• Sky Sternberg

9 Things to Consider When You Hire a Paint Contractor

It’s that time again, your house needs painting. Where do you start? How do you know you can trust strangers to come into your home? How do you know they will do a good job?

We have put together a list of things you can do to increase the success and quality of the painting of your home. These suggestions are great whether you are getting your interior or exterior painted. But don’t just make your decision based on the lowest price. Take everything you learn about them through this list into consideration. You will be glad you did and it could save you a lot of headaches and money.

1. License, bonded and insured - If you work with a painter that is not licensed, bonded and insured you lose all recourse if something goes wrong. It is a roll of the dice on what you are going to get. In the state of Washington, it is an easy check to see their credentials. Just go to this link:

2. Check references – Get a phone number for references. If you want to see the quality of their exterior work, ask for addresses of some references. You can look at the house from the street. Ask for at least three. When you talk to the references here are some things you can ask:

  • How was your interaction with the contractor?

  • Did they do what they said they would do?

  • Was your communication easy and clear?

  • How responsive are they? Do they call you back promptly?

  • What was your overall experience working with that contractor?

  • How is the quality of the work?

3. Look them up online – Search for their website and Facebook page to get a sense of what kind of business they are and how serious they are about being a business owner.

4. How long have they been painting? - How long have the owners and lead painters been painting. Avoid high school and college painters just looking for some money for the summer. That might be fine for a painting employee, but the person in charge needs to know what they are doing to make sure you get the quality of work you deserve for your home.

5. Clear communication - Pay attention to how well they communicate when you get a bid. Were they on time, do you feel safe, do they understand you, do you understand them, do you get a sense they are going to do what they've said, do you feel like you are in good hands?

6. Get three bids – This will give you a good sense on what a realistic price for your paint job will be. It’s good to compare what different contractors suggest they will do. Also, this further educate you on the possibilities of ways to approach your paint job.

7. Get a contract - Again, you want to be able to have quality recourse. Like credentials, a contract is a must if you want to insure the contractor fulfills their promises and everyone is on the same page. Scope of Work needs to be detailed not just “paint house”.

8. Clear expectations - How much paint gets put on a wall is one of the determining factors with price and quality. But even more important is the preparation of the walls. If you want a surface that’s free of unevenness from past paint jobs, tell the contractor. You will want to be prepared to pay extra. But if you can live with some imperfections, agree on what level of prep is acceptable and what isn’t.

9. Lead Safety Certifications - If your home was built before 1978, older coats of paint could contain lead. That means the painter might need to take extra precautions to avoid any hazards.

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