7 Questions to Pick Your Painting Contractor

The typical home or business owner will seek painting and finishing services every couple of years. Some need a bathroom painted or exterior trim refinished. Others seek assistance to paint kitchen cabinetry or refresh an entire office building. Whatever the scope of your project, Empire Painting recommends you research these seven questions to determine if a contractor is trustworthy and qualified. 

1. Who provided your free quote?

In Southeast Wisconsin, there are painting companies that subcontract all projects. Others send multiple representatives throughout a small region to bid on opportunities without the capacity to fulfill them. This causes quote variance. Gather estimates from at least two painting companies for comparison. Observe how knowledgeable and professional the representative appears. 

2. How experienced is the team?                                                                                                                                                                              

The painting and finishing trade is full of two or three-man crews working seasonally. Many migrate to areas with the highest demand like Madison and Milwaukee. As such, these small operations may offer less experienced painters, sacrifice quality workmanship for speed, or be unconcerned with honoring a warranty. Ask for references or research...

3. What are people saying?            

Reviews matter. Check third party sources like Angie’s List, Google reviews, and Facebook for testimonials. Take note of any negative comment that has not been addressed. Also, observe the date of the last post on social media or the contractor's website. If it is months old, the business may not be performing well enough to keep its digital presence up-to-date.

4. What’s the warranty and down-payment policy?          

Check that the proposal and contract clearly state the warranty duration before signing. If you select premium paint, you should expect a better warranty. Stable companies may not require a down-payment or ask for a down-payment ranging from 10 to 30% of the total if your project is large in scale or budget. 

5. How soon will they be able to serve you?            

Late spring through fall is peak painting season. Reputable crews are often booked months in advance for exterior work and weeks in advance for interior projects. Be wary of any team that promises a quick completion time frame or does not touch base with you before your project is due to begin.

6. How is the management?          

Unfortunately, we hear this happen. The painting contractor shows up for the quote, delivers an acceptable or surprisingly low-cost proposal, then becomes nearly impossible to reach. Be proactive. Ask during the free estimate appointment if there is another contact person available to communicate with you. Better management and organization ensures your project is not delayed. 

7. Is the company ethical?      

Accidents happen. A reputable painting company or team will be insured and licensed. As workers' compensation and liability insurance are an added expense, providing coverage is a sign that the contractor cares about its team and reputation. Inquire about licensing and membership to reputable organizations like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).                                                        

Final considerations

The best way to evaluate a proposal or contract is by level of detail and presentation. Check that the contract specifies surface preparation steps, paint type by brand name, application areas, and total amount due upon completion. We gathered a couple additional resources to aid in your selection. Visit Angie's List for more tips and watch this helpful video.

Remember, properties constructed prior to 1978 may have traces of lead paint. As such, it's important to mention the age of your home or business. If the contracted team begins working without proper attire, it is probable that they are mishandling the contaminated chips. Your family, friends, employees, and customers deserve a lead-free environment. 

Spread the word

If you have an exceptional painting experience, please talk about it. Share feedback on social media, encourage your contractor to email a survey or review link, or tell your family, friends, and neighbors. They will appreciate the quality lead and avoidable headache. Referrals keep reputable painting contractors going year-round, which helps them retain talented team members. 

Jenna Villanova