How to Vet Your Painting Contractor
My daughter messed up. She got a terrible paint job. You would think that she, whose livelihood was determined by professional painting for years, who has even WORKED at CertaPro before, would understand the importance of hiring a professional. Or at least talk to her mom!
She did consult me on easy topics like colors, but not the tricky stuff. No questions about vetting the person who would be painting her home in Atlanta. So, when I walked into her new house after she moved in, I couldn’t help but shake my head and ask “What were you thinking?”
The sheen was wrong. The textures were wrong. The lines were horrible. How could this have happened?
After all the years of listening to me talk about painters and quality, she had ended up with one of the worst paint jobs I had ever seen.
But then I remembered how I was before I owned my business, back when I had my first home painted. Sometimes I just want to be nice to the person in front of me and I didn’t know how to ask the hard questions. So here’s what I’d ask today if you don’t really know what to ask. Don’t worry, you won’t sound rude. Here’s how to vet your painter… just ask them about paint.
Looking at your home unsure where to start? Ask your potential painting contractor the following questions.
Here are some example questions. I’ll tell you the question and the answer you should be hearing back.
What sheen should I paint on my trim?
Ask them, don’t tell them. They should come back with either semi-gloss, or they should ask you if you prefer an even glossier gloss.
Do I have oil paint on any of my trim already? What would you do if there is oil on my trim already?
If they can’t answer this with “I have some denatured alcohol in my vehicle, let me test that for you,“ they are probably as unsure as you are.
How many houses have you painted this month?
If they’re truly professional, they would’ve painted at least one home per week for the past month. If they do this only on the side, it will come out as they answer this question. I can’t stress enough – the people who paint part-time are only part-time professionals. Do you really want only half of your lines to be straight? Or go through rookie mistakes and have to double back on the work? This is the trap my daughter fell into.
Do you have your own account at the paint store?
If any homeowner can get an account, why wouldn’t your painter have one? If you truly want to check on this person to make sure they are professional, ask if you can call the Sherwin-Williams store as a reference. If nobody knows them at the local store, they don’t show up there very much. Plus, the store will gently redirect you to a more professional painter. Especially if you are falling into the hands of a scammer or novice.
Do you have a variety of ladders for exterior work?
Just throw something out there like “do you have a 40-foot ladder?” You may hear something back like “I have 24s and 32s and they do just fine.” If so, you’re probably not speaking with the most professional painter. Most painters that have been in business for longer than a few years would have invested in the taller, more expensive ladders. This says something about how long they’ve been in business and their willingness to invest in professional tools… and not just borrow from friends.
Of course, vetting your contractor for professionalism is a non-issue if you work with CertaPro Painters from the beginning. We understand that our worksite is your home and we treat your property and time with respect. We have multiple processes and checkpoints in place to make sure that you experience excellent service and your project is completed with five-star quality.