Avoid a "Painting
Nightmare!" Start by locating at least 2
reputable painting companies. Check them out thoroughly. They should leave
you with a copy of a clear, easily understood contract. Make sure they use a
good paint. Do they offer any other helpful services? And who are
1. Locate 2 or
3 reputable painting companies to give you an estimate.
Look for them in your newsletter. Look for painter's signs in your
neighborhood. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals. Visit local paint
stores and ask for recommendations. Check the Web, your phone book,
subdivision directory and posted fliers.
2. Are they
"Fully Insured" and what does that mean?
We're amazed at the number of intelligent homeowners who assume that all
painters are Fully Insured! As with the business license, ask to see their
Certificate of Insurance at the time of estimate. It's a standard form that
should contain everything you want to know: the company that issued the
policy with the agents name, address and phone number; when the policy
expires and what type of coverage(s) are carried.
3. Ask for
A painting company that's been in business for any time at all should be able
to provide you with a list of references complete with phone numbers and
addresses. Points should be awarded if they have painted in your
neighborhood. 100 references is a good number. Call at least 2 of them.
4. Take a good
look at the contract.
The last thing you should look at is the price. First, make sure that
EVERYTHING is spelled out in writing. Will they pressure wash and caulk
everything that needs caulking? Will they scrape any loose paint and prime
any raw wood before they paint? What's being painted? What's not? What are
their payment terms? You get the idea. Now about the price…look for a fair
price. A price that seems too good usually is. You already know not to hire
the most expensive company, right? Make sure to keep a copy of the contract
and never hire a company without one.
5. All house
paints are not created equal.
Make sure that the company you hire uses a name brand paint and ask what
grade of paint they use. There are three: Builder's Grade, Mid Grade and
Premium Grade. If you want your paint job to last as long as possible, insist
on the premium grade.
6. What if you
What other services does their company offer to make the whole project
smoother and less stressful? Do they have a trained carpenter (as opposed to
a "handyman painter") for the dry rot on the bay window?
7. Some final
questions you should ask about the company itself.
Are they a large, well-known company or a small independent? Is this a
franchise operation? (they're out there) Did the representative answer all of
your questions well? Was the representative a partner in the company or a
salesman? And finally…Do you get a feeling of confidence from this company?