I always ask potential clients this question when I meet them for the first time:
“Since you have never worked with any of the painting companies that are providing you estimates, how will you truly know which will offer you the highest-quality service?”
My question is often met with blank stares because it is difficult to answer.
Unfortunately, many homeowners do not know what they will actually get in terms of quality and professionalism until they are already halfway through a project.
These are a few key things to consider that will help you make a better informed decision about who you hire to work in your home.
Beware of Low Bidders
If you receive a painting estimate that is much lower than your other bids, this can be an important warning sign that something may be wrong. It could mean that the painting contractor intends to spend less time on your project than what is necessary. This usually means taking shortcuts, cutting corners and using cheap products. It may also indicate that the contractor is currently desperate for work due to negative customer reviews on past projects. Finally, it may indicate that the contractor is breaking the law by operating without license or insurance or by not paying a legal, livable wage to employees.
Remember: if a price looks too good to be true, then it probably is!
Be a Detective: Let Past Customers Help you with your research
Collect references and speak directly with the contractor’s past customers:
What did you love about working with XYZ Painting Company? What could have been better? Would you recommend them to family and friends? What else should I know about their company?
Most established professional painting companies leave behind an “online footprint.” Do a few google searches and look for customer feedback in these places: State Departments of Consumer Protection, local Better Business Bureaus, PDCA.org, Google Reviews, Yahoo Reviews, Yelp.com, Angie’s List, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Remember: 30 minutes of research can save you weeks of stress and aggravation!
PDCA. What professional associations does your contractor belong to?
In the painting industry, the PDCA (Painting & Decorating Contractors of America) is the premiere guild for residential painting contractors. A company’s involvement in the PDCA and/or similar contractor associations is important because it is an indication of the company’s commitment to excellence.
A painting contractor who is active in these types of associations is serious about adhering to current best practices. They are more likely to continually learn and improve all phases of their business from: product knowledge, to quality workmanship, to safety standards and employee recruitment.
Remember: the nation’s leading painting contractors are members of the PDCA.
Everything should be in writing
This seems obvious but make sure all of these things are in your estimate and/or contract:
- Specific areas to be painted
- Specific number of coats applied to each area
- Specific time spent on preparation (for example: man hours of electric sanding)
- Specific exclusions
- Specific material used (soft supplies and paints)
- Specific manufacturer names and product lines for all paints and stains
- Specific start date
- Specific amount of time a job will take until completion
- Specifics about fixed and variable pricing
- Specifics about payment schedule
- Specifics about warranties
- Specifics about level of workmanship (PDCA Quality Standards)
- Specifics license numbers and custom insurance certificates
Remember: when you don’t have these things in writing, you open yourself up to future conflict and disappointment.
Who are the painters coming to my home?
Ask your contractor these questions about the painters who will be in your home:
- How long have they worked with the company?
- Describe your hiring process?
- What screening mechanisms do you have in place?
- Are your background checks across state lines?
- Do you use drug testing? Which laboratory?
- Can I see copies of background checks and drug tests?
- What is your training program like?
- What is your safety program like?
- Is there Crew Leader training?
Remember: your painting contractor is going to have access to your home and family, make sure you are comfortable with the laborers who will be working on your property.
If you are interested in hiring a painting contractor that takes these 5 things seriously, then please give us a call. We pledge to be prompt, reliable, and professional.
We want you to love your paint job and we promise to make the painting process convenient and stress-free.