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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Advice from the Pros:

Finding the Best Pro for the Job, Part Two

paint contractors on the job 

In the previous post, Jeff Hester gave his tips on researching a paint contractor. Once you have a couple of candidates lined up, here’s the ten key questions he recommends you ask before signing anything: 

1. How long have you been in business? 

2. Do you provide a written guarantee for workmanship?

3. What steps will you take to keep the site clean and to protect my home and belongings? At the least, expect products, tools, and other work equipment to be gathered and secured away from walking areas or spaces that are not part of the job site. At the end of each work day, chemicals, ladders, and any potential hazards should be stored so that children cannot get access.

4. Do you require your crew to go through an apprenticeship program?

5. Are you fully insured at a minimum of $2 million in liability coverage plus full workman’s compensation for all of your employees?

6. If you use independent subs, do they have their own coverage as well--and are they experienced painting contractors?

7. Have you done criminal background checks on all of your employees?;

8. Do you have enough staff to complete my project in my timeframe with this size job? 

9. Is there a possible language barrier should I need to talk with your crew? 

10. Are you lead-certified? (The new national Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Program (LRRPP) rule requires lead-safe certified contractors provide a pamphlet and information if your house is built after 1978, due to the potential presence of lead in old finishes. They are also required to document work, clean-up and disposal.)

Ask for references:

Ask if you can talk to former customers and see the job they did. Then ask that homeowner what the painters did, how they cared for and cleaned up the site and if they stayed on schedule. Ask if the painter provided follow-up service after the job was completed. 

To avoid cost over-runs:

  • Be sure all terms are up front before the work is performed--not after it has begun. 
  • Get a bid on paper. The contract must detail the work to be done and itemize the price for each part of the project. It should also state how any unanticipated fees will be handled, such as: "Any extra work will be billed out as . . ."


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That is so thoughtful doing this fantastic blog.

I"ve been writing up a similar list, and this is very helpful! I would add "trust your gut," since it's so important to have a good rapport w/ your contractor. Thanks for the great info!

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