10 Things to Look for in the Right Painting Contractor

By Guy Miller, Owner, Stellar Painting and Remodeling and CWCC Member

Why spend tens of thousands purchasing or building a home only to not budget in what will give your home that final finished look. How do you want those pricy wooden windows, crown or trim to appear when all is said and done? It takes skill to prep and paint these types of surfaces. Will there be hi-hold out primer applied to slick walls or skip trowel texture to prevent flashing and better enable touch up? Will these types of surfaces be rolled or sprayed and back rolled to provide appropriate finish & touch up? In most cases, painting is not just painting!

Is your Painting Contractor registered with the state and does he or she have a certificate of goods standing on file. (A state law as of Oct., 2007). Does your Denver Painter have a full line of workers comp. and liability insurance? Have you verified or called the agent to ensure it is an active policy? Does the contractor have his people sign waivers of workers comp behind the scenes to keep rates down and not really cover your project? Inadequate or compromised insurance will affect the price of a bid. Check to make sure your warranty is detailed. Is the warranty transferable? Be very leery of warranties well above the industry average. Exteriors- 3-5 yrs. Interiors- 1-2 yrs.

Is your painting contractor going to provide someone to ensure onsite quality meets everybody’s expectations? Owner operators are not always there to watch everything that goes on. Remember they have to run and market their business along with being on-site doing the work. It can often be very difficult and distracting and can ultimately affect quality.

How effectively can the chosen or considered contractor perform the tasks at hand? A lot off finishes require a certain level of expertise to produce a positive end result, e.g. wooden windows, stain & finish of trim, hand rail systems. Will the right products be specified for a particular substrate? Bottom line, does it feel right technically? What is the tenure of the crew that will be on your job?

Can the Contractor you’re considering show you a proven track record? Does he or she have job surveys that indicate consistently how his or her customer base feels about their work and most importantly within the last six months? You want to make sure they are still doing good work. Have they been recognized at all for their track record?

Is the Contractor you are considering a member of some industry related organization such as the PDCA (Painter Decorator Contractor of America), and is his or her work backed up by some consumer advocated organization such as the Better Business Bureau? Generally a quality contractor who is a student of their industry will provide you with better service and end result. What is their track record with the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List or Tom Martino?

Has your considered Painting Company provided you with a detailed estimate profiling for you the type of prep and finishes that will be used? Have they indicated clearly how flooring, cabinets, light fixtures, ceiling fans and even furniture will be protected? The same goes for protecting outside surfaces such as brick, stone, stucco, decks, windows, roof lines and windows. The attention to detail that is provided to you in the proposal will be some indication as to the attention to detail you will receive with the job.

Are the products being quoted the right products, and are they of a quality consistent with your expectations of finish and life? A lower grade paint, especially if diluted can significantly shorten mid-term and long-term life and finish. Did you know most oil base paints yellow in the absence of light or that some fast dry oil products or lacquers, applied to windows especially, will fracture and crack in the short term. Did you know that exterior acrylic primers do not have good penetration to raw wood or that most acrylic caulks will crack outside within a year? Wrong or low quality products can affect the price of a bid.

If you focus on a low number instead of the right number you may be setting yourself up for a bad experience. Does your considered contractor use established methods, time standards or sq. ft. pricing to ascertain your proposal? If not, it is very easy to underestimate, pay brokered painters whatever wage to complete a job, or have an under-skilled estimator just make a mistake. Are you comfortable that someone you are considering is that wrong with their estimate when comparing a high bid to a low bid? In other words, can the lower priced contractor realistically complete the task in that much less time? Underpaid painters or rushed painters usually produce questionable or unhappy end results. In most cases, the fair price is always the right price.

Has your considered contractor given you some estimate as to how long the job will take? A lot of owner operator businesses may provide a lower estimate but it is very common for them to be on your job longer as they will often need to work more than one job at a time or just have a tendency to move thru the job slower. Keep this in mind if you have tight deadlines. How will a contractor ramp up, finish the job and do your touch–ups?

Stellar Painting and Remodeling is a one stop shop for all your interior & exterior painting, remodeling and general home improvement needs. The Remodeling Division specializes in custom kitchen, bathroom, basement finishes and general in-home renovation.  Our Painting Division also performs commercial re-paint that thrives on providing the same high level of service and positive end results.  We have over 50 years experience combined in the painting and remodeling industry. We have a “A +” rating with the BBB and enjoy a 98% rating of excellent on our post job surveys with now over 5,000 on record.

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