How to choose a professional painting contractor

Most property owners and homeowners only paint every 7 to 10 years and many don’t know what questions to ask to evaluate a painting contractor. The following information is provided to assist property owners and homeowner’s in choosing a painting contractor. We recognize that most people experience some concern while looking for and working with an interior painting & decorating professional for their home. Here are 3 areas we recommend you consider in evaluating every painting contractor you talk to:

  • The Reputation and Business Stability of the Company
    • Have you earned the Red Seal Certificate of Qualification as a Painter and Decorator?
    • Will you supply a copy of your current insurance certificate?
    • Can you provide me with a reference list with at least 15 recent customers?
    • Will you provide us with your City of Vancouver license?
    • Will you provide us with a reference from your bank and your key suppliers?
    • What professional organization(s) of painting contractors do you belong to?
  • Their Experience and Methodology
    • Will you provide a detailed breakdown of the service you are providing?
    • Do you have a written policy regarding drugs and alcohol by your crews?
    • Do you hire part-time employees or subcontractors to work in your crews?
    • Will you provide, in writing, approximate start and completion dates for my project?
    • What are your clean-up procedures?
    • Do you accept credit cards?
    • Will I have to pay extra for the privilege of using a credit card?
    • Do you have specific experience in color consulting?
    • Do you have specific experience in installing trim?
    • Do you have specific experience in making carpentry repairs?
  • Their Service Before, During and After Your Project
    • Will you provide your warranty in writing?
    • What is your company phone policy?
    • How often do you meet with the homeowner to review job progress?

We hope these questions give you the information you need to make the best choice when it comes to hiring, evaluating and working with a professional painting contractor to paint your home. We will be happy to provide you with a complete copy of our consumer guide prior to our first meeting. We live by our guide. We know this sets a standard that we can be proud of and that the majority of our competitors can’t match. Upon request we will gladly provide you with our written proof of compliance with each question.

Before you hire any painting contractor ask plenty of questions

Renaissance Painting & Restoration is licensed by the City of Vancouver and company owner Eric Goodwill has earned the Red Seal of Certification for Painting and Decorating. The Red Seal Program represents the industry’s recognition of an interprovincial standard of excellence for the skilled trades. He is a trained color consultant and will provide his expertise to help you make the color selections that match your taste and style. Eric is continually referred by satisfied clients to their friends, family and business associates to install moulding and trim and to make meticulous carpentry repairs for windows, doors, baseboards, siding, steps, decks, fascia, gutters and more. We are also members of the PDCA – Painting and Decorating Contractors of America. The painting trade requires a set of skills that requires constant learning about new materials, application methods and processes that add to the beauty and longevity of your painting project. The PDCA provides continuing training in preparation, clean-up, safety and much more.

Many people who lost their jobs due to the economy have started painting businesses. Many commercial painting companies have entered the residential painting market to make ends meet. Many of these companies don’t have the experience or training to complete a quality interior painting or exterior painting project for you, and they don’t have the skill or tools necessary to properly install crown moulding, baseboards, or trim or make carpentry repairs for you.

Please use these questions and answers to make sure you hire a professional painting contractor. Taking just a little more time to ask questions will result in a job that you are proud to show off and that is much better than just getting the lowest price.

How much will this cost?
Many times this is the one question that people make their decision on. All painting contractors are not equal. If you only rely on price to choose you are very likely to end up with a project that peels, cracks or blisters in the next year. Every painting contractor should visit your home and conduct a thorough review of your needs. It is impossible to provide an accurate estimate over the phone without visiting your home. Painting contractors that provide “ballpark” estimates or write a number on the back of their business card should be avoided because all you really will know is their price. You won’t know what they are going to actually do or the paint to be used or anything else. Along with the price, request a detailed step-by-step process to paint your home or to install new trim or molding. This will allow you to easily make an apples-to-apples comparison of specifically what you are getting for the price quoted. We provide each homeowner we meet with our written processes, a price guarantee for the work specified and a 2-year warranty. This allows you to easily understand the cost of painting or carpentry for your home and allows you to compare our proposal with another proposal. Painting contractors that are reluctant to put the details in writing or use sweeping generalizations like “we will apply 2 finish coats to entire exterior” or “the highest quality paint will be used” should be avoided. These are phrases that leave too much room for interpretation and they allow the unscrupulous contractor to make more money at your expense.

