If you are contemplating hiring an exterior painting contractor or a professional painting service to give your Northern Virginia home a fresh look, there are several steps to take to get the best value possible. The professional painting company All American Painting Plus has been doing residential and commercial painting projects all over Northern Virginia for over a decade.
On many occasions, we have come in behind another contractor to finish a job that went incomplete or to fix mistakes. We know what the biggest fears of homeowners are when it comes to selecting a painting contractor, and we know how you can avoid having those fears come true.
With a plan, and a little digging, you can greatly improve your odds of getting exactly what you want to your full satisfaction.
Step 1: How to Find the Painters
So where do you start? It’s a good idea to get painting estimates from three reliable, professional painters. The low price doesn’t mean the best value but a little competition among professionals is always a good idea. So where do you find these professionals?
- Family and friends are one of the most reliable references you can find. You can expect honest opinions regarding quality, ease to work with, and price. In many instances you can see the contractor’s work firsthand by visiting your friend’s home.
- Reputable reference sites like Angie’s List can give you a feel for what customers in your community think of the various painting firms. Angie’s List claims to confirm that the reviews are from actual customers, but many sites don’t offer that assurance and should be viewed with a grain of salt.
- The Better Business Bureau will give you their rating for a contractor based on 13 factors ranging from licensing to complaints.
To get three prospects, you will probably have to call six or seven companies. Some will already be booked up and some simply aren’t that good about returning calls. Better to find that out now rather than when they are working on your house.
Step 2: How to Qualify the Painters
Quality of work and price are important, but there are more basic issues that need to be addressed. If you think about it, if you have an interior painting project, you are inviting strangers into your home.
You want to be assured the contractor is professional. To do that requires asking some tough questions, although many contractors will be preemptive and provide the answers before you even ask.
- Is the business licensed to be in business in your town? Does it have adequate insurance including workman’s compensation?
- Are the painters employees or contractors? Don’t use a company who relies on contractors. The quality of the work can’t be controlled as well as employees, and contractors are not covered by the painting company’s workman’s compensation insurance.
- Does the company offer a warranty or guarantee? If they do, is it in writing?
Step 3: The Painting Plan
Of course, the primary concerns are colors and areas to be painted. But you also want to know the nitty gritty about the plan itself.
- How much will it cost and how long will it take? What are the hours you can expect the crew to be there?
- What kind of prep work will be performed? This is an area where some painters rush to save labor costs.
- What is the clean up policy? Will the workers completely pick up after themselves at the end of the day?
- Who can you talk to if you have a question or a concern while the project is in progress?
Step 4: Check the References
This step seems obvious, but when we say check references, we mean pick up the phone and call. Sure the references should all be ringers, but time passing has a way of taking the glow off of an experience and it’s easier to examine it objectively.
Quality is a major issue but what a reference can give you that you won’t find elsewhere is a firsthand account on how easy the contractor is to work with.
The time you spend checking references can eliminate any unwanted surprises once you give the go ahead to the contractor.
Step 5: If You’re Happy, Pass it On
Painting contractors live on referrals. If you are happy with the service you receive, don’t keep it a secret. Share your experience on referral sites or the contractor’s website. At All American Painting Plus, we have an entire section dedicated to customer comments.
Follow these 5 steps and you can charge ahead with your project with confidence. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call us and we will be happy to help.
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