By Sheldon Stewart

Color scheme and a budget. All that is left to do is hire the right painting company. So, how do you decide which company is best for your particular job? Sure, you could call good old Uncle Harry and ask him, but you remember how well that worked out last time, right? This time, why not do it the right way? The best way to choose a quality painting company is to ask some key questions before you sign a contract. Here are some questions to ask your painting company before you hire.

Start at the Beginning

The first question to ask is how long they have been in business. Now, of course, a start-up company could also do a great job, but experience speaks volumes in the painting business. Experienced painting company’s know their products, equipment, and the proper safety precautions to keep you and your family safe, as well as their own employees.  They can also identify and handle any potential problems or defect you might have such as wood rot that, if left unattended, could lead to much bigger and costly problems down the road.

An experienced painting company also knows how to treat their customer. Effective communication, respect, and attentiveness are all qualities that make the difference between a decent painter and a great one. An experienced company will also have a reputation in the community they serve. When a business develops a good reputation and maintains it for five, ten, even 20 plus years, you can trust them. When you find a great painting company to work with, the whole experience will go better.

Is Your Painting Company Doing the Job?

Before you sign on the dotted line, find out if your company does the work with their own team of employees or if they subcontract it out to other painters. You should be particularly wary if a bid comes in significantly lower than other bids. This could mean the painting is shipped out to unskilled, untrained people. When you have workers coming into your home or business, you need to know they have been vetted and are trustworthy. When you hire a painting company, make sure they do their own work. If they subcontract it out, not only do they not control the timetable of the project, but if there is a problem, you are setting yourself up for a frustrating finger-pointing session and potentially unresolved issues.

Is the Painting Crew Licensed and Bonded?

It’s important to choose a painting company who is both licensed and bonded. The license means they are qualified to operate as a business and have all their legal ducks in a row. The bond means if there is a problem, like an injury or an accident, it won’t wind up costing your homeowner’s or business insurance. Instead, the surety bond will cover it. When a company carries insurance, it protects them from loss. When they are bonded, it protects you.

Does Your Company Provide a Warranty?

A reputable painting company wants you to be fully satisfied with the job when it’s finished. They also want you to remain happy with your paint job for a reasonable amount of time. They shouldn’t be reluctant to stand behind their work and offer you some type of guarantee.

A good painting warranty will protect against things like blistering, chipping and peeling paint. Paint is going to be exposed to the elements. On exterior jobs, the weather can wreak havoc on your paint. With an inside job, peeling or chipping paint is not only unsightly, but it can also be dangerous to your health. Don’t settle for a warranty that is less than two years.

May I See Your References?

One of the best ways to know what kind of work you can expect from your painting company is through the references of their former clients. Ask to see or talk with their references. Look at how many they have. Check out Google Reviews, Angie’s List, Houzz, Facebook and other social media platforms for reviews. Ask to see a photo gallery. Ideally, you’ll find a variety of high-resolution photos that show detailed work. Check out corners and areas where paint changes from one color to another. Look to see if the finish appears even across the wall. If a painter doesn’t have photos of their work, there might be a reason for that. Check things out for yourself and make sure prior customers are happy with the work they have had done.

How Do They Start and Finish the Job?

Every painting job should start with good prep work. If the surface isn’t properly cleaned and prepped for paint, you’ll wind up with chips and peeling paint. Every paint job should end with the painting crew cleaning up their mess and leaving your personal space free of debris. Starting a job right and ending it well are two very important parts of the job.

Asking these questions will give you a much better idea of what type of work you can expect from the painting company you hire.

Sheldon Stewart is President of Stewart Painting, Inc. with offices in Hyannis and Hingham. Learn more at stewartpaint.com or 508-362-8023.