Whether you’re in the market for an exterior paint job or an interior one, hiring a painting contractor can be a wise investment. A new coat of paint on the exterior of your home can increase curb appeal, better protect your home against damage, and even increase the overall value of your home, while an interior paint job can do most of the same. Hiring a professional painting contractor means you can make sure the job gets done right—without ever getting your hands messy in the process.
But before you hire the first painting contractor you meet, there are a series of critical questions you’ll need to ask. The answers to these questions can determine whether your chosen painting contractor is a good fit for the job, and if there’s anything you’ll need to change or compensate for in the meantime.
Not All Painting Contractors Are Alike
Before getting into the questions themselves, it’s important to acknowledge why asking these questions is important. First, know that not all painting contractors are the same. Some may have a history of happy clients, while others may have just started out. Some may specialize only in external painting jobs, while others serve both internal and external needs flexibly. Your paint job is unique, and not all painting contractors will be well-equipped to handle it. Asking the right questions will help you make that call.
The Right Questions Can Better Serve Your Needs
Regardless of whether your painting contractor of choice is a strong or weak fit, the right questions can help you get more out of the service. For example, if you’re working with an experienced, local painting contractor who uses top-of-the-line paint, you may be able to ask for the use of a paint more within your budget. You may also be able to negotiate the finer points of the engagement contract.
The Questions You Need to Ask
Now that you know why these questions are important, here are the eight questions you’ll need to ask any painting contractor before you hire them for the job:
1. What is your main area of expertise?
Different painting contractors have different areas of expertise. Some might specialize in outdoor painting for large businesses, while others specialize in indoor residential projects. Generally, you’ll want to go with someone who specializes in your project needs, though compromises can be made.
2. What products do you use?
Asking what products a painting contractor uses will tell you a few things. First, you’ll see if the contractor knows what they’re talking about. If they offer a range of different products and can tell you the advantages and disadvantages of each, that’s a good sign. Second, you’ll get a ballpark for how much you’ll spend in materials. Some contractors might have lower service costs, but a higher markup on the actual products used.
3. What’s included in the cost?
Don’t take an estimate at face-value, or assume you know exactly what’s included. One painting contractor’s price could be higher simply because they included every possible expenditure you’ll face. For example, some estimates might include the cost of materials, while other estimates exclude “extra” expenses, like moving furniture or making preparations to the area that needs painted.
4. Can I contact some references?
Always ask for references, and the best advice is to actually get three. If you’re speaking with a new contractor or one who hasn’t been in business for long, you can take your chances. If the contractor hides or tries to avoid giving references, it’s a bad sign. Follow up over the phone and see what kind of job you can expect.
5. How long will it take to do the job?
This is a crucial question, especially if you have a pressing need for a painting contractor. Some contractors will have busy schedules, extending months in the future, while others can start immediately. Different contractors will also quote different times to complete the project, depending on how big a team they command.
6. Do you have any guarantees?
Guarantees or other assurances are important—you might be able to “lock in” your estimated price, or ensure that two coats of paint are used. Any other guarantees, like a money-back satisfaction guarantee, might help sweeten the deal.
7. How can I contact you?
Contact is extremely important when dealing with any contractor. The last thing you want is an issue with the service, and no way to get a fast reply. Look for a contractor with a professional demeanor and multiple methods of contact, including a phone number, physical address, email address, and website. The more options you have, the better. Also, consider how smoothly the contact process has gone up until this point—are your calls returned promptly? Were you able to get in contact when you needed to?
8. Do you have a written contract?
It’s always a good idea to get things in writing in advance of a deal, even if everything appears trustworthy. A contract will ensure that both parties remain responsible for what they’ve already outlined, and will give you the foundation you need to take action if your painting contractor doesn’t fulfill their end of the bargain. If your contractor refuses to assemble a contract or can’t produce one for any reason, it’s a good idea to go with a different contractor.
Where to Go From Here
If you know what you’re looking for, but you don’t know where to start, the best thing to do is get in contact with a professional painting contractor and start asking these specific questions. They’ll be able to help you decide what’s important and what’s not, and they’ll be able to give you a quote. If you’re ready to begin the conversation, contact us at Tulsa Christian Bros. Painting, or read some of our testimonials. We’ll make sure your paint job gets done right.