I disagree with your criteria to hire a painter. A prompt returned call is nice but does not indicate the quality or fairness of the painter. As far as a written estimate, that should be more of a qualifier for the bid versus an evaluation criterion. I'm not sure one would have favorable results by hiring a painter on this basis. As far as the bidding process, change orders should ONLY be used if the customer requests additional scope (PMP 101). Angie's list should consider asking reviewers if/how much they were told to pay compared with the estimate. Unfortunately, there are a lot of contractors that are unethical and need to be accountable.
A fresh paint job has the power to totally transform the look of your house in less time and for less cash than any other remodeling project. That thin skin of resin and pigment also protects your investment, shielding it from sun, wind, and rain—until the paint begins to crack and peel, that is. Then it's time to button up with a couple of new coats. Properly applied, new paint should last for a good 15 years, provided you use top-quality materials, apply them with care (and with an eye on the weather), and, most important, clean and sand every surface first. Here's what you need to know to get a first-class finish on your home's exterior.
I agree with you Richard, as a painting contractor for very many years, people are always looking to get more and more out of you. I had to give an estimate to a lady a few weeks ago who had more stuff around her home than a thrift store including heavy furniture, stuff all over the floor and junk everywhere. I knew if I accepted the job id be a furniture mover and cleaner. I also agree this article makes it seem like the contractor is out to rip off the customers. Fact is I always leave doing more work than agreed upon. It doesn't bother me since the customer is always satisfied. Just saying
When I had my interior painting done, after clearing out all of the furniture, myself, I also removed all of the wall plates in all the rooms to be painted. They were a beige color and probably yellowed. The wall was originally an off white and I had it painted a light-mid grey, so those wall plates would look terrible. After pricing replacement plates, switches and outlets (Would have been way too expensive to replace all of them), I decided to just paint all of the wall plates, switches and outlets (Used just a black gloss spray paint). I sprayed the plates outside and used a small brush on the switches and outlets. It worked out just fine and the blacks plates, etc compliment the wall color. It has been 7 years and the plates, switches, outlets are holding up well.
When you refinish your existing cabinet doors, you get a whole new look without the astronomical costs normally associated with a kitchen remodel. It’s a much smarter way to update your space, especially if your cabinets are still in good condition. It doesn’t make sense to throw out perfectly good materials, just because you’re tired of the color.
First off all clients want a "deal" As a painting contractor for 38 years I can tell you that residential-commercial-industrial clients (and their needs are all diffrent. It seems this discussion mostly concerns residential repaints,so here goes--first off ALWAYS get a personal referance from a friend or co-worker. Always get an itemized contract that specifies the prep,color, number of coats, and specifics on payment. Remember you want to set up a relationship with the painting contractor of your choice. Bond, license and insurance are required to get a contractors license and are readily available online at your state Labor and Industries website. Second-- find someone you trust. He or his crew will probably be left alone in your home for most of the time. I always tell my clients that I wont bring someone to their home I wouldnt have in mine. Third--$$ Dont ever pay up front always insist on progress draws if the project is 2 or 3 phases remember If a contractor wants $3000 to do the job and you give him half up front he will be working for $1500. It WILL affect the quality of the product. In 38 years of business I have never taken a deposit and have never not been paid in full remember do what you said you would do for exactly what you said it would cost and there will be no problems with getting paid. one last reminder to clients you are also being evaluated when you interview a contractor. He is sizing you up as well. If he thinks you are a bit sketchy the the price will go up or he wont take the job at all. I have turned down some jobs that looked very profitable on the surface that turned out not to be so.(word gets around fast in the small painting community) Good Luck to clients and contractors
Some contractors work on time and material others on a firm contract. I would never hire the former and am leary of the latter. A contractor may low-ball a bid to get the job planning to make a killing on change orders. If you say good morning to them, they charge you extra for that. If the contract is not very, very specific and extensively fleshed out or if they display their change order schedule prominently on top, show them the door.