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Top 8 Tips for Hiring a Painter

I know it is difficult to hire any contractor. There are so many different trades and you may not be familiar with the type of trade you are hiring for. Ever go to the mechanic and wonder if you’re getting ripped off? I’ve heard of many nightmare scenarios in my 30+ years of painting. Recently I was painting my daughter’s house and her neighbor came over after observing my company paint. She was concerned and confused because she was having a paint job done at her house and noticed many differences. The contractors she hired were painting the deck after 6 days of rain (wet wood), were showing up at odd hours, didn’t show up when they said they would, were smoking on the job, and more. She was very distraught and stuck and even said, “I feel like an idiot”. I felt horrible for her and it motivated me to write this blog post. This is one of the many horror stories I’ve heard. I’d like YOU to hire a top notch painter, so here are 8 tips to make sure you make the right hire:


1-Does the company have workman's compensation AND liability (i.e. insurance)? The first one covers for person injury or death. The liability covers any damage to your property, vehicles, etc. If something goes wrong and the company is not insured, you are financially responsible. Worst case scenario? You lose your home. Ask to see their certificate of insurance.


2- Is the company licensed with the state you reside in? This is a tell-tale sign of a legitimate business. You can ask them and they should have a card indicating they’re licensed.


3-Check their references and reviews. You can read the reviews on Yelp, Google, Checkbook, and others. Ask your contractor for references and call them to ask how it went. I’d recommend driving by their address to see how the paint job has held up. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if they have any complaints. A combination of reviews and references is ideal, however, these alone do not make them a professional company.


4- How many years have they been in business? I’d say 10 years or more is acceptable. I know it sounds harsh, but this means they have all types of experience and have stood the test of time. Anything less than that is a gamble.


5-Is this a local business? Local people want to protect their reputation. You can also find them if there is an issue. Larger, non-local businesses typically care less about you and can be frustrating to connect with if there is an issue.


6- Do they hire subcontractors? A subcontractor is someone that comes in to do the work that is not actually from the company you hired. An example of this would be a business owner giving you an estimate for $10,000 then sending a different company to do the work for $5,000. Subcontractors are for speed, not quality. If there is a problem, good luck tracking down whoever actually did the work.


7-Get at least 3 estimates. I’d say 3 estimates give you a good picture of a fair price for the work.


8-Money matters! So let's say you get 3 different estimates for the same scope of work: $5,000, $10,000, and $20,000. That’s a big range but definitely could happen in this field. What is the difference between them? Some of these estimates include insurance, taxes, license, quality materials, skilled-workers and abide EPA rules. Most likely the lowest price is cutting corners somewhere and is not legitimate. If you go the cheapest route you will pay in the long run.


The main thing is to make sure the business you are hiring is professional and legitimate. These tips will help you weed out any jokers. Out of the ones you have left, make sure they are local. If you do all of these 8 things you will have a much more successful outcome. I know people think painting is very simple but it is deceiving. If you hire a poor painting contractor you are in for a headache and potentially damaging your home. Follow these 8 tips and it will be smooth sailing!