As a homeowner, you will probably repaint your home a few different times in the courser of owning it. So, how do you choose a good painter?
Sure, you can ask your friends and neighbors to begin with. But, what if they do have one to recommend? Although many people simply pick a random name out of the phone book, your better of going to a website like SmartGuy.com, which lists thousands of local professionals many with ratings you can verify.
Regardless, here are a few things that will help you choose a good painter.
Make a plan. Make sure you know in advance exactly what you want to paint and what color. In order to keep your costs down, you want to do it right the first time. Also, when meeting with various painters, make it clear that you want several coats, as well as the type of paint you want to use. Like most materials, there are better quality paints, and cheaper paints that won’t last as long. Emphasize the need for proper preparation and make sure all of this is in the contract you sign.
Get a few estimates. Seek a written detailed estimate from each of the painting contractors. The estimate should include a summary of labor, material costs, the number of requested coats of primer and paint, the specific brand of materials, and details of the scope of job that is to be painter.
Verify references and past jobs. Get a list of past clients from each painter and call them to see how they did, how long it took them and if they experienced any problems working with the painter. You might want to even ask them for references of a few jobs they did five years earlier to see how they are holding up.
Consider reviews. Before hiring the painter, look and see if they have a BBB rating or SmartGuy rating. You can also enter their company name followed by the words “rip off” or “scam” and see if anything comes up. You might also find some information on their company at your state’s Contractors License Reference Site.
Demand a detailed contract. Don’t assume anything that is said, but not in writing. The contract needs to include all the painter’s information, including: name, address, office and cell numbers, and license number, plus whatever details were in the estimate. It is important that the contract clearly states what is and is not included in the job. Also, get a copy of the painter’s liability and workers’ compensation insurance certificates. Be careful If he tells you that he doesn’t have coverage. If something goes wrong, you could be responsible. For example, if a worker gets hurt or damages a neighbor's property.
Request a guarantee. Any good painter should be confident of his work and be happy to provide a guarantee against chipping, peeling, blistering or excessive fading or chalking that might happen a couple years after the job is done at no or little cost. Don’t allow the painter to tell you that it isn’t necessary since the paint has a warranty, because that doesn’t cover the labor - the more expensive part of the job.
Finally, make sure to never give more than 10-20% in advance. You don’t want the money your paying him to go to bills from his last job, rather than for your materials. Also, don’t pay him the last 20% until the entire job is done to your approval.
Choosing a good painter seems easy, but it is important to take the right steps to avoid selecting a poor one. Choosing the right painter can make a huge difference in both the look of what your painting, and your pocketbook!