Having someone paint your home can save you a lot of time and effort and yield a better finished product. Finding a trustworthy contractor may seem daunting, but these six questions will help you on your way. Any reliable painting contractor should be able to easily and quickly provide appropriate answers to all of these questions.
1. Do you offer a warranty and are you insured?
Any reputable painting contractor will offer a warranty on their work, including covering labor and materials. Your painter will also need to be ensured with two types of insurance before you allow them in your home:
- Comprehensive Business Liability – Protects your property from damage by the contractor.
- Workmen’s Compensation – Protects the workers (and you, from liability) while the workers are working on your property.
You should never work with a contractor that doesn’t have these insurances in place. Make sure that the insurance is active by asking to see proof of insurance. You can even call their insurance company to confirm that they are current if you feel something might be off.
2. How long has your company been in business?
Make sure the company has been in business for several years, preferably 5 or more, and make sure that they have a real online presence. This way you ensure you do not have a “fly-by-night” contractor that will take your money and leave town without finishing the project.
3. Are your workers subcontractors or employees?
Many companies use subcontractors because they do not have to pay for social security taxes or employee benefits. Subcontractors are paid a flat fee, so companies invested in saving as much as possible may higher the subcontractors with the lowest fees – in most cases, the least experienced painters. This fixed fee may also tempt subcontractors to cut corners to get the job done more quickly.
The use of subcontractors can lead to unskilled or unprofessional painters completing work on your home. It may also lead to a security risk, as employees are generally more vetted than subcontractors. Employees will be covered under the company’s insurance, but, in many cases, companies do not get workmen’s comp insurance for subcontractors.
4. Can you provide references and a picture portfolio?
Many contractors bet that clients will not follow up on references: make sure you actually call the references your painting contractor provides. Additionally, ask for high-quality pictures of previous projects. Check for clean-cut lines, well finished edges, crisp corners, and attractive finishes. Make sure you’re not fooled by low-quality photos!
5. What materials do you use?
Make sure that the painting contractor uses professional quality, name-brand paint. Benjamin Moore, MAB, and Sherwin-Williams are all good options. Lower quality paints dull and flake over time, while these paints will keep their color and finish for much longer.
6. How much wall preparation and wall repair is included in the estimate?
Check to be certain that your painting contractor will properly prep walls to be painted. If this is not done correctly, you will have to deal with premature peeling and cracking. Ensure any necessary wall repairs are specifically marked in the contract, so that you don’t face additional costs from the project down the road.
If you’re still stuck, I recommend you contact the painter listed on my Recommended Vendors page. I will personally speak to the quality and care provided by any of the vendors and contractors listed on that page – for any job you might have!