Sometimes it can seem to be a totally overwhelming and even daunting process when you are in the market to hire a painter. Is there really any way to guarantee that you have hired a painter you can trust to do the job you need at a fair price? While not always fool-proof, there are some tell-tail signs of a reputable company and certain steps that you as the homeowner can follow to hire a painter you can be more than satisfied with. If you’d like to speak with an expert or hire a painter, we have offices in Las Vegas and Sacramento. Click here to get a free quote or give us a call.
Hiring a painter: where to start
It is always a good place to start by asking a family member or a trusted friend for a recommendation. Sometimes you can luck out and the referred company does an excellent job. But oftentimes disaster can still strike. That is why even with a recommendation, it’s a very good idea to do some online research. Find out if other people agree with the recommendations you were given or if they have a not so good track record.
Search for online reviews
- Start by looking at reviews from multiple sites. If the reviews remain consistent from site to site then that’s a good indicator that the reviews haven’t been manipulated and can be trusted. Both Google and Yelp list reviews from real customers which means authentic reviews.
- Also, it’s important to pay attention to how detailed the reviews are. More detail is a great indicator of experience obtained from working with a company. Plus, more thorough descriptions will give you the knowledge and insight into a company’s performance.
- The manner in which the owner of a company replies to negative feedback is another detail you should pay attention to. Look at the explanation for a bad review and decide on its validity. But even just a quick “thank you” on a good review speaks volumes about their customer service.
Ask about insurance
No one likes dealing with insurance! It’s confusing and complicated. But as a consumer, you should never consider working with a contractor that doesn’t already have two certain types of insurance in place.
- Comprehensive Business Liability, which simply protects your property from any damage caused by the contractor. A painting contractor should have no less than a million-dollar limit on liability coverage.
- Workman’s Compensation which protects you and the workers while working on your property. This insurance can be very expensive so many contractors will try to work without it.
- Request the contact information and name of their insurer. Call the insurer yourself to make sure their insurance is current and up to date.
What kind of materials will be used?
There is a very large difference in quality between paints and stains. Obviously, the better quality products that contain higher quality ingredients will look nicer and last longer. Along with coatings, the quality of other materials being used on your home will greatly impact the longevity of the paint job. It is important you find out about the products that will be used on your project. Many contractors are vague in their description and details about what products they are using and will use the cheapest supplies available. This saves the contractor money and leaves you with a sub-par outcome. Get them to specify all the details in writing.
Visit the company’s website
You can educate yourself quite a bit from a contractor’s website. Look for the following:
- Look for photos of past projects. There should be several. Also, look for images with close-ups of their detailed work. Keep an eye out for photos indicating the crew follows safety protocol and uses proper equipment.
- You should also be able to find a page containing bios of the crew as well as pictures of them on the job. This will help you gauge the workers’ level of experience and help you know who will be showing up at your home. Sadly, there have been several documented cases where employees of a hired contractor have burglarized or injured a homeowner. In learning about who will be performing work on your home, look into their hiring policy, and whether or not they do criminal background checks.
Employees or subcontractors?
Many contractors will use subcontractors instead of hiring employees because it is the cheaper route to go. They are not required to pay social security taxes or employee benefits. However, you may be putting yourself at risk.
- Subcontractors are typically paid a flat fee for a job which takes away their motivation to do their best work and they may be tempted to cut corners.
- The contractor may not know the people on the crew, which makes it very likely that no background checks have been performed.
- Using subcontractors increases the chances of them not having workmen’s compensation insurance.
Request a detailed proposal
Big jobs can tend to vary by thousands of dollars. Lower bids may mean less prep and the use of cheaper materials. On the other hand, some painters may jack up the price based on what neighborhood your home is in or because they simply don’t want or need your business.
- In order to truly understand what you are paying for, you need to ask for a detailed proposal from your contractor.
- Getting your bid, which contains all the ins and outs of your expectations, can likely protect you in the future should there be any discrepancies once the project is finished.
Find out about their warranty
This is a big one! Some companies, knowing the importance of warranties, will give unrealistically long warranties and have no proof to back it up. Sadly, most of these companies will be out of business long before their warranties expire. So what is a realistic warranty you can trust?
- A decent warranty by the contractor will provide both labor and materials for a covered defect.
- Most warranties will have exclusions so it is good to protect yourself and find out exactly what those are.
- 1-year warranties are pretty common and are alright as long as the work is well done. If a job has been poorly done, most signs will show up within the first year. 2-3 year warranties are also fairly common. Anything above this timeframe and you will want to look very closely at the fine print before moving forward.
- Always get the warranty in writing
Conclusion: How to hire a painter
Following these basic tips and guidelines should help hire a painter. With painting, like anything else in life, you get what you pay for. So save yourself some money and grief and do your homework before trusting someone with such an important job. If you have any questions about projects you are starting, contact the professionals at PaintRite Pros. We have locations in Sacramento and Las Vegas and would love to offer our professional services.