Dave, you said it best! Every pro painting contractor truly worth their salt would and should cut and paste exactly what you say here about where customary and legitimate practices and expectations should be in regards to what customers should expect from contractors and how contractors should professionally deal with their customers. By the way, Dave, if you work in the Atlanta area, I would like to hire you! Thank you for your valuable advice!
I am a painting contractor and have been since 2001. Make sure the estimate provides in writing: What is EXCLUDED as well as INCLUDED. It should state the manufacturer and type of paint going to be used. Estimate says ALL LABOR AND MATERIALS. My estimates to my customers say "guaranteed coverage" eliminates the conversations of 1 coat vs 2 coat. I have my customers submit colors 5 days prior to start date. Customers need to inform me if they are going to use pure white, dark reds, oranges, and bright yellows they need to inform me in that 5 day window, so I can adjust my pricing for 3 coats. Although this more uncommon now than years past because a lot of paint manufacturers have primer with paint products. Let the contractor know if your doing accent walls. This takes longer to cut in straight lines and it requires the contractor to purchase more paint. If you add anything on the scope of work have the painter write out the description and cost prior to them doing the work. Have the estimate say how many days it will take to perform the work. Ask how many workers will be doing the job. Make sure to enforce that number of workers their everyday until the job is complete. Do not give final payment until you do a final walk through. Walk the job when its almost complete and point out areas that you want fixed prior to the contractors final walk through. Its best to do while the workers are still in that particular area as they will have tarps down and areas covered and it will be easier for them to take care of. Purchase a roll of blue tape and stick it to areas that you want fixed. This is called a punch list.
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There’s a new classical station in town, and I listen even though the reception doesn’t seem to be as strong. In our absence, I hope you will avail yourself of other fine magazines and resources to keep up, maybe you’ll see me back in the industry sooner or later. Going out of business due to advances in digital technology isn’t new—I was just reading about the Pony Express succumbing to the much cheaper and faster telegraph in 1861.
The article and comments were great information to have before deciding how to go about getting a painting job done. I think the important point is that there are several key choices (who to do the work; color, sheen, quality, of paint; how many coats; amount of prep/repairs to be done and by whom, how long the job will take, provisions for changes, how detailed the contract needs to be; advanced deposit/progress payments/final payment; final inspection, etc.) that need to be made and it requires advanced research and planning in order to become well enough informed to make the right choices. Then it requires spending sufficient time to check materials and inspect the quality of the work while it is on-going, raher than waiting to do it all at the end. President Reagan's philosophy of "Trust, but verify." applies.
With that said, here's the reality of that particular scenario. Painters do put water in the paint, but not for reasons you would think. Some materials need to have their viscosity manipulated in order to slow drying time, allowing gravity to 'smooth' out the product for a better finish. It also prevents 'drags' and 'sausages'. I personally try not to do it too often, but from time to time I have to. I want my client to have a proper finish.
I totally agree with this as well. I think every time I have read Angie's List reports, they are inaccurate and not researched enough. I had COMPLETE faith in Angie but lately I am hesitate on reports. I would check your local hardware store or even your neighbors to get a recommendation for painters. If you liked what you saw, you can be stress free with your results. I live in Texas and I have borrowed my hardware store opinion bc that seems to be the place most of the contractors or painters come to buy stuff for the jobs. If your neighbors painters, contractors, electricians and plumbers have shown good results, stress free you. I have been stress free with results, glad I asked for other opinions.Don't forget, the Hardware Store knows if that person is trustworthy and honest, their accounts would be shut down.
Generally speaking, in order to be considered a contractor there are standards and minimum requirements that must be met. But a professional painting contractor provides so much more than what’s standard! As customers, it can be hard to come to terms or articulate exactly what it is that we are looking for. In many cases, we are simply not well researched or informed enough to make the best decisions based on our needs. But you really can’t afford to contract the wrong company. Not doing your homework may leave you under the assumption that you have hired a painting contractor, when in reality you have just hired a painter. When you hire just a painter, you as the homeowner have taken all responsibilities of a contractor. Now all the responsibilities, liability and management is on you!
Also, don't be afraid to ask if the painters are trustworthy people. Unfortunately, there are plenty of cases where a painter has stolen items from a home or caused damage to the house or injury to the homeowner. Subcontractors may not be as skilled as employees, and the contractor you're hiring may not have much experience working with them, making them more of a risk. Additionally, ask if the painters are employees or subcontractors, and what the screening or hiring process is like. If the company conducts background checks, that's a good sign.
Third: The contractor buys the materials. We get them at a better rate and customers really don't know what they are getting into by being a material racer. Once again, I'm not referring to the guys that paint a bedroom or 2 a week. Tell the homeowner to go grab 50 gallons of paint, $300.00 worth of sundries and related job cost items and I'd be interested to see how it works for them....IT WILL NOT. And if were talking about people getting taken advantage of here, the paint suppliers with no relationship to a homeowner will 100% GOUGE the customer and completely take advantage of them with pricing. Contractors will pay nearly half the price and will still save the customers money marking up paint 10-15%.
These are some fantastic questions to ask and I particularly like the one that is concerned about safety for the painters. After all, if you have a large home and you’re hiring them to paint the exterior of that home then they’ll likely be on scaffolding. Because of that, you need to make sure that the contractor not only provides appropriate safety training, but has the correct liability insurance as well.