Does a painting estimate really matter?

Does a painting estimate really matter?

Painting myth: Since I know the square footage of the space I want painted, a painter should be able to give me a price to paint it over the phone.

Fact: There are numerous variables when it comes to painting. Every space, like every person, is unique. Will the wall you’re planning to paint need one, two or three coats? Are there imperfections such as nail pops, water stains or dents that will need to be repaired prior to painting? What other details should be taken into account?

All these questions help add accuracy to a painting estimate. As a painting contractor, we don’t’ want to give you a price that’s completely inaccurate and overpriced. You, as the consumer, probably wouldn’t appreciate that too much. But we also don’t want to lose our shirts because something that could have been detected on a typical estimate.

Here are some things to think about when getting painting estimates:

1. Products – Ask what paint products the painter will recommend and what products your quote will include. The quality of the paint or stain can make a huge impact on the price – and the end product!

2. Scope – Is every painter you’re talking to quoting the same scope? In other words, does one contractor’s quote include painting the ceiling, where another contractor’s doesn’t? Determine if all the estimates you’re looking at are apples-to-apples comparisons.

3. Deadlines – How long will it take to complete the project? If your project is larger, and there’s only one person working on it, it could take forever to complete. That means your home or space will be in disarray for a longer period of time than if there would be a four-person crew to tackle it. This could also affect the cost of the job.

4. Reliability – How reliable is the company? Are their employees given background checks and drug tests before they’re hired? Your home is your sanctuary and safe haven – it matters who has access to it.

5. Training - What kind of training do they provide their crew or workers? Up-to-date training helps ensure the best products, techniques and safety measures will be used.

6. Payment – How much do you have to pay upfront? If they contractor requires you to pay the full contract amount upfront, beware!

7. Insurance – Does the painting contractor have proof of insurance? Think about it: If your painting contractor is not properly insured, and if that ladder they’re working on wobbles, breaks or falls with a person on or around it – injuring them, you may be on the hook for damages or injuries.

8. Lead safety certification -  If your home was built before 1978 and you’re hiring a contractor to do work in your house that involves disturbing any walls, window sills or doors (even exteriors) they must be EPA Lead-Safe Certified or they may receive a fine of more than $30,000 per infraction per day.

9. Associations or memberships – Are they members of any business associations? This will help show involvement in the trade overall and that they probably employ those associations’ sets of best practices.

10. References – Ask for a list of references. If they provide you with a list of names and numbers of previous customers, do your homework and give them a call. Those people will tell you if the company is worth hiring.

11. Budget – Do a bit of research so you can know what your budget is, and if it’s realistic. The last thing anyone wants (including us, the painting contractors) is to be blindsided with a price that’s substantially more than what was expected.

About this Angie’s List Expert: John Van Groningen is the owner of Jondec Painting. Headquartered in Tinley Park, Ill., the family owned and operated company provides painting services in Chicago, particularly the south suburbs. To date, the company has earned the Angie’s List Super Service Award every year consecutively since 2008. Follow this #ALExpert on Twitter @JondecPainting.

As of July 24, 2013, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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