Whether you want to freshen up your current home or the one you’re moving into, painting is the easiest way to dress up a shabby-looking room for potential buyers or to suit your new home’s needs.  The question is do you want to complete the painting or hire a professional painter or painting company to handle the job?  Depending on your schedule and skills, you may hire a professional, and if you do, here’s what to know before hiring one.

Finding the Right One

Searching for a painter involves relying on word-of-mouth recommendations from family, friends, and neighbors and surfing the Internet while investigating their reputation with the Better Business Bureau and similar associations.  A walk around your neighborhood can help you locate a quality exterior painter, too.

Getting Estimates

Before getting an estimate from a painter, inform them about what you want in a paint job and discuss this with them.  Consumer Reports notes that a good estimate should include labor, materials, and equipment