Key Questions to Ask Painters
A fresh coat of paint is the easiest way to improve the curb appeal and revitalize your home. At the hands of a professional, your home takes a new look but only at the hands of the right company.
As a homeowner, it depends on you to take the necessary steps to hire the right painter for your project.
Hiring a painting contractor takes time, thorough research, and patience. This article takes you through the right questions to ask painters, contractors, and painting companies — before you hire them and invest a lot of time and money into a project. We also touched upon contracts, estimates, insurance, and many more.
Questions to Ask Painters Before Hiring
When you want your home painted right, the best option you could go for is a professional painter. In the right hands, it can transform into a place of beauty and filled with life. Here’s a list of questions to ask painters before you may hire them to weed out the lesser qualified ones.
- Do you have a picture portfolio of the previous painting jobs?
With a picture portfolio, you can see the proof of their past work and their quality. It also gives you an insight into their capabilities and the kind of work they do.
- Do you have any references I can check out?
If not anything, ask them for references. Do not hesitate to call the references and check their work in real life.
- How long have you been painting?
A painter with years of experience backing him up will provide better quality work than an inexperienced. Moreover, they’d probably have done work similar to that in the past.
- Do you have a license?
Licensed painters are bound to the terms of the contract since flouting it can get their license revoked. It also means that they have the qualifications deemed necessary.
- Do you have insurance?
Your painter should have at least a general liability license. It covers any damage to your property during the painting process.
- How will you protect my space before painting?
Confirm the preparation process involved before painting. Do they cover and move the furniture? Also, inquire as to the cleanup done after the painting project. Do they rehang the gutter and downspouts after the exterior painting?
- Do you offer a warranty?
Generally, all painters back their work with a warranty. Ideally, it is three years, and depending on the contractor, they may go as high as five years.
- What paint do you use?
An unscrupulous painter may skimp on the materials. Ensure that they are premium quality paints and from good brands.
- How many coats of paint will it need?
Walls and other surfaces always benefit from an extra coat of paint rather than just one. But, that might cost you more.
Checklist for Hiring a Professional Painter
Do not start the project right away after choosing the right professional. Here’s a checklist of important documents you may want to obtain before starting a project.
- Valid References
- Written Estimate
- Guaranteed Warranty
- Written Contract
- Work Schedule
Most contractors have this information ready for potential customers, but they are probably not the right candidate for you if they hesitate to provide any of these.
Things to Look for in Your Home Painter
The painting looks easy but challenging and requires preparation and attention to detail. Here are a few things you should look for.
Your painter should:
- Provide you with the necessary credentials.
- Update you on the progress on a regular basis.
- Give their recommendation on paint colors, brands, types, etc.
- Give you written estimates with a breakdown for every labor, materials, etc.
- Perform repair work wherever necessary, like drywall, trim, rotting wood, etc.
- Meet your deadlines
Key Questions to Ask Painters Before Hiring Them
Any home improvement project starts with the right contractor. The following questions should help you choose the right one.
- How many painters will be involved?
If the painting job is more extensive, more painters will be involved. However, it is essential to inquire the same with the contractor first hand.
- How long will the paint job take?
Not all jobs are the same. It may go on for days or weeks, depending on the number of rooms being painted. So, it is crucial that you come to an agreement with your contractor.
- Will you be providing a free estimate?
An estimate is probably the first question you should ask any contractor. And do not let them do a phone estimate. An in-home estimate is perhaps more thorough and closer to the final figure since they have more details on the project.
- Is the prep included in the estimate?
Ensure that the contractor includes the prep work in the estimate. Else you would be blindsided with hidden costs.
- Do you have general liability insurance?
All the painters working on your home should have general liability insurance to protect your property from damage.
- Are you a member of any trade associations?
Membership in trade organizations lets you know of their commitment to the job. And, it also helps you find the right contractor. You can also use the local chamber of commerce and painter’s trade association to verify their service records.
How to Ask Painting Contractors About Licensing & Liability Insurance
Painting contractors are licensed in the county where they work. Ask them for their license and make sure that they hold a license in the county you reside. The license can be:
- Painting Unlimited – Held by painters who paint high rises
- Standard License – Held by painters who paint interior and low rises
Coming to insurance, painters should hold the below licenses:
- General Liability Insurance – Covers any damage to your property during the job
- Workers Compensation Insurance – Covers the employees and the painting contractor when accidents happen at your property
Ensure that you call the insurance carrier to verify if their insurance is current.
Things to Expect from a Professional Painting Contractor
A professional house painting contractor is required to do a stellar job at every job they undertake. As such, here are a few things you may expect from them:
Advice on Colors and Decor
It doesn’t hurt to involve your painter in the color selection process. They have better knowledge about complementing colors and how they change the way your room looks and feels.
Appropriate Prepping Process
The key to a long-lasting paint job is the prep. An expert knows the surface better and how better to prep it. It may include washing, sanding, wood, drywall repair, filling the cracks and holes, primer, etc. If rotten wood is present, it needs to be replaced.
Painting requires a great deal of skill and expertise for a smooth and uniform job. It is a skill that requires years of experience and with it comes not just the painting technique but also how to protect your home and carpet during the course of painting.
The Right Equipment
A professional painting contractor carries everything he needs for the painting job, from various brushes to paint rollers and tarp.
Properly Painted Surface
An amateur cannot achieve the results such as the ones you get from a professional, however careful they are. It not only looks smooth but also appears uniform in texture, color, and sheen.
A painting contractor always gets everything cleaned up, rolls up the drop cloths, cleans the drips, spilled paint, etc.
What Should Be Included in a Painting Contract?
A painting contract is an upfront list of expectations from the contractor and homeowner. It also holds the specifics of the project and also responsibilities of the corresponding parties.
The painting contract includes:
- Information about the homeowner and the contractor
- Scope of work, including all the services provided.
- Cost of materials and labor
- Location of the project, timeline, completion date, etc
- Types of paints being used, including brand name and shade
- Painting supplies including brushes, rollers, scaffolding, power washer, and others required to complete the project.
- Payment details
- Legal information containing how the company conducts its business, cancellation fees, liability fees, damages for both contractors and homeowners, etc.
Tips for Hiring a Painting Contractor
Painting contractors generally tend to be local. But it’s often difficult to obtain information or trust them to do the right thing. Here are a few helpful tips to help you choose the right contractor for the job:
- Websites like Angie’s list require you to submit background tests for the owner and the company. It might give you an idea as to what company you are employing to paint your home.
- Check for online testimonials. Look for more specific ones that go into detail about their work.
- Google the company and the owner. You can find more critical reviews and any cases that may have been filed against them in the past.
- Verify their proof of experience via their insurance policies and vendors.
- A paint job always looks great when they are new. Ask for references, a year or so past. That way, you can get to know how the project looks years down the road.
- Verify that the employees who turn up belong to the painting company you booked for the job.
Should My Painter Have Insurance?
Yes! Painters must hold liability insurance not less than $1 million and compensation insurance.
Things You Never Say to a Painting Contractor
It is pretty easy to let the contractors do the project independently or take shortcuts to get the job done quickly. However, they are a recipe for disaster.
Below are a few things you never say to a contractor:
- Never let the painting contractor know that they are the sole bidder.
- Get their estimate without letting them know your budget.
- Never let your contractor know that you have all the time in the world.
- Be specific in what you want, where you want, and also the price range.
- Have the contract as a written agreement, from the timeline to expenses and also the materials.
6 Must-Ask Questions to Ask Painters for Any Paint Job Estimate
To start with, the painting contractor, together with the homeowner, walks through the location before providing an estimate for both exterior and interior painting jobs. Below are a few questions you may have to ask your contractor before agreeing on the estimate.
- Can you give me a breakdown of the estimate and the areas it covers?
- What type of paints do you use?
- Do you obtain permits yourself and who pays for them?
- Do you handle the repairs yourself or do you subcontract workers to do that?
- What kind of prep work is involved in the painting project?
- Who will be working on the project?
Some Relevant Questions to Ask Painters Before Hiring a Professional Painting Company
Apart from the contractors and the painters, you may also want to ask a few questions to the companies themselves:
- Do you use subcontractors?
Few painting companies use subcontractors when they are swamped with work. The latter is primarily unskilled workers without any employee benefits.
In that case, ensure that the subcontractors hold the compensation insurance. If not, you can be sued for accidents that happen while on the job.
- How do you train your employees?
Not all companies train their employees. Unless they know their trade, it’s more of learning on the job. In this case, you are at a disadvantage if there are any trainees at the rota.
- Who will be on the crew?
Get to know the members of the crew working on your home. If it extends multiple days, ensure that that the crew remains constant. In the case of subcontractors, make sure that an on-site supervisor from the company accompanies them.
- Do you offer a workmanship warranty?
Workmanship warranty protects the homeowners against errors. Depending on the painting company, it can be anywhere from 3 years to 5 years and sometimes as low as one year.
- How much money do you require up front?
Do not pay any more than 10% upfront fees. And make sure that it covers the paint too.
- What is your policy on painting during bad weather conditions?
Weather conditions like moisture, humidity, rain, and dryness can negatively affect the painting. Get assurances that there will be no painting jobs in less than ideal conditions.
The bottom line is that you need to ask the right questions to the painters, contractors, and painting companies for a successful project. Unless you do that, you cannot weed out the bad and inexperienced ones from the experts. Always find the right questions to ask painters and check out the reviews online for painting contractors who have placed a bid. Also check with their references, not just the newly-completed projects but also the older projects, to get a clear picture of the quality work they do.
Moreover, references can reveal a lot over a phone call more than you can get online.
If you are looking for a stress-free painting experience, you need to choose the right contractors – contact Nelson Greer Painting Contractors for your FREE quote today. We will make sure that your home is expertly painted with no room for error. With over 220 years of experience in our company’s history, you’ll love what we can do with our professional painting contractors.