7 Tips to Consider Before Hiring a Painting Contractor

20 May 2017

Are you ready to replace a drab interior or exterior space with a fresh face? Is your home or office overdue for a new coat of paint? Before you can enjoy your new color and revitalize your decor, you’ll likely find yourself poring over contractor listings as you search for the perfect painting partner in crime.

Don’t start your search with your hands tied! These essential tips offer some required knowledge you’ll want on your side long before the contractor arrives and the rollers come out.

1. Ask around for referrals

When you need trustworthy advice, you seek out your most trusted sources first: your friends, family, or close coworkers and neighbors. If you’re about to make a significant investment, such as a major painting job, the most promising recommendations are likely to come from your own network.

If someone you know (or an acquaintance of someone you know) has recently undergone a painting project and can vouch for a particular contractor’s professionalism, ask to see before and after photos of the paint job or check it out in person. Then, if you like what you see, schedule your own estimate to meet the contractor for yourself and determine whether their services fit your personal needs. Don’t hesitate to ask for references directly from any given contractor if you aren’t able to find a personal referral or if you want more peace of mind.

2. Get estimates

Get estimates from at least three different contractors and compare. While it may be tempting to compare based on cost alone, it’s important to remember that the lowest price in the local market doesn’t always equal the best results. A truly great value strikes a balance between budget and skilled execution.

When a contractor visits your home or office to complete an estimate, this is also your chance to ask questions and lay out your expectations before making any decisions — so in addition to considering price estimates, you’ll also want to consider everything from specific credentials to your own intuition. Would you feel comfortable inviting this person into your personal space?

Finally, make sure to confirm what is and is not included in the estimate. Is the cost of paint included in this number? How many coats of paint does it account for? If you choose to opt for additional coats or prefer a different paint type or brand, calculate any fluctuations.

3. Inquire about experience level

Choose a contracting business with at least two years of experience (bare minimum), as turnover can be high in the painting industry and time will weed out disreputable services. JC Painting Pro has proudly served the Seattle area for more than 15 years and counting.

In addition to finding out about a contractor’s number of years in the industry, evaluate the quality of the expertise acquired throughout those years. Your first clue in identifying a skilled painting contractor is to consider their breadth (hint: scope of services offered). An experienced contractor who is also knowledgeable about supplementary home improvement techniques is better than one who has never done a drywall repair! A dynamic skill set may demonstrate a provider’s commitment to the craft.

4. Discuss specific expectations

While a good contractor will take initiative to ensure the involved parties are on the same page before doing business together, you should also take care to clearly outline your expectations. Review everything from your color vision to the type of finish you’re looking for, number of paint coats, timeline and scheduling needs, payment preferences, surface prep and cleanup expectations, and more. You may even decide to prepare photos to help illustrate your desired result.

5. Licensed? Bonded? Insured?

Before you seal the deal and invite a contracting team to complete a job on your property, make sure they have the proper licenses and legal safeguards in place. Licensed, bonded, and insured contractors demonstrate compliance with basic legal practices, as well as a commitment to worker safety… and protecting you, the client, from liability in case of an incident.

6. Prep work?

Good painting contractors will take all necessary steps upfront to ensure the best possible results. This includes prepping each surface to be painted (this may include pressure washing, repair work, patching, texture blending, and more) and covering and protecting your assets (flooring, personal belongings, etc).

7. Double-check your contract

When you receive your contract for the job, a thorough review is critical. In fact, it doesn’t hurt to double- and triple-check its contents to confirm everything you and your contractor have verbally discussed is officially outlined in writing. Experienced contractors will present a streamlined and thorough contract regardless, but it’s always wise to read the fine print before signing a document! Plus, your own peace of mind is paramount.