When hiring house painters, most homeowners will get about 3-4 bids to paint their home unless they already know of a good painting company. Getting bids and comparing them can be a daunting task and can take a lot of your time. Once you get the bids you have to find a way to compare things that you don’t even completely understand. Here are a few steps to hiring house painters and also red flags to avoid.
An Introduction to Hiring House Painters
So you have decided it is time to do some painting at your home. Now you have a few choices to make on how to get this done. Do you do it yourself? Is it something you feel comfortable tackling? If you want to do it yourself do you have the right tools, ladders, masking supplies, and knowledge of the best products to use? Do you understand the cost of painting the home yourself? Do you know the risks involved in working on ladders or your roof?
The second option would be to make it a group effort with friends and family. We have all done the projects at our homes where we buy pizza and drinks and invite a few friends over to help out. In most cases, this results in a less than perfect looking job as not everyone knows how to paint or worse yet not make a big mess!
The third option is to hire someone to do the painting for you so you can sit back and relax. There are many different types of painting contractors to choose from so it can be a really difficult process to hire someone reliable. Here are the steps to take to make sure you are getting a quality company and the best results.
Red Flags to Avoid with Hiring House Painters
Every year in the Portland area we are competing against people that are painting homes with no license and no insurance. Why do people hire them you ask? Because they do work for super low prices! You will see many of these companies in unmarked vans with no company logo on it and no license number. They save tens of thousands of dollars every year by not paying for liability insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, state and local license fees, education fees, and taxes related to owning a company.
As a homeowner saving a few thousand dollars can seem like a great idea by hiring someone like this but it can turn out very badly in some cases. If you have a problem with an unlicensed company you have no recourse other than to try and turn them in to the Oregon Construction Contractors Board. The board will not be able to help you resolve your dispute with that company but they might be able to fine them at least. The board is set up to help consumers resolve issues with contractors that are licensed so make sure you hire a licensed contractor.
Hiring a contractor licensed or not does not mean they have the proper insurance to cover problems that can arise. Worker’s compensation insurance is extremely expensive and it is set up to protect workers who get injured on the job. It will pay medical bills and compensate for lost wages. It is so expensive that many companies will pay employees in cash to avoid having to pay for this, leaving the homeowners exposed to potential lawsuits if someone gets hurt on their property. It is one of the biggest risks you can take as a homeowner so beware!
Liability insurance can also cost many thousands of dollars each year and many contractors try to avoid this as well. If your home gets damaged due to your contractor and they do not have the proper bonding and insurance, it is all on you to fix it. Contractors can cause serious problems if they are not careful including house fires so don’t risk it!
Watch out for someone that is overly pushy or in a hurry to paint your home. A company that is desperate for work can be very aggressive with sales tactics and should make you run the other way. If you call a company in July to paint your home and they have availability right away you have to wonder, why? It is very hard to find good employees these days and it can take months to train a new painter so beware of a desperate painting contractor!
Many of these questions can be answered if you go to the Oregon Construction Contractors Board and put in the license number or name of your contractor. This site will tell you how many years they have been licensed, if they have complaints or fines against them, all of their license and insurance information, how much insurance they carry, and if they have ever been licensed under a different name in the past. If they don’t have workers compensation insurance listed they are not allowed to have employees so look for that as well. You can look all this up in less than 5 minutes.
I recently had a friend that hired a licensed general contractor to remodel their home who had not been licensed very long but was a good talker and the price was much lower than it should have been. They thought they were getting a great deal and it went well the first couple weeks. They soon started finding major problems with his work and the work his subcontractors were doing. They had agreed to pay about 90% of the contract way before his work was completed which was a big mistake. They ended up losing about $50,000 in work they never got completed and legal fees and are now looking for someone to come in and fix all the mistakes. This is a common problem in construction that people don’t think can happen but it does. That contractor had many other homeowners trying to get money back from him and almost nobody got paid back for damages caused. He is no longer in business and has moved out of state.
Important Things to Know About Residential House Painting
So now that you have heard some horror stories about what to avoid, let’s discuss how to avoid these pitfalls.
First off, do your homework before getting the bids. Look online about what others are saying about each company. You can find reviews on Google, Angie’s List, Yelp, and other sources. Make sure to read the bad reviews on each company and find out how they respond to them also. Every company gets a bad review eventually but the way they respond tells you all you need to know. Do they have reviews that are all recent or have they been getting reviews for many years?
I like companies that have kept many of their employees for years and not the companies that hire new painters every summer as it gets busy. Many companies hire like crazy in the busy season and lay everyone off in the slow season so they never retain good experienced help. Many companies sell you a paint job and don’t even have their employees do the work. They will hire subcontractors to paint your home instead and pay them a fraction of what you paid for the paint job.
Remember the old saying “You get what you pay for”. If you are getting bids to paint your home and they range from $5000-$10,000 you can be shocked! Why is one guy half the price of the other guy? Well, you can get a hamburger for $1 and you can get one for $10 but they are not the same thing. You can buy a new car for $10,000 or $100,000 but they are not the same thing. If the $5000 paint job lasts you 2 years before it fails you have paid $2500 per year to have your home painted. If the $10,000 paint job holds up for 10 years you have paid $1000 per year to have your house painted.
Now the bids you receive for painting may seem very much alike by the wording. Most will say two coats of paint. Most painters do not actually do two coats like they say. Most will say similar products are being used but that does not mean they were applied properly. Most companies will claim to be licensed, bonded, and insured. Most will claim many years of business or experience but you need to verify this. Most will claim they are doing the right amount of prep work to make the paint job last but most don’t take the time to do all the prep work. Trust me, the lower-priced companies have to cut corners to save time, money, and materials cost. It is that simple and you should ask the more expensive companies why they are more expensive. Most will give you very good answers and won’t be offended by that question.
Will the lower-priced companies stand behind their work and fix problems that may arise? In most cases, they will not do any warranty work for you or help you if there is a problem with the paint that was used.
Experienced and Trusted House Painters in Portland Oregon
There is never a foolproof way to hire a contractor but if you follow these steps you should avoid most pitfalls. Don’t be in a rush and make sure you feel they understand what you are looking for. Just remember cheap is not always cheap in the long run!
If you’re looking for Portland house painters, contact us for a free estimate. We deeply care for our community and would love the chance to work on your home.