Why Hire A Professional Painting and Decorating Contractor?
Before you decide to "do it yourself" or hire the least expensive painter you can find, here are some points to consider that suggest the lowest price may not be the best value.
Safety: Painting can be hazardous work, whether it's working on a ladder or dealing with solvents and dust. Hiring a professional contractor means you don't have to worry about these problems.
Health: If your home was built before 1978, it was almost certainly painted with lead-based paint, which can cause serious health effects when it is scraped or sanded in preparation for repainting. Professional contractors will take appropriate steps to protect you. On June 1, 1999, remodeling contractors, including painters, will be required to furnish EPA produced pamphlets to their customers before they begin a job that involves disturbing lead-based paint. Professional painting contractors will understand and be willing to follow the recommendations on this pamphlet.
Preparation: Getting the surface properly prepared makes all the difference. Professional contractors know the value of preparation and will do it right. Knowing Paints and How to Apply Them: The choices today are more complicated than just oil or latex, and professional contractors will know what works, how to use it, and will have the right tools for the job.
Cleanup and Disposal: Hiring a professional contractor means you don't have to worry about dealing with paint residues and other leftovers. Professionals will know how to handle hazardous wastes that may be part of the job.
How to Choose the Right Contractor for Your Project
Once you have decided to contract with someone to do a particular painting and decorating project, how do you go about selecting the right person or firm? Do you make your selection on price, size of company, years in business, or other criteria?
To locate the names of reputable contractors, there are many sources of information. Some of these sources would be friends, relatives, architects, decorators, yellow pages, trade associations, local "quality- oriented" paint supply stores, and newspaper advertisements. However, these sources can only give you limited general information. In order to make an educated decision, you need some specific information about any person or firm you are considering hiring.
Always ask if the contractor is licensed and insured. Quality contracting firms will be only too happy to provide you with copies of their certificates of insurance. They should provide bonding information (if the job is large enough to require such) and documentation of safety training and compliance programs.
Reputable contractors will encourage the use of a written contract. This contract should clearly explain the scope of the work to be performed. It should also cover such items as surfaces to be painted, methods and extent of surface preparation, time schedules for the project, and payment procedures. Knowing the total scope of the work enables you to carefully evaluate the different bids you may receive with the proper information and keep them on a level playing field. The contract serves to protect both you and the contractor.
Obtain a list of references from the prospective contractor. This list should include the contact person, address, and telephone number of the previous client. Follow up on this list with a phone call. Remember, the contractor will not give you a bad reference. Therefore, ask references if they know of any other work this contractor has performed. Be sure to ask whether the contractor and employees treated you professionally and with respect. The references you are interested in should be from projects similar in size and scope to yours. Also, these projects should be at least a few years old. This will help you gauge the performance of the construction and materials used. If possible, try to see the work that was done.
Discuss any guarantee or warranty programs the contractor may offer. Ask about the manufacturer's warranty on the products to be used on your project. Remember you are looking for long-term durability from the paint job. The use of high quality products is as important as the selection and performance of the contractor.
Good contractors are very eager for your business. They are also very proud of their craftsmanship. Once you have made your selection, step back and give the professional room to execute the project. You have both done your homework, so give the professional the opportunity to meet and exceed your expectations. Remember, as with anything else in life, you get what you pay for. If you want high quality and reliable service, be willing to pay the price that comes with it. Good luck with your painting projects.
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