11 Guidelines for Finding an Exceptional Painting Contractor

Are you looking to get a new coat of paint for your house? While many people prefer the DIY route when it comes to painting, you can also hire a painting contractor to provide you with a professional job. All you need is a reliable and experienced local painting contractor who can carry out the task.

However, not every person carrying a paint bucket and brush is a professional painter, so you need to be careful while choosing a local painting contractor for your home. You can waste a lot of time and money by choosing the wrong person. If you want to be confident that you will get your home painting done right, here are 11 guidelines to remember when looking for a painting contractor.

1. They provide paint color consultation support

Not many painting contractors offer color consultation services, especially for free. This bonus feature is something you’ll only find with exceptionable companies. If you’re unsure about what color to paint your home, a color expert can come to your home, sit down with you, and discuss what style you want for the newly painted space. It’s a great service to take advantage of, even if you just want a second opinion.

You may already know what color you want to paint a room, but the fact that a painting contracting company offers such a service to all customers for free is a good sign that they have a wide variety of tools to utilize. They’ll likely go above and beyond with other services, too, ensuring you are a satisfied customer.

2. They present proof of insurance

While a painting contractor may tell you they are insured, a great painting contractor presents a copy of his policy, providing the amount of coverage he carries for both property damage and bodily injury that may result from the contractor’s work. By nature, paint materials are highly flammable, and should an accident occur, you need to know your painting contractor is sufficiently insured.

3. They have all their local and state licenses

The last thing you want to realize partway through a paint job is that the painting contractor you hired isn’t the professional you thought he was. The best way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to ask for the company’s licenses if they don’t provide them on their own. Local and state licenses are certified proof that a painting contractor is legitimate and knows what he is doing.

4. They offer a written warranty

You can tell a lot about a painting contractor by their warranty. Well-known paint contractors with established reputations are respected by paint suppliers who, in turn, pass on extended or even lifetime warranties on their paints. This is because they know the product will be applied the right way. For any number of reasons, less experienced contractors may not have valuable relationships with suppliers.

On the labor side, an exceptional paint contractor works with solid experienced painters meaning they can stand behind their warranty.

5. They give professional detailed quotes

Believe it or not, there is more that goes into house painting than putting paint on a wall. There is prep work, clean-up, priming, and other details that must be addressed. Before you sign on the dotted line with a painting contractor, you should get a detailed quote that lists all the steps being taken and how much each service will cost, including:

  • Power washing
  • Caulking, sanding, and priming
  • Details of products and application method
  • Touch ups and cleanup

In addition to the quote content and accuracy, is it presented professionally?

  • Is the quote on the company letterhead?
  • Does the sheet show the contractor’s license number?
  • Does he use a local landline number? 
  • Tax ID number?
  • Work guarantee and relevant product warranties?

6. They have a positive rating with the Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a trusted consumer rating body that grades businesses based on collective criteria. In addition to finding their grade, be sure to check how long the paint contractor has been a member. Also, confirm that any complaints have been resolved. The BBB will award a good rating if a business has addressed issues in a timely manner. Questionable painting contractors will have either a low grade or no BBB affiliation at all.

7. They provide references in your area

Good painting contractors may have references from local work that was completed in the past few weeks. But exceptional contractors will provide multiple references from both recent and past work. References from a year ago or longer show the paint job’s durability and confirm that any necessary follow-up or issues were handled correctly. This establishes trust and reassurance that your selected paint contractor will follow through.

8. They invite you to see a job in progress

If a painting contractor is confident about the way they work, they’ll prove it by asking you to judge for yourself, not only at the end of a job but while work is in progress. Things to look for:

  • Work vehicles: are they clean, organized and professional?
  • Staff: are they neatly dressed and groomed?
  • Materials: are ladders, scaffolding, drop cloths and electrical equipment in good condition?
  • Is work being done so as not to damage landscaping or property?

An exceptional paint contractor will treat a home and the homeowner with respect and professionalism at all times.

9. They have been in business for more than 3 years

In any service-based business, experience is something you can never get enough of. This is especially true of painting contractors. When you’re looking for the right painting contractor make sure they have at least three years of experience in the business. This lets you know that they have established a reputable business and have worked on many projects over the years. Three years should be the minimum requirement.

10. They have a professional website displaying recent work

While it is certainly possible to be a reputable painting contractor and not have a website, the best painting contractors are successful business people. They understand that today’s consumer is looking for instant information, and a website will include all the details homeowners are looking for: references, before and after photos, details of services, contact information, and history of the company, owner, and staff.

11. They never ask for a deposit

To be perfectly clear we are specifically talking about painting contractors and not contractors in the building trades.

Well-established, successful painting professionals have sufficient operating income and can afford to purchase materials and make payroll. Be wary of a painting contractor that asks for a deposit! If he is unable to purchase materials, he is probably unable to pay his staff, too. Every year, many homeowners fall victim to painting contractors who walk off the job and out of town with the deposit in their pockets.

If you agree to advanced payment of any kind, make sure that materials have been purchased and on your property, leaving you some kind of leverage should the contractor default on the work. The bottom line is that a reliable painting contractor should never request a deposit before starting your painting job.

Investing in your home’s appearance and value with a professional paint job is an important decision. Now you know the guidelines of what to look for in a painting job but with so many painting contractors in the marketplace how do you know which is the right one? Here are 6 simple steps to finding a local exceptional painting contractor.

Step 1.  Go to your favorite search engine

The first step to finding a local painting contractor is going to your favorite search engine. With the overwhelming amount of information on the internet, you’ll be able to find the best results directly on a search engine, rather than a specific site or by looking in the classifieds.

Step 2.  Search for the specific service you are looking for

Make sure you use specific keywords in your search to narrow down the results. If you’re looking for someone to paint your dining room or stain your deck, try using terms like “interior painting contractor” or “deck staining contractor” rather than just “house painting company.” This will give you more accurate results and show companies that provide the specific service for which you are looking.

Step 3.  Try a few location searches

Search engines like Google are good at gearing searches to your location. But to get different options, try using specific locations in the search terms. You can include the name of the suburb you live in, a nearby major city, or even the phrase “near me.” You’ll get a wide variety of results with each search depending on whether you want a broad search or a more narrow one.

Step 4.  Look at ratings and reviews

One of the most important steps in selecting a painting contractor is reading ratings and reviews. This is the best way to know exactly what to expect from the company, based on what others have posted. From the quality of service to the timeliness, there’s a lot you can learn from a company before working with them, solely from reading online reviews. And since these reviews are organic (not paid for by the company, hopefully) you can trust that they are honest and truly reflective of the painting contractor’s work.

Step 5.  Contact a few choices to get a project quote

Once you’ve narrowed down the results to three to five choices, reach out to all of them to schedule an appointment to look at your job and give you a quote. Keep in mind our 11 guidelines when meeting with them and if there are red flags then move on. You can always do more searching.

Step 6. Review costs and written bids before making your decision

After you get multiple written quotes from a few painting contractors, you can compare prices and decide which painting contractor will do the best job for the best price. Make sure you have done your due diligence as to licenses, insurances, references, BBB, warranties, etc. Also, be sure that you are comparing apples to apples on the quotes. For example, some painters include an exterior power wash before they paint, others will rely on you to contract that out to someone else. Some contractors will include wall repairs in their fees, others don’t include it. Be sure you understand each bid, and if you aren’t sure then ask.

For some homeowners finding an exceptional painting contractor is a gamble with unknown odds. Most give up early on finding a great painter and a great price and end up making an uninformed choice. However, you can eliminate the risk by following our simple guidelines for finding an exceptional painting contractor who can complete your home painting project.

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