How to Hire a Painting Contractor
We all know that painting is a tedious and time-consuming job. It’s also one of the most difficult chores to get done, especially if you’re on your own! To make matters worse, some people find it hard to find the right painter for their home or business. There are thousands of contractors out there – how do you know who to select?
11 Tips for Hiring Your Next Painting Contractor
1. Make Sure They Are Licensed and Insured
Accidents happen all the time. Therefore, it’s important to ask to see their business license and proof of insurance. If you’re hiring a contractor to do exterior painting, make sure they have proper liability insurance, including workers’ comp. And make sure that you either receive confirmation in writing about their insurance coverage/liability or ask the service provider for this information during the interview so you can have something to refer to later on if necessary.
If they don’t have insurance, it’s best not to hire them. In the worst-case scenario, someone might get injured while working on the job and they won’t have the finances to cover their hospital bills. Also, if you’re requesting a job on personal property, check with your homeowner’s insurance company to make sure you’re insured, and to verify your premiums won’t go up if an accident should occur.
2. Ask for References From Previous Jobs
Check the reviews of the contractors on sites like HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, or even Google reviews. Also, when you request quotes from different service providers, ask for references and testimonials from jobs they’ve done in the past. This way, you can ensure that the job will be done to your satisfaction and that previous clients were satisfied with their services. You should also ask for this information in writing to provide additional protections.
3. Verify How Long They’ve Been in Business
Do your research on your potential painting contractor. Try to find out how long the contractor has been in business. If they’ve been doing this for decades, they probably know what they’re doing and have experience with just about anything the job throws their way. If they’ve only been in business for a year or less, you might want to consider passing on them. Inexperience with this type of work can lead to risks and accidents while on the job.
4. Make Sure Contractors Are Drug-Free
Check whether the contractor/business has a history of drug use. Although there are lots of people who are quality contractors out there, you also have to remember that some people take advantage of being employed in certain companies by having an addiction related to their job. For example, paint thinner can be used for getting high. This situation can be dangerous for both them and for anyone living near where they work.
5. Check if the Company Has Any Complaints Filed Against Them
Choosing between two companies that are offering the same quality services may come down to this component. You can find complaints filed against a company online, and you can ask them directly during the interview if they have any. If they tell you that they don’t, do your due diligence to confirm this. Sometimes these complaints are legitimate and sometimes people just complain for no reason.
If it’s an older complaint (for example 3+ years), then this shouldn’t be something that would prevent you from hiring them. However, if it’s more recent, then that information might make you more cautious when dealing with them. History has shown some potential problems, and this could be an indicator of future problems. You can check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, and other regulatory bodies.
6. Be Clear About Your Expectations
Be very clear about the terms of your agreement with your painting contractor because customers can sometimes conveniently “forget” what they agreed to and then end up filing a complaint with a regulatory body. You’ll want to be clear about the start date, project completion date, and payment schedule before hiring a contractor. These will help you avoid any sticky situations.
In addition, it’s a good reason not to request changes once you’ve signed a contract. Changes after a contract has already been set can lead to unclear situations. If something goes wrong, it’s unfair to blame the contractor and expect them to be liable. And if they make mistakes without having a verbal or written agreement in place, they could be held responsible retroactively. It’s a lose-lose situation for both parties.
7. Inspect the Work Area
An experienced painting contractor knows how to create a safe work environment. If the contractor is working another job, ask to see their worksite. Inspect their work area. Make sure the job site is well lit, free of debris, and the tools aren’t haphazardly scattered around. How a contractor work says a lot about how they approach the job, reduce the risk of accidents, and care for the working environment.
In addition, make sure the job site is not too dangerous or too messy, especially if it’s dark and dirty. And make sure everything is prepped and set up properly. If they suddenly refuse to let you into the work area and/or won’t give details about what they’re doing or how they prepare for a job, there’s a chance your job is prone to accidents. You’ll want to head off this type of risk in advance!
8. Ensure They Provide All Services You Want
One more important thing you need to check before hiring any contractor–make sure they provide all of the services you’re looking for. The service provider should provide painting services from start to finish, regardless of whether you decided to hire them for every service. Common services that you might need beyond painting include drywall repair, de-construction, and cleanup.
Your contractor might spend half of your budget on stuff you could have done by yourself. It’s also worth mentioning that many times contractors use those few hours between finishing one job and starting another as unproductive time, so they rush jobs to get paid more quickly. This might cause damage or leave things undone that should be taken care of before painting. You’ll want to be sure they have the know-how to fix any damages they cause themselves.
9. Keep An Eye Out for Unwanted Charges
Sometimes there can be extra charges that the company won’t mention upfront, even though it’s required by law in certain areas. You’ll want to look out for paint or primer charges. Sometimes contractors will try to charge for paint or primer they brought on their own. This also goes for painting tools and equipment. Always check the estimate details carefully for this reason!
10. Pay With a Credit Card
Sometimes contractors will request cash, but it’s not recommended to pay this way. Although most companies will give you a receipt, the last thing you want is to leave any amount of cash on your property that someone can find and use for their benefit! You also want a paper trail of your payments and a vague receipt may not be the best proof that you’ve followed through. If something goes wrong, you can dispute it using your credit card.
If they don’t accept credit cards, try a debit card or at the least, a check. Make sure to get copies of all work done (invoices) as well as receipts for everything purchased. You might need this later when doing insurance claims or filing an objection with the company/individual in question if they dispute later that they weren’t properly paid. In addition, some credit cards offer protection against false claims. Finally, you can accumulate points on credit cards which you can use to your benefit later!
11. Negotiate and Stick to a Completion Date
Always negotiate the completion date and stick to it. Tell them you expect them to finish the job on a specific day at a specific time. Otherwise, your painting project could go on for months. Sometimes contractors will deprioritize one job for a higher paying one or a more demanding customer. In addition, delaying painting could be detrimental to the final quality of work–some paints won’t look cohesive when they’re painted at different times on the same wall.
This should be common sense – it’s in your best interest to get the job done quickly. And it goes both ways. If they finish on time, there is less stress during the project for both parties. And, you can start enjoying your newly painted house as soon as possible!
There are many factors involved when hiring a contractor for your next paint job. This comprehensive guide gives many great tips for what to ask, how to perform the proper verification checks, and what to expect. Looking for your next painter? Check out Custom Care by Caleb today for your next trusted contractor! Not only are we licensed and insured, but we do the proper prep every time to increase your home’s value!