For all consumers, choosing a product or service can be a daunting task; especially when it comes to hiring a painting contractor. Homeowners may feel like no matter who they choose, they are taking a risk. The aggravation from previous bad experiences with contractors can make homeowners hesitant to trust a new contractor. We’ve all heard the horror stories such as when the paint job looks great when completed, but one year later it is peeling all over; and then when you call the painter to come back, he never responds to handle the issue. Better yet, you can’t even find him. How about the instances where you hire a painting contractor and you have a certain expectation of the caliber of work, but then when it is time to start the work, the company drops off a couple of “employees” who can’t communicate with you and are working under zero supervision. Perhaps they don’t even know the specifics that were discussed and agreed upon during the time of your estimate! How will they know exactly what you agreed upon during the negotiation process? Then, you find yourself cleaning up after them at the end of each day. And what is more irritating, than getting ready to leave for work but you are WAITING for the painting contractor to show up…and he is late…with no call to let you know. The list goes on and on and I am only scratching the surface here. How do homeowners prevent this from happening to them?
Firstly, selecting a painting contractor is a process. It should not be just a quick decision made by selecting the lowest price. If anything, the lowest price should raise a flag to homeowners, especially if all of the other proposals are nowhere near that price point. That leads me to my next point. Homeowners should ALWAYS get more than one estimate. Typically, people get three estimates and work from there. If you get anymore than three, the process could become overwhelming. Next, do your homework. When the painting contractor meets with you for your estimate, he will be asking you questions, but you should also be asking him questions. Also, ask all of the estimators the same questions and compare the answers with one another. Some great questions to ask and things to consider are:
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Do you have both Worker’s Comp and Liability insurance?
- Can you provide me copies of the certificates?
- Can you supply me references of clients I can call to discuss your projects?
- Can I view some of your work?
- Do you offer a warranty on your work? How long?
- Are your painters full time employees or subcontractors?
- What is the average tenure of your employees?
- Who will be supervising your painters?
- Is there someone I can contact if I have questions during the painting project?
- What brand of materials or paints do you use? More importantly, which specific type of paint are you going to use?
Other questions to consider asking are anything that might be important to you. Perhaps you are concerned about odor, and you may ask the painter to use an odorless product. If exterior painting is being performed, you may want to ask the contractor what he will do to keep the dust from sanding at a minimum.
As you collect estimates from the painting contractors you’ve invited to your home, read the proposals. I can not stress enough how important it is to read through the entire proposal. Too many times, homeowners scan the proposal and just look at the price. How do you even know what is included in your project? Perhaps the three different contractors all included different items and specifics. You should compare the three proposals and make sure they are all detailing the same scope of work. Perhaps, if one contractor is specifying something different from the other two contractors you can ask him why he is suggesting that method? All of the proposals should detail the type of prep, the amount of coats, the specific areas to be painted, and the exact type of primer, paint and products that will be used. If they aren’t specific, ask them to be specific and then revise it and put it in writing. The days of working on a handshake, unfortunately, are long behind us. Proposals must be detailed, understood, and signed by both parties for the project to be legitimate. Don’t be a victim of a contractor working with no signed contract and let him walk off the job. With no paperwork, you have no ground to stand on.
Price is always an objective to determine who you will choose. Perhaps the more expensive painting contractor may be delivering more to you than the lower prices. Consider the type of employees, the training process, the supervision and most importantly the service they will provide. Compare the warranty, and more importantly, make sure they will stand behind it.
At A.G. Williams Painting Company we understand we may not be the right contractor for everyone, but we hope that when you do choose someone to paint your home – you choose the right one.
Call us at 1-800-227-1906 with questions, concerns or to schedule a free estimate. You can also visit us at: www.agwilliamspainting.com for more information.