Residential painting can be a trying trade; painters may work in uncomfortable conditions, from great heights, often dealing with hazardous materials. It’s a tough service job that requires experience, training, certifications or licenses, and a modicum of people skills. So, why is it that we innocently trust doctors, airline pilots and maybe even our barber, but when forced to select a tradesperson we typically find it uncomfortable to trust a painting contractor or their crew?
Trustworthy Painters DO Exist
You have to ask yourself: will the painter do the hard stuff when there is no one looking. Will they fix the stuff you can’t see, the stuff you may never know about (until it’s too late), the stuff that will require an extra trip down the 32-foot ladder to get a tool and then back up the ladder again just to do should be done (caulking, driving a protruding nail home, priming an unseen bare spot, etc.)?
Can the painter be trusted inside your home, your bathroom (medicine cabinet), your dressers, refrigerator, liquor cabinet, etc.? Vigilant homeowners want a sense of confidence and security that they will not be violated.
Most residential painters are local, hardworking folks who truly want to provide the most effective solutions to address your home’s pressing exterior or interior challenges. Yet, we know not all painters are created equal. As with any profession, there are various degrees of honesty, also in ethics, trade experience, training, and business practices. In order to trust your painting contractor, you need to do your homework, learn to identify the traits most important to you, and understand the characteristics of conscientious painters.
A good residential painter, at very least, needs to be pleasant, professional, knowledgeable, courteous, patient and willing to answer your questions. Remember, they are in a “service” industry — their job is to serve you to the best of their ability. To ensure your painter is a true service professional, you should dig deep to assure the job gets done right, the first time!
The painter Interview
The periodic prep and paint project for your home’s exterior surfaces is not a decision to be taken lightly. A good paint job is an investment in your home and a reflection of your standards. After all, as a New England resident in a harsh environment, you are making a decision whose consequences will manifest in the next 5-7 years. Trade organizations recommend that homeowners ask painting contractors some of the following questions:
How many years has their painting company been in business?
Are they registered or licensed by the state of MA to do the work?
Which professional industry associations are they affiliated with?
Do they have a permanent place of business? Address?
Do they carry general liability and workers compensation insurance?
Can they provide RECENT and sequential references in my area?
How often do their junior painters receive training?
Does the contractor provide a warranty for your work?
A professional painting contractor will be eager to answer all your questions, especially if they are interested in building a long-term relationship. You can also access relevant information about the painter by googling their name – don’t take the results on face value – they information will be the basis of a number of questions you’ll need answered.
Behavior becoming of a trusted painter
A conscientious painter will:
- Ask YOU questions about your color and finish preferences.
- Advise you of options and explain the reasons for their recommendations.
- Take the time to identify and discuss any pre-existing conditions, such as paint spills, bad caulking, etc.
- Apply paint products according to industry and manufacturer guidelines.
- Be committed to 100% customer satisfaction.
You may find yourself trusting your painter if they are more interested in providing superior services than selling. That’s probably why you trust your barber. A conscientious painting professional builds their business on long-term relationships and referrals from happy clients, rather than making the quick buck. If you want to get the best value for your money, take the time necessary to protect your investment — your neighbors and family will thank you!