If you are just beginning the search, consider asking neighbors, friends or family who has worked with someone recently. There is nothing more valuable than a reference when you have seen the good work close up.Interview in PersonA reputable firm will come to visit the property before delivering a price. In some firms, the owner of the business does the project estimating and will therefore make the trip; other firms may choose to send one of their professional estimators. The only person who will do the estimating for Maverick Painting is the owner, Jamie Waller.Learn everything you can about the painter and his business.
How long have they been in the painting business? This is not the same question as “How long have you been painting?” You should ask both questions and know the answers. Someone who used to be an estimator may not have picked up a brush until recently. How did they learn how to paint? What is the quality level of their results? Someone who is self-taught likely does not approach the work in the same way as someone with 10 years in a painting experience. Maverick Painting’s owner Jamie started painting 20 years ago.
Don’t forget to verify insurance.
If someone is hurt on your property, your insurance will have to cover any expenses; if they become disabled, it can become very expensive. What if an inexperienced individual uses a heat gun and starts a fire? Always request a copy of their insurance certificate and be sure to review it. This is best done at the interviewing stage.
Ask for ReferralsIf the painter you are considering hasn’t come to you by way of word of mouth, ask them for personal referrals. The key question is: “Would you hire this person again?” You will also want to avoid these common mistakes:
- Referrals that are five years old, or older. Ask for a reference from the last job they completed or the job they are currently working on.
- Questions that don’t get at what matters most to you. If you are a stickler for details, like sharp lines and spit-spot clean-up each evening, ask questions that will get at the painter’s approach to them. Some referrals may be willing to have you visit the job site and look for yourself.
- Going with one positive report. A good painter should be able to deliver at least two or three referrals.
- Asking close ended questions. If the person volunteered to be a referral, they are unlikely to say anything negative. If you ask questions that need a “yes” or “no” answer, know that may be all you will get. Ask open ended questions like, “What can you tell me about the end result?” or “When you came home at the end of the day, describe the room.”If you anticipate needing surfaces sanded, ask the reference if they had sanding done and if the area was sealed off before they started sanding.
- Not asking about the money. Some people may feel uncomfortable asking about money, or what someone else paid, but you don’t have to ask “How much did you pay?” to get the information you need. Ask if they paid the price that was listed on the original bid. The answer may be “yes” or “no” but the important information comes from asking “Why was it different?”
- Only asking about the money. As important as cost is in your decision making, time should also be a major consideration. How long did the project take? How did the time or number of days of actual painting compare to the original estimate?
Compare the EstimatesNot all painting contractors are the same and neither are their estimates.Some contractors use a generic, fill in the blank form. How much consideration is given to your proposal if it is not prepared specifically for your home? Some painters just write down a price on the back of a business card.
A proposal should state the following ~
* How many coats (some contractors only quote 1 coat and charge extra for any additional coats)
* Will they prime the surface first
* What type and brand of paint will be used
* What is the warranty for the paint and for the application
* How will surfaces be protected
* How many people will be working on the jobsite
* How long will it take to complete
* What type of preparation will be done prior to painting
* Will they dig a trench around foundation of house
* Will they patch any holes or repair wood and stucco prior to painting
Will they provide and apply sample colors
Don’t just compare prices; make sure the items listed on each bid are similar.
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