What Questions Should I Ask a Painting Company Before I Hire Them?
Jordan Paul , null
June 1st, 2022
At some point many of us will consider hiring a professional painting company. Perhaps we’re new to the area, or just haven’t needed a painter before. Before hiring someone to do some painting for you, it’s a great idea to ask a few questions first. These questions will give you a better sense of whether the contractor is a real professional, or just someone looking to work.
Can’t I Just Research a Painting Company Online?
When you are looking for a new painting company to hire, usually the best place to look is online. This is because these companies will have invested the time and resources to put their company in its best light. If a painting contractor doesn’t have a website where they can show off photos of their great work, it’s a red flag.
What Questions Should I Ask a Painter First?
The questions you ask a potential paint company will give you a good idea of their experience, commitment, and skill. Here are a few suggested questions to ask, and why you’ll want to ask them early.
1. Can I See Your Certificate of Insurance?
Before you consider hiring someone for their skill, it’s a good idea to make sure they are insured. Most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover activities that occur on your property if those activities were for hire. Businesses are required to carry their own insurance policies, but non-professionals are unlikely to have it.
Never hire someone to do any work on your property unless they have a worker's compensation policy, at a minimum. Established, legitimate painting companies will have not only a worker’s compensation policy, but liability insurance as well. Most professional paint companies are also bonded, but not in every case.
Especially in the warmer months, some individuals like to roam neighborhoods looking to make some quick money. These individuals will commonly look for any damage they can see from the road and offer to repair it for you. If you hire someone in a situation like this, be advised you may be on the hook if the person is injured on your property.
2. Can I See Your Work?
Professional painters will always have a portfolio of work they have done in the past. A painter’s portfolio is like their business card, so if a painter can’t produce high quality photos of previous work, it is another red flag.
In most cases, a professional painting company can not only show you great looking photos of past work, but show you the work in person. Many professional painting companies will ask a client for permission to allow someone to see the wonderful work they have done.
3. Where Is Your Shop?
Although it may not be essential to hire a painting company with a physical location, it would be hard to find one that didn’t have one. The reason is because painting requires tools like ladders, walk boards, and all the other materials they need to do a good job. These tools, along with the van(s) they use for transport have to live somewhere.
If someone offers to paint your home, yet doesn’t have a physical location for their business, they are likely just renting equipment to appear to be in the painting business. An established local painting company will have a shop or garage where they keep their tools in good shape, store paint, and so on.
Some, although not all, will also have an office and/or display area where you can visit. Larger painting companies will probably have a whole fleet of vans or trucks, so if you see them around town, that’s a great sign they are legitimate.
4. Do You Have a Crew?
A professional painting company will rarely send a single painter to a project. These companies also do very small projects that require only one painter, but the vast majority will require at least two crew members. In most situations, they will be dressed similarly, like wearing a company t-shirt, for example.
If a painting company doesn’t have a crew, that means they are probably not going to be very fast. Exterior painting, for example, must be performed when the weather is agreeable, so professional paint companies will have personnel available. These crews will be large enough to complete a stage of the project before bad weather ruins the job.
5. When Can You Start?
Generally speaking, a professional paint company will have a backlog of work. These established businesses are often very busy during the warmer months, so if someone offers to do some unsolicited work for you, ask when they can start. If the answer is right now, that’s a red flag.
A legitimate painting company will need paperwork completed, materials gathered, and personnel scheduled before a project can begin. Some painting companies can complete the process very quickly, but the process will be done before any work is started.
Never hire someone to paint your home that does not require some form of paperwork before starting work. In general, you’ll want professionally prepared forms, not something scribbled on an envelope. The reason is that unless there is sufficient paperwork, there is no guarantee the painter will even be paid.
No legitimate painting company would risk making an investment in a project with first guaranteeing payment. Anyone willing to do so is not a professional and is probably unsure if their work is even good enough to be paid for. Always hire a painting company that looks, behaves, and presents itself as professional and you can’t go wrong.