10 Key Questions to Ask Your Painting Contractor

The exterior of your house says a lot about you. To make a good impression, you’re going to want to keep it in the best shape possible. This also means it will be protected from the elements. Bringing in a painter to take care of this big task can be intimidating. Arm yourself with knowledge before scheduling estimates with providers. Here are 10 key questions to ask your painting contractor.

If you are considering selling your home in the coming year, more than likely your chosen realtor will suggest an exterior paint job. More often than not, an exterior paint job will net you more at the closing than you put into the job.

When you speak to painters, you are sure to be cost-conscious but you also want to protect your investment. A novice painter will not provide you with the meticulous detail a more experienced crew will. A painting company offers you the benefit of an experienced crew, insurance and warranties they stand by. Here is the information you should request of each potential painter.

1. Do you have references as to your work?

Painting contractors are used to hearing this question from potential clients. They should be able to give you contact information for several happy clients. Many come prepared with portfolios of images in addition to the contacts. In addition to requesting this, there are plenty of free websites online where reviews are left. While the painter will only give you those clients who were pleased, online you’ll get a much more accurate picture of their work.

2. Do you carry insurance?

Workers will be on your property to complete the job, while it’s unlikely, injuries and accidents happen. Workman’s Compensation Insurance allows the company to cover any medical needs if the worst should happen. If your contractor doesn’t provide this coverage and someone is hurt, you could be on the hook for medical bills.

In addition to workman’s comp, you’ll want to inquire about general liability insurance. Much like the other policy, this one covers your property should anything be broken or destroyed in the process of the work.

3. Is the contractor licensed?

Every painting contractor should be licensed by the state you’re in. This means they have proven basic knowledge of painting techniques. It will also mean there is something to lose should they not perform up to standard. Each state’s requirements vary, so investigate further with your government outlets to find out exactly what is required in this area.

4. Who and how is my house being prepped?

Before signing any contract, you should be very clear what is covered in your paint job. Some companies include preparations before painting in their estimates. Others might not. Some will let you contribute elbow grease to lower the overall total. You should have a clear understanding and more than likely a written itemized estimate of what’s included in your bill. In addition, this sheet should also include an estimated schedule of work and any warranty included afterward. More about that later.

5. What paint will be used?

Since you are working with a professional painter, almost certainly they will have go-to brands of paint that they have had good results with. While it’s in your best interest to default to their knowledge, if you have very strong options, feel free to voice them with the estimator. Look to get at least a mid-range paint. They will provide better coverage and warranties in case of failure.

6. What is the crew and schedule for my job?

Some jobs require an entire crew to be on site for several days. To plan appropriately, you’ll want to know that. Arrangements in your home will need to be made before the work starts. So be clear when asking this. The amount of crew members could cut down the days they are on site. Scheduling your work isn’t an exact science. While you can have a date for work to start and be completed, things in this business change. Weather is the biggest factor in holding up painting work.

7. How much will the paint job cost?

Low prices are not always better. Make sure you get a valid estimate from each potential painter then compare what’s included and the references and insurances of each provider. Painters can get antsy when you ask for a hard bottom line. Again, things change. If a paint is out of stock or a painter is unavailable, it could affect the total cost. Any changes after the contract is signed can also change the terms of it. Dates, colors, repairs all mean more man hours or coats which in turn means more cost.

The estimate or contract you are presented with should also outline how much and when it’s due. Always be hesitant if a painter asks you for more than half of the cost of the job up front. This is industry standard and allows the job supervisor to purchase supplies and secure his crew. Some painters might ask for less to reserve dates.

8. Is there a warranty?

Paint jobs that are prepped right, painted with premium paint and not abused after the job should last up to 10 years. Painting contractors normally offer a guarantee on their work, but not typically as long as a decade. Each painter makes their own terms, but make sure they are clear and understood before you proceed.

9. What will be cleaned up after the job is finished?

Home improvement contractors are notorious for leaving a mess behind. Painters try to set themselves apart by cleaning the property better than before they arrived. This means they are responsible for removing debris and mess in addition to all tools and equipment. Having this in writing in the contract guarantees that it happens.

10. Who do I talk to for updates or questions?

After you sign the contract, it’s almost certain you will come up with further questions. It’s a common occurrence and because painters are used to it, there is typically one point of contact for you. This would be the crew leader. You can go to that person for updates on the project, timeline expectations and further questions.

Finding the right painter isn’t easy, but it can be done. CertaPro Painters of Brick is happy to help you through this process. We’d be honored to be included in your considerations. Schedule a free estimate with our team today.