How to Work With a New, Up-And-Coming House Painter
Beware: An Inexperienced Painter Could Increase Long-Term House Painting Costs
Often, when the budget it tight it is tempting to work with a house painter who doesn’t have to charge as much because he/she is just starting out and is motivated to offer rock-bottom prices. Everyone has to start somewhere, and every experienced painting contractor began as someone without any experience. It’s a good thing to help the next generation of painters establish themselves. At the same time, you need to be aware of the risk you may be taking.
Don’t Take Risks When Hiring a House Painter.
Ask to See a Contractor License Bond
Some states require any contractor to be bonded and insured. In other locations, only cities and/or counties make this a requirement. There is a good reason for this. Many contractors, painters included, require an up-front deposit before starting work.
The legal requirement for a bond and insurance protects you, the consumer, from risk on two fronts. The bond protects you from shady contractors who take your money then never paint your house. The insurance protects you from unforeseen property damage while the painting is in progress.
In order to secure a bond, a painting contractor must pass a credit check and financial review before a surety provider will issue a contractor license bond. Once approval occurs, the painting contractor pays a bond fee. A contractor who has done this shows some commitment to protecting the customer’s he or she serves.
Working With an Unbonded House Painter
If your location does not require bonding, you should proceed carefully with any transaction. Never give cash up-front to a house painter you do not know personally. Rather, ask to go to the paint store with the contractor and pay for paints and supplies directly. It is also preferable to have the paint and supplies delivered directly to your home if you are unable to take the order with you the same day.
It may be a pain, but agree to pay the contractor on a daily basis. For example, you can pay for the anticipated work at the beginning of the day. At the worst, you could lose one day’s worth of money, but you would never be out a sizable amount of money. Or pay at the end of the day if the contractor is agreeable.
A new, less experienced contractor should be willing to work with you in a way that creates a winning situation for both of you. You need to recognize that someone who is just getting started doesn’t have large cash reserves, so you shouldn’t ask the contractor to wait a week before payment. At the same time, a new painter should accept your caution with releasing a large amount of money without a solid background to support his/her honesty and reliability.
Other Things to Look For Before Hiring a New House Painter
Even if a painter is just stepping out on his/her own, you should be able to check into references. Who has the painter worked with? Do previous employers have good things to say? No matter how personable a painting contractor may appear, take the time to do a background check. It could prevent wasting money on a job that is poorly done and needs to be fixed within a few years.
Look for a painting contractor that returns your call promptly within 24 hours. It isn’t unusual to get an answering machine, but if a game of phone tag doesn’t begin shortly, you aren’t dealing with someone who is ready to take your job seriously.
You also want to deal with a house painter who can tell you how he/she reached an estimate for how much the job would cost. You don’t want a “guestimate.” You want something that indicates a careful through process went into reaching the price for the job. This could be very important if you need to make a change part-way into the job. Look for such things as caulking and pre-painting preparation. Including these details suggest the contractor understands their importance.