Having the exterior of your house painted can be an intimidating commitment. The feeling isn’t helped by the fact that the painting industry is notorious for disreputable, downright sketchy contractors. You know you need the service, but you also know that you want to avoid these companies–what is a homeowner to do?
You research, that’s what to do. Below, we’ll discuss how to gather the names, eliminate the duds, and narrow your list to just a few solid house painting companies. Once you’re down to, say, between three and five candidates, you can start getting estimates and seeing how your interactions with them go. Once you have your estimates, the final decision will be much easier than it looked to be at the outset.
Researching House Painting Companies
Go online and offline. Google it, search Yelp–do whatever internet research you like–but also ask friends and family for their experiences. Later, we’ll talk about checking a local painter’s references; starting with a reference can shorten and simplify the job considerably. Also, if you’re lucky, the asking-around that you do will lead you to some of the same house painting companies that your internet research does.
Once you have a list of, say, ten names of house painting companies, verify their credentials. If you can’t find proof that they’re licensed, bonded and insured on their websites, don’t be afraid to call them and ask how to verify that they are. This may knock a name or two off your list early; it’s up to you whether you’d like to replace those ones before moving on.
Your list thusly refined, spend five minutes or so perusing each house painting company’s website. What can you learn about each candidate quickly and easily? How do they like to present themselves? Do they look professional? If so, great; if not, scritch-scratch–and the list just got shorter.
Common Problems with Exterior House Painting Companies
At this point, however many local painters are still on your list, you can know 1) they’re all legal and 2) they have at least a minimally complete, professional web presence.
Select the five-or-so that your gut feels the best about. It’s time to see how they communicate with you. Keep the other names handy as backup, though. If any of your top five fail the communication test, you can replace them easily.
Communication is one of the most common problems people run into with exterior house painting companies. Ask for a free estimate and a breakdown of what went into the quoted price. What you’re looking for here is a clear understanding as well as the basic professional friendliness and approachability of the candidate.
Another common problem with exterior house painting companies is that the exterior of the house isn’t all that gets painted. How will the candidate protect your landscaping, driveway–everything that no paint should touch? What is there prep process? This is the second chance you’re giving the company to explain something. Again, keep your ears open for how easy it is to get answers that you can understand and how glad they seem to talk with you.
Additionally, you can ask about each company’s guarantee. Is it in writing? How does one file a claim? Are there terms you can pay extra for? Again, assume you don’t know anything and need the experts to explain.
Finding Top Rated Local Painters
So far, you’ve found reviews on Yelp, Angie’s List, and/or Home Advisor. You’ve gotten personal testimonies from your inner circle of friends and family who have found their own favorite local painters. Maybe you’ve even checked on your candidates at the Better Business Bureau.
There’s one more “formal” bit of research to do, which often gets overlooked: ask the painters for some references. Your initial list was too long to do this; it would have taken forever. But now that you’ve narrowed it down to a few finalists, you have a context in which to understand what you hear from the references that they put you in touch with. Also, it’s good to know if a company can’t do this. If a particular local painter has been in business for any serious length of time, they should be able to refer you to at least a couple of past customers who’ll be honest with you.
This keeps a painter honest when it comes to customer service and follow-up. If any customer might end up as a reference, they’ll want to make sure every customer is satisfied.
Choosing the Right Company
At the end of the day, you want to go with the local painter that makes you feel the best. This isn’t an arbitrary measure at all: don’t you feel less good about a company that’s not properly credentialed? That can’t find a reference for you to talk with? That charges too much?
Make sure the objective yes/no questions are answered (legality, etc.), and then listen to your gut. Who sounded the most careful? Who did you enjoy interacting with the most? Did any of them talk a bit longer to teach you something? Do you still feel like you don’t know enough about one of your candidates? At this point, if you’re still not sure about a certain company, you’ve given them enough chances; you should be safe to eliminate them.
You’re looking for a good exterior house painting job that will last. One hopes that that “lasting” bit is backed up by a good warranty. But you’re a savvy adult. If you do your due diligence in a way that’s even a little bit like the methods outlined in this article, you’ll find your best house painting company.
If you’re in the Denver area, contact us, we’d be more than happy to walk you through our process and take the time to make you feel comfortable, confident and excited for your project to begin!
Now get to it! You have data to gather; names to write down; estimates to get