OF the different type of customers there are at least two: cheap charley's and people who want great results. I agree the need for wall repair is critical to the end results. Most critical is for the customer to be told ahead that the walls are going to need exactly what is needed. This means the contractor must look, touch, examine the walls for defects and needed work. I've been a building manager for 40 years and seen a few paint jobs. Typically a contractor does a lot of talking about how expert he is, but the guys who walk through with note pads, iPads, examine, measure, point things out, explain and recommend are the ones I will deal with. It confirms if they know what the business. Nobody likes the workers to show up and when you talk about the job they're going to do they know nothing but they we were told to be here. Their boss who bid the job doesn't supervise - a big no no around here. Nobody likes surprises or worse, at the end of a job that's not right getting a bunch of little kid excuses. Contractors that do not like the customer to be around looking at the progress don't get the job.
I’ll bring up Erick Gatcomb again, because he’s been a sounding board helping me deal with whatever the future holds: “Don’t see this as a failure; see it as 27 years of success. So many businesses don’t make it that far,” he consoled. If we’ve helped you out in some way, made a difference in your life, helped you place an article, sell a product, get more work, figure out what’s the right brush or roller, or put a smile on your face with some bad joke or other, then our mission was accomplished. If there’s anything I’ve learned over these 27, it’s that success doesn’t equal happiness so much as happiness equals success.
I was a painting contractor for many years and never asked for a deposit upfront. A good contractor should have great credit with his suppliers and an even better contract if the deal should go south before the job is done. Get to know your customer and explain how each paint covers so they understand fully before you have to apply 3 or 4 coats. If you didn't bid your job right and the client has already signed the contract then that is on you not the client. Yes I haven had to eat the difference but the client was happy and a return customer for years so I made up for it.
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.
First off, the picture on the top THAT IS A HOME OWNERS PAINT JOB. If you here a school kid or your neighbor, this is what you get. I was a painting contractor for the better part of 40 years and never saw a PAINTER (even the worst painter) leave a mess like that. Maybe the electrician or the carpenter but, that is not something a painter could even do if they tried.
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