GREAT Paint Contractors Give Professional, Detailed Quotes A GREAT painting quote includes a detailed list of ALL aspects of work to be done: FREE Power Washing Caulking, sanding and priming Trim repair – GREAT contractors will know what needs to be done Details of products and application – GREAT contractors know the right products for every job Touch-ups and clean-up In addition to the quote’s content and accuracy, is it presented professionally?
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Is the quote printed on company letterhead? Does the sheet show the contractor’s license number? Does he use a local land line phone number? (beware if only a cellular phone number is listed) TAX I.D. number? Work guarantee and relevant product warranties? Inexperienced contractors, using standard business forms purchased at office supply stores suggests they haven’t invested much in their business and may not be properly licensed. Also, they may not be paying income taxes.
GREAT Paint Contractors Have an A or A+ Better Business Bureau Rating 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. BBB will still afford a good rating if a business has addressed
Painting Contractors: How to Hire the Best For Less
You're probably familiar with the old expression, "there's more than one way to skin a cat". Like you, I'm pretty sure I don't want to know about any one of them. But it does illustrate a good point when it comes to estimating a painting project or any other trade estimates for that matter.No matter what the facet of renovation you're planning, whether it's painting, carpentry, drywall or you name it, there are as many bid prices as there are ways to get the job done. But an estimator's quote usually only accounts for one scope of work, one method of doing it and one quality level of materials. Then, of course, if you simply choose the lower bidder, you know you're most likely missing out on better skilled trades and better materials and an overall better experience! So how can you get the best painter for the job (or drywaller, or carpenter) to suit your budget?My expertise is in the painting trades so I'll use painters and paint jobs here as our guide. But you can apply this to most any other trade from both a consumer prospective as well as a contractor's. And no matter what your trade, if you're good at what you do and take excellent care of your customers, you're likely not always the lowest bidder. But if you're like my painting company, you seek to provide homeowners and commercial clients with the best value for their money. Unfortunately, because people don't tend to hire painters every day and rarely know one from another, contractors are too often selected by price alone which has been derived from the scope of work they've been given by the customer (as an overall "wish list" in some cases) but without the benefit of knowing their budget. So here we have a large assortment of variables (what must be done now and what can wait?, what can the customer spend? and what quality of materials meets both purpose and price?) that somehow have to all come together in a package which benefits both the customer and the contractor without truly knowing what each other needs until a quote is put up for discussion. And all too often, that's too late!If you, as a homeowner show three painting contractors the same scope of work, each one will come back to you with a different price based on the "pay grade" of their painters, the thoroughness of their prep work (or lack thereof) and the quality of paints and primers they propose to use. And the fact is, each job and customer has different needs and expectations which fall somewhere along the full spectrum of these variables. Some want a "white wash it for now" approach and others want a full scale restoration that will last for decades. But most are looking for something in between. And as a responsible painter, you propose the best quality for your customer because you want them to be happy with results for years to come but you aren't sure if it's within their budget. And as a painting customer, you want the best you can afford but have little or no idea what that particular level of quality includes. So even though each wants the best for the project at hand, this usually ends up with the painting estimate being dismissed by the customer because the price is "too high". And this is despite the customer would otherwise prefer to work with this contractor because of all the obvious signs of professionalism and knowledge of their craft. But instead, the customer too often rolls the dice with the lower bidder and hopes for the best (which never comes).So how do you get that contractor you instinctively know will deliver the goods but has proposed a bid that's out of your price range or seems much higher than the other quotes?Talk to them!Those of us who want to stay at the top of our trade will most often lead with our best foot forward and bid with top quality materials and workmanship unless the customer tells us otherwise. We want to hear your thoughts! We are here for nothing more than to serve your best interests with the project at hand. And the more we know, the better we can meet your needs and expectations.So before dismissing a reputable contractor who's demonstrated professional conduct and offered knowledgeable advice with, "Sorry. Your quote was too high. We've given the job to another painting contractor", look over all the quotes carefully and together. Compare what details are the same and which are different. Where items differ or are none existent, get them clarified by the estimator so you've got a clear sense of what each is actually offering you to determine the best value - not price. And if you still find that the better contractor for the job is priced out of your range, ask them to consider other ways they could deliver the job at a lesser cost such as using a different paint line, or perhaps adjusting the scope of work to get the most critical aspects addressed now and leave the rest to another date. These are just a couple of examples that can affect a quote but if you discuss this direction with a professional, they're usually all too happy to help you find the best ways to tailor your project to suit you and still give you all the benefits of dealing with a reputable contractor who will stand behind their work.And as a contractor, don't just offer the customer a proposal with only your best recommendations for the work and leave them to fend for themselves with your competitors. Let them know that your estimate is based on your expert opinion as to the best practices and materials for the job but that you're willing to change the varying aspects of the job if needed to suit their budget.This is how we get the right contractors together with the right customers for the benefit of all.