Do you use employees or sub contractors?
We only use employees for painting projects. Many of our competitors use day laborers or sub contractors to make more money at the customer’s expense. Eric Goodwill supervises each project to ensure that his crews are following his processes. We have a written policy regarding drug and alcohol use by our crews. We also have a written daily clean-up procedure that our crews follow. We know that your home is of great value to you and our crews are trained to act like guest in your home. Frequently the painting contractor will use part-time employees or sub-contractors that are “learning on the job” at your expense. This is not only un-professional, but it could void any manufacturer warranty. Contractors that use these workers may be able to offer a lower price because they may not have to pay for benefits but the homeowner is the real loser because of the lower quality that is almost inevitable. There are many reasons that companies use sub contractors but the primary one is that they make more money at the customer’s expense.

How long is your warranty?
We provide a 2-year workmanship warranty on all of our projects. This is 2 times longer than most of our competitors. We have been in business in Vancouver since 1997 so you can feel confident that we will be around to honor our warranty. We want our customers to know that their project will still be looking good long after the last piece of hardware is reinstalled or the last piece of trim is nailed in.

Do you accept credit cards?
Yes, we accept VISA and MasterCard for all services. You will simply use your card to pay according to our agreement. Some companies may charge you an additional fee or % in order to use a credit card. That seems unethical to us.

Can I get an estimate over the phone or via email?
Painters who will give you a quote over the phone or via email without meeting you or visiting your property should be avoided. This is very unprofessional. We meet all of our clients in person so that we can examine your home and provide the best recommendation to restore its beauty. We do not give estimates over the phone. There are too many variables to simply give an accurate quote. We then provide you with a written detailed estimate including our detailed preparation and painting procedure for a typical home.

How do I know that your insurance is current and covers all of your crew?
I recommend that you obtain the Certificate of Insurance directly from the painting contractor’s insurance agent. This will provide you with assurance that their coverage is current. One more thing – some painting contractors in Vancouver claim to have “workers compensation” insurance or simply to be “fully insured”. Workers compensation insurance does not cover sub contractors or day laborers. If a sub contractor or day laborer gets hurt on the job you will be responsible if the contractor doesn’t have the proper insurance. Avoiding those companies is a smart move. At Renaissance Painting & Restorationwe use employees and they are all covered under our worker’s compensation policy. Our insurance agent will provide you a copy of our insurance policy upon request. If a painting contractor is unable to produce the appropriate insurance documents, do not hire them as you may be responsible for any injuries or other accidents that occur.

Is it really necessary to check references?
Yes. Quality painting contractors have multiple references from past clients. We believe that a painting contractor should provide you with a list of at least 10 references – this prevents the contractor from giving you 3 or 4 “references” that are actually not real customers but friends or associates. We provide a list of more than 30 references you can call. If a contractor is unable or unwilling to provide at least 10 references that should be a warning sign.

Is it necessary to ask for bank and vendor references?
We believe it is. Painting contractors should have longstanding relationships with their local bank and local suppliers. All of their relationships should be in good standing. Businesses in good standing with the bank and local suppliers get preferential treatment and pricing which helps them stay competitive. Renaissance Painting is pleased to provide you with our bank and vendor references.

Do you provide a discount for multiple properties?
Yes. We will offer you a discount if you hire us to paint multiple properties at the same time. The amount of the discount will be dependent on how close together the projects are and how similar the projects are to each other.

How do I get an estimate?
Simply call us at 604-607-4918 to set up our visit to your home and if we are not available – we will call you back within 2 hours during normal working hours or by 10 AM the next day for calls received after 6 PM.

How long does it take to get an estimate?
Once we meet with you – either on the spot or within 24 hours in almost all cases.

Do I need to be home when you’re working?
Not all the time but we do ask that you be available each day so we can provide you with our daily update of progress and answer any questions you have.

How long does it take?
Each project is different. We give you approximate start and finish dates in our proposal so you can plan. Once we start your project, we stay on it each day until we are finished unless there are circumstances beyond our control, like weather, that do not permit us to work.

What about bathrooms?
We do ask for access to a bathroom as a courtesy for interior work. We will respect your privacy and your property in using the bathroom.

Where will you clean up?
We do ask for access to a sink or exterior spigot that we can use for cleanup but will make other arrangements if that isn’t possible.

Do you work with Home Owner’s Associations?
Yes. We will provide the appropriate information to your HOA.

Do you offer Green Products?
Yes. We offer multiple products that meet or exceed VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) regulations for low VOC and odor.