How To Choose A Painter in Naperville (or anywhere)

June 20, 2011 on 9:16 am | In Naperville Painters, Painting, choosing a painter, how to choose a painter | No Comments

Hi.  Here’s a brief “what to consider when hiring a painter” reference paper.

First things first – compile a list of exactly what you want done. Describe the job in detail (walls, ceiling, baseboards, window trim, windows, door trim, doors, crown molding), including specific products or colors you want (or the general look you want), a desired timeframe, and any possible obstacles (drywall repairs, etc.).  Giving each contractor the same information on which to base their estimates on will help you compare “apples to apples.” If you have the ability to email pictures or a floor plan so much the better.

Next – create a list of potential painters. Sources may include referrals from friends, reviews on Yelp! (free, but varying reliability), reviews on Angies List (you have to join – it’s usually under $10 a year and is more reliable than unconfirmed reviewing sites), the Better Business Bureau, or your preferred research tool on the internet.  Three candidates are usually enough for you to make an informed decision without tying up too much time.  Probably a smaller number for a smaller project and vice a versa.  You’ll find that in the busy season (nice weather) it is not uncommon to have no shows from some painters who operate on more short term considerations.

In addition to checking review sites, when initially talking to each contractor, ask for references from the past month. They should provide the names of people who commissioned projects similar to yours (somewhat recently is the key).  You need to call or email them and then determine the painters you allow to bid on your project.  The reason for this extra step is to ensure that the reviews available online are referring to work done by current employees.   All businesses experience turnover which can affect quality.

Each step in the process is important as you begin to form your opinions. The ideal contractor will be on-time, businesslike and courteous, and be prepared to answer questions and offer suggestions. Don’t hesitate to ask! It will help you make an informed decision. After interviewing with several you should ask your top three or four choices to prepare comprehensive proposals. These proposals should include:

  • The type and amount of surface preparation (description of technique)
  • Priming (a must for bare or patched surfaces or stained areas)
  • Caulking (where it will be used)
  • The brand of paint (you need to agree on the manufacturer’s name AND specific product line and sheen)
  • Number of coats to be applied
  • Firm cost (what is/what is not included)
  • Start and completion dates
  • Payment terms

Review the proposals and ask additional questions. If, for example, one painting contractor’s fee is substantially higher or lower than his competitors’, ask why. Neither are necessarily a bad thing. A higher fee might indicate that he takes more time and care or that they just charge a lot.  A lower fee might indicate that he uses less-expensive tools and supplies or potentially less experienced labor.

Unless the task is enormous or the timeline is weeks in length you should avoid any painting contractor looking for a down payment. Also, ask for a couple of days after completion before payment becomes due. This gives you a chance to carefully inspect the job (without being rushed) and insures that any touch ups are identified and completed promptly.

I hope this helps. For more information visit

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