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.