Don’t trust a ” broke” painter.

By George - ABN Painting (Phoenix, AZ)

A lady called me for an estimate on painting a small bathroom and two accent walls in the living room. After a couple minutes of conversation she told me about her sad experience with the previous painter.

A guy showed up at her house to give an estimate. The lady was given a $200 estimate for this painting project. She decided it was a reasonable price and asked the painter how soon he can do the job and how much money would be required up front. To a customer’s pleasant surprise the painter said that one of his jobs canceled and he is available as soon as the next morning. Complaining on tough economic times the painter asked for $150 up front. Not sure what was going through the customer’s mind at this moment but the money(cash) exchanged hands and the painter promised to start 8 am the next day. Needless to say the would be customer never saw the painter again.

For a small painting project this lady had in mind one would need one gallon of paint for the bathroom and another gallon for the accent walls, a total of $40 -$50 for a decent quality paint. And though it is a good business practice to charge some money up front to make sure the customer is not going to change their mind at the last minute, after the contractor has spent a few hundred dollars on custom tinted paint that is non refundable, customers should have more common sense and realize that if the contractor is asking for more than 3rd of the money down something is not right. And if the contractor can’t come up with $50 to buy paint the person should not be in the business for himself in the first place.

I believe in the situation like this when you have a painting project that requires small amount of paint it is better for a customer to buy paint themselves and pay only for labor when the painting job is done. Most of the paint stores catering to contractors have knowledgeable staff that can tell you exactly what kind and how much paint you need based on your description of the painting project.

Or better ask your neighbor with the nicest house on the block who painted their house last time and save yourself stress with a proven painter.

If you are looking for professional painters in Phoenix, call ABN Painting. We work in Phoenix and surrounding cities: Scottsdale, Glendale, Peoria, Surprise, Avondale, Goodyear, Cave Creek, Litchfield park, Anthem, Paradise Valley, Ahwatukee.

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  1. Dave Haney

    On jobs less than 3k I never ask for a draw on the job. Having a credit account at the local paint store is a must for any painter doing jobs on their own or professing to be a paint contractor. I have references available also. On small jobs like the broke painter story I would suggest to the customer to buy the paint, use my account name for discount price and any added materials such as masking supplies I would get and submit with a receipt with the bill at end of job. Lots of broke painters are giving us small time contractors a bad rap and making it hard to find work!-DPH out of Athens,Texas.

  2. Anonymous

    I don’t think that this guy was really a legitimate contractor to begin with. He may have been a painter, but clearly not an established and ethical business owner. I also don’t believe that being broke was the problem here. He sounds like “bottom of the barrel” painter trash, with little respect for himself and others.

  3. AJ's Home Services

    I would never trust any contractor that wanted money upfront unless the job was a large job i.e. $5000 or more.

    Take your time and get a professional painter. Someone that does not demand a upfront fee for a small job.

  4. Anonymous

    We can’t rely on the BBB they only post a complaint after the contractor answers to it. My rip off painter refuses to get a box number he just attends the two local post offices and asks for his mail, that way there is no paper trail and he does not have to accept any unwanted mail ie BBB. He has a criminal record and knows the ropes, BBB is aiding and ab-bedding this fellow because under his business name he is not accredited, but it shows no complaints, when in fact there are , because I posted 1 and there is one incomplete in Alberta as well, this is misleading to the general public


    There are times when I, a qualified (licensed, bonded and Insured in Oregon since 1983) are in competition with unqualified paint businesses. My competition seems to be much of the time paint companies that bid low or med-low to GET the job, then give bad workmanship that gives US ALL a bad name.

    Please check your Painter for obvious licenses and check them for stability through their viable references, if they don’t have any or they are using relatives and friends for refs don’t use them. How long have they been painting in your state? There are also ways to see if there are any complaints against them and if they are respectable painters they will lead you to their local contractors board, who will give you information on any complaints.

  6. Anonymous

    The customer should always ask for refrences, get the info on the painter or check the Better Business Bureau for reputation of the Painter in question before paying out.

    Personally, I present a customer with the bill after the job is done. I always expect a customer to ask info on me and if not I offer it. There are a lot of dishonest person’s out there who will make all of us honest Painters look bad. So offering info is a show of integrity and all you small time Painters; have available ready cash or get a charge account with your local paint stores.

  7. It comes down to the question: what’s the basis for trust? Our company, Courtney and Wise, has been in business as a firm of painters and decorators in Sydney since 1954. When you trade with an established firm, you don’t have to worry about disappearances.

    Customers should look for certifications (in Australia, Master Painters and Dulux accreditation are two to watch for) and a history of service.

    That way, there’s no need to worry about who buys the paint. And it isn’t only the money involved. After all, you’re letting these people into your house! You need to be confident that the work will be done well and with respect for your home and family.

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