Nothing impacts the look of a home quite like a fresh coat of paint. Whether you are switching up your color scheme or freshening up your existing walls or trim, no one can argue with the striking eye appeal of new paint. The quality of the finished product is largely determined by the experience, skill, and attention to detail by your painting contractor. The following steps will be useful for helping homeowners secure a qualified contractor for their painting projects.
- Background Checks.
A “background check” will help narrow down your options for the best contractors in your area. Websites such as Angie’s List and Yelp are useful, reliable tools. Word-of-mouth and the recommendations of family and friends remain your most credible sources when selecting a painting contractor. Listen to the counsel of those who would hold the same standard as you do regarding quality, integrity, and budget considerations.
- Planning ahead could save you money.
Painters tend to be busier during warmer months due to exterior painting projects and a general increase in construction. Booking a future project for the slower winter months will likely gain you a better price as contractors are aiming to fill their winter schedules. As the schedule fills up, the likelihood of a discount decreases, so attempting to book early is a smart move. The same works in reverse for those who use their winter months to schedule exterior projects for the upcoming summer.
- Get your questions answered.
Choose a contractor who is willing to answer your questions thoroughly without getting defensive. You should feel free to ask for details about their experience, insurance, and licensure. Come prepared with a list of relevant questions related to product, process, and price as related to your specific project.
- Make sure you understand the quotes.
When it comes time to compare quotes, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Pay attention to the fine print. What brand and quality of paint is being used? What extras does your contractor include? How many coats of paint are calculated in the estimate? If these facts vary from quote to quote, you will likely see a wide range of costs, which could skew your comparison.
- It’s not always just about the cost.
When comparing costs, see if the labor, time frame, materials, paint, and travel expenses are itemized individually or bundled together. This will also be helpful in comparing what each contractor is offering you, and it will aid you in making a wise choice. Don’t base your final decision solely on cost. As with most things, you typically get what you pay for. Quality and expertise may be intangible, but they are valuable and worth paying extra.
- Whose responsibility is it?
Determine what is the contractor’s job and what is yours. Discuss who will move furniture, patch cracks, or wipe down walls. Will they assume the house is paint-ready, or will they expect to be involved in the process? If plaster repairs, drywall patching, or removal of wallpaper are required, make sure it is clearly defined who will do the work. If you prefer that the contractor takes care of it, then be sure to hire someone with the skill set needed.
- Preparation is key!
Understand that prep work is key to excellence in a finished product. Properly cleaning and preparing surfaces or taping off trim and windows takes a concentrated amount of time. Typically, the better the prep, the better the paint job, and the easier the clean-up. This is beneficial for both the homeowner and the contractor.
While choosing a contractor may seem stressful, taking care with these early steps will ease your stress down the road. The right contractor for the right job will yield the beautiful finished project you’ve envisioned.