10 Questions To Ask Before Getting Exterior Painting Done
The 10 questions to ask before hiring Orlando exterior painters
A good first impression is always an important one. That’s how we feel about our business and how most homowners feel about themselves and their home. When people drive past your home, you want them to see great curb appeal. Not to mention that the look of your home can affect its resale value. This is one of the reasons you might want to consider hiring our Orlando exterior painters. Or, maybe you want to add elemental protection to your home.
Whatever the reasoning, the easiest way to achieve these goals is to hire an Orlando exterior painting company and let them worry about it. But it isn’t that simple. You don’t want to hire just anybody.
If you don’t know much about the process of getting an exterior painting job done, or are new in town, it won’t be hard to get overwhelmed by the choices with everything from available paint choices to who it is that’s going to be doing the work. To help you figure out the best people in Orlando, Florida to bring your exterior painting job to life A-1 Quality Painting and Pressure Washing has compiled a list of questions to ask before you hand over the reins.
1. Are they licensed and fully insured?
This one is a big one. Any painter you hire should be insured, especially if they are working on the outside of your home and on ladders. Notice is says "fully" insured. Typically you are going to want a company that has commercial auto, liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance. Don’t just take their word for it or accept a copy flashed before your eyes. If you want to impress them ask them to provide a COI, or Certificate of Insurance. One document is all it takes to spell out exactly what they carry and the coverage amounts and limits.
A lot of “mom and pop”, “father and son” and “1 man show” painters “exempt” themselves to get around the high cost of workers compensation insurance. While it may not be illegal to do so, it will be if other painters help them that are not insured. And, if that’s the case, if either one gets hurt on your job you may be liable for an expensive hospital cost or even a lawsuit. It’s a simple phone call to their insurer to get you a copy of their insurance.
Liability insurance that protects your auto from overspray and property from damage is also getting very exensive, but it is also a necessary coverage.
MUST KNOW FACT: Many insurers don’t provide overspray protection for painters anymore. Why? Because that is the most common claim from a painter. They are purposely lowering their exposure for the most common and costly claim.
Ask your contractor if they have paid for the overspray rider. A lot of times the painter is not even aware that his insurance company has excluded overspray protection in their policy until they call for help when an incident happens. They then find out the hard way.
All the insurances that protect you and are legally required by law can add up. If you are receiving multiple bids and 1 or 2 are unusually low compared to the rest, it’s a red flag that you and them both may be at risk. They are most likely not be covered. Don’t even be tempted by the bait. Don’t make that costly mistake. Its not worth the risk for a minor savings. Besides, if they cut corners in this area, they probably do in the service they provide as well. They most likely won’t be around for warranty service either or call backs.
As far as a license goes, every county and many municipalities require that they have a license to operate a business legally. So they are required to have one. You can search for anyone’s business license at Sunbiz.org.
2. Do they offer a portfolio or references?
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You don’t really want to hire someone in the Orlando Painting market with all the scammers out there. An established business knows the permits required, the market and has ties and a good relationship to the industry paint suppliers. They also have good warranties with great service at a good prices to give you a good deal. They are not going to do anything to damage the good reputation they have built.
3. Do you really want to hire a painter that paints or do you want to hire a paint company?
To take it one step further, I hear all the time from people that they do not hire anyone that does not have a website. It’s a good indication your talking to a real company. It’s a showcase for their work, reputation and shows they have invested time and money in their own business. You will want to ask for their website and/or examples of their previous work. This is because without those examples, you don’t know what you’re getting in to, or how quality the work actually is. How do you know if their work will be truly satisfactory to you, if you can’t see any of it?
Today, it is easy for exterior painters in Orlando to have pictures of their work accessible for you. You’ll want to see high-quality pictures with workers working in them. With their name and Logo on company shirts too. This lets you know these are real pictures and not just stock photos. You’ll want to see evidence of a job well done.
There is also the fact that often customers will leave reviews online. Check those out to see the first-hand experiences of homeowner’s dealing with them.
4. How long has the painting company been in business?
This is mentioned because it is important to know that the business you are hiring has good standing within your community. Go to the Better Business Bureau of Central Florida to see their accreditation or if they are a member of the BBB. It also tells you if they have a license and how long they have had one. It’s a quick and easy way to get a snapshot of the business. It tells you if they have been around for a while, and you know that if they’ve amassed a reputation and will work hard to keep that reputation up. It makes it extremely less likely that they’re bad contractors who will skip out before your job is even done.
In addition, if they’ve been in business longer, the above questions should be even easier for them to answer. With local exterior painting companies you should be able to see their work around your community. If they haven’t been in business long this isn’t to say don’t hire them, you can still take a chance, but you’ll just want to be a little more thorough and conscious of what’s going on. You will surely want to make sure you have a warm and fuzzy feeling about them first.
