Interior house painting is significantly different than exterior painting. Cabinet refinishing is different than furniture restoration, and each painting contractor has their own primary specialties. Hiring the right painting contractor for your project depends on finding the right painter with the right expertise. A successful project with the best-fit painter or refinishing contractor for your job is a matter of communication & coordination between contractor and homeowner. Below are tips to help you make it happen.
5 Tips for Hiring the Best Painter for your Project
- Decide What is Most Important to You:
Firstly, you should examine the project (whether it’s a room to be painted, cabinets to be refinished, a staining project, etc.) and decide what is most important to you. Smooth walls? Color consultation and selection? Quality materials and a paint job that comes with an extended warranty? It’s a contractor’s job to perform the highest quality work they can when you hire them for work on your home, but “highest quality” is subjective. Often times the painter and the homeowner have different expectations because of a lack of communication. This is why it is important to hire a personable, approachable contractor with whom you can easily talk about the project details and who focuses on your expectations. When you meet with contractors keep that mind, and try to determine how willing your contractor is to meet your expectations.
- Research Contractors and Come up with a Short List:
Explore your local painters and their websites, business listings, portfolios, galleries, previous work, and customer testimonials. Learn about the painter from as many sources as possible. Even the ones who come recommended from family or friends. This will help you narrow down a short-list of contractors that appear to have the necessary skills, expertise and experience to be qualified for your job.
- Schedule as Many Estimates as You Can:
You want to get to know your options. When you meet them, ask the person you meet if they actually perform the work or if they just do the estimate. Then ask specific questions about the work, point out areas that need work and listen to the painters’ suggestions. Pay attention to how knowledgeable the person sounds: is he or she a craftsman or an estimator? This is an important distinction: if you meet the owner of the company who works with the crew you’re more likely to get what you want because customer satisfaction is more important to the owner of the smaller painting contracting company than it is to a commission-paid manager/estimator of a franchise. But both may very will be willing to work with not only your expectations, but your budget, too. Get a sense for how the different painting contractors approach customer service.
- Get at Least Three References:
Talk to prior customers – it’s the best way of learning how the painter works and the level of quality of the home improvement. Ideally, at least one of the references will be from a previous customer for whom the painter performed a similar job to the one you’re considering. But if not that, there should still be several references available and if not, that should raise a red flag. References aren’t only a good source of information but they can help you weed out the shady, fly-by-night contractors. Few as they are, they’re out there. Yes, take everything the references say with a grain of salt, but use what you learn from them in conjunction with the rest of your research.
- The Details:
Consider and inspect the finer points of the painter’s promises. Make sure materials are listed and itemized. Ask questions about them: are quality coatings being used? Meticulous techniques? Ask about warranty information. How long does the painter guarantee their work will last? This speaks volumes about their commitment to craftsmanship.
A painter that’s qualified in her or his trades will be able to answer your questions, acknowledge your expectations for the level of craftsmanship and work with you to come to a clear understanding of what you want and how the painter can provide you with the quality service you’re paying for.
Hint: Remember that you will usually get what you pay for. If you have higher expectations of quality, expect to pay for it.