Have you ever wondered why your neighbor gets the best craftsman for the job and top-notch painter to paint his house every time? And to your surprise, he finished on time. Better yet, he was much cheaper than what you had hired earlier? And you wonder “How to find good house painters?”
The trick to getting the best painter for the job is to find an experienced local painting crew, that has low overhead and works directly with the homeowners. Most importantly meet for a free estimate and talk to them. That’s the gist, but read on for other awesome tips.
Our trade and construction, in general, has gotten a bad rap in recent times. Anyone who can swing a hammer can call himself a craftsman.
All you need is a ladder and paint roller to call yourself a painter. While it might seem simple and it really is, it’s not so easy.
If your home needs the exterior painted or want to spruce up your interior, here is what you need to know.
Why should you hire an interior or exterior professional painter (instead of DIY)?
Good question, and it needs an explanation.
When you think of increasing the appeal of the house, the painting comes to your mind, right?
You are absolutely right, that has a great ROI and you should take on that first. Finding a good house painter is critical to achieving it.
Painting companies have what it takes to handle the job. They have years of experience and manpower to handle the situation.
You may be tempted to deal with it yourself, but you have questioned the safety aspects of doing it yourself. If you have a two-story house, climbing up and painting hard-to-reach areas will pose an undue risk on you and your family.
Getting an exterior painting contractor to help you out is a wiser option. In fact, a knowledgable exterior painting professional will start by pressure washing the exterior before painting. You wouldn’t know whether to paint direct or scrape or power wash.
Instead of asking can I DIY exterior painting, you should ask who is the best exterior house painter near me.
To combat this, they will have risk mitigating measures and even insurance to cover in a liability event.
More importantly, you can tap into the years of knowledge and experience they bring to table.
Where to find a painter in your area and how to search for the best local interior painter?
Nothing beats referrals from your friends, colleagues and family members.
I don’t mean taking referral information from the contractor and calling to find if he does a good job.
For all you know, the reference might be his brother-in-law. Always find the top-notch result and ask the house owner for the painter who did that and ask he or she would hire again.
There are a whole bunch of websites to do this. A lot of benjamins flow into this industry in doing the matchmaking.
A word of caution – I would not use most of the websites such as home advisor for one reason. You will be bombarded with calls from different contractors.
You never know the quality of work each one does. And frankly, the contractors are getting slaughtered by these lead providing companies in many ways too.
First, they have to pay for these leaders that are distributed generously to more than 4 contractors. Besides, home advisor kind of websites provide an artificially low estimate and it becomes incredibly hard for a quality-contractors to meet the demand for the money.
So you end up getting bad contractors.
I would avoid these national brand marketing (matchmaking) companies.
Driving around the neighborhood
I’ve found great success when I am looking for other tradesmen for myself. Drive around the neighborhood and pay attention to where contractors are working.
You can stop by and note their info., or get it from a crew member. However, don’t just use them just because someone used in your community.
Leave it a couple of days and walk around and check with the homeowner if he was satisfied with the team and would he suggest using.
Usually, the homeowner will open up with any issues instantly, had contractor left a bad taste in the homeowner’s mouth.
Estimate the cost of your project
By calculating the cost of the supplies needed, especially the paint, you will come to a better understanding.
First, know the type and quality of paint you will be using. Then take a rough measurement and get the handy-dandy calculator out to do the area math.
You need to know the area that needs to be painted and the coverage the paint, that you have in mind, can yield.
On an average most paints cover 350 square feet, that is including spillage.
This paint yield calculation is crucial for your project. Once you have this, figure how long it will take one person to finish the job.
Consider the complexity of the job and then estimate how long it will take someone to paint.
You will be able to find a ballpark, just with this information on hand. When you talk to painting companies, you will know if someone is quoting way under or way over your estimate.
There will be differences and that partially due to the overhead and other items that you don’t calculate. But anything way over or under needs further scrutiny.
Do interior house painters move furniture?
It’s an interesting and important question to think about. The most painter that I know move furniture to the middle of the room, cover it with a drop cloth and then start painting.
Now, your cost is dependent on two factors. Cost of the Material + Labor.
Give them a new construction building, they will be in and out in no time. So the cost of painting a newly built house is going to be cheaper than a house full of furniture.
In any case, if they are not going to lift and move a few objects around, that’s a show stopper for you. You’ll find other painting contractors providing better service.
Interview the painting contractors
An often overlooked step is interviewing the contractor. We tend to get the bids and pick one based on how professional the quote shows.
In the construction world, my friend, think “function before the form”. I have seen the absolute best construction worker, who couldn’t speak a sentence correctly or write his name properly.
We’re not dealing with business development consultants. So don’t fall for the thick premium business cards and the quotes with stylized typography.
How to hire an exterior house painter
Communication is the key with your estimator
If the painting company can’t comprehend the work and wouldn’t listen to your needs, that’s a show stopper.
Knowledge of paint products is paramount. You must ask for his recommendations and see how he gravitates towards a high-quality paint.
Let me tell you a little secret.
A high-quality paint costs twice more but gives you better coverage and it cuts the painting time by 30% at least.
I don’t know about you, I will take the premium paint all day long. Because it’s cheaper overall and that is of great value in my opinion.
Everyone wants to find the cheap painter in the area, but think value instead of price, you will be way ahead.
A lot of times I see contractors quoting on how they can finish the job quickly. Don’t fall for it. Durability and finish trumps speed. Because you want a premium finish, and that will be compromised with speed.
Questions to ask exterior house painter (and interior as well)
Here’s a list of items you should put in your checklist and talk to any contractor you interview.
- Review the contract (check if they have one)
- Know the prep work they do before the actual painting
- Discuss application methods (Spraying isn’t bad, but it should cost you less)
- Quality of materials used
- How do they protect the work site (furniture) and about cleanup
- Method of payment and when do they need (NEVER pay full before the work starts)
- Talk to them about their experience (and of their crew members)
- Who do they use Employees or Subcontractors
- Check the liability insurance (limits) and licensing (per the state’s requirement)
- Get their references (but use it with a grain of salt)
- Access their knowledge and ask how they estimate (use caution when they don’t break down how they come up with the estimates)
- Ask what kind of guarantee they provide
- Last check how much do they cost (in comparison with market rate)
These should guide you down the right path. In any case
- Get three-bids – unless you get a 5-star reference from someone and want to hire straight
- Walkthrough the job site before the work starts and after completion. Take notes of anything broken, so you don’t wrongly blame them, but you also know if they leave a mess behind. Never hesitate to take pictures of before and after.
I wish I had a fool proof “hiring a painter checklist” to share with you. But it’s not hard to compile one. I will put one up when I find time to get a good one worth sharing.
Finding good house painters isn’t hard. In the long run, finding the right professional painter and hiring one will save you a lot of headache, time and money.
Due diligence is the key while researching different house painters.
In any project, you will have to think about the holy-trinity – cost, schedule and quality. Consider what is important to you and in which order and try to strike a balance.
Fairfax Painter Pro