How to Hire a Painter

(source: How to Build a House)

Some interior and exterior painting jobs are just too big—even for an avid DIYer. When trying to hire a painter, there are several things to consider and tricks to make choosing the right contractor for you significantly easier. Hiring an experienced painter will save you time, energy and help you avoid pitfalls and the tricky parts of the paint job.

Ask Around

One of the most common ways to right the find painter for you and your job is to ask your friends, family and neighbors who may have recently gotten their house painted. Word of mouth carries a lot of currency in home painting and companies spend a lot of time cultivating that loyalty with good customer service.

Interview for Character

Interviewing the contractor in person before starting work is a good idea. Try to get a sense of their professionalism, experience and behavior. Are they busy? Also pay attention to business acumen—are they returning calls promptly? Are they on time? This has less to do about what kind of painter they are and more to do with how confident you feel about working together. It’s important to have an open line of communication.

Benjamin Moore suggests always asking contractors a set list of questions to help guide the interview:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have the proper/required licenses? (This varies by state, and some states may not require licensing.)
  • Do you have insurance and bonding? (This helps determine whether your contractor and any hired workers are insured for injury and liability.)
  • Are you a member of any national or local painting contractors’ associations?
  • Do you subcontract your work or perform it yourself?
  • Can you provide references?
  • Do you offer written guarantees of your work?
  • What products do you use?

And lastly, ask for references—make sure to get at least three and follow up on them. When you speak with the references, ask if you can see the completed work and how it’s held up over time.

Estimates

Get estimates from at least three contractors. When you’re looking at the estimates, they should be roughly in the same cost range. If one differs greatly from the others, ask why it’s so much lower—they may be cutting corners on things like having a project manager oversee the project and using quality paint (which costs more initially but lasts a lot longer and saves you money over the years). Consumer Reports says that estimates should include a breakdown of labor, material costs, the number of coats and primer and the brand and model of materials.

Get a Complete Contract

Get a contract for the work—and read it. You want to 100% understand what is and is not included. Also ask for a copy of the painter’s liability and worker’s compensation insurance certificates. If an accident were to happen in your home, you want to make sure they’re covered and you’re not held liable.

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