hours you’ll be spending on this project. If you’re all by yourself, it can take you a few weeks to paint the whole house! That’s working a few hours every day. Obviously it depends on how big your house is, but you’d be surprised how long it can take to properly paint a home in your spare time.
You’re busy enough as it is- do you really want to spend your small amount of spare time painting?
Painters are constantly standing on tall ladders. They have to climb on roofs, lean out windows, and often do some other crazy stuff to get the job done. Even though 90% of painting is relatively safe, it’s that last 10% that keeps mothers up at night. Why would you do this yourself when you can easily hire someone to do this stuff for you? Professional painters know what they’re doing- they do this every day. They know how to properly use a ladder and how to measure their level of fatigue. They won’t push their own limits because they realize what’s at stake.
It’s not rocket science to brush paint onto a wall…But can just anyone make paint look good? Even more importantly, do you know how to always make the paint look good, how to get those hard-to-reach places, and the most critical parts of your home to paint? Probably not because most people don’t. Professionals know that certain areas of the home, such as the small gaps under side paneling or above a door, are extremely important. If you don’t paint those critical areas, your home is more susceptible to mold, critters or other types of damage.
So a pro will not only help the paint look better, they’ll also protect your home better.
A professional will probably have at least 3-4 people working on your house at any given time. Sometimes it may be just 1-2 for the finishing touches, but generally expect a full crew. Don’t you think they will be able to finish the job faster than you doing it all by yourself? Of course they can. So instead of the job taking a full month, you’ll be sitting pretty in your freshly-painted home within just 1-2 weeks. This gives you peace of mind. You’ll know that this project is complete, so you can focus on other tasks- either around the house or at work.
5 Things to Look for in a Painting Contractor
House painting, whether it’s detailed interior work or a complete repainting of the exterior of your home, is a job that needs to be done right the first time. But there are literally dozens of painting contractors to choose from, and finding the right one can be a dizzying proposition. So, here are five ways to find the right painting contractor for you.
- Recommendation From Friends and Neighbors
The best way to find a painting contractor is consulting with people who’ve used them. If you have friends who’ve hired painting contractors in the past, ask them about their experience and who they’d recommend for your home.
- Generally Positive Online Reviews
Reviews on the Internet do have to be taken with a slight grain of salt: There are two sides to every story, after all. When it comes to online reviews, trust your gut: If a review feels honest to you, trust it.A painting contractor with a generally good reputation on the Internet will generally also be the painting contractor to trust in real life, as well.
- Good Answers to Interview Questions
While you can’t hold them on the phone for an hour, any painting contractor interested in your business will take a moment to ask you a few questions about what you need and answer a few of your own.
- Strong References from Satisfied Customers
Most painting contractors will have references from satisfied customers. So, take a moment to check on those references: Give the person a call, and chat about their experience for a few minutes.
If it’s an exterior job, ask if it would be all right for you to drop by and take a look at the outside of their house. Do what you need to get a sense of what the painting contractor in question will be like when he’s working on your home.
- A Detailed Estimate
As the final step, be sure to get an estimate from your prospective painting contractor. Speak personally to the person who will be performing the work, with the questions and considerations outlined in this article in mind. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to ask informed questions, and you’ll be able to tell from their answers if the company is right for the job. It’s worth noting that these are just going to be estimated: the actual cost could be higher or lower depending on several factors. But getting an idea of what you’ll spend will be an important deciding factor.
10 ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS TO ASK A PAINTING CONTRACTOR BEFORE HIRING ONE
This document is about putting the power back into YOUR hands! Here are ten deadly questions that will help you quickly separate the professional contractors from the ones you want to stay away from.
- “Do You Have Insurance?”
- “Should I Be Concerned With Your Crew In My Home?”
- “Are The Workers On My Project Employees Or Subcontractors?”
- “What Kind Of Materials Do You Use?”
- “As The Estimator, Are You Going To Be Personally Involved In My Job? If Not, How Will My Project Be Managed?”
- “What Kind Of Training Do Your Employees Receive? How Often?”
- “I’m Concerned About Safety. Do You Have A Written Safety Program Or Any On-Going Safety Training For Your Workers?”
- “Is Your Company A Member Of The Better Business Bureau, A Local Chamber Of Commerce Or Any Trade Associations?”
- “Are Reference Included With Your Proposal? How Do You Put Together Your Reference List?”
- “How Long Is Your Warranty, What Does It Cover, And How Is It Funded?”
Reflect on your own experience with the contractor
You can tell a lot about how a job will go by reviewing your experience so far. Did the contractor return your calls? Were they on time for any meetings you had? Did the estimate reach you in a timely manner? Were they easy to communicate with? Did they dress in professional way (painters generally wear white shirts and pants)? If they act and appear unprofessional, you can expect the same from their quality of work. If the process of dealing with them has been difficult before you hire them, there is little chance it will get easier. It is best to go with someone you feel comfortable with.
Hire your contractor
Once you have made your decision, hire your contractor. They should provide you with a contract that outlines the scope of work and the price. Deposits generally should not be required for jobs less than $5000. If a contractor requests a down-payment to buy supplies for a job, this a huge red flag. It often indicates that they are a fly-by-night contractor. An established painting company should either have money on hand for such purchases or purchasing accounts with paint stores.