You and your spouse have come to the agreement that your home needs painted. Now what? Where do you go to find the perfect painter? Let me start by saying where NOT to go…Craigslist. Sorry Craigslist, you’re good for a lot of things, finding painters isn’t one of them. I won’t get too deep into this, I think we’ve all heard enough horror stories to stay away. I know I’ve been called many times by customers that have been hoodwinked to fix my share of Craigslist handy work over the years.
So where DO you go then? There are some really good options, I would start with your local paint store, Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, PPG, or Spectrum; but make sure that they are paint stores, not Home Depot or Lowes, etc… (If I come up missing after I post this, contact Craigslist, Home Depot, or Lowes first). Most of us use all three of these companies regularly, but only use them for what they are designed for and you won’t get burned. (Is the song, “Fire” by Jimi Hendrix playing in your head now?)
At your local paint store you can ask the sales person to give you some cards of painters that they recommend. Typically they will give you three or four of their regular contractors and it is up to you at that point to contact them to set up an estimate. Why this is your best option:
- The business cards that you are given, are cards that they have handed out before, and have had no customers call back with complaints. If a painter has had multiple complaints, you can bet their card would not be handed out anymore.
- These contractors have a steady relationship with the store manager. Day after day, job after job, year after year, buying paint and dealing with each other, the store knows, over time, what caliber of painter they are dealing with, and will refer them to customers if they seem reputable.
- The sales person also knows which contractors specialize in certain aspects of painting. Commercial and industrial contractors won’t get recommended for house repaints, and vice versa. Someone who specializes in exteriors might not be the best fit for epoxy floors, so the business cards that you are handed, typically, are picked with the right contractor for you in mind.
- The paint contractors that are fortunate enough to be referred by their local paint store, do not work for, or pay for, the referral. You might be thinking, “The store manager just passes out his buddy’s card or whoever buys the most paint”. I have not found this to be true with my local store. I’m fairly small in volume compared to a lot of other companies and I have received steady referrals since starting my business.
Another obvious choice where you can find a painter for your project is word of mouth. Your neighbor just had his house painted? Go look at it! How was he to work with? Homeowners Associations are also great places for a listing of preferred contractors in a given neighborhood.
This is the information age, we have the ability to know almost everything we need to know about a contractor before we make any calls. Our poor parents and grandparents wasted a lot of time sifting through companies when the only interaction between calling them and handing them a healthy deposit to start work, was a quick 20 minute meet and greet. Not any more! Be prepared, do your research, to a degree, trust your gut instincts, and you should have no problem finding the right painter.