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1. Get 3 Bids Minimum: Get bids from three different painting contractors for your job. Friends and family are good reference sources. Be home for the initial meeting with them. That way, you will know how much time each contractor took to assess the condition of your home. The more you communicate what you want painted, the more accurate the quote you'll receive. Even an experienced painter will need more than a quick walk around your house. Also ask each contractor about the size of his crew and the painters experience level.2. State Expectations: When the different painting companies come to your home it is important that you state your expectations. Having a written list of what you want painted is also helpful. The number of coats a painter applies isn't the only factor in determining the quality and price of the project. Preparation is key; make sure they are going to take the time to properly prepare the surfaces before they paint them. If previously painted areas are in bad condition and you want them repaired, be prepared to pay a hire price. Time is money in the painting world! 3. Check References: It is important to check references and past work. Get a list of references from each contractor and call them to find out about their experience with the professional. A history of positive references is a good sign. If possible, it is also a good idea to drive by and look at some of the past work the contractor has done. Ask for a list of neighbors that he may have painted for.Another thing to question is do they have good credentials in your community. Ask if they are a member of the local BBB (Better Business Bureau)? Do they have any unresolved issues? You can also check them out on other consumer affair sites, like the local chamber of commerce.4. Insurance: The last thing you should check into with your contractor is to make sure they are properly insured. Reputable companies will always carry copies of their general liability insurance and worker's compensation insurance. If they don't have proper insurance and have an accident you could end up responsible. Not a risk you want to take!5. The Estimate/Quote: You should then receive a complete and accurate estimate/contract in writing. The contract should include all of the contractor's key information: name, address, phone number, etc. It should then include whatever surfaces are going to get painted and exactly how the preparation and paint will be applied. Make sure the contract clearly states what is and is not included in the job. It should specify what material is going to be used, the number of coats applied, the preparation that is going to be done, a payment schedule and a written guarantee. Finally, once you have done all of your research on your contractor and are sure you have an accurate quote and the right contractor for the job, sign up and set a schedule to begin work. When choosing a contractor make sure everything is always clearly spelled out before the work is scheduled to begin and your projects should always go smoothly. The contractor will make all the difference in the world. A good paint contractor can make your home look great and last a long time!
Painting Contractors - What to Look For When Hiring a Painter
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are gasses that are emitted by paint that are potentially harmful to your health. To explain in layman's terms what VOCs are...when you apply wet latex paint to an interior wall or trim surface, that paint will usually dry within 30 minutes. As the paint dries like glue to the wall it releases gases from its liquid form. In non ventilated areas, those gases over time can be harmful to human lungs. Most higher quality level paints now dry with very low gases that enter the air. So, with a professional painter using good quality paint, you can be assured that the air you breathe before and after applying paint is safe. Paints with low or no VOCs also allow families to quickly enjoy their freshly painted homes without having to wait for strong odors to fade away.Painting your home "green" does not necessarily mean a higher price. Your paint contractor should be willing to work with your budget to suit your family's needs and your concern for the environment.Tips for "Green" Painting: Only buy as much paint as you need for your project. To clean your brushes after use, use a container of water rather than under a running faucet. Avoid pouring excess paint down a drain. It could potentially harm a stream or other area of water. If your paint container is almost empty, let it dry out completely, without the lid, before throwing it out. Give your excess paint to someone who can use it, such as a neighbor or a non-profit organization.
