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How to Hire the Right Painting Contractor

“It will take two weeks.” How many times have you heard this statement? Two weeks go by and the job is not finished, so you ask again. “Yes. Two more weeks and we will be finished.” Have you had bad experiences in the past with contractors? Has it left you a little shell-shocked and you don’t know where to start? Here’s a few tips for avoiding those never ending two week cycles.

1. Speak with Friends/Family/Colleagues

For some reason, many people try to do things on their own. They have tried to paint and made a mess. Then, they get frustrated and call a contractor without shopping around. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t. Don’t be embarrassed to ask friends who they have used. Often, word of mouth can help you find the best painters. Advertisement may lead you to a larger company or you may see a sign on the road, but they will only give you the good references they have. If you have trusted friends that have had a good experience, that is the best place to start.

2. References are Good

While companies will choose their best references, it is still okay to hear from them. After all, at least they have some references right? If you are having trouble finding a good contractor, it may come down to the experiences of others that will help make your decision. A company that has no references has no way of showing you what they can actually deliver on.

3. The Narrow Cut

One you have spoken with friends and acquired references, you should have a smaller group to choose from. Now you are ready to get into specifics. Prices. Times. Agreements. This is the time where you begin to truly shop around for the best price and service. Remember that the cheapest is not always the best and the most expensive is definitely not always the highest quality. Don’t make your final decisions based solely on price.

4. Ask the Right Questions

Contractors can only do what the job entails. That means if you wanted shutters painted, you need to make sure you spoke about it. If the contractors does not wish to take time to listen to your ideas or even visit the site, then it may be best to choose another. A painting contractor will often be blamed for mistakes so they actually need to be told exactly what you are wanting. Need some help:

  • What all services do you offer?
  • Do you clean up after you are finished?
  • Do you provide supplies or is that an extra charge?
  • How long will it take to paint (_____)?
  • Who should I contact with questions/concerns?
  • Will a supervisor be on site?
  • What time will you start?
  • How many people will be in my home?
  • Are you licensed/insured?

The list could go on, but you definitely want to keep an open line of communication. You will usually have questions after the initial conversation. As a contract is worked out, you may want to check with others and make sure both parties are clear on what is in the agreement. A contractor is used to this process and knows what is expected on their end, but you must be able to communicate what you are willing to pay for.