5. What kind of paint do they use?
The type of paint used can tell you a few things about your exterior painting contractor. First, you want them to use the best paint available to ensure great, long lasting results. Lower quality paints can can chalk fast and dull over a short time. You don’t (and shouldn't) have to have your walls painted again for a long time. In fact, many of our paint jobs last 10+ years. You shouldn’t sacrifice quality of paint for a lower price. Secondly, you want to know what they know about the product(s) they are using. We find that the best customers ask the most questions. We invite them to talk it over with us, and it usually ends up good by doing so.
An Orlando exterior painter should know what works best for your project and what recommendations he can make about them. Experience counts here and they should be knowledgeable about the latest products to help you with your final decisions. Obviously your exterior painter should know the materials he is using personally and why he is using them. If a painter uses specifics products, you should feel free to ask why. You want quality.
6. What is their preparation process?
This one area many will cut corners to get the job. Be very, very careful in this area. This is where having a truly experienced local painter pays off. It's really what determines the longevity of the paint job. Improper preparation of the job will result in paint failure before a year has passed, which means money thrown out the window. You should ask a lot of questions and demand a lot of answers. If you know even a little bit about the painting, you know just how important proper preparation is for your exterior painting project.
If painting preparation is not done correctly, it could compromise your entire job. Your paint could start peeling immediately or have an uneven appearance. With the money you’ll be paying to have this done right, it won't make you happy.
Exterior painting preparation includes cleaning and pressure washing with chemical solutions, not just water. The outside of the home should be checked for any damage, cracks and any other issues during the bid process and pointed out to any prospective bidders. Damages should be repaired, holes and cracks filled and sanded, along with peeling old paints scrapped away and removed. The exterior of your home should be sealed or primed and ready to go before paint is even thought about being applied. Make sure you know what their process entails.
Be sure to also ask about their clean-up process since it doesn’t hurt to know.
7. Will they give you it to you in writing?
It’s important to know what the time constraints will be for your project before you get started. An Orlando exterior painting contractor will often write up a document guaranteeing the quality of the work as well as what they will be doing and a timeline in which that will happen. It is also your right as the homeowner to ask and know these things. So don’t be afraid to ask even if it seems like a simple question.
This document includes all the specification you might want to know, from the estimate to the entirety of the project from the materials used to the amount of preparation work. This document should also alert you to any guarantees or warranties that are offered. Make sure you get everything in writing.
8. What does their bid document look like?
When paying for someone to do work on your home, cost is always going to be a concern. The saying “you get what you pay for” is a saying for a reason. Getting the lowest price should not be your only concern. When you’re paying for someone who is licensed and insured, with the skill and experience needed to do your job properly, the lowest bid is probably not going to be the best answer. But, this doesn’t mean you have to go with the highest price either.
It’s often a good idea to get a few bids and estimates. You’ll want the prices to be within a similar price range, or else something could be not right. Bids that are way low could be an indicator or shortcuts being taken. So whatever you do, don’t base your entire job on the price or you might end up unhappy.
9. How do you feel?
One of the most important things to think about when it comes down to who is doing your exterior paint job, and one of the things that may be overlooked, is to trust your gut. If you don’t feel like you would be comfortable having a particular person or company working on your home, find someone else. If you’ve asked all of the questions above and you still don’t feel satisfied or confident in hiring them, don’t do it. It’s your home and at the end of the day you are the one who has to live with whatever work has been done. If its done right you will be happy for a long time. If done wrong you will not only be unhappy for a long time, but you will be paying again to fix it.
For this reason, whoever you consider hiring, make sure you ask them every question you have and that someone will be available to answer your questions every step of the way. You may be paying someone to do the work for you, but it is still your job that you have to live with.
10. Ask if they are they the ones actually doing the work.
Last but not least, don’t get caught in the all to common workers comp “dodge”. A lot of companies are just paint “brokers” or salesman nowadays. They make a phone call to get another company to actually do all the work. This is a common way around having to pay for expensive workers comp so their price can be cheaper. That person may be able to prove they have insurance, but if someone else is actually doing the work, you may not have proof they are covered.
If you go this route call at least one of the big box companies that at least pre-qualify their subcontractors. This at least guarantees you got a warranty and insurance. You still won’t know who shows up to do the job or if they are told the entire scope of work that was agreed upon with the salesperson that sold you the job, but it is better than hiring one of the many unproven “paint brokers” that are so prevalent in this market.
At A-1 Quality Painting and Pressure Washing, we work hard to make sure all of the above is taken in to account and taken care of from the beginning of your exterior painting job to the completion. We hope that this list can help you decide what questions to ask your exterior painter before you get started.