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A GREAT Paint Contractor Presents Proof of Insurance While a good paint contractor may tell you he’s insured, a GREAT contractor presents a copy of his policy, proving 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 a tragedy occur, you need to know your contractor is sufficiently insured.
The first step in a quality exterior painting job, or in any painting project for that matter, is start with a clean surface. This means that you will need to power wash. You probably will need to rent a power washer - something you can do at any major hardware or tool rental store. You will need a ladder to power wash, depending on the height of your home you will need either an extension or step ladder. (or both)...you can rent a power washer for about $100 a day. You can rent ladders for about $40 a week.Once you have all of this equipment you should power wash every surface that you plan to paint, making sure to use proper technique so as not to leave wand marks due to the extreme water pressure. It is good to use a watered down mixture of bleach and sodium tri-phosphate to kill and prevent mildew and mold and to wash away chalking. Often people ask, what is chalking? This is that chalk like substance that sticks to your hand when you touch the unwashed parts of your home, that is most often present on homes that have not been painted in awhile. A photo of chalking on a hand is below. Chalking is always the color of the paint job and is the paint properties breaking down from sunlight.To repeat: One of the most important steps in painting is to clean the working surface; otherwise, paint cannot stick to the dirty surface and will peel within a year. You can hire a professional painter or power washing contractor to wash a home usually for under $200.Always be safe on ladders and roofs, it is very easy for someone to slip and fall. When power washing there is no need to get right up close to the surface, usually eight feet away, or so, is fine. Finally, it is very important to allow the surface to completely dry off, allow at least a day for the washed area to try, longer if there is rain or high humidity.Once you have allowed the paint surface to dry you can begin preparing the work surface to receive paint. First you need to caulk. It is important to use only siliconized latex caulk. It must have latex in it and say "paintable" on tube. Buy color caulk to match your paint color if you plan on only doing one coat of paint, but white colored caulk should be fine if you are planning on two coats of paint and is usually cheaper per tube than colored caulk. Make sure to caulk all gaps in the wood and joints. Do not caulk wood to stucco.The next step in prepping your painting surface is to scrape, removing all of the loose and failing paint, down to the bare wood if possible. You should then tape and lay down tarps in the area where you are standing to paint first, and then put a coat of primer on all of the surfaces you plan to paint. Primer color should be chosen according to what color you are painting (it is not always recommended to use white for darker colors). Make sure to cover everything but landscape bushes and plants. Putting tarps on bushes and plants can actually kill them due to the tarps' weight and the heat trapped around the plants, under the tarps. Set UpSet up is the next part of the job, though may already have done this before you even started your prep work. Once you have your paint color picked out you will need to measure how many square feet of surface, you will be painting. Once you have figured out how many square feet there are to paint, divide that number by three hundred; that is around how many gallons of paint you will need for the first coat.It is best to stick with a national paint store brand. One tip is to try not to go to the paint store on the weekends; they are always packed on the weekend with other do-it-yourselfers. If you go in the evening or in the day, during the week, they will likely have more time for a one-on-one consultation. It is usually best to ask for the store manager, he will have more experience and be able lead you the right direction, as far as what kind of paint and primer you should get, as well as help you with color, if you need it.Tools You Will Need To Paint Your Homeo Scrapero Case of caulk (you can return unused tubes)o Caulking guno Masking tapeo Cheap tarpso Your painto An extra empty 5 gallon bucket with lid (usually $5 or free if you ask nicely)o A bucket grido A 9 inch roller frameo A roller napo A brush (2.5 inch sash is best for beginners)o A bucket hook (for hooking your paint pal to the ladder)When purchasing your paint, buy the amount you determined from your square footage, minus about three gallons. You will always need to go back to the paint store, so don't overbuy. Once you purchase tinted paint it is non-returnable and good paint costs about $30 per gallon for do-it-yourself pricingo Always start at the top left and work your way to the right. Painting in direct sunlight makes things more difficult when you are doing the work by yourself because it dries more quickly and, of course, is hot and brighto Usually you will want to start on the front of the home. That is the toughest side of the home to paint because it is the most decorativeo If you are painting a home with siding, make sure to paint each siding slat all of the way across, then start back at the left on the next slat, like writing a line of text. This is a lot of work, but it allows for minor differences in paint color from can to can (which, though it is not supposed to happen, does). In the end, though it makes the job more difficult, it will give you a more even looking color because the divisions in the slats will hid any minor color differenceso Try not to overlap a wet edge of paint over a dry edge, this is called flashing, and it leaves overlap marks once everything is dry. This will happen especially with only one coat applications. This is the most common error made by do-it-yourselfers. Remember, two coats are always best! Not only do two coats look a lot better, but the paint will last twice as longo Your dry time will vary, taking in to account weather and humidity. Usually two to four hours after applying the paint, it will be dry to the touch and your second coat can be applied. On hot, dry days, the drying time is even shortero Professionals figure materials will usually be about 20% - 30% of the cost of a paint job....this is just an fyi for you when pricing materials and laborSprayingA professional can spray a perfect finish, which fills cracks and holes; it also has a nice even coat. You cannot. It is much tougher than what it seems to get a nice even coat of paint with an industrial sprayer. To rent a sprayer, it cost about $80 per day. It will speed up your painting by at least four times. If you choose to spray, you'll need to watch out for overspray, you do not want to accidentally spray your roof, cars or neighbors. It can be a very costly mistake. We do not recommend buying the cheaper Wagner series of paint sprayers at your local hardware. It is best to rent the professional model.Spraying is best for painting big areas on your house like aluminum siding, wood siding, stucco, and so on. It is not for trim areas like your eaves and fascia, doors, frames, or garage doors. Only a professional can do this. Stick with a roller and brush for your trim areas...it will save you time, reduce headaches and you have less risk of overspray damage. So How Much Can I Save by Painting Myself?You will save about 65% of a professionals painting quote if you do it yourself. However studies have shown it will take a DIY 6x the amount as a professional. They have the tools, equipment, and experience.Ask yourself these two questions as you weigh the pros and cons:o Do you want your evenings and weekends to be spent painting you home?o Is it worth the savings to you?SafetyPeople fall of roofs and ladders every day. Is your home higher than two stories? Don't paint that section, it's not worth it. Falling more than 16 feet can be lethal. Hire professionals to paint the higher sections of your home. However, people are often surprised by how much they DO NOT SAVE when they choose to paint the lower section themselves. You should be able to get a quote for entire house painting and just second story painting, in order to budget for this.Most falls occur when ladders are on a road or a slicker surface like a driveway, patio, or concrete walkway. Make sure you tie down your ladder, that way it cannot kick out from underneath you, and you can paint in relative safety.The Final Product Often homeowners are happy with their final product. Others are not and they end up hiring a professional to finish the project. Usually, if you are looking to sell your home in the near future, a do-it-yourself paint job will be critiqued by a potential buyer or realtor. But there is satisfaction and savings in painting your home by yourself, when done properly. Hopefully, this information helped you in your decision.Conclusion So, if you like being outside, you are not afraid of heights, you can be safe, you have a lot of free time on your hands, you like to save money and will be satisfied with your final product, then you are a do-it-yourselferIf getting injured is not an option, you like things perfect, you like your free time, you are afraid of heights, you want to know that your paint will last, you like having a warranty, and want the best paints for the surface of your home, then hire a professional.