1. Do you provide a free estimate?
Ask this question when you first contact the company so you know what to expect from the get-go. Ask what is included in the estimate. To ensure that you’re able to make an even comparison of all the bids you receive, ask each company to include the following in their estimate:
- Prep work
- Anticipated amount of paint and primer
- Any additional supplies
Go for in-home estimates rather than estimates given out over the phone. An in-home estimate allows the estimator to capture more detail about the project and predict any areas that may require extra work, and thus, extra costs.
2. What are your credentials?
Ask for the company’s insurance information. A contractor with general liability insurance is a must so you aren’t held responsible for accidents on your property. Some states require workers’ compensation insurance, too.
You can also ask to see the company’s business license, since some jurisdictions require home improvement companies to be licensed or registered as a contractor to perform this work in people’s homes.
Ask about certifications and training the company and its employees have. Many painting companies hold memberships with the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America, which provides continuing education programs for its members. If you have an older home, built before 1978, look for a painting contractor that is EPA Lead-Safe Certified.
3. Who will be on my crew?
If your project will take more than one day, ask if you’ll have the same people in your home for the whole job. Also ask who your main point of contact would be for the project. Would it be the office line, or an on-site project supervisor? Ask if the company uses subcontractors, and if so, whether a representative from the company will be on the job along with the subcontractors.
4. Can I see a list of references?
Ask the company to provide a list of homeowners you can contact about their experiences with the company. Don’t be afraid to ask the references if you can come see the paint job in person.
Request a portfolio, too. Painters might not update their websites frequently, but they’re sure to have documentation of their best work that they can share with you in some format.
5. What materials do you use?
You’ll want to know what paint brands they offer. It’s important to choose the highest-quality paint you can afford. Going with a high-quality brand will ensure that you don’t have to repaint in a year or two.
Discuss paint finish types with the contractor as well. Some finishes are better suited than others to the different rooms in your house, and an experienced painter will be able to advise you on what works best in your kitchen versus your master bedroom, for example.
6. What kind of painting prep do you do?
Is wall sanding, wood or drywall repair, and covering and moving furniture included in painting prep as well as in the estimate? If you need furniture covered or moved, be sure to address this and figure out who is responsible for moving anything.
Additionally,ask what work goes into the project after it’s done. If it’s an exterior painting job, ask if they’ll re-hang gutters and downspouts.
7. Do you offer a workmanship warranty?
Reputable painting contractors will back up their work. Ask for warranty details. Many companies will offer workmanship warranties and back manufacturer warranties. When you’ve chosen your contractor, be sure to get their warranty details in writing.