Let's face it: hiring a painting contractor can be scary work if you are not used to it. With your hard-earned money on the line, how do you know you are getting a great painter who will do a great paint job for a great price?
While it is important to keep in mind that no one is perfect, there are some questions you should ask a potential painting contractor from the start to ease your nerves. You shouldn't feel strange about asking a lot of a potential painter in the beginning. If he or she is a professional (only deal with professionals), they won't mind answering all of your questions and putting your mind at ease.
Go with your instinct. If they refuse to answer any of these questions and/or provide required documentation or seem like they are hiding something – they probably are. Move on and find one of the many pros out there who value open and honest relationships.
Here are four top questions to ask a painting contractor, BEFORE you give them a dime.
1. Are you local?
While this may not be a definite prerequisite to hiring a painter, it helps to know where they are located and if they have any ties to the community. You do not want to hire a “fly by night” contractor, who can run off with your money.
2. Do you have references?
A good painting contractor should be able to provide some names and contact info for past clients. Once you get this information, contact their references and find out whether the painter is as good as they say they are.
3. Are you experienced?
Know how long your contractor has been doing the work you need. You should try to find the most experienced person you can for the price you can afford. He also should be able to prove it with pictures, etc. I usually also give my paint supplier as a reference so that potential clients can check my experience and trustworthiness that way. Most suppliers will not risk vouching for someone they don't know or trust.
4. Are you insured?
Let's face it – accidents happen. Never hire a contractor who does not have at least a general liability policy. This is a basic insurance policy designed to protect against damage to your property caused by the contractor. Your homeowners insurance likely will not protect against such an accident and even if it does, your rates will likely go much higher after such a claim.
While finding a painting contractor who is professional, experienced, provides references and a portfolio, and carries insurance will likely cost more than the guy next door who will paint for beer money, the extra cost is well worth your piece of mind.