11 steps to finding the right painter for your project...
So you’re looking for a Painter, but you don’t want to hire just anyone with a paint brush and a pickup, right? There are lots of so-call “painters” out there but finding a really good one takes either a lot of luck, or a solid process and some diligence. So, if you’re not feeling particularly lucky, this article will give you some basic steps, and important tips on how to begin sorting the Pro’s from the Joe’s.
Step 1: Ask your family and friends for recommendations. This is the first and most important method for sourcing any contractor or tradesmen. The good ones make their customers happy, and they will be able to tell you if they know someone who does good work, but don't hire them right away! Take your time and check them out with this guide, or you may be sorry.
Step 2: Visit paint or hardware stores and ask around. Good painters will be well known at the stores they buy materials at. They might leave business cards there, or the people that work there might even be able to recommend someone. Usually the big box stores are not very good for this, but you can try there too.
Step 3: Do a Google search for local pros. This one seems obvious, and if your reading this article, you are probably doing this now. Although the first two steps yield better quality results than searching online, you may need to use this option just to gather enough candidates to sort through. Which brings us to step #4.
Step 4: Interview several candidates. A bad apple may look great next to a rotten one, so make sure you have a large basket to sort and compare. This can be time consuming, but a little effort here will help ensure a pleasant experience.
Step 5: Ask for qualifications and proof of insurance. This one is important. Do they have the necessary skills, certifications, etc, to perform the work you need done? Don't forget to ask for a copy of their insurance policy and check that it's up to date.
Step 6: Thoroughly check references. They should have at least three recent customers that you can call and talk too. Don't be shy on this step. You need to know that they are successfully completing projects and making customers happy! Remember, quality of workmanship is much easier to find than quality of character, and both are important.
Step 7: Check out their reviews and look for BBB complaints. No one is perfect. Most businesses will have a bad review or two, but how they handle those complaints will tell you a lot about their company. No reviews at all can be a bad sign, but great online reviews can be faked, so take it with a grain of salt.
Step 8: Ask for pictures of projects they have completed. "A picture is worth a thousand words", or at least one in my opinion. Any good craftsman that is proud of their work will take photos, but most of us are not photographers. Make sure they look authentic and not just snatched from the internet. So, if they look too good to be true, they just might be.
Step 9: Get at least three bids and compare price and scope. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Are they all using the same quality of materials, and performing the same tasks? What about a warranty, and scheduling? Is the bid detailed, or vague? Does it include everything you asked for? Can you negotiate?
Step 10: Never hire the lowest bidder. We all want to save money, but most of the time, you get what you pay for. Resist the temptation to go with the lowest bidder, unless the difference in price of ALL three bids is very close, but I would still advise that you throw out the low-ball (that is, unless you enjoy migraines).
Step 11: Be a great customer. True craftsmen are rare, and will likely have plenty of work to chose from, and in this case, you will be interviewed as well. From the very first call, you will need to convince them that you are worth their time. Be pleasant and easy to work with, or they may bid the job higher for the trouble of dealing with you, or even over bid and lose the job on purpose.