Do I Really Need a Professional Painting Contractor to Paint My Condo?
It may seem like painting your condo yourself, instead of hiring a painting contractor, will be easier and save you money down the road. The truth it, it may be a little less expensive to do it yourself, but a professional painting contractor is exactly that – a professional painter. Your time and energy are worth something, especially if you are looking to repaint to sell. When looking to hire someone, you might shop around for the right price depending on your budget.
Painting contractors are highly skilled at what they do, and a professional should do it efficiently and properly. It is important to understand that when you are hiring a professional, looking for the cheapest option out there is not the best idea. Chances are, they are not going to be professional in how they cut corners to give you that cheap price.
The Right Painting Contractor Will Be Upfront About Everything
Forewarned is forearmed. When you are budgeting to have your condo painted, knowing the worst-case scenario is just as good as the best case. When preparing your budget, know your threshold and talk to your painting contractor when they are providing you with an estimate.
Less than reputable painters won’t include any or all possible repairs in their estimate. This will ensure that their cost is less then the competition and likely get them the job. This should be your first red flag that they are not as good of a deal as they sound. A reputable, professional paint contractor will be upfront about all costs, including all repair work involved. They will highlight any potential additional costs, like a 3rd coat of paint or having to use a more expensive primer, when they meet with you and provide you with an estimate.
When you meet with the painting contractor, pick your paint colours and the sheen before you sign or pay any deposits. This will help you avoid any hidden surprises, because the type and quality of paint will be written right into the final quote. A less reputable painter will give you a quote for the job and take a deposit but will end up increasing the cost after you have already signed a contract. They might claim that the paint cost a lot more than they thought it would, because of the sheen or brand.
The Right Paint Contractor Will Not Scam You on Paint Quality
Sigh. Sadly, there are scammers everywhere, and the painting world is no different. Here are a few more red flags to look out for:
- Mixing high quality paint with cheap stuff. Conveniently, you will only ever see the bucket or a couple of cans of the quality paint in your condo. A good painter will have several buckets and cans in the quality and brand agreed upon in plain sight.
- Watering down quality paint. A harder to detect scam, unfortunately. One way to check is to look at the cans being brought in to make sure they are clean and new, and that buckets of paint are still sealed. This will help you determine if they were opened before they were brought into your condo.
- The lowest price really is to good to be true. Be aware of ads and estimates that promise a small charge per square foot (ex. 50 cents per square foot). If you hire these painters, expect crap paint and a crap job. Bottom line – you get what you pay for.
Questions to Ask When Hiring a Professional Painting Contractor
- How long have they been in business? A company that has been around for more than 5 years is likely to be more reputable.
- Do they hire subcontractors? Subcontractors are generally less experienced and cheap labour.
- Do they offer a warranty and are they insured? You won’t get either with a lowball contractor.
- Have they ever won any awards? Awards are always good!
- Can they provide references? You wouldn’t hire an employee without checking their previous work. Hiring a painting contractor is no different.
- Do they have a portfolio? Most reputable residential painting companies will have a portfolio on their website. They should also be prepared to show you some of their work in a meeting.
- Do they use quality paint? Do they keep a clean work space? Do they include wall preparation in their estimate? Hopefully they say yes to all three. Do your research ahead of time, but Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams are both examples of quality paint brands. Knowledge is power.
Remember – you get what you pay for. When hiring a professional painting contractor, knowing what to look for and expect will ensure that you get the best job at the right price.