With the unseasonably dry weather continuing in January in the Bay Area, many San Francisco residents are scheduling painting projects. Starting the new year with a freshly painted home interior or exterior can enhance both the aesthetics and the value of your home, which can be a real boost in the rebounding real estate market.
The standard wisdom for hiring a professional painting contractor seems to be: ask around for recommendations, look online or in the phone book and get three estimates.
This is a solid start, but we take it several steps further and recommend a more strategic approach to helping you choose a painting professional who will provide you with the highest level of service and quality.
It pays to do a little upfront research before you invite someone into your home or onto your property to paint. Whether you get a great referral from a friend or neighbor, read positive reviews online or find a painting contractor through a different avenue, there are a few things to consider before you hand over the keys or move your car out of the driveway.
The first is to see whether the painter is willing to provide some basic information and documentation including:
- Proof of Credentials/Licenses/Insurance
- Written estimate
- Written contract
- Work and payment schedule
- Written warranty
Most professional painting contractors understand the need to have this sort of information readily available and will it include as part of their introduction and estimate process. If someone is unable or unwilling to deliver this basic info, you should probably move on to the next candidate.
You should also pay attention to how responsive the painter or the company is to your initial contact and any follow up. If you have difficulty reaching someone or they show up late or miss an estimate appointment, don’t expect them to behave any differently once the project is underway.
Checking references may seem like a waste of time if your friend or co-worker had a great experience with a painting company. However, it is worth spending a few minutes looking at online ratings and review websites like Yelp or Angie’s List, or making a call or two to listed references, particularly if you are planning a project that may take more than just a couple of days.
One of the biggest complaints about painting and other contractor services is when there are multiple jobs going on simultaneously, and your painter plays hide and seek on your project. Or, problems surface six months or a year down the line and your attempts to communicate with your painting contractor are met with deafening silence.
Finally, before you commit, ask about when and how the final inspection will be scheduled. Once the project is complete, you will want meet with the project foreman before clean up so that if there are any touchups needed, they can be made on the spot.
Interior and exterior painting isn’t rocket science, but it is something that requires a level of skill, professionalism and expertise to deliver the best possible service and results. Taking a little more time up front to make sure you are choosing the best painter for the job can save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run.
Hailey Renee says
Your list of steps to finding a professional painter seem very helpful. I would agree that the first step you should take, is to ask friends for recommendations. That is smart to always look for proof of credentials and past painting experience.
Jeff Curtis says
This is a great checklist for hiring a professional painter. I like your tip on seeing if the painter is willing to provide those documents. I didn’t even think about looking for asking for references that you can check out to see the quality of work that they do. Thanks for the helpful information, I hope to find a good painter soon. Thanks!
Marie Watson says
Thanks for explaining the importance of asking for references, credentials, and a written estimate. You make a good point about how a professional painter will be willing to provide all of this, and more information to you. It seems like it could also be a good idea to ask to see past work, so you can have an idea of the job the painter will provide for you.
Lillian Schaeffer says
This is some great information, and I appreciate your suggestion to ask for references when choosing a painting contractor. My husband and I are getting our house ready to put up for sale, and I want to have the interior repainted. I’ll definitely ask for references before I choose a contractor so I can be sure their past customers have had a good experience working with them. Thanks for the great post!
Shad Morris says
I really like that you say they should provide you with a written estimate. Since you are going to be having them paint the building for you, it would be nice to look at all of the options you have. Plus, you have a written document to compare to others.
Ridley Fitzgerald says
Painting is something that looks simple, but is actually tough to do perfectly. I wouldn’t want to paint my own house, because I would be afraid to mess it up. I appreciate your tips here for hiring a pro to help though. I agree that doing some upfront research is a good idea, so you can hire the best.
Dennis Sanchez says
My mother has a beautiful old home that has beautiful wood siding. Sadly, the paint on the wood has been flaking and could definitely use another paint job to make it look like new again. You wrote that you should pay attention to how responsive the painter or the company is to your initial contact and follow up. I know my mother would love to work with someone who is eager to help make her home look new again. Thanks for the terrific tips.
Luke Smith says
I really like your comment about asking for references, proof of credentials, and a written estimate before hiring a contractor. I would imagine that any reputable painter would be more than willing to comply with these requests. It could also be a good idea to get an estimate from more than one source so you can compare prices before making a decision.
Baxter Abel says
I appreciate what you said about looking for proof of insurance when looking to hire a painter. My cousin is a painter and owns his own painting company, before he started the company I didn’t realize that painters had to have insurance. Thanks for the tips, I’ll be sure to bring them up to my cousin and refer to them the next time I need to hire a painter.
Olivia Nelson says
I like your idea of finding out how many jobs a painter is working before you hire them. I would imagine that you would want to find someone who does not have too many other jobs because it would allow you to ensure that they will do a good job on yours. I’m looking for someone to paint my home after a remodel so I’ll have to see what kinds of other jobs they are working simultaneously.
Rachel Lannister says
I just moved into a new home and the paint in the kitchen is really not my style. You recommended asking the painter what kind of schedule you should expect, and when the project will be finished. I’m planning on having a party at my home in a few months, so finding a painting contractor who could finish before then would be terrific. Thanks for the great tips.
I really appreciate all the useful information about how to choose a qualified painter! Checking credentials and licenses should be an indispensable part of making a hire in my opinion. The whole point of hiring a professional painter is in the word professional! I feel like proper licensing and insurance are sure signs of this. One thing I hadn’t considered before though is the use of a written contract to make sure both parties are on the same page about what is expected.
Joy Butler says
I agree that the responsiveness that your potential interior painting contractor gives can be a sign that points towards their quality of service that they will provide. It could be difficult to communicate what you want to a contractor that is not responsive. If you want intricate designs it could help your communication process to have sketches of what you want to provide a visual aid for your interior painting service provider.
britt wall says
I hadn’t thought of asking a professional painter for their references, so I appreciate the tip that you gave to do so. My wife and I have been talking about finding a painter for our home, and it is going to be important for us to know that they will do a great job applying the new paint that we bought. To be sure that they will be good, I am going to check their references.
Kate Hansen says
It was really helpful when you said to get proof of insurance. My husband and I just recently moved into an older home a couple of weeks ago, and the exterior paint is chipped, and we want to look into hiring a professional that can repaint it for us as soon as possible. We’ll make sure to keep these tips in mind as we search for a painting service that can help us.
Franklin White says
I like how you said that interior and exterior painting requires a level of skill that a lot of homeowners don’t have. I think it would be a great idea to hire a professional painter for this reason. I don’t want to deal with trying to paint my own house and getting paint all over the place.