Hiring a painting contractor means entrusting the appearance and durability of your space to a team of unknown professionals. The quality of the painting will reflect on your home or business for years after the work is done, and your experience depends on the professionalism of your hired team. Whether you are planning to paint your home or business, interior or exterior, it’s no surprise that most clients want to ask a few questions before hire a painting contractor for the job.
Which are the right questions to ask and, perhaps most importantly, what are the answers you are looking to hear? Greg Unseth Painting has been providing professional painting and exterior services to residents of Colorado Springs and nearby communities for over 40 years. As pros inside the painting industry, we can tell you exactly which questions to ask, the range of answers you want to hear, and how to know if you’ve found the right painting team for the job.
It comes down to about seven questions regarding the quality and process of your painters and three key questions about how the business operates to make sure you’re making the best choice.
7 Questions About Painting Quality and Process
Quality is the biggest concern when hiring a painting contractor. You want to make sure that the team you hire has the materials, training, and skills necessary to make your space look truly excellent when the work is done. You want the full package with clean, taped lines, trim painting, and the best quality & type of paint for every surface. You want a genuine team that is experienced at working together to deliver high-quality work in an efficient manner, and you want to know who will be working in your home ahead of time.
Here are the seven questions to ask to ensure you are working with high-quality professional painters.
1) What is Your Prep Process?
Preparation is vital when it comes to painting, whether painting interior or exterior spaces. Painters should lay down protective tarps over floors, tape trim to ensure clean lines where paint varies, and may remove previous layers of paint to achieve better appearance and cohesion. Some painters offer to fill cracks and perform cosmetic prep before painting, as well, but each team’s process is a little different.
Any painting team should be able to provide you with a detailed outline of their prep process and how they would prep for your specific space. This will include the materials used, the order in which prep is applied, and the intended outcome for each stage of prep to either protect your surfaces or enhance the quality of the painting.
2) Do You Subcontract?
Some painting companies will take a contract, then hire a different (often lower-paid) team to actually do the work. This is called subcontracting and it is reasonably common in Colorado. However, high-quality painters typically do not subcontract. Instead, their painting teams are internal employees with superior training, compensation, and accountability for each job.
Ask if your painting contractor subcontracts, with the hope of hearing that they do not. Ideally, your painters will explain that they value their clients, employees, and reputations too highly to risk sub-par work through subcontractors.
3) What is Your Communication Process?
When working on your property, communication is key. You need a team led by someone who understands your vision, and you want to stay in contact throughout the project. Schedule coordination, updates, and the ability to give feedback as the painting progresses are all important. Ask how communication is handled by the team, who you should talk to, and the best way for you to ask questions or get a concrete response.
Every team’s communication process will be a little different, but their answer should assure you that there is a process and that you will be able to stay in the loop during your painting project.
4) What Happens in the Case of Bad Weather?
If your project is outdoors, ask if your painters have a plan in case of bad weather. How will they protect paint that might still be drying? Do they include a few extra days in the timing estimate in case of rain or high winds? Ask how the team you have chosen will handle non-ideal weather for exterior painting including assurances that they have calculated for the risk of bad weather and will not paint if the weather would negatively impact the quality of the final outcome.
5) What Are Your Practices Regarding Lead Paint?
Older buildings sometimes have lead paint that will be discovered by painters and may need to be removed for the safety of residents and everyone nearby. Ask your painters if they have a procedure regarding the safe testing and removing lead paint. Each team should have at least one lead-certified professional who will be on-site when lead paint is removed, according to the law, and your painters should, as well.
6) What Type of Paint Do You Use?
The choice of paint is extremely important when hiring professional painters. Some teams will buy the cheapest paint in your selected colors and pocket the difference, while others pride themselves on selecting high-quality paints in just the right finish for each space to ensure the most beautiful and durable final result. Consult with your painting contractor about how they select paint and work with them to choose the best paint brands, formulas, and finishes for each space that you need painted.
An experienced painting contractor should be able to help you find the perfect balance between appearance, durability, and expense for your vision, budget, and each surface to be painted.
7) How Many Coats of Paint Do You Apply?
Lastly, painting quotes are often given based on square-footage. However, this also depends on the number of coats to be put down. Multiple coats, typically including primer and two coats of paint, provides a higher quality and more durable finish while slap-dash painters may estimate and apply only one coat per wall.
When you ask about coats of paint, you want to hear how your contractor estimates the right number of coats based on the surface’s appearance, the color you chose, and the durability needed by each surface’s location.
Next, let’s talk business. There are a few things that every client should know about their painting contractor before signing the contract. These relate to how your project will be managed and what protections are offered to you by the painting contractors. You want to know who you will be dealing with directly, ensure that your painting contractors have all the right insurance types, and that the quality is guaranteed via a contractor warranty.
1) Who Will Be Overseeing My Project?
The person you initially interview when hiring a painting contractor may not be the on-site manager for your project. In larger teams, this is normal, but you will certainly want to meet the person who will be leading the team in your home or business for the duration of the painting.
Ask who will oversee your project and ask to meet them. Make sure you have good rapport and that you can communicate in case you have questions or feedback during the project. Asking to meet the on-site manager is also a good way to double-check that you will be working with in-house painting employees and not subcontractors.
2) Do You Have Insurance?
Painters in Colorado need two types of insurance:
- Comprehensive business liability insurance
- Worker’s compensation insurance.
The first protects your property from accidental damage by the contractor. This means that if a ladder slips and damages your gutter or if a tarp folds and paint gets on your wood floors, the contractor’s insurance will cover repairs.
The second protects the painters, ensuring that if they are accidentally injured on the job, that the company’s insurance will cover their needs. Every reputable business in operation has a proper worker’s compensation policy, so this can be used as a litmus test to make sure you’re working with good people.
3) What is Your Warranty Policy?
Lastly, ask if your painting service comes with a warranty. A warranty means that the company stands behind the quality of their work. If the paint shows significant defaults in workmanship, a painter’s contractor warranty can be called upon to fix the problem or fund repairs. Painters also pass on manufacturer warranties on the paint itself so that any product defects that become evident are covered for a certain period of time.
Most paint workmanship or product defects become evident within the first two years, so 1-3 year warranties are common. For longer warranties (10 years to lifetime) consider how long the company has been in business as to their ability to back the guarantee. Get your warranty in writing and keep a copy just in case problems appear (it can happen even with the best teams) in the next couple years.
Get a Free Quote and Ask Your Questions with Greg Unseth Painting
If you live or work in the Colorado Springs region, Greg Unseth Painting can provide high-quality painting and exterior services. Contact us at any time to describe your project and receive a free quote. We will be glad to answer any and all of your questions with full answers. You can meet the team, explore paint options, and enjoy some of the best warranties in the industry.