What I have found through the years is that most homeowners do not know how to properly evaluate Maryland Heights painting contractors before hiring them. Just because a contractor is cheaper doesn’t mean you’re getting your monies worth. When it comes to hiring contractors, cheaper priced services often end up costing you a lot more. With the high cost of labor and materials, profit margins aren’t that great in the painting industry. Real cheap services in the painting industry are cheap for a reason. Quality and value of services are being cut.
Better qualify your contractors with the following 10 conditions.
1. How long has the contractor been operating in your area. Instability is common in this industry? Some painting contractors work a few years in an area then start to feel the heat from dissatisfied customers, so they move on to another city and start the whole process over again. If a contractor has been working in an area for 10 or more years, generally it is an indication of stability.
2. Does the Contractor pay his help by the hour or on a percentage basis? When I started my business in 1982, I paid my painters by the hour. After about 7 years of paying by the hour and being dissatisfied with their performance, I decided to switch to paying on a percentage basis. I found that the quality of work went up dramatically and the projects were completed in half the time. The painters had an improved mindset when being paid on a percentage basis. The painters also have a special interest in the quality and timeliness of their work. Better performance means a smaller punch list at the end of the job and in less time, resulting in better pay. Be sure and ask the contractor this question. This is merely a suggestion. Obviously, there are some painters that work by the hour that have a good work ethic. Due to this success I will never pay my painters by the hour again. I have been able to provide a higher quality service overall since paying on a percentage basis.
3. Does the Contractor present a well written and organized contract to sign that outlines what he is going to do? This is a good indication of how organized he is. If he is well organized, in most cases it will carry over to his crews. Well organize people are very uncomfortable with disorganization and generally will work to maintain well organized projects and crews.
4. Does the contractor ask for a deposit up front? Although the size of a project may dictate whether a deposit is appropriate or not, for the average size painting and repair project (3,000 to 8,000) I strongly recommend not paying a deposit. The ability of the painting contractor to finance the project is an indication of financial stability and more importantly his desire to operate at peak performance making sure you are happy. I have heard many stories through the years of homeowners who have given the deposit only to have the contractor leave after a day or two of work never to be seen again.
5. How well has the contractor communicated with you since the first time you contacted him? Is he quick to respond to your questions and concerns? Communication is very important to most quality Maryland Heights professional contractors. This is another indication of the core values, by which he operates. During your project, you will definitely want good communication.
6. Are the painters working for the contractor covered by workmans comp? Be sure of this because many painters say they have liability insurance, but liability insurance is not the same thing as workmen comp and will not cover the painters if they are injured on the job. Another consideration is how well the contractor has insured his crews against injury. Some contractors pay their crews under the table and there is no history that the insurance companies can verify. They may not cover the crews in such cases. This can put you at considerable financial risk. This is another indication of the core values that govern the contractors performance. Contact his insurance company and ask these questions.
7. Be sure and check their references. Even though they will give you their best references, you can still get a feel for qualities such as neatness, timeliness, communication, and overall opinion of quality of the job. Keep in mind though, everybody has their own opinion of what constitutes a quality job so don’t decide based solely on their references.
8. Be leery of the aggressive cut throats, as they are more volume oriented. They have to bang out as many houses as they can to turn any kind of profit. In most cases there aren’t any core values driving the quality of their work. You only stand to suffer from this type of contractor.
9. Make sure it is understood there is to be a walk through between you and the head of the crew to take care of touch ups and any issues before you pay for the services. This is crucial, both for you and the contractor. It assures that you are happy with their work and helps eliminate warranty issues for the Maryland Heights contractor, saving him time and money. Seasoned contractors who really care about their customers know that this is the best approach for finalizing a project.
10. You should also check for the following obvious things: a business license, Better Business Bureau for unsettled complaints, how long they have been in business, how many crews work for them, written and detailed warranties.
Always put quality first. Putting a little extra time into qualifying your painting contractors will pay off handsomely. You will have fewer headaches during the project. You will have a better looking home with a paint job that last longer.