Learn 10 Tips to Know Before Hiring a Painter

Most homeowners employ a contractor to repaint their home’s exterior. Follow our tips to ensure a high-quality work, whether you’re having your house painted this fall or next spring.


Meet the experts.

For your task, you should choose at least three separate contractors. (Friends and relatives are excellent sources of information.) Also, be at home for the first meeting with them. This way, you’ll know how long each contractor spent assessing the state of your home. The longer he takes, the more accurate the estimate will be. Even a seasoned painter will require more than a cursory walk around your home.

Inquire with each contractor about the size of his crew and the level of experience of its personnel.

Specify your expectations.

The amount of coats applied by a painter isn’t the only consideration in deciding the project’s quality—and price. Preparation is also essential. Tell the contractors you want a smooth surface devoid of unevenness from previous paint jobs—and be prepared to pay more. However, if you can live with certain flaws, agree on what amount of preparation is acceptable and what isn’t.

Obtain estimates.

Each contractor should provide you with a documented estimate. It should include a breakdown of labor and material costs, the number of coats of primer and paint to be applied, the brand and model of materials used, and a full description of the amount of surface preparation that will be done.


Examine references and previous work.

Obtain a list of references from each contractor and contact them to inquire about their experience with the professional. A track record of positive recommendations is a good sign. Examine works the painters completed some years ago to see how their work has held up. Use recent projects to evaluate the abilities of their current crews.

Think about your credentials.

Consider a person’s credentials before hiring him. Membership in a trade or local business association, for example, isn’t a guarantee of outstanding work, but it does demonstrate his devotion and dependability. Check to see if the professional has the necessary licenses (s). (You can discover information on licensure in your state at the Contractor’s License Reference Site.) Check with the Better Business Bureau, your state’s attorney general’s office, or a local consumer-affairs agency to see if the contractor has a history of unresolved complaints.