Quality Shows!

You may be a Do It Yourself, but perhaps that steeply pitched roof is a little beyond your reach. After all, painting may be fun, but preparing the surface can be a very time consuming process, not to mention dangerous when roofs or double story buildings are involved. Hiring a professional painter may be a smart investment once all things are considered.

In making your decision, remember the following...

  • Painting is a skilled trade that requires training and appropriate tools - Professional painters know how to properly prepare the surface, which paints to use in each situation and how to get the job done quickly with minimal disruption. Professional painters also have all the tools required to achieve a quality finish.
  • Painting can be dangerous and/or hazardous - Working on ladders and dealing with solvents and dusts can be hazardous. Older houses may be coated in poisonous lead paints. Professional painters know how to handle these dangerous situations and substances and minimize the risks. They also have the appropriate safety equipment to keep you and your family and themselves safe.
  • Painting requires proper cleanup and disposal - Professional painters will take care of these tasks on your behalf as part of their service.

If you do decide to hire a professional here are some tips to help you...

Making a Start

Hiring a professional painter to paint your home is not a decision to take lightly. While anybody can slap paint onto your walls, it takes considerable expertise and experience to get a truly high quality finish. It may take you some searching to find the right person for the job.

Always check painters are qualified to do the work. Ask for the names of satisfied customers or for references and make sure you check them out. If possible, visit completed jobs so that you can see the quality of the work for yourself. Ask the references was the job completed in a timely manner? Was the result satisfactory? Did the painter charge the amount that had been agreed? How much did the painter disrupt the household? Would they hire the painter again?

Be Clear About What you Want to Achieve

Make sure everyone who needs to be there is present at the initial meeting with the painter to ensure that all ideas and expectations are tabled before the work starts. Put one person in charge of the project on the household's behalf so that the painter has one person to refer to should they need any questions answered. This will minimize confusion when perhaps one partner asks for work to be done that is contrary to what the other partner has already requested.

If you are planning to have exterior painting done, the initial meeting should be scheduled during daylight so you can show the painter what work is required and they can assess the state of the existing paint finish. The condition of the existing paint work will have a bearing on the scope of work they are required to do.

For a large job prepare a written specification of your requirements, outlining the scope of the work, and expected timeframe. Where possible, follow the same process for smaller jobs - while it may seem unnecessary to write a specification for small jobs, it may save you disagreements later.

Be specific and concise - clear specification will help prospective contractors prepare better quotes. The more information you give them, the more confidence they will have that they understand the requirements of the job, and the more likely they will be able to achieve the desired outcome.

Get a Quote

A quote is a fixed price that won't vary unless you agree to pay for extra costs that were unforeseen at the time of quoting. The quote should include:

  • The painter's contact details
  • Your contact details
  • A clear description of all the areas to be painted, including all surfaces and any surface preparation to be undertaken.
  • The products and colors that will be used, including the brand name of the paint.
  • An estimation of how long the job will take to complete.
  • Once agreed to, the quote should be signed and dated by both yourself and the painter.

Never select a painter on price alone - the cheapest quote will seldom be the best value in the long run. If there is a wide variation in the quotes you receive, ask each painter to itemize the main expenses so that you can compare how the money is being spent. This will also give you an idea of the extra work that some painters are preparing to do that you may not have thought about.

The most important thing to remember when hiring contractors, typically you will get what you pay for - negotiating a low rate may be a false economy if the painter cuts corners to get the job done quickly.

Agree on Payment Terms and Get it in Writing

While it is common for the customer to pay an initial deposit for materials and/or installments as the work progresses, never pay for the entire job in advance. Agree on a schedule of payments as key work is completed. The final payment should not be made until the entire job is complete and has been carefully inspected. Any extra work that arises once the project is underway must be specified, priced and agreed in writing before the work is undertaken and any costs are incurred.

Be realistic about the amount your have budgeted - good painters are in demand and will therefore usually charge more than the market average.

Draw up a clear agreement and establish your ground rules on the project scope and payment schedule. It is essential to get everything in writing before the job starts, otherwise it may end up costing you far more than expected.

Color is Key

Choosing color is a critical part of the finish, so don't rush this part of the process. Many painters will help you select colors if you request this service, however, remember they are experts at painting not color consultants, so if you are looking for a complicated color scheme, it may be better to hire a color consultant for this part of the work.

Always test your color choices using test pots. These will also provide a useful color check for the painter to ensure they applying the correct color.

If you are planning to have paint effects or textured coatings applied, ask your painter to prepare a sample panel. A myriad of paint and textured effects can be created depending on the style of application. If planning such an effect always agree on a sample panel before the contractor starts the work, otherwise the finished result may be vastly different from what was desired.

Don't Accept Substitutes

Remember, the painter has quoted on using a specific product - don't let them substitute a cheaper product as you are paying for them to use the more expensive product. While two products may initially look identical, higher quality paint is more durable and will last longer. You will regret a moment of weakness in a few years' time when the inferior paint breaks down faster.

Or You Can Always Do It Yourself

If you decide to do the work yourself, allow plenty of time to complete the job. Surface preparation will almost always take longer than expected.

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