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How to Evaluate an Interior Painting Contractor

How to Evaluate an Interior Painting Contractor

Looking For a Painting Contractor Fast?

February 23, 2010

Finding the best painting contractor for your home's interior walls and trim may be a little time consuming, but it won't take nearly the time and money it can cost you to recover from a slipshod or unfinished job. Your choice in professional home painters should be wider than ever in this economy, so get out a pad of paper or fire up the computer, and make three lists as suggested below.

List 1: How much work do you expect to turn over to the painting contractor?

How many rooms do you intend on having painted? What's the approximate square footage? List what you think the entire prep work will involve. For example, do you need new moldings or repairs on the ones you have? Are there cracks in the drywall that need patching? Are there any specifications you need to provide the contractors with at the time of bidding--such as, what type of paint do you plan on using? Do doors or windows need patching, repairing, or replacing? What materials are used in the window frames?

List 2: Round up names of painting contractors to gather bids.

Compile your list from friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors who have had professional home painters complete a project. Rule out suggested contractors if you references cannot respond favorably to the following questions:

  • Was the job done on time and within budget?
  • Did the contractor perform a thorough prep or priming, protecting non-painted surfaces and your interior belongings? Did the company clean up completely afterwards?
  • Does the painting contractor offer a warranty?
  • Did the painting contractor have a positive rating from the Better Business Bureau?

If a referring friend or family member suggests a local painting company, ask to see the job that was done. Examine doors, windows, and trim. Is everything clean and straight?

List 3: Get at least three estimates.

This may be your final list. Be sure that all professional home painters bid on the same scale of work (patching, prep, replacement molding or frames), number of rooms, and the quality (or quality range) of paints. Read our painting services article on How to Understand Your Estimate. Rule out any painting contractors that don't offer a free estimate or expect a down payment before beginning any work.

Even if you're handling the large surfaces, you still may want to bring in a painting contractor to handle the trim molding. That decision may spare you hours in prep and (especially) cleanup. You can find a contractor to handle a partial job by following the same three lists to narrow down your choices.

Now, you're ready to pick wisely.

About the author: Woodrow Aames has written articles and profiles for Yahoo, Microsoft Network, Microsoft Encarta, and other websites and print magazines around the world. He holds an MFA degree and has taught English abroad.
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