How to Choose a Painting Contractor
A Checklist for Choosing a Painting Contractor
Okay. You’ve compiled a list of candidates. Now, what do you do? How do you know which house painting contractor is offering the best price and the highest quality? Here is a checklist that will help you filter through the different painting offers you have received.
- Write down exactly what you want done. Describe the job in detail, including specific products or colors you want, a desired time frame, and possible obstacles (drywall needs repair, etc.). This becomes the job description for your specific painting job.
- Start making phone calls and/or sending emails. Keep your house painting job description handy when you make your phone calls. Email it to prospective contractors. Refer to it often. Giving each contractor the same information to base their estimates on will help you compare “apples to apples” when you start receiving bids.
- Ask for references. When talking to each contractor, ask for references from customers who commissioned projects similar to yours.
- Follow up on references for each contractor you are considering. Ask questions.
- Schedule a meeting. The ideal contractor will arrive to the meeting on-time, act businesslike and courteous, and be prepared to answer questions. Don’t hesitate to ask! It will help you make an informed choice.
- Ask for bids. Have your top three or four choices prepare comprehensive proposals. These should include:
- Type and amount of surface preparation
- Priming (including type and brand)
- Caulking (type and where it will be used)
- The brand of paint (should reference the manufacturer’s product line)
- How many coats will be used
- Estimated cost
- Estimated start and completion dates
- Review the completed proposals. Ask additional questions if necessary. If, for example, one painting contractor’s fee is substantially higher or lower than his competitors’, ask why. A higher fee might indicate that he pays a premium for quality materials, or that he only works on one job at a time and therefore needs to charge more to cover overhead. A lower fee might indicate that he does all the work himself, instead of hiring help, or that he uses a less-expensive supplier. You’ll never know unless you ask!
- Choose your painting contractor. Once you have checked off each of these items, you are ready to choose your painting contractor. Each one of the preceding steps will help you make sure you are comparing “apples to apples”.