Getting the best value and a job you are proud of is much better than getting the lowest price so…
we encourage you to ask lots of questions BEFORE you hire any painting contractor.
Use these questions and answers and also use the questions on How to Select the Right Painting Contractor page to make sure you hire a professional.
It is your money. Getting the best value and a job you are proud to show off is much better than getting the lowest price. Price is only one of many considerations.
Understand that the real quality of a paint job is in the prep work. If price is your primary consideration you may compromise the prep work.
Reputation and Business Professionalism
- Can I get an estimate over the phone or via email?
- What Will It Cost?
- How many references should I call?
- I never thought to ask for business references, is that a good idea?
- What do I need to know about the New EPA Law on Lead for homes built before 1978?
- How do I know that your insurance is up to date?
- Is membership in a professional industry organization for painters necessary?
- Are you an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?
Experience and Service Before, During and After the Sale
- How many painting projects did you complete last year?
- Who will be supervising my project?
- How will you keep me updated on my job?
- What is your warranty?
- Do you work with Home Owner’s Associations?
- How do I get an estimate?
- How long does it take to get an estimate?
- Do I need to be home when you’re working?
- How long does it take?
- When you start a job, do you stay until it’s done?
- What about bathrooms?
- Where will you clean up?
- Do you offer Green Products?
If you need interior painting, cabinetry painting, exterior painting, textured ceilings or specialty finishes, it is possible for your project to be done right the first time without the hidden charges, hassles or poor quality that are all too commonly found in the residential painting industry.
Thanks for your time, and we look forward to answering your questions about your painting project.
Can I get an estimate over the phone or via email?
Painters who will give you a quote over the phone or via email without meeting you or visiting your home or property should be avoided. This is very unprofessional.We do not give estimates over the phone. There are way too many things to consider. We meet everyone in person and we will ask you specific questions to gain a full understanding of your painting and/or wall covering needs.
We will then provide you with a written and highly detailed estimate.
Some painting contractors are reluctant to put a lot of details in writing. They will use sweeping generalizations like “we will apply 2 finish coats to the exterior” or “we only use the highest quality paint”. These are phrases that leave too much room for interpretation AND they allow the unscrupulous contractor to make more money at your expense. If you speak to a painting contractor that uses this approach it is best to cross them off of your list.
What Will It Cost?
Unfortunately, this is the key question many people base their decision on. If you only rely on price to choose you are very likely to end up with a project that peels cracks or blisters in the next year.Make sure that every painting contractor meets with you in your home and conducts a thorough review of your needs. It’s impossible to provide an accurate estimate over the phone without visiting your home or property. Painting contractors that provide “ballpark” estimates should be avoided at all costs.
One more point – estimates that are written on the back of a business card aren’t worth considering – because all you can count on is the price. That is like buying a car without knowing what features or options are included.
How many references should I call?
We provide you with a list of at least 25 recent references and we encourage you to call as many as you want. Quality painting contractors will have numerous references available. We believe that every contractor you are seriously considering should give you at least 15 references for your painting project and you should contact at least 5 of them. It is common practice for contractors to provide 3 references. Unfortunately, this allows some less than honest companies to give you references that aren’t actually real customers but friends or associates. (Yes, it happens so protect yourself).
I never thought to ask for business references, is that a good idea?
Yes. The economy has put many shaky companies on the edge or over the edge. So it is a good idea to ask for bank and vendor references. Color Expressions provides both bank and vendor references.
It is not uncommon for contractors to use a homeowner’s deposit to fund a different project. When a contractor fails to pay a supplier for material purchased on credit, that supplier is allowed to seek financial relief from the homeowner by placing a lien on your home.
What do I need to know about the New EPA Law on Lead for homes built before 1978?
The New EPA Law Effective April 22, 2010 designed to prevent lead poisoning. This is a very important step to protect adults and children from the harmful effects of lead paint.The company must provide you 2 certifications:
- One for the company and
- One member of the crew must be a certified lead renovator
Copies of the certificates must be maintained on the job and be available for inspection throughout your project.
How do I know that your insurance is up to date?
Simply require the painting contractor’s insurance agent to send you a certificate of insurance directly to your home. Some contractors have dropped their insurance or cut way back to save money and this can put the homeowner in an ugly financial mess if there is an accident on the job.
Is membership in a professional industry organization for painters necessary?
We believe it is a sign that the company’s owners are committed to maintaining the highest standards in the industry.We belong to the DC Metro Chapter of the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) because it keeps us up to date on the latest industry practices, safety procedures and more.
Experience and Service Before, During and After the Sale
How many painting projects did you complete last year?
Who will be supervising my project?
How will you keep me updated on my job?
Poor communication is one of the biggest complaints we hear about contractors.
What is your warranty?
Do you work with Home Owner’s Associations?
How do I get an estimate?
How long does it take to get an estimate?
Do I need to be home when you’re working?
How long does it take?
Each project is different. We give you approximate start and finish dates so you can plan. Once we start your project, we stay on it each day until we are finished unless there are circumstances beyond our control like weather that don’t permit us to work.
When you start a job, do you stay until it’s done?
Yes. We are motivated to complete your project as that is the only way we get paid. Once we start your project, we stay on it each day until we are finished unless there are circumstances beyond our control like weather that don’t permit us to work.
What about bathrooms?
Where will you clean up?
Do you offer Green Products?
Yes. We offer multiple products that meet or exceed VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) regulations for low VOC and odor.