How to choose an exterior painting company

Chapter 2

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Chapter 2: How to choose an exterior painting company

certapro boston south shore reviewsCheck out painter reviews online.

Google “Online reviews for South Shore Painters” and see what comes up. You are looking for recent and decent reviews. Look also for online posting consistency – lots of companies might have many reviews from March 2017 and no reviews after that date. Still, you want to see customers consistently posting reviews month after month, so you get a sense that the business is consistently making their customers happy.

Once you have a few painting companies, call them to get a quote and watch closely how easy or difficult it is to do business with them.

 

 

painter with white shirtTake a look at the process a painting company has in place to arrange an appointment with an estimator because the ease of doing business with them at this stage often foreshadows how the entire painting job will be handled if you hire them. For example:

-Does the office staff call you back right away?

-Do they communicate by email, phone, and text?

-Is someone in the office, or are painters on the job site taking your call from a ladder (a safety no-no)?

-Is scheduling a quote easy?

-Do you have to wait weeks for an estimator to come out to quote your project?

-Do they give you a specific date and time they’ll meet with you?

-Do you have to chase the estimator to get them to email you a quote?


Get quotes from 3 different painting Boston-area companies.
Again, you are looking for professionalism in the painter because the quoting process often foreshadows how the entire process of painting your home will be handled if you hire that company.  For example:

inspection after paintingWas the estimator on time?

Did they have good product knowledge for your type of home and climate? For example, a home directly on the coast in Cohasset would likely need a different paint product than a home more inland in Hanover, even though both houses are only 15 miles apart!

Is the quote typewritten and detailed and does it include photos? Photos are a good indication that the painting company is meticulous about delivering on the details of the project, as photos and videos are a good way to communicate the details to the painters who will be doing the painting on your home.

Does the quote include lifestyle details like not working near a baby’s room during naptime, letting the dog out, or not parking behind the garage? Better companies will make sure they capture these household details, so the process is as smooth as possible for the homeowner (and dogs don’t go missing!).

Questions to ask an exterior painter:

Make sure the answers to these questions are in writing on your exterior quote.

What kind of paint do you recommend for my type of home? The brand and grade of paint should be spelled out in writing. If a contractor just writes “Benjamin Moore” paint, you don’t know which grade of Benjamin Moore Paint they plan on using. Because Benjamin Moore has a range of paints from very cheap to very expensive, you want the grade of paint specified in writing along with the brand name (for example, “Benjamin Moore Aura Paint.”)

What work is included in the quote? (again written down, so there are no surprises)

What work is excluded from the quote? (i.e., “shutters will not be painted”)

Is there a written warranty? Get a copy of the written warranty at this stage.

Are you licensed and insured? If a contractor works on your home and is not insured, you, the homeowner, are liable if someone gets hurt on the job. Better yet, have them add you to their insurance policy as “additional insured” – this ensures that their insurance policy is in full force and paid up.

When can this exterior painting project start, and how long will it take to finish? Remember, if there is a little bit of a wait for the painter, this is a good sign that they are in demand.

Can you meet my deadline? If you’re having a party, you may need to have the painting done by a specific time. While this cannot be 100% guaranteed because the weather in the Boston area is so inconsistent and exterior painting can’t be done in the rain. Most of the time, deadlines can be met if you let the painting company know and give them a month’s notice.

Other things to consider about the exterior estimating process

Was the estimator pressuring you to buy? Since you are just in the quoting phase, you should just look to be educated at this point, not pressured into signing a contract.  Take your time deciding and making sure you have enough information from each of your contractors to compare quotes.

Some people want to hire a local painter, so jobs stay in their community. Ensure you understand what the painting company does to give back to the Boston area and the South Shore towns in which they work.

Can the painting company quote your exterior project without you being home if you work outside the home or need to take precautions for Covid? While it’s always better to meet for a quote in person, a good estimator will be able to talk to you over the phone to get the scope of the work you’d like done and walk around your exterior without you and email you a quote.

Does the painting company offer all of the exterior services you need?
Some painting contractors only paint. Other South Shore painters offer one-stop shopping for power washing, carpentry, and rotted wood replacement and exterior color consultation. Ensure you’re getting bids from South Shore painting companies that will provide the breadth of services required to do your exterior painting project, so you don’t need to hire multiple contractors for your job.

 

For example:
Woodpeckers are a problem on the South Shore – they consistently drill holes in our wooden siding and trim. If this is the case for you, ensure that your painter has a carpenter on staff who can fix the holes or replace the wood.

Should your home be painted or stained?  A knowledgeable painting company will be able to tell you what’s currently on your home and what would best protect it in the future.

Rotted wood is a problem on South Shore homes because, well, most of our homes are made of mostly wood. Again, if your window sill and trim boards contain rotted wood, you’ll need a painter with carpenters on staff to handle the wood replacement before they paint.

Bulkheads in the Boston area are often an eye-sore, does the painter know the type of paint that should be used on a steel bulkhead to help protect and beautify it?

Mahogany decks that are so common to the South Shore need constant maintenance so they stay protected and look good. Does your painter offer deck staining services with the know-how to handle your beautiful mahogany deck?

Rotting trim boards are common on the wood homes on the South Shore – does your painter have a carpenter that can replace them with PVC trim boards so they don’t ever rot again?

Reddish brown brick being painted whiteDoes your home contain brick that you’re considering painting and is the painter experienced to paint it with the correct products and techniques specifically for brick homes?

 

 

 

 

color design packet
CertaPro offers free design services and can put together color schematics of your home to help you visualize the final color.

If you are thinking of changing your exterior color, look for a company with a complimentary color consultant on staff who can work with you for at your home to get your exterior color palette just right. Working with a designer at your house to choose exterior colors is time well spent. The hour or two you take with a designer upfront will pay dividends for years as you drive up your driveway and love the colors you see for years to come.

Blue home with white painted trim in Abington, MAIf you want to change your exterior color to something that fits with the South Shore’s traditional look or want someone who works on historic homes, look for a painter with historic home experience and knowledge of Boston historic colors.

Painters often specialize in different types of homes they paint – make sure you see photos of your type of home on the painter’s website. For example, if you have a Cape Cod, Colonial or brick home how much experience does the painter have painting this style?

Go to Chapter 3 – Services offered by exterior painting companies

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