13 Questions to ask before hiring a Painting ContractorSteve Reutzel
Hiring contractors can make a home owner uncomfortable. Who are you letting into your home and how can you choose the best company with the lowest risk? Here are some questions to ask prospective painting contractors to ensure you are hiring a reputable and trustworthy company to complete your residential painting project.
1. Do you provide free estimates?
Most honest painting companies and contractors do not charge a fee to provide you with an estimate on your project. Some contractors offer a color consultation in conjunction with your estimate for a fee if you are having some difficulty deciding what colors to choose.
If a company charges for estimates, ask them why. Are they providing you with a service you do not need? You may choose to receive some free estimates first and determine if you still need to seek a paid estimate.
Only accept in home estimates instead of quotes over-the-phone. No home is the same and estimates should be treated as such. Schedule a time when you are able to meet the contractor at your home and walk with them to ensure the contractor has a full, eyes-on understanding of the painting you’d like done.
2. Do you have any references?
Reading customer reviews on Google can be misleading and lack detailed feedback of a painter’s work. If the company has done business in your area, ask if those customers left reviews and where you can read them. You may also look up verified reviews on websites like Angi and Home Advisor.
3. Is your company a member of the Better Business Bureau or trade organizations?
Painting contractors who are members of trade organizations, like BBB.org, are required to hold a certain level of customer satisfaction, and maintain minimum professional requirements. Their active memberships to trade organizations demonstrate they meet those professional standards.
4. How long have you been in business and how many residential painting projects do you do a year?
Every company has to start somewhere, but it is important to determine if you are willing to risk hiring an inexperienced company that might not even specialize in residential painting. Though they might have more competitive rates, newer companies won’t have reviews or references to cross check. They might be so new, they don’t qualify for memberships with trade organizations.
Companies with longevity and greater experience are more likely to be around to fulfill the warranty they offer on their work and be available in the future should you choose to hire them again. After going through the research of choosing a painting company, you would be doubling your efforts if the company you hired for a previous project went out of business.
5. What materials do you use?
From paint, to brushes, and sprayers, ask the company what brands and tools they use. The highest quality paints allow the contractor to extend their professional warranty and save you money over time by not having to repaint faded or cracked areas. Also, knowing the paint brands the company uses will help you find the right color in the right brand. Can you tell the difference between Benjamin Moore’s Amazon Moss and PPG’s Blarney Stone?
6. What sort of prep work is involved?
Run from any painters who plan to walk in, paint, then leave. Prep work is essential to a long lasting finish and is required if any warranty is offered. If your home is not prepared properly before the painting takes place, you’ll be repainting with a professional within the year to fix all the mistakes.
Ensure the painting contractors plan to appropriately prepare the designated area, as well as protect the areas you don’t want painted. No one wants overspray from repainting their deck to cover exterior paint on their home.
7. Who will be working on my project? Are they employees or subcontractors?
Be sure the people you hire to paint your home are the ones actually painting it. Many companies subcontract labor. These workers are not required to be insured or even background checked. For your peace of mind, make sure you know who will be working in and around your home. Require the contractor to have each worker background checked and be drug screened. Or only choose a company who hires their crew as employees and each person is fully insured.
8. Who would be my main point of contact and when are they available?
Is the company’s owner your point of contact? Are they also the foreman for your project? It might be hard to stay in consistent communication with a one-man-show.
Larger companies have office staff to assist you during business hours with questions, changes to your contract, and scheduling the work. Knowing who to call for what purpose will help you set the right expectations for communicating your needs.
9. Do you have a safety program or training for employees?
You only want to hire a painting company who is compliant with OSHA safety standards and whose employees are knowledgeable about the same. If the crew is made up of subcontractors, the company cannot guarantee they’ve had any safety training.
When dealing with previously painted surfaces, heights, and unusual landscapes, you want to ensure the painters are adhering to industry safety standards to prevent accidents or harmful conditions in your home. Working around lead paint might require contractors to hold an EPA Lead-Safe Certification.
10. What are your professional quality standards?
Did you know that there are industry wide painting standards set by Painting Contractors Association? A reputable company sites these requirements and holds them as a daily standard to measure their work. They don’t just do a “good enough” job. They take pride in providing the highest quality work performed in the most professional manner.
11. How long is your warranty and what does/ doesn’t it cover?
A two-year warranty is standard on workmanship and differs between each company. Be sure to read the company’s warranty closely to understand what would be needed to maintain or request corrections under the warranty after the job is complete. If they do not offer a warranty, they are not obligated to correct any mistakes.
12. Are you insured? Can you provide proof of insurance?
Without proper insurances, you could be at a loss if something goes wrong on your painting project. Not to mention, you could be held liable if a worker is injured in your home. Ensure the company you hire carries a general liability insurance of at least $1 million and worker’s compensation insurance which is required in most states.
13. What are your payment terms? Do you require an upfront deposit?
Smaller companies without excess capital might require a deposit to secure scheduling and purchase needed materials, which is very common. Other companies can request payment after the work is complete so you can be sure you have received what you’ve paid for. Know the payment terms before signing a contract.
Hiring the Right Painting Contractor
Deciding what qualities you find most important in a painting contractor will help you review these answers to determine the best fit for your project. The cheapest option is not always best. Do they have your best interests in mind? Will they care for your home as if it were their own? How hard was it to get the answers you requested? Answers to these questions will ensure you are making an informed decision.
As a licensed and fully insured company, ImageWorks Painting, INC. takes pride in their standards of craft excellence. If you are looking for a residential painting contractor you can trust, schedule a free estimate today.
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Ready to get started with your next painting project but unsure if it is in your budget? Reach out to the expert painting team at ImageWorks Painting to schedule a free consultation today. Give us a call at 813-570-8800 (Tampa) or 724-898-2446 (Pittsburgh), or request a visit online.