5 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Painter

Most homeowners assume that all is well if they follow the typical advice provided for hiring a painting contractor:

  • Get 3 bids
  • Check past references
  • Inspect completed work

This is good basic advice, and worth doing; but it often is not enough to prevent you from getting burned. The cursory background check just does not do enough to prevent serious, but entirely avoidable cost, schedule and quality problems.

To avoid headaches down the road, more work is required before and during the hiring process. Ultimately, the more you know, the better and more detailed your overall plan, the lower your risk. Set aside the time to prepare properly and avoid these five contractor hiring errors: 

1.    Loose Job Requirements 

If you do not know exactly what you want done and cannot explain your quality expectations, you are vulnerable to a multitude of serious problems. Do not begin the hiring process until you know exactly what you want – and have your requirements in writing. 

2.    Using the Contractor’s Contract 

It is your money, so use a contract that protects you. Make sure the contract details all materials to be installed, work to be performed, quality checks, payment requirements and how changes will be handled.

3.    No Change Order Process

Don’t let changes throw your project & budget into chaos. Make sure your written contract is crystal clear about how changes to the project are made and how cost and schedule changes are approved.

4.    Prepayment

Do not let your contractor be the middleman for purchasing materials. Never pay for work that isn’t completed to the quality standards you included in the contract.

5.    Unverified Credentials

Understand your contractor’s license history and reputation with knowledgeable home professionals in your community. 

By using Homespree to hire a painter, you can avoid many of these issues. Homespree completes a thorough background check on all contractors within its network, in addition to providing solid work requirements and contracts.

Why Do Painting Prices Vary So Much?

Stressed Homeowners

When you request estimates from more than one contractor for the same painting job, the range of prices submitted may often amaze you. It is not uncommon for high bids to be twice as much as low bids. This range of prices can lead you to considerable uncertainty and anxiety in the decision-making process.

You’re left with important, but complex questions. Why do the estimates vary so much? Can I trust the low bid for basic quality? Can I trust the high bid for value? 

By understanding the factors behind price variation, you will be better able to identify risky or predatory pricing in the estimate process.

Common factors that drive price variation in home services include:

Estimate Approach­

Prior to Homespree, there was no standard way to estimate painting job prices, but many painters have traditionally used a cost-plus approach. Variations in the costing and markup will create significant job cost variations. Some painters use material and labor costs from recent, similar jobs they have performed. Others estimate from a standard cost/productivity reference book. Others may have portions of the work bid by a subcontractor(s). Once a cost total is estimated, the markup or profit (usually in the range of 10% – 20% of the costs) is added to create an estimate.

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