Important to ask "How confident am I that this contractor can do what he says?"
Cover these points with each painter you interview – you’ll soon have a good idea who will provide the work you’re after.
The single most important part of a quality paint job. Some homes require more prep time than painting time. A careful, methodical and systematic approach will maximize the performance benefits of high quality materials. Will they pressure wash to clean dirt, or also to remove paint (spray tip and technique matter)?
Use backer rod for large gaps (good), or just fill with caulk (bad)? Use sharp scrapers or dull putty knives to remove paint? Attention to detail is essential to the final result. Most homeowners won’t know about shortcuts taken with tedious prep work until well after their check has been cashed.
Closely supervised, experienced painters will always deliver a better job than unsupervised, inexperienced workers.
Every paint manufacturer makes a range of products – from very high quality to very low price. A painter should be able to explain which product he uses, where it falls in the product line and just what the difference is beyond “it’s a better quality product”. This is true for primer and caulk as well. Cheap caulk dries out and pulls loose, cheap primer is watery because it has fewer solids. Understand what you’re paying for and verify that is what you get.
Materials are often not included. This is a huge unknown for the homeowner – no incentive for the painter to eliminate waste or estimate paint quantities accurately.
Workman’s comp insurance is required by law; liability insurance is required by common sense. Some painters have neither.
A low materials estimate makes the bid looks better; accurate materials estimates do not. Proposals that include the cost of materials bet on the painters' expertise and give the homeowner a better view of their final cost.
Workman’s compensation insurance is required by law; liability insurance is required by common sense. Some painters have neither. No homeowner wants an uninsured worker slipping off a high ladder. Make sure your painter can document that he and his employees are properly insured – a certificate of insurance issued for your specific project at your specific address is routine for commercial insurance carriers. Subcontractors? Each individual worker needs to have his own current, up to date certificate.
Closely supervised, experienced painters will always deliver a better job than unsupervised, inexperienced workers. Proper attire (painters “whites”) is an easy gauge of the level of professionalism. An agreement that eliminates assumptions about the type of work to be done and a supervisor that clearly communicates with his crew and the homeowner will ensure that all expectations are met.
A professional crew can paint most houses in less than 2 weeks. If you've hired a crew of one, or they work a "flexible" schedule, they may be a part of your life for quite a bit longer. Great if you don’t mind them using your bathroom, but most homeowners want to get the whole thing over with sooner rather than later. At the other end of the spectrum are the “blow and go” or “quick change” artists – quick prep, quick spray, collect the check and outta here. If that’s what you’re paying for, OK, but not so good if you’re paying for a top-notch job.
A Porta-Potty is a thoughtful touch that most painters don’t consider (easier to sneak behind the garage). Trash bags for daily pick-up, no blaring music, no foul language, professional attire, tarps on the driveway prevent permanent reminders of your paint project – these small details do make a difference.