The 9 Must-Ask Questions Before Hiring Residential Painters

Questions to ask when hiring a residential painter

Maybe you read our blog on what to consider before you decide to paint your house yourself. Or possibly your own previous experiences (and less than fond memories!) have convinced you that hiring professional residential painters is your best way to transform your home.

Identifying the right painter for your home can be intimidating, especially if you’re having multiple rooms or need your entire exterior updated. We’ve all heard stories of a painter who collected payment up front and didn’t complete the job to the homeowner’s satisfaction. Or the crew who was supposed to show up at 8 a.m. but an hour later you’re still trying to get a hold of the company wondering where the painters are.

It’s likely that you’ll begin your search for a local painter with Google. While an internet query is a logical place to start, don’t let Google pick your painter for you. Your home is your biggest investment, and your sanctuary, so you want to make sure you find a painter you can trust.

Look to the Stars: Online Reviews

Online reviews are today’s “word of mouth.” Google business reviews, Angi (formerly Angie’s List), Houzz, the Better Business Bureau, and Yelp are helpful tools for gleaning what kinds of experiences other homeowners have had with area painters.

When considering online reviews, be sure to read the details of both glowing and lackluster reviews. (When you see a one-off, particularly harsh review look for a response from the contractor that may shed a bit more light on the situation.) Also it’s wise to prioritize recent reviews over dated ones as businesses change ownership and management over the years.

There’s nothing worse than reading the reviews after a nightmarish experience with a business knowing they could have saved you a mountain of stress and money. Don’t skip this step.

You’re Hired: 9 Questions to Ask Residential Painters (First)

Once you’ve identified a few options with the help of reviews or personal referrals, it’s time to look into these residential painters a bit further and schedule some bids. Here are the nine questions you need to ask before hiring someone to paint your home.

  1. Do you have general liability insurance? When you put gallons of paint, long ladders, and a busy crew in your home it’s wise to plan for the unexpected. From spills on your hardwood floors to broken light fixtures, it’s important to make sure your home is protected from potential accidents, negligence, or worse, theft. A reputable painter will have general liability insurance and be willing to show proof. Also, ask if they have workman’s compensation insurance. You don’t want to be held financially liable if one of their workers is injured on your property. Finally, check to see that they are licensed in your state. Many counties in Tennessee require that contractors have a license for home improvement jobs of more than $3,000, including painting. Only when you get satisfactory answers to these questions should you continue down the list.
  2. Are your painters employees or independent contractors? Employees tend to be invested in the business and its reputation far more than a contractor. Employees are also likely personally trained by the painting company and there’s less turnover. Not to mention, if the painter is a contractor and gets injured in your home or damages your furniture, the painting company may not be liable for the negligence of an independent contractor. (See question one.)
  3. What is included in my estimate? There are some jobs that can be bid on over the phone. Residential painting is not one of them. Make sure the estimate is done in-person. This not only allows you to meet a representative from the business but it allows them to walk through your home and consider every detail of the project, including architectural features that might not be on your radar. This minimizes any last-minute surprises. It is also critical to get the bid in writing so there’s no backpedaling or disagreement when the invoice comes.
  4. How will you prep the work site? How you start is just as important as how you finish. Will you be responsible for moving any furniture? How will they protect your home including covering furniture, vents, and light switches; and will the crew wear shoe covers? Will the walls be primed?
  5. What is your crew’s daily schedule? What time will they arrive and when will they leave each day? Do they take a break and when? How many days will the job take? (This second question is incredibly important if you have a strict deadline, for example, you’re listing your home or if you have any company visiting.) If the project takes longer than expected will they stay late one day, or come back the next day?
  6. Which brand of paint will you use? Not all paint is created equal and won’t stand the test of time. Good residential painters will use a quality paint like Benjamin Moore or Sherwin-Williams. Also, ask how many coats they will apply and discuss which finishes you’d like in each room prior to starting the project. How much light the room gets and the function of the room will determine which will be the best for fashion and function.
  7. Who will be my primary point of contact if there are any issues during the job? Will he/she be on-site? If not, what’s the best way to reach them and how quickly can I expect a response?
  8. How and when is payment handled? Every painting contractor will handle payment differently. However, if you’re in Tennessee, the Home Improvement law prohibits contractors from collecting more than one-third of the total payment upfront. Ask the contractor what the process is (for example, a walk-through) to finalize the job and how they resolve any issues that come up.
  9. Can you help you pick out colors before the project? Sometimes finding the right colors can feel as overwhelming as picking your painter. If you have questions about finding the right shade to complement your lighting and furnishings, a professional painter should be able to give some guidance so you’re happy with what goes on your walls.

The Riggins Difference: Trusted Residential Painters

We consider it a privilege when a homeowner trusts us to help them transform their house into a home they never want to leave, and are always happy to come home to. Our experienced team takes pride in delivering an excellent experience through every step of the painting process. Go ahead and check out the reviews to see what others are saying about their experience with Riggins Painting. Then schedule a bid for your residential painting project as we’d welcome the opportunity to work together.

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