How to Choose an Atlanta Area Painting Contractor
For our first blog post for 2015, we’ve decided to touch on a topic that most people struggle with: how to choose a painting contractor. Since you only paint your home once every few years, most people don’t have a go-to painting contractor that they know they can trust, and it is difficult to sift out the reputable companies that will offer you the best quality for your money from the countless fly-by-night painters that will leave you with paint that is peeling and cracking within a matter of months. So, here are some helpful tips for when you go about your search for your next painting contractor.
In the greater Atlanta area homeowners and businesses can pick and choose from hundreds of painting contractors for their interior or exterior painting projects. While having a large selection of contractors sounds like a good idea, actually choosing one can become an involved process but one that is well worth the time and effort.
The first thing you need to do is whittle the choices down to four or five and the fastest way to do that is to ask your neighbors and network of friends if they have any recommendations. Satisfied customers are eager to pass on a name of a quality painting company. Conversely, they are quick to warn you of a painter they had a bad experience with.
If your list is still short you can visit online directories to flesh it out. Review their services but don’t discount a painter strictly on location. At Douglasville based D&R we have customers from ranging from Villa Rica to Marietta and Smyrna.
With list in hand call each contractor and ask:
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have a Georgia business license?
- Are you insured?
- Can you provide references?
- Do you offer a warranty on your work?
- When can you see the house and provide a quote?
You can tell a lot just from the phone call. Was the contractor courteous and professional? Did it sound like they were busy (that can be a good thing)? If you left them a message how fast did they get back to you? If they made an appointment were they on time?
Narrowing it Down
Price is always a concern but it shouldn’t be the lone deciding factor. In fact if you get a quote that is significantly lower than the rest there’s probably a problem. What you are interested in is value and that starts with ensuring your painter can prove the quality he says he can deliver and operates a responsible business.
And that means you have to do some digging. This is the time consuming part we mentioned:
- Insurance. You are inviting a stranger onto your property and every time you do that you open yourself up to liability. Ask for a copy of the painting contractor’s certificate of insurance and ensure that it includes workman compensation coverage. Without that coverage you could be financially responsible if a worker is injured on the job. This next step is important. Call the agency that issued the certificate and make certain the coverage is still in effect. One of the fastest ways for a marginal contractor to reduce his overhead is to let his insurance lapse.
- Check with the Atlanta Better Business Bureau. Responsible painting contractors will be accredited members of the BBB. The BBB will grade the firm and list their history of disputes with customers.
- Referrals. Every painter will have a list of referrals and granted, most will be their best customers but it pays to contact them and ask them about their experience. If the list shows the date of the project, call the oldest first and see if the customer is now suffering from buyer’s remorse. If you can’t contact a reference at least drive by the address (for exterior jobs) to get a feel for the work.
Inking the Deal with Your Atlanta Painting Contractor
Now that you have narrowed it down to a single painting contractor there is one more step and that’s the contract. Read it and understand it and make certain it details:
- What is to be painted (location, trim, built-ins, doors etc.)
- How many coats of paint will be used (tip: anything less than two is unacceptable)
- Colors to be used by brand name.
- Hours of work and completion date.
- A description of how the surfaces will be prepared and what precautions will be taken to protect furniture, rugs, landscaping etc.
- A description of how the work area will be cleaned up.
- Affirmation that the warranty applies to this contract.
- When and how payment will be made to the contractor.
If you are satisfied with the contract then you are good to go. Selecting an Atlanta painting contractor takes some time to do right but considering it’s your home they will be working on the extra effort is worth it.
If you have any questions regarding the selection process please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.