What Should You Look For in a Painting Contractor?

Licensed Bonded and Insured 

So you probably have seen the phrase ‘licensed, bonded and insured’ on the side of contractors’ vans and on their business cards, but do you actually know what these terms mean?

If not, below are some straightforward definitions for these 3 very important credentials.

Licensed

If a contractor is licensed, it means they have been granted a trade license as mandated by state and local laws. It typically requires completing business practice and trade skill tests, paying a fee and providing proof of insurance and/or bonding.

Bonded

If a contractor is bonded, it means they have an arrangement with a third party (a private bond issuer or a recovery fund held by the licensing municipality) to reimburse homeowners if they cause physical or financial harm (due to poor work or failure to pay subcontractors)

Insured

If a contractor is insured, it means that they have an arrangement with a third party to pay claims should property damage or physical injury occur. Insurance typically falls into two categories: liability and workers’ compensation.

Liability covers property damage and injuries caused by a contractor’s work.

Workers’ compensation provides payments to injured workers for lost wages and medical services. It also provides benefits to a contractor’s family in the event of death.

Referrals / Testimonials

It’s one thing for a contractor to praise his or her own work, but it’s an entirely different story to hear it from the mouth of a past customer. A quality painter should offer up at least 3 references for you to call upon to verify his or her craftsmanship and service quality.

Portfolios

A quality painter should jump at the chance to show you some of his or her past work. You should feel entitled to ask for photos of their recently completed jobs.

Present on Job 

Many larger companies operate with a lead contractor and several helpers. In these instances, it’s easy for a contractor to sell you on a job, but never actually show up to oversee the work. Make sure when you enter into a contract with a painter that he or she agrees to be present on the job at least in the beginning, middle and end to ensure your needs are being met and the laborers are performing to both of your standards.

Preparation 

Just about anyone can slap some paint up on a wall, but the real craftsmanship is in the care taken during the preparation phase.

Make sure your painter repairs any holes and cracks, primes the repaired areas, and sands all surfaces at least once to help ensure a smooth surface and good adhesion.

Cleanliness and protection is also of huge importance. A quality contractor should lay drop cloths on all exposed flooring and place plastic wrap on any furniture that’s left in the room. 

Warranty

Today’s paint is engineered to be durable and hold up for at least 15 years. If you experience issues with your paint, it’s most likely related to the quality of application. Be sure to check if your painter offers a warranty on his or her services.

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