Remember the last time you tackled a paint job inside your house? Maybe you still have nightmares about the tedious taping and prep work, the inevitable drips and uneven edges. Even the most avid do-it-yourselfers will admit that hiring a professional painter is usually worth the extra expense. But even with a painting contractor, there are things to know to make the job go more smoothly.
Here is our checklist of things to consider before hiring a contractor to complete your project:
- The paint contractor is bonded, licensed, and adequately insured.
Conceivably, anyone with a paintbrush can paint walls. You want to hire a professional contractor who is able to stand behind their work. Being bonded, licensed, and insured means that customers are protected and a contractor is held responsible for the work done.
- The estimate for the work is in the same range as at least two other contractors.
It is actually not a good sign when a contractor makes a bid that is much lower than others. It could mean that shortcuts of some kind are taken or that the contractor is currently desperate for work due to negative customer reviews on past projects.
- Past customers highly recommend the contractor.
Ask for at least three references, and speak with other customers about their experiences with the contractor.
- The contractor is a member of national and/or local painting contractors’ associations.
Involvement with others in the industry is an indication that a professional is serious about the work and is likely aware of and adherent to current best practices.
- A written guarantee on the work is provided.
Not only should a guarantee include the quality of the work itself but what exactly will be painted and the amount of time the job will take at a maximum, from start to finish.
- Estimates and recommendations are provided in writing.
Be clear about whether an estimate is a fixed price and what exactly you are getting for your money, such as trim and walls, etc., being painted.
- The contractor is experienced and consistently exhibits professional behavior.
If a contractor has years of experience, is businesslike and courteous, and has a busy schedule, there is a good chance you have found a real winner. Other indications that a contractor may be the right choice are: Your calls are returned in a timely manner, and an estimate is promptly provided.
- The contractor uses good quality paint.
The type of paint used determines how good the results are and how soon the walls will need to be painted again. Make sure your contractor is using Benjamin Moore paints, and if he isn’t, be sure to request it.
- Two coats of paint will be applied.
Don’t take anything for granted as you make arrangements with a paint contractor. Review your contract carefully, and make sure it includes that at least two coats of paint will be applied, which is an industry standard.
Review the Contract
Once you’ve settled on a contractor, ask for a written contract and review it carefully. As a consumer, you have the right to ask detailed questions about any issues you need clarified. In particular, be sure to verify the following:
- What exactly is being painted (house, trim, walls, molding, etc.)
- Details on preparation and cleanup
- Paint colors for each area to be painted
- How the contractor will protect plants, patios, furniture, or other items
- How much time the project will take, from start to finish
- When and how the contractor will be paid
Once you complete these steps, you’ll be ready to hire the right painting contractor—and enjoy your newly painted home.