What is the definition of a painter? Is it someone that can simply pick up a brush? Perhaps a painter is someone that climbs ladders while applying paint for a living? An experienced painter may have a few larger tools and own what appears to be a paint van/truck. In many cases, a painter maybe a college student or older person doing a few projects during the summer, on the side, weekend work or attempting to paint a few local homes for extra cash? Maybe this describes exactly what you are looking for? Or, does it sound like something you want no part of? Chances are, if you seek quality, you would likely not hire this person – right? You may ask – what’s the difference? A painter is a painter! Right?
To solidify this response, we have been in business for over 30 years as a painting contractor. We didn't just paint a couple of houses 25 or 30 years ago, we paint approximately 900-1000 painting jobs per year and operate with 40 professional painters doing commercial, residential and industrial painting. This article on behalf of Angie's List is totally asinine! I was under the impression Angie's List was only carrying "legitimate" contractors with established reputations. This article written is primarily referring to bottom feeding, one man band operations, trying to hustle for a paycheck.
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The article and comments were great information to have before deciding how to go about getting a painting job done. I think the important point is that there are several key choices (who to do the work; color, sheen, quality, of paint; how many coats; amount of prep/repairs to be done and by whom, how long the job will take, provisions for changes, how detailed the contract needs to be; advanced deposit/progress payments/final payment; final inspection, etc.) that need to be made and it requires advanced research and planning in order to become well enough informed to make the right choices. Then it requires spending sufficient time to check materials and inspect the quality of the work while it is on-going, raher than waiting to do it all at the end. President Reagan's philosophy of "Trust, but verify." applies.
The smallest detail can make a world of difference. This is why we take special care to prepare our workspace before the project begins. We will mask and protect any flooring, windows, furnishings, and other possessions before we begin painting. We take any necessary steps to ensure the job is done right the first time, and that you are completely satisfied with your paint.
I agree with JHs. If there is no new color on it at all, just talk to the painter about it, if it was an honest mistake (which can happen very easily while painting) your painter should have no problem fixing it. However, in my years of experience, it is not unusual for 2 coats of door paint (good quality) not to cover very well at all. I once painted a red door 7 times, plus a tinted prime coat before I found the door to be a solid color.
Some contractors work on time and material others on a firm contract. I would never hire the former and am leary of the latter. A contractor may low-ball a bid to get the job planning to make a killing on change orders. If you say good morning to them, they charge you extra for that. If the contract is not very, very specific and extensively fleshed out or if they display their change order schedule prominently on top, show them the door.
I hired this person because he was listed on Angie's List. This man claimed he took and passed his contractor's license test after he signed me up for a project (Feb.) that included fixing cracks, painting, repairing a gate, installing a screen door, etc. He said he would charge me the original "handyman" prices. He postponed the start date, brought one worker who fixed a few cracks, repainted the gate terribly, but ruined a dining room ceiling when his worker used silicone in a tube instead of the expansion tape, spray ceiling covering, and paint I had purchased saying this silicone was "better". Then they said they would have to paint the whole ceiling and charge extra. They left holes in the walls and did a sloppy paint job in several places. I just paid them to get them out of my home as I felt intimidated as a senior citizen who is handicapped. I will try to have the main guy come back when I let him know what I need redone. Don't know if he will come back without charging me more.
I disagree with your criteria to hire a painter. A prompt returned call is nice but does not indicate the quality or fairness of the painter. As far as a written estimate, that should be more of a qualifier for the bid versus an evaluation criterion. I'm not sure one would have favorable results by hiring a painter on this basis. As far as the bidding process, change orders should ONLY be used if the customer requests additional scope (PMP 101). Angie's list should consider asking reviewers if/how much they were told to pay compared with the estimate. Unfortunately, there are a lot of contractors that are unethical and need to be accountable.
If you are going to hire a contractor (professional painter) give a room by room punch list of the fixing of holes small or big, have it identified for the painter to tell you if you need a drywall finisher or if he does this type of work good. Wall repairs can be 3-5 steps to do repairs ( one per day for good drying of patching material and a good sanding) this is what gives you a good paint job only using high quality paint.