Painting a house is a major undertaking that can take a lot of time and money. Although there are many DIY projects you can take advantage of in order to save big, painting a home is definitely something you should leave to the professionals.
One mistake can lead to paint failure, or worse, an injury from falling off a ladder. However, when you go with a qualified exterior or interior painting contractor, you can have peace of mind knowing that the job will be done with care and attention.
Are you wondering what to look for in a contractor?
Keep reading to learn about 5 tips for finding an Austin painting contractor you can trust.
1. Compare and Contrast Online Reviews
When it comes to finding a reputable painting contractor in Austin, you should start by comparing and contrasting online reviews. Word of mouth is still a valuable tool for finding the best products and services and, with the internet, it has become even more powerful. With just a click of a mouse, you can see the opinions and impressions of dozens of customers or more.
You shouldn’t necessarily go with the business that has the highest star-rating, for instance, because you might find some surprising or off-putting information in specific reviews. Not to mention, it’s easy to get a 5-star rating when only a few people have left a review. In that case, the business is probably too new and might not have all the kinks worked out in their operation.
However, it is also very difficult sometimes for a business to get customers to leave reviews. In many cases, only 1 out of 20 customers might leave a review. A painting contractor who has 10 reviews might have already painted 200 houses or more!
You should read several reviews or more per business and determine which one seems the most trustworthy and experienced. Yelp is perhaps the most well-known online review site, along with Google and Facebook.
2. Ask Friends and Family
One potential problem with online reviews is that they could come from untrustworthy sources. For example, a positive review could be from someone who owns the business or knows the owners personally. On the other hand, a negative review could come from the business’s competition.
If the idea of getting recommendations from strangers online makes you uncomfortable, then you should go to the people you know and trust. It never hurts to ask friends and family members for recommendations.
If anyone you know has recently gotten their house painted, then you should go to them first. Even if they have only negative things to say, then at least you can cross that company off your list and narrow down your options.
They might not have dealt with an interior paint contractor directly, but they may know someone who has. From there, you might be able to find out who is trustworthy and who isn’t.
3. Ask the Right Questions
There are many questions to ask an Austin painting contractor that can really tell you if they know what they’re doing or not. If they’re not willing to be upfront about important questions, then you can cross them off your list pretty quickly.
However, if a business is caring and knowledgeable enough to answer some crucial questions over the phone, they might just be the ones for you.
Are They Insured?
While you shouldn’t keep them on the phone for too long, you should start by asking if they’re insured. A reputable company will be happy to provide you with a copy of their Certificate of Insurance, even if you haven’t even accepted a quote yet.
Make sure the insurance company name and phone number are on the certificate, as well as a list of coverages and amounts. One million dollars or more in general liability is the industry standard.
Keep in mind, if there’s an accident in your home and the contractor you hired is not insured, YOU will be on the hook for ay potential damage, as well as injuries that the uninsured workers might incur. Make sure you’re protected!
Do They Have a Tax ID?
They should also be able to give you a copy of their W9 which includes their tax identification number, or at least give you the number itself. For most companies, the EIN will be a nine digit number in this format: XX-XXXXXXX. For sole proprietors, it will simply be their Social Security number: XXX-XX-XXXX.
A painting contractor that doesn’t want to show a tax ID shouldn’t be trusted, as they are likely hiding income, past business practices or judgements, or even worse, criminal activity.
Member’s of Trade Associations?
It can also be helpful to know if they’re a member of certain professional associations. Fly-by-night operations typically don’t go through the trouble of joining associations or contractor’s groups.
The Better Business Bureau is probably the most famous and one of the most respected. You can find how the business is rated for their conflict resolution, their company information, and also a list of any official complaints that were filed against them and how they were resolved.
Business History and Warranties?
For peace of mind, it can be nice to ask about any warranties or guarantees they offer, just in case. Most reputable companies will have some kind of guarantee, usually for a period of time after the job is finished. Make sure to see what is covered by the guarantee.
It’s always important to know how long they’ve been in business and what an overview of their professional history looks like too. Keep in mind that a new business might have owners with many years of experience, and that a long-established business might have just been sold to a brand-new owner.
For example, SurePro Painting has been an Austin painting contractor since 2016, but both co-owners have more than 15 years experience each in the house painting and remodeling industries.
4. Get Recommendations from Past Clients
Before you do business with anyone, it’s a good idea to you ask for some recommendations from past clients. While many former customers might want to keep their contact information private, a good contractor will usually reach out to them to make sure they are ok with being references.
Make sure the clients are recent because a lot can change with how a business operates, even within a year. Also make sure these clients aren’t friends or family of the contractor.
From there, you can talk with them on the phone and learn about how their experience with the business was. You may learn something that will let you know for sure whether or not the business is trustworthy.
It may sound like a good amount of time will be spent talking with various people, but when so much time and money are on the line, you shouldn’t cut any corners.
5. Receive an Estimate
Keep in mind that an estimate is just that, a projection of what the job might cost. You could end up paying more or even less.
Although an estimate is never 100% sure, it can give you a good idea of what you’re dealing with. Comparing estimates is yet another way to gauge whether a business is trustworthy.
However, you shouldn’t simply choose the business that offers the lowest estimate. They may plan on doing a shoddy job by skipping steps or using low-quality materials. They could even plan on charging you much more after the job is completed.
In addition to comparing and contrasting estimates, you should continue to ask as many questions about what they plan on doing to accomplish your project after they’ve taken all of the factors into consideration.
With diligence and persistence, you’ll be able to find the perfect painting contractor.
6. Ask About Deposits & Payments
Many times, a painting contractor will require a deposit before beginning a project. These are typically used to purchase materials. In most cases, a deposit simply signals to the contractor that you are serious about moving forward with a project.
Scheduling a start date and showing up with a crew ready to work costs a contractor money. This is not only for the labor they are bringing for the project, but also the opportunity cost if a client changes their mind at the last minute.
Deposits are common across the industry for contractors, and Austin painting contractors are no different. A 20-25% deposit for the project total is fairly standard, though some painters might require up to 50%. For smaller jobs or jobs where the customer is supplying the materials, a deposit might not be required at all.
You should never pay more than 50% before beginning a project, but be wary anytime the deposit requirement is more than 25%. If the project is fairly short (less than 2 weeks), you shouldn’t be required to pay any more until it is completed. For longer projects, or in cases where the customer needs to pause the project for more than a week, a progress payment might be requested based on the amount of work that has been completed.
ALWAYS make sure you have a contract in place… after all, they are called contractors for a reason! The deposit requirements, payment terms, and other details should be clearly spelled out. Make sure the scope of work and price are also clear. Never hire any contractor without having a contract in place.
Are You Ready to Hire a Reputable Austin Painting Contractor?
Now that you know all about 6 tips for finding an Austin painting contractor you can trust, you’re ready to make your home just the way you’ve always wanted it.
SurePro Painting can get the job done so all you need to worry about is relaxing. From residential and commercial paint jobs to popcorn removal and drywall texture and more, we can make sure that everything is done exactly to your specifications.
If you have any questions about our highly-rated services, feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to help.