Did you know that painting the exterior of your home can increase the value of your property by up to 5 percent?
However, not any paint job will bring that kind of value. You need to pick trending paint colors and the paint job needs to be of professional quality from preparation to the final touch-up. That’s why it’s important you hire a painter to do the job. But, how do you go about finding a professional painter?
In Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom gets his friends to paint his fence by tricking them. This probably won’t bring the value and longevity you’re hoping to get out of your investment. That’s why most homeowners choose to hire a professional painting contractor to paint their home’s exterior.
If your home needs a fresh coat of paint, hiring a professional is the best way because it saves you time and ensures the job gets done right the first time.
If you’ve never hired a painter before, there are some important things you need to consider. That’s why we’ve put together some top tips and best practices when hiring a painter for your home’s exterior.
So, let’s get started!
1. Shop Around for the Best Painting Contractor
Don’t hire the first painter that comes along.
Instead, you need to carefully consider your options before choosing which painting contractor to hire. Like dad always said, get at least three quotes to compare and then “sleep on it” before you make your decision.
That’s why you need to consult a number of contractors. Make sure you request a written quote to paint the exterior of your home.
It’s important that you’re satisfied with the answers to these questions before you move onto the next stage.
Qualify Your Painter
- What qualifications do you have?
- Do you have a license to paint?
- How many years of experience do you have?
- Is your business registered with the State of Florida?
- Is exterior painting a full-time occupation, or just part-time?
- What resources (e.g. crew, equipment) do you have?
- Do you hire sub-contractors to do the work, or do hire employees?
- Satisfaction Guarantee?
- Is there a Warranty?
2. Make the Job Clear
The purpose of collecting a number of different quotes for the job is that you can compare the different choices.
But it’s important to make sure you communicated what the job requires clearly to each contractor. Otherwise, you won’t be able to accurately compare the different quotes over the same work.
The best way to avoid confusion is to produce a list of the work. With this information, each contractor should be able to provide you with an honest painting quote.
Be Ready to Provide to Painting Contractor
- Total square footage of your home under the roof.
- The areas you want to be painted (ex: doors, garage doors, trim, door casings etc.)
- The color and level of gloss you want to use in each area specified
- The time frame when you would like the work to be completed
- The quality or brand of paint you want to use
- The type(s) of house siding (ex: wood, stucco, cinder block, brick, vinyl, etc)
- The problem areas that you know need to be repaired
- You require that the painting company be licensed, bonded, and insured
- How do you want your pricing? Cost of paint and materials separate? Flat rate or flex rate?
3. Get Payment Worked Out Up Front
There are a few ways painting contractors provide painting estimates to paint a home. It’s important that you get the pricing and payment process worked out up front before the job begins.
Otherwise, miscommunication or misunderstandings can cause problems and conflict.
Some painters provide an estimate with a flexible rate determined by the number of days and crew members needed to get the job done; some provide a painting estimate determined by the time and material; and some painters provide a flat rate quote where everything is built into the quote with à la carte options from which the homeowner can choose.
Questions About Payment
- When do I pay?
- Do you require a deposit?
- Satisfaction guarantee?
- What kind of payment methods do you accept (e.g. cash, check, credit card, paypal)?
You might find that some contractors require an on-site examination before they offer a quote. While others will give you a quote over the phone.
It’s recommended that your painter walk the property with the homeowner to be sure he completely understands the job when he’s giving his painting estimate.
Regardless of whether you get a quote over the phone or after the painter walks the property, it’s important that your painting quote is in writing. It’s best to get a fixed price quote so you know the maximum the job will cost.
4. What’s the Painting Process?
Each contractor has a particular style and process of painting the exterior of your home. It’s important to make sure you know what the painter plans.
There are a number of questions that you need to ask the painting contractor before you hire. By collecting the answers to the questions listed here, you can effectively compare the different contractors that you’ve consulted.
Painting Process Questions
- How do you prepare the surface?
- What kind of primer do you use, such as the type and brand?
- What kind of paint do you use?
- What level of gloss do you recommend?
- Which brand of paint do you use? Does the paint come with a warranty?
- Do you help me pick my house paint colors?
- Do you include color samples with your bid?
- How many coats of paint will you apply?
- Do you pressure wash the house before you paint?
- Do you repair damage e.g. wood rot, stucco cracks, mildew?
- How many days will it take you?
- Will you paint my home from start to finish? Or, will the project get interrupted?
- Do you clean up when you leave the job for the day?
- What’s the time frame for completion?
- Will I get a chance to request touch-ups?
- Do you offer a Satisfaction Guarantee?
5. Bonded and Insured?
The last thing anyone wants is for one of the painters or crew members to get hurt on their property. That’s why there are a number of safety measures that you need to inquire about from the contractor. If something like that happens, then the painting company needs to have the proper insurance coverage to protect you from having to cover the injury under your own home insurance policy and avoid a potential lawsuit.
In addition to personal injury, you need to ensure that your assets are protected against damages incurred by the painters while they do their job. It’s likely that there are plants, garden furniture, etc. that could be damaged in the painting process unless specific safety precautions and measures are taken by the painters. And even when everything is done correctly, when accidents happen, the painter’s insurance will cover the damages.
You need to ensure that you’re protected in the event that there are any damages. Be sure to ask the painting company if they are bonded and insured to protect you from any of these potential incidents. Ask them for copies of up-to-date papers before they begin work that explicitly state that you’re protected.
6. What’s the Time Frame?
The time frame mostly depends on the availability of the painting contractor. However, you want to make sure that the painter is able to complete the project within a time frame that suits your schedule.
Ask the Painting Contractor
- When will you begin the work?
- When will you be finished painting?
- What, if anything, could cause this painting project to be delayed?
It’s also good to ask about the resources available, especially the number of painters to work on the job. This is especially important if you’re being charged by the number of days.
You need to make sure you have assurances that the job will be completed on time. Plus, if the job is not finished by the agreed deadline, how will you be compensated?
7. Check Their Work
Did you know that 83 percent of us trust referrals from friends and family members above any other recommendation?
Unfortunately, not everyone has a friend that recently painted their house. But, it is always good to hear from at least one of the painting contractor’s previous clients.
Painter Have Client References?
Ask the painter if you can speak to any of their clients about their experience. In fact, the best painters in Tampa are often times hired by custom home builders to paint their new homes.
You could ask the painter if they have any letters of recommendation from recent customers or well-respected home builders (make sure it’s printed on the builder’s letterhead).
It could be that the painter doesn’t have any letters of recommendation or go-to clients that are willing to take phone calls from the painter’s potential customers. Busy painters are doing multiple quotes a day, so it just may not make sense to have a list of references you can call.
Review Their Online Portfolio
Instead, they may give you a link to their online portfolio to view examples of their work or provide you with some addresses for you to drive by and see the homes they painted, recently.
Check Online Reviews
Finally, another thing you can do is check the painting company’s online reviews. But don’t just check the reviews on the company’s website as they could be filtered. Be sure to check online reviews on 3rd party websites such as Facebook and Google.
- How many reviews does the painter have?
- What’s their overall rating?
- Do the “bad” reviews hold any merit or are they coming from people that could never be satisfied?
- How does the painting company respond to or handle those reviews?
8. First Impressions
Everyone knows that first impressions are important. You have to be able to trust the painting contractor to carry out what you have agreed together.
Does the painter act and appear professional? Are they respectful and polite? Were they on time for the appointment? How was their language, tone and demeanor while they were talking with you or to each other as they discussed the project?
All of these things matter when it comes to choosing who you want to hire to paint the exterior of your home. Remember, they’ll be on your property, painting your home.
9. Communication and Reliability
One of the ways to know if a painter is going to be reliable is if they are on time to the appointment to quote your painting project. You can’t afford to have an unreliable contractor painting your home. If they’re not on time to bid the job, they’re most likely not going to be on time to start the job or finish the job.
That said, if the painter calls ahead of time to let you know he is unable to make the appointment, then that also speaks volumes for his professionalism and respect for your time. Calling ahead is just like being on time. But, they shouldn’t make a habit of it.
Another thing to consider is the promptness of delivering the quote. Did they get the bid to you by the time they said, or did you need to keep calling them to request the proposal?
Make sure you establish a means of communication. Can all the painters speak English? If not, there needs to be someone on-site that you can speak with at all times.
It doesn’t matter whether you agree to stay in touch via phone or email. But it’s important to know how you can reach the contractor whenever you need to.
10. The Quality of the Paint
The experience and knowledge of the painting contractor are really important to make sure you receive a professional paint job on the exterior of your home.
However, it’s also about the resources available to the contractor.
Does the painter get discounted rates on the paint they buy? Where do they buy their paint? You can follow up on the answer to such questions to confirm what they’re saying.
It’s important you insist on the highest quality paint for your home that comes with a warranty. Quality paint lasts longer both in appearance and protection from damages commonly caused by weather and insects in Florida. Although the paint may cost more, it really doesn’t when you consider the value you’re getting.
11. BONUS TIP – Negotiate for the Best Deal
Okay! You’ve done your homework and, by now, you’ve probably found the best painter in Tampa to paint your home’s exterior.
But Wait! Before you sign the proposal, I have another lesson from dad to share with you – “Never pay full price.”
Instead, always ask for a discount. Find a way to save money when you’re paying for something. But, be careful not to insult the service provider or you might lose the opportunity to have one of the best painters in Tampa to paint your home for the best value in town. Remember, value beats price, anytime.
Here are a few questions you can respectfully ask your painter to save a few bucks without hurting your relationship before the project even starts:
Ways to Save on the Cost to Paint
- Do you offer a discount if I pay with cash or check?
- Do you offer a (military, first-responder, teacher, senior) discount?
- Do you offer a discount if I get any of my neighbors to paint their homes at the same time you’re painting mine?
- Do you have any coupons in the local discount magazines that I can use? Or, do you take competitor coupons?
- I prefer to do business with you, but I have an estimate from a competitor that came in less than yours. Their quote looks pretty much apples-to-apples compared to yours. Would you be willing to match their price? Note: Usually, the best painting companies in town already advertise that they offer a price match guarantee. Just be prepared to show the other written painting estimate.
Finally, if they don’t budge with any of the questions, above, then you might ask them, “I’m willing to get started on this project with you, today, if you’ll take $____.” Remember, don’t be ridiculous or greedy with your counteroffer. But, you can usually save $100 – $200 without insulting the painter.
Before you ask the final question, you should ask yourself, “Am I already getting the best value? Do I REALLY need to save another hundred dollars? What if they withdraw their proposal? Do I want to go with one of the other painting companies?”
Are you Looking to Hire a Painter for Your Home’s Exterior?
Do you want to have your home’s exterior painted by a professional painting contractor?
By following our tips on how to hire a painter, you can make sure you get someone who has the experience, knowledge, and professionalism to do an outstanding job.
Click here to learn more about why you should choose Don’s Bay Area Painting for a professional, long-lasting paint job on the exterior of your home like we always do for our homeowner clients and Tampa home builders such as TaylorMorrison, David Weekly and others.
Or, request an online painting estimate, today!