Important Questions To Ask Your Paint Contractor.
Painting your home is a big investment. Hiring the right contractor to do your job can seem like an impossible task. Bad contractors are one of the leading sources of frustration with home improvement projects. Unfortunately, homeowners often do not do a good enough job screening their potential contractors. Often, they focus solely on “HOW MUCH?” And they do not ask the questions that will help them get the right contractor for their job. While there is no foolproof way to ensure you are getting the best company for your job there are a few questions you can ask that will help you find a reputable company that will stand behind their work.
We have put together a list of questions for you that will help you make this important decision. We encourage you to ask every contractor who does an estimate for you. Make sure they can answer them all to YOUR satisfaction.
ARE YOU LICENSED & BONDED?
If a contractor does not have insurance or will not provide you with proof of insurance do not consider them for your job. Your home is your biggest investment, and you can not risk it or your family to an uninsured contractor. Any reputable company will be ready and willing to show you that they have the appropriate insurance coverages.
If you’re not sure about the validity of a contractor’s insurance, call the insurance carrier and confirm it is a current and active policy. You can also check the status online at http://bls.dor.wa.gov/checkstatus.aspx.
DO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN CREW OR DO YOU USE SUBCONTRACTORS?
Many paint companies use subcontractors. While this can lower the cost of their bids, it can present several problems for you. First, to keep costs down companies often look for the cheapest subs they can find. Using cheaper labor will generally lead to poorer job performance. Second, when a company subcontracts out a job they do not have the same control over the painters as they would with their own employees. This means it is harder for them to assure you are going to get the job they promised you, the job you paid for. Third, in most cases, subcontractors are responsible for providing their own material and will often substitute a cheaper paint to increase their profit. Finally, subcontractors are paid a flat fee for each job. This encourages them to cut corners in order to get the job done quickly and move on to the next one.
Make sure the company you hire is the company you get.
WHAT TYPE OF MATERIALS DO YOU USE?
The paint you choose has a huge impact on the way your project turns out. There is a very real difference between a $10 gallon of paint and a $70 gallon of paint. Those differences will affect the way your job will look. And, not all paints are right for all jobs. Make sure your contractor will work with you to ensure you are getting the right paint for your project. Beware of contractors that insist on using one brand or one type of paint. And make sure they will explain their recommendations to you. They are the experts, but it is your home and your project. You should work together to find the right solution to your project.
HOW WILL MY PROJECT BE MANAGED?
In general, the biggest source of conflict on home improvement projects is poor planning and poor communication skills. To avoid this, make sure the estimate you get for your project is detailed and clearly outlines the scope of work, the materials being used and the process that will be followed. This way everyone is clear on what is going to be done on your project from start to finish.
CAN YOU PROVIDE REFERENCES?
Paint companies should be proud of their work and happy to provide you with references. These references should include work from years past and well as projects that were just completed. Ask them for examples of work that is like your project.
HOW LONG IS YOUR WARRANTY AND WHAT DOES IT COVER?
When you hire a contractor, you want assurances that they will do a great job on your project and that they are committed to you. Contractors that stand behind their work will have a warranty. Make sure whoever you hire has a warranty and find out how long it is and what it covers.
These questions will help ensure that you hire the right paint contractor for your job, one that will be a partner with you and will be there for you long after the project is completed.