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How to choose a painting contractor

There are many things to consider when choosing a painting contractor. Some things that you may have never thought of are imperative to finding a contractor who is reliable, safe, and trustworthy. The options for painting contractors may seem overwhelming. Most cities have dozens if not hundreds of contractors who are listed. It’s hard to know who to trust with your project.

1. How long have they been in business?

If they have been able to stay in business for a while, there is a reason. Although new companies are not necessarily bad, they don’t have the track record to make an informed decision.

We suggest a company who has been in business for at least 5 years. They will have more references, more reviews, and more time to build a profile with associations like the Better Business Bureau. These factors will help you to get a clear picture of the kind of business you will be dealing with.

2. Read reviews

The people who know the most about the work a contractor does, are the people who have hired them in the past. There are many resources to obtain reviews. You can find reviews for companies through almost any search engine. It is best to look in multiple places to get a more complete view. Take any negative feedback into consideration. Good resources for customer reviews are the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Google, Yelp, and Porch.

3. Do they have insurance?

One of the most important questions you can ask a contractor is if they have liability insurance and workman’s compensation insurance. These insurance policies not only protect the people working on your project, but they protect you from financial liability for any accidents that may happen on your property. If the contractor does not have these insurance policies, the financial burden for any accident that happens to an individual or your property is yours alone. If you feel the need to verify their insurance, you can generally check with their insurance company with no cost to you or the contractor.

4. Do they subcontract?

A question many people don’t think to ask is whether the people working on the job will be employees of the contractor or if they subcontract. Subcontracting can present some unexpected complications. When the painters are employees, the liability insurance and workman’s compensation are covered by the contractor. So long as you have verified the insurance of the contractor, you are covered. When the painters in your home are subcontractors, they are required to each provide their own liability insurance. This means that you should verify everyone who steps onto the job site for their personal liability insurance. If they do not have insurance and get hurt on the job, you will be financially responsible. The easiest way to avoid this issue is to hire companies who do not subcontract any of their work.

5. Get an estimate

Once you have found some contractors that you feel comfortable with, get them to give you a bid. A contractor must see the job in person, take measurements, and ask questions to be able to come up with a price. Once they have come up with an estimate, they should present you with a written copy. Make sure that what they provide you with describes the job you want done and is priced accordingly.

6. Get References

Hear firsthand about the process of working with a contractor. Get at least three references with phone numbers from the contractor. If they are proud of the work they have done, they should have no problem providing these. If a contractor is unwilling or unable to provide references it should be cause for concern.

7. Reflect on your own experience with the contractor

You can tell a lot about how a job will go by reviewing your experience so far. Did the contractor return your calls? Were they on time for any meetings you had? Did the estimate reach you in a timely manner? Were they easy to communicate with? Did they dress in professional way (painters generally wear white shirts and pants)? If they act and appear unprofessional, you can expect the same from their quality of work. If the process of dealing with them has been difficult before you hire them, there is little chance it will get easier. It is best to go with someone you feel comfortable with.

8. Hire your contractor

Once you have made your decision, hire your contractor. They should provide you with a contract that outlines the scope of work and the price. Deposits generally should not be required for jobs less than $5000. If a contractor requests a down-payment to buy supplies for a job, this a huge red flag. It often indicates that they are a fly-by-night contractor. An established painting company should either have money on hand for such purchases or purchasing accounts with paint stores.

Although this may seem like a lot of work, it can be finished a relatively short amount of time. The effort you put in to finding your contractor will show in their work. Don’t forget that price isn’t everything. If a contractor is bidding significantly lower than others, there is probably a reason. It is likely that they are skimping on important things such as insurance or materials. Paying more upfront can save you money that may be used to pay for injuries if a contractor is not covered by insurance, or re-doing work by someone who is not skilled. Using these tips will help you to find a painting contractor to give your home or business the best look at the best price.

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