If you’re a construction or renovation worker who specializes in painting, you might have given some thought to how you can go into business for yourself. Painting contractors not only need to be skilled in a variety of painting techniques, but also know how to bid on jobs, calculate project expenses and hire workers in order to be successful. Before you can begin working as an independent painting contractor in most states, you’ll first need to apply for licensing, carry liability insurance and file the right documents to have your business officially recognized.
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.
Good contracts include descriptions of prep work and repairs; paint specs by brand name, type, color and product number; the number of coats; and a full description of the work, including frequently omitted items such as cabinet interiors and shutters. Minimize delays by specifying that, weather permitting, work will be continuous. Get a payment schedule that minimizes the down payment — the more payment you can withhold until the end, the more leverage you'll have to get the job done well and per your specifications. Insist that contractors provide proof that they carry both general liability and workers' compensation coverage.
When hiring a contractor it is always best to hire one who is personally referred to you by someone you trust. Hiring through ads or phone book is hit and miss. Check with your local paints stores, they know the good guys from the bottom feeders. Go to the stores that sell the high quality paints like Benjamin Moore(nonpareil), Pittsburg, Sherwin Williams or Glidden. Don't go the the big box stores for referrals, the people there don't know squat!
Familiarize yourself with construction codes and regulations. All cities have laws that dictate things like how contractors can do business, what types of materials and equipment are okay to use and how professional contracts should be handled. It will be necessary for you to have a working knowledge of these regulations as a private contractor. You can study them on your own time while you’re finishing an apprenticeship or receiving on-the-job training.
I managed commercial construction projects for many years, have built and remodeled several properties, and never once have I encountered any of these scams. The tone of this article is deeply troubling. The author seems to be saying that ALL painting contractors are inherently dishonest, and that has not been my experience. The underlying advice here is sound: get it all in writing and cover as many contingencies as possible--so pointing out potential pitfalls like coat coverage is helpful. But do that in the spirit of clear communication of expectations, not with the expectation that the person you are hiring will try to cheat you at every turn. Not every contractor takes outrageous advantage of change orders; not every contractor will sneak past necessary preparation and/or repairs. Contractors of all sorts get a bad rap as it is; reinforcing a stereotype with articles written from this point of view just seems unproductive.
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.
Painters with bad reputations can avoid the problem of reference checks by giving their customers lists of relatives and friends. The people will say great things, and the customer won’t be the wiser. The best way to avoid this smoke and mirror trick is to ask specific questions about the project. If the reference seems hesitant, doesn’t know the details, or gives sketchy responses, be skeptical.
Take classes on business administration. If you’re eager to learn more about what goes into operating a private business, consider furthering your education on the college level. You can enroll in business courses at your local university or community college. Look through their catalog and sign up for classes that you think will translate to the daily demands of the job, like cost management, staffing and tax fundamentals.
I am a painting contractor and have been since 2001. Make sure the estimate provides in writing: What is EXCLUDED as well as INCLUDED. It should state the manufacturer and type of paint going to be used. Estimate says ALL LABOR AND MATERIALS. My estimates to my customers say "guaranteed coverage" eliminates the conversations of 1 coat vs 2 coat. I have my customers submit colors 5 days prior to start date. Customers need to inform me if they are going to use pure white, dark reds, oranges, and bright yellows they need to inform me in that 5 day window, so I can adjust my pricing for 3 coats. Although this more uncommon now than years past because a lot of paint manufacturers have primer with paint products. Let the contractor know if your doing accent walls. This takes longer to cut in straight lines and it requires the contractor to purchase more paint. If you add anything on the scope of work have the painter write out the description and cost prior to them doing the work. Have the estimate say how many days it will take to perform the work. Ask how many workers will be doing the job. Make sure to enforce that number of workers their everyday until the job is complete. Do not give final payment until you do a final walk through. Walk the job when its almost complete and point out areas that you want fixed prior to the contractors final walk through. Its best to do while the workers are still in that particular area as they will have tarps down and areas covered and it will be easier for them to take care of. Purchase a roll of blue tape and stick it to areas that you want fixed. This is called a punch list.
FIRST: Unless you can stay in business painting 1 bedroom at a time for $500-$1000, which you can't, then you will be taking on several thousand dollar contracts that require thousands in Labor and Materials to fulfill the order. Multiply that by 3-4 jobs at one time or in our case 15-20 jobs at a time, YOU NEED TO TAKE DEPOSITS!!! It is horrible business not to take deposits. There are many jobs where its not possible to get a deposit and that is built into or pricing accordingly. If we are not getting a deposit, there is a finance charge built in, contractors are not banks. If you don't have a good feeling about a deposit, your hiring the WRONG CONTRACTOR. Hire people you know or well established businesses.
The time needed to complete an exterior paint job varies depending on the size of the home, the condition of your home’s exterior, the weather conditions and type of paint used on the job. An average project lasts 3-4 days, while a complex project may take a week or more. Additional time may be needed to fix loose or damaged siding or add primer to areas without coverage. Your painter will provide a timeline that explains how long the project will last and will schedule the job to avoid inclement weather.
After our own inspection, your Job Site Supervisor will walk you through the space, giving you the opportunity to review our work and to provide any initial feedback. You may also be contacted for a follow-up satisfaction survey so that we know how we measured up to your expectations. Our paint jobs are designed to last up to 7 years on a properly maintained surface, so you will get to enjoy your beautiful newly painted room for years to come.
Did you even read the article? It was specifying UNSCRUPULOUS painters! And, by the way, the photo at the top was not identified at all. How would anyone know whether it was done by a homeowner or not? Also did you ever stop to think that if a consumer has the knowlege to spot a dishonest contractor then by default he also has the knowlege to identify an honest one as well? And, pardon me, but just because you've never seen something has absolutely nothing to do with whether it has actually happened to someone else. Why would any honest business person be so defensive about the publishing of such useful information? If any painters/painting contractors object to a consumer having this kind of information maybe they are the dishonest ones!