10 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Painter

Hiring a painting contractor for a job of any size can be stressful, but it only becomes more so if this is your first time. You’ll no doubt find that the bids you receive vary wildly in price, so how are you to know which contractor to pick?

Should you opt for the lowest bid, or will you get a higher quality job done if you pick the most expensive painter?

Before hiring a painter you must ensure they are fully qualified and able to perform the work according to your needs. These questions will help you get a better idea of whether or not to entrust them with the job.


1. How long have you been in business?

This is a frequently ignored question, but it can be one of the most important. A contractor who has been working locally for many years has a reputation to protect and, therefore, a personal stake in the neighborhood. As such, you can usually expect them to make an effort to do a great job. Chances are the contractor will get most of his or her work from a referral.

Obviously, a newly opened business may offer perfectly good service, but it’s comforting to work with an established contractor who has stood the test of time.


2. Are you insured?

Every painter should carry General Liability insurance. This insurance protects the homeowner from damage done by the painter. Repair work falls under carpentry and requires a separate rider. Proper insurance is very important.


3. Do you have a list of customers who would be willing to verify the quality of your work?

Any painting contractor worth his lacquer should be able to supply a list of customers that they have recently painted. Ask to see written testimonials and better yet, ask for references with full contact information from both recent and older customers. Be slightly skeptical if only a very small number of homeowners are available to speak with, as they could be the contractor’s next door neighbor or sister-in-law.


4. How will you prep for painting?

This is an important question and it is just as important that a contract provides a detailed answer and not offer vague generalities. Has the contractor put the entire process of preparation in writing. Holes and bad spots in walls must be repaired. All surfaces to be painted must be scraped and/or sanded to remove as much of the old paint as possible. Ask how many people will be part of the preparation process. Remember, preparation is equally as important as the painting process itself.


5. What grade of paint will be used?

Unless the homeowner requests a sub-standard paint be used in order to save a few dollars, the customer should demand that a premium-grade paint is applied. The reason is that the cheaper grades of paint will often cause a bleed-through after only a short time and simply will not stand up to normal wear and tear nearly as long as a premium grade of paint will. Also, put in writing ahead of time how many coats of paint will be applied.

Rest assured that if your painter elects to use the cheapo stuff, your paint will begin fading and peeling after just a few years. If a painter is cutting corners by buying low-quality paint, it’s a good indication that he’ll cut corners elsewhere, too. A good painter refuses to use sub-standard materials, and that allows him or her to take pride in the work.


6. Can you help with color?

Branding considerations aside, there are certain colors that will make an office space for example, more of a comfortable work environment for employees. Choosing the right color for your office space can ultimately lead to a more productive and creative workforce.


7. How much will the job cost?

Do not be fooled into believing that a low price is the only, or even the first, consideration when choosing a painting contractor. A low price does not guarantee a good job. A contractor may be hesitant to stipulate an exact cost, but the contractor still should provide the customer with a good-faith estimate. There are two primary reasons a contractor may be reluctant to provide a hard and fast bottom-line for the job. One is that the contractor does not control price increases in the cost of supplies. It is possible for the price of paint to increase before the job is completed. A more common reason is that customers frequently change their mind about certain aspects of the job halfway through.

Customers must be aware that if they change the terms of a contract then the price of the job may also change. Important note: painting contractors should never ask for more than half the cost of a job up front the remainder should be held by the customer until the job has been completed according to the terms of the agreement made between the customer and the contractor.


8. Is there a warranty?

It’s vital to establish just how long your shiny, new paint job will be protected by the warranty. A great paint job should last around 8 to 10 years. A painting contractor should offer a guarantee with the job and the ways in which the guarantee will be honored should be spelled out. A vague guarantee is meaningless; get the terms in writing.


9. Will my property be protected?

A quality painting company will tarp everything, arrange for prized plants to be moved or staked off and make sure that cars are out of overspray range. This type of conscientious preparation is often overlooked because it is a hassle – it’s easier for a painter to tell his workers to “watch out for the plants” or just hope they’re not careless. Attention to detail at the start saves problems for everyone later.


10. What will be cleaned up after the job is finished?

It may seem obvious to the customer that the contractor will remove any old wood, trim, empty paint buckets, worn out drop cloths or other detritus associated with painting, but unless this is stipulated in writing, the contractor may not remove everything once the job is complete. Having everything in writing, with your contractor, makes certain that every small detail is going to be taken care of.

Finding the right painting contractor is not easy, and the decision should not be made on cost alone. One way to ensure a good experience is to contact a company like Preferred Painters, which has years and years of experience and is a solid part of the community with a great deal to lose if they do not do an excellent job in the time they promised and at the price agreed to.


Looking for a professional painter in Venice, LA? Book your appointment here.

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