How to Hire a Painting Contractor

posted Oct 7, 2012, 7:58 AM by Call Paul Painting, Inc.   [ updated Oct 7, 2012, 7:59 AM ]

By: Carina MacDonald

Anecdotes abound concerning shady contractors who will take your money and run. So here's your first tip for hiring a painting contractor: Never give a down payment before any work has begun. There is no reason to. Established contractors never need money for materials.

Before You Begin
Get several estimates. Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations. It is better to hire someone who has a known track record as a reliable person who does good work. Ask for proof of liability insurance too.

A detailed, written estimate is important. It will be your agreement as to the amount and type of work to be performed so you and your painting contractor are on the same page about all aspects of the job.

Consider other work you are going to have performed. Are you going to replace trim, counter tops or window treatments? Generally, this work should be completed before painting. If flooring is to be replaced, most of the painting should be done before new floors are laid. Final work, touch up and baseboards, should be finished after the floors are in place.

When you get estimates, make sure they are based on the same specifications (areas to be painted, number of coats, type of paint and so forth). It's also important to ask if all the work will be done at once. During the busy season, contractors can get stretched too thin. You don't want your painter to juggle your job along with several others.

Determine who will be responsible for taking down wall décor, window coverings, moving furniture, etc. Painters have differing policies on this. Many ask that the client take care of wall décor and anything small and breakable, but will handle all the furniture and window coverings.

The Importance of Trust
Be wary of anyone who asks for a substantial down payment and never give anyone more than 50% of the price up front. For large jobs, ask for a progressive payment plan. You will pay as work is completed while reserving the final payment for satisfactory completion of all work, including the final touch up.

Remember, trust goes both ways. Always pay your contractor on time and in the correct amount. If it's a long job, make sure that the installments you pay are fair.

Cost should not be the only factor when hiring a contractor. Also consider their track record and your gut feeling. Since you'll be working with this person and providing access to your home, you'd better like and trust him or her. If the bid difference is minimal, choose the contractor you feel better about, even if it costs a little more.

A Few Words of Advice
Have your paint choices determined in advance to keep work moving along in a timely fashion.
Paint cleanup takes a lot of water. Access to a large laundry sink or exterior hose is needed and appreciated.
Make sure your contractor has a comfortable place to eat lunch and take breaks.