Questions to ask when Hiring a Painting Contractor

Are you in the process of getting painting estimates for a project at your home? Is this the first time hiring a professional painting service? Here are some important questions you should ask the estimator.

Is your company licensed and insured?

Some states require particular trades to be licensed. If a company is not trade licensed, the company may not be able to be insured. Building inspectors can also stop work if the contractor is not properly licensed.

It is very important that the contractor you hire is insured. There are two types of insurance, liability insurance and workers compensation.  A homeowner can be held responsible if an employee is injured on the job. Howeverapartment-architecture-blur-735319, if the contractor you hire is insured, their workers compensation insurance will pay for the workers injuries and their liability insurance covers any damage done to a home while completing the job.

Do you use sub-contractors?

Not knowing who is working on your home can lead to poor quality and even put homeowners in danger. If a company is using sub-contractors to complete work, you are rolling the dice on the quality of work. You might get lucky and a seasoned painter arrives to do the work or the company might send someone hired for the day that has never held a paint brush.

Often sub-contractors rush through the work because they were given a flat fee to complete the job. Speed is more important to them than the quality of work. Also, customer service dramatically drops off when you don’t know who to contact if a problem with the job arises. Using subcontractors can jeopardize homeowner safety as well. Are the sub-contracted workers background checked and drug tested? It’s something worth taking the time to ask.

What preparation will take place before applying paint?

This is huge! Preparation is a key element to a lasting paint job and proper preparation is the difference between success and failure. Preparation and product selection move the needle for a successful paint job lasting many years. Painting over peeling paint, dirt, or gloss finish without sanding or removing mildew is only a temporarily fix. Eventually the paint will fail sooner rather than later.

Another aspect of preparation is repairing minor wall imperfections. Will the preparation include repairing nail pops, dry wall lines, etc? It’s a good question to ask because not all companies will include it in their bid, or they will rush, spending little effort on this critical step.

Will I have a dedicated foreman on my paint project?

This can be tied into the second question about sub-contracting. It’s important to know who is in charge of the job. Most companies will have a field lead, or foreman to interact with the homeowner on site and walk them through the job, answering any questions they have. The foreman wears a lot of hats. He or she is responsible for quality control, safety of everyone on site including the customer, and customer service. If the customer has concerns, the foreman will most likely be the person that works with the homeowner to resolve the issues.

What type of paint are you planning to use?

Not all paints are the same. The estimator should always take into account surface material and its’ current condition to determine type of paint, primer, stain, etc. Paint often fails prematurely due to the wrong product type being used.

An estimator might plan to use low end commercial grade paint to save money. The low grade paint will reduce the quality of the job and increase the likelihood of the paint failing.

Higher end paints tend to cover better, are self priming and produce low volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Better coverage can result in fewer coats needed (and less money you have to spend) with a superior finish. Low VOC paints are nice to use for interior painting, especially in the winter when there is less circulation of indoor air. These paints also have fewer odors and are environmentally friendly, which homeowners, as well as painters, prefer to use. (Trust us; we dislike the smell as much as you.)

Products are also constantly changing. Professional painters must stay in contact with paint technicians and sales representatives to ensure they are using the proper product and following the right course of action for a unique job. At O’Connor’s Painting Service, we constantly communicate with our representatives from all the major paint and stain manufacturers such as Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, and McCormick Paints. The representatives are well informed of new products, conditions required to apply a product, and the proper steps needed to apply a product properly.

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