Many house painters cut corners. After painting houses myself for 13 years, I know the difference between a good painter and a bad painter.
Ask these 5 questions and you’ll know the difference too:
Are you licensed and insured?
The insurance is more important than the license. If a contractor is not licensed, it’s only THEM that can get into trouble.
But if a contractor is uninsured, YOU can get into serious trouble. A painter can get hurt, fall of a ladder, burn down your house..
That last example is a little extreme but it’s so important that they have insurance to cover BOTH of you.
With my own painting company I had $1 million in liability insurance. If anything bad happened (or any serious damage) both myself and my customers were covered.
Windows get broken, roofs get overspray on them and need to be replaced. Liability insurance covers this (mostly).
Do you have local references?
Do your own research first. Just google them. Look at their reviews, see if they have any bad ratings. Even more revealing, see how they respond to negative reviews.
I saw a bad review for a painting company from a concerned homeowner. It seemed completely justified and supported by photos of negligent work.
How did the painter respond to this review?: “This lady is a liar and a psychopath.”
You don’t want to work with a painter that responds to a legitimate complaint in this manner.
Ask for LOCAL references. These are past customers that they worked with. Making a couple quick phone calls can tell you a lot about the painter.
Also, since the references are local, you can drive by the homes yourself and see the level of work.
How do you prep the house?
This is a big one. Any good painter will tell you; “It’s all about the prep!”. Good prep is also time-consuming and labor-intensive. So expect good prep to cost more. But it’s the difference between a job that lasts 12 years or 2 years.
It’s worth it to pay more for good house prep. What is good prep?
- Pressure washing the entire house and letting it dry for a day or two
- Scraping off peeling or loose paint that was not removed from the pressure wash
- Sanding down any rough edges so the new paint sits flush
- Priming ALL bare wood. Sometimes painters have an option to prime the entire house before painting. This is worth it but more expensive.
- Caulking or re-caulking any failed seems or joints.
- Masking all windows, brick, cement, vegetation, lights etc.
You really want good prep. Some painters spend 2 hours on prep, some spend 2 days. Lean towards the painters that spend 2 days.
What paint and materials are you using?
Some paint costs $15 a gallon. Some paint costs $80 a gallon. Shouldn’t you know which brand your painter is using?
We actually surveyed 12,000 painting contractors to see which exterior house paint they liked the best. Here’s what they chose.
Make sure you’re not getting a cheap paint put on your house. Labor is the most expensive part of a paint job, not the paint. So go high-end on the paint and materials.
This includes using quality caulking. Some caulk costs $1 a tube. Others cost $4 a tube.
What guarantee do you have?
First off, this question only matters if the company plans on being in business for a while. If a painting company just opened and they’re offering a 15 year guarantee, how do you know they’ll be around in 15 years?
Generally you want to work with an established, reputable company (which you should have discovered already with question 2).
I’ve seen a 2 year guarantee, 5 year, 10 year etc. I’ve even seen a LIFETIME guarantee.
The guarantee/warranty is only as good as the company.
A guarantee should also cover both paint AND labor. Basically it should say: “If any part of your paint job fails within “X” time, we’ll fix it for FREE.
Some painters try to get sneaky and charge you for fixing things that should be in the warranty. Make sure materials AND labor are included in a guarantee.
Most painters will not pass this check-list. But that’s the point. You want the BEST painters painting your house. A house is a huge investment and it should be protected.
It’s hard finding good painters. We even started a quote service to find the best painters. We are the only service like this owned by painters, so we know what to look for.
You can get up to 3 free painting quotes below from companies we’ve vetted ourselves.
Get 3 Free Painting Quotes
Thank you for reading and may your next hire be the right one!