Finding a Qualified Contractor

Every year thousands of homeowners hire professional painting contractors. Using an experienced contractor might seem more expensive than doing it yourself, but the time (and aggravation) saved by allowing a professional to step in is often worth the price. Do your homework, find the right contractor, and your painting story is sure to have a happy ending.

 

Other Ways of Finding Qualified Contractor

Referrals

Perhaps the best way to finding a qualified contractor is to ask around. Successful word of mouth advertising starts with satisfied customers, and you can learn a lot about a painter from his past clients! Of course, customers are also not shy about telling you who to stay away from- if you hear keep hearing horror stories about the same company, steer clear!
Ask your sources the following questions:

Did the contractor do quality work?
Your definition of quality and your friend’s might differ. Ask if you can take a look at the finished paint job. Check the cut-in areas around windows, doors, and trim. Was caulking applied? Are all the lines straight? Proper preparation and attention to detail are important elements of a good looking, long lasting paint job.

Did the painting contractor protect non-painted surfaces or areas?
For exterior paint jobs, a good contractor will cover concrete, roofing, railings and plantings. Indoors, furniture and floors should be well-protected from errant paint splatters.

Was the painter polite and pleasant to work with?
This is more important than it seems. It’s important to find a contractor you communicate well with and feel comfortable around. A courteous demeanor is a hallmark of professionalism and will save you unnecessary stress. Also, a painter who is enthusiastic about his job is more likely to do a good job than one who is burned out and just in it for the paycheck.

Did the work start (and finish) in a timely fashion?
Good contractors will let you know their planned schedule in advance, and do their best to stick to it. Look for a painter who will arrive at a reasonable time every morning. Just remember that exterior paint jobs can be affected by the weather; don’t hold a bad rainstorm or unseasonably cold temperatures against your contractor!

Is a warranty included?
A warranty only has value if it is in writing and extends for a reasonable period- three years is acceptable. Any limitations or exclusions should be explicitly spelled out in the warranty policy.
Paint Store

If you don’t know anyone who has had recent work done, check with your local paint store (not a big home improvement store; most professional painters prefer to work with local suppliers). Talk to the person behind the counter; describe your project and ask for recommendations. He or she will have valuable insight that can be very helpful.

* A contractor who consistently purchases high-quality paints is typically concerned for the long-term success of the project.
* On-time payment of the contractors store account generally means cash is flowing into the painting business- this means that he has completed projects and satisfied his customers.
* Using the same store for many years means the business is a well-established one, likely to provide good service and honor warranties.

Their inside knowledge of these factors can help paint store employees recommend a contractor who is reliable and trustworthy.
Check with the Better Business Bureau may help you in finding a qualified contractor.

The Better Business Bureau is a popular way to generate leads. Members of the BBB must adhere to strict standards, so you know their reputations are important to them. Call your local office or visit on-line; the Bureau keeps records (both good and bad) on contractors- even if they’re not members! Good contractors will have very few complaints. Any time you have work done on your home, leave a comment with the BBB. Your experience will help future consumers to make informed decisions.

In order to help you find that perfect painter I have put together some ideas. Starting with your personal sources and ending with the internet sources. An on-line contractor referral network offer free price quotes on a variety of construction services.

On Line

The internet is a part of daily life now, and it’s an excellent resource for tracking down a good painter.

Our Free Contractor Network allows you to enter your address and job details and select the services you require. Choose from a list of matches and view their profiles for more information. Contact your top choices with the click of a button!

Another option is to use a search engine to finding a qualified contractor in your area. Try Googling “painting services + your city and state”, “painters + your zip code” or “painting contractors”. You should return a number of results, including individual contractor’s websites, free and paid listings, and review sites.

Free classified sites, such as craigslist.org and backpage.com are becoming popular places for contractors to advertise. Check the services section, and follow up by asking for references.
Other Sources

Not all contractors advertise, but those that do tend to have bigger budgets (read: a more successful business) than those who don’t. Listen to the radio, write down names you see on TV, or browse the yellow pages for listings.

Some newspapers have a “Skills and Services” or similar section, where contractors can advertise their services in the classifieds. Free classified ads are available at many grocery stores- check by the entrance.

Finally, bulletin boards at church, the post office, or the corner store often have fliers for different services. Write down the number; you may have just found a promising up and comer!

When you’ve compiled a list of candidates, write down exactly what you want. Describe the job in detail, including specific products or colors you want, a desired timeframe, and possible obstacles (drywall needs repair, etc.). Keep this list handy when you make your phone calls, and refer to it often. Giving each contractor the same information to base their estimates on will help you compare “apples to apples.”

When talking to each contractor, ask for references. They should provide the names of people who commissioned projects similar to yours. Follow up, and if everything seems to be on the level, schedule a meeting.

The ideal contractor will arrive to the meeting on-time, act businesslike and courteous, and be prepared to answer questions. Don’t hesitate to ask! It will help you make an informed choice. Have your top three or four choices prepare comprehensive proposals. These should include:

* Type and amount of surface preparation
* Priming (including type and brand)
* Caulking (type and where it will be used)
* The brand of paint (should reference the manufacturer’s product line)
* How many coats will be used
* Estimated cost
* Estimated start and completion dates

Review the completed proposals and ask additional questions if necessary. If, for example, one painting contractor’s fee is substantially higher or lower than his competitors’, ask why. A higher fee might indicate that he pays a premium for quality materials, or that he only works on one job at a time and therefore needs to charge more to cover overhead. A lower fee might indicate that he does all the work himself, instead of hiring help, or that he uses a less-expensive supplier. You’ll never know unless you ask!

Here is some good information. This guide offers good articles from were to look to comparing “apples to apples”. This time it’s about finding a qualified contractor in your area.