Where can I find a good painting contractor in my area? That is THE most important question one should ask when they begin the process of soliciting painting quotes for their home. I have been in the painting business for thirty years. I’ve seen and heard it all. I’m often called in to correct problems created by other contractors. You wouldn’t believe the things I’ve seen, but honestly, nothing surprises me now. I’ve seen painting contractors who were carelessly stripping stain on houses, and ended up setting the house on fire, and yes, I’ve seen this happen more than once! Why, because they did it wrong and on the cheap. Others use the wrong paint on the wrong surface and shortly after the job is done the paint peels off in sheets. And I often seen jobs that were so poorly done that they didn’t last but a couple of years. So, choosing a painting contractor is the most important thing you can do to start your project off on the right foot. If you’re successful at doing that, everything else falls in place.
First, start your search for a good, reliable and trustworthy painting contractor by asking your neighbors; especially neighbors that you know have high standards. If one or more of them can give you a positive referral then you know you’ll be working with a contractor who has the same high standards. Another way is to go is to visit your local paint store and get referrals there. Be sure to ask the clerk at the paint store how long the contractor has had a relationship with the store.
With the latest down turn of the economy, there are a lot of “fly by night” painting companies (the type who slap a sign on the side of their truck or van and call it a business) who are only doing this type of work for the money. They don’t have the right type of experience, they aren’t properly insured and they certainly don’t care how long the paint or stain application is going to last on your home. They don’t hire painters with experience and they don’t care about treating their employees with respect. They are in it to make quick money and move on to the next unsuspecting customer. Some get deposits and you never see them again. Some contractors have such a bad reputation they have changed their business name multiple times. My best advice is to choose a painting contractor who has been around for a long time. Those contractors will be reliable, professional, and trustworthy. Sure, going this route might cost a bit more, but the old saying holds true, “You get what you pay for.” In the end, it’s worth it to pay a bit more to hire a quality contractor because the work he’s going to do is going to stand the test of time, instead of having to be redone in two or three years.
When you have finally chosen a painting contractor, ask him what type of products he uses. Also, ask him if he uses sub-contractors or has his own employees. Most homeowners are unaware that larger franchise painting contractors (no names here, but they fill your mailbox with repeated advertising ) sub-out most of their work. A lot of other painting contractors do it too. The differences between contractors who use subs versus hiring their own employees are important to note. Jobs that are subbed out go to sub-contractors who typically only make 40 to 50 percent of the total cost of the job, while the painting contractor (you know, the one you thought you were hiring to actually do the job) takes the rest. Therefore, the quality of the job suffers. The sub-contractor needs to make the job worth their time, so they’ll cut corners by using the cheapest paints, watering down paint, and skipping proper preparation of surfaces. Consequently your paint job will be inferior.
Also, make sure to require a certificate of insurance proving that your contractor has coverage for both Workmen’s Compensation and General Liability. You’ll want to speak directly with the contractor’s insurance agent. If they’re a reliable contractor they won’t object to giving you their agent’s contact information. Some “fly by night” or unscrupulous painting contractors will get general liability and workmen’s compensation insurance long enough to obtain a copy of the insurance certificate, but cancel it immediately and are no longer insured. They then copy the initial certificate and hand them out to unsuspecting home owners.
After you’ve done the proper due diligence on choosing the right painting contractor you can proceed with confidence knowing that at the end of the job you will enjoy the new transformation of your home. You’ll know you’re getting what you paid for and you can take pride in your home every time you pull into the drive way. Painting your house is a big endeavor, a laborious process, and requires the commitment of resources on both sides of the transaction. Everyone wants to be treated fairly. After choosing the right contractor, everything else falls into place.