Help Choosing a Painter
Choosing a Painter can be a bit stressful, especially if you have never done it before and if you are getting multiple bids.
It is important to remember that you are in charge; it’s your house. Doing at least the following things puts you in command:
- Get bids. We recommend at least three.
- Get references. Again, three is a good starting number. These should be references for people that you can call and talk to.
- Ask questions. You want to know what is going to be done.
These are three of the most important actions you can take when choosing a painter.
Let’s take a look at each one more fully.
Unless there are unusual circumstances the bid should be free.
You will need to expect that it may take a day or two for the painter to get to you so plan your job accordingly.
Make sure that you get the same information from each painter bidding; this is very important; your bids should be “apples for apples”. If something arises during one of the bids which would change bids you have already received, get back to the earlier bidders and tell them of this factor. This will insure that your bids are accurate. This is only fair to them and you.
Make sure that each painter includes in the bid all of the points that were discussed. Don’t assume that because you discussed it while he was at your house that it will be done. Get it in writing.
Some painters will give you a price right away and others will send you a written bid. Regardless of whom you decide to employ make sure everything is in writing before work begins.
These are some things to consider when obtaining bids. There are others, depending upon the job and you will probably think of some yourself. Don’t hesitate to have these included in your bid.
This part of the process of choosing a painter cannot be over emphasized. Unless you personally know the painter you want to get references.Even if the painter was referred to you by someone else get more references.
Get at least three live references. (A live reference is someone with whom you can talk.) If the painter has given you these references you do not need to feel any hesitancy about calling them.
You can also check with any of the many local paint supply stores (not the box stores) and ask if they know the painter. If they do not know the painter that is not a negative. But, if they do than it will give you another reference to consider.
By talking to at least three former customers you will be able to get a genuine ‘feel’ for the painter. You will also be able to tell if these are legitimate references or set-ups. (Yes, it does happen. A contractor feels he can get away with giving false references because it is well know in the industry that most clients do not call the references.)
Again, do not gloss over this part of the process of choosing a local painter. The difference between the painting of your house being a pleasant experience vs. a nightmare can hang in the balance. It may seem like a lot of work but it is worth it just in the peace of mind you will have going into the job.
This is important for both you and the painter. If you ask questions the painter gets to know what you want and expect. You get to hear his answers. It is true that the painter is the one with the painting experience and should ask you many questions but unfortunately that is not always the case; so if he doesn’t…you do.
So, what sort of questions should you ask? Here is a short list that should give you some ideas:
1. How long will the job take?
2. Who does the work? (Is it the person bidding or will it be other people?)
3. How many people will be doing the job?
4. What brand paint products will be used? Why that brand?
5. What is included in the bid? (Labor, materials, etc.)
6. What sort of prep work is going to be done before paint actually goes on the wall?
This should give you some idea of what to ask. Most probably you will have many other questions. Make sure to ask them of each painter bidding.
Hopefully, this article has been helpful in taking the mystery out of choosing a painter.
If you follow through with at least some of these suggestions you will find that by the end of the bid process you will have a good feel for which painter you want to to paint your home.
Keep in mind that whomever you select is going to be on your property or in your house for the duration of the job. You want, not just the best price, but someone that you can be confident is going to do good work and with whom you can work and feel comfortable.
Very often things come up during the job. Things do not always go as planned. Suddenly you realize that, oops!, that color doesn’t look as good on the wall as you thought it would. Are you and the painter going to be able to handle things smoothly? These are some of the considerations to keep in mind when selecting your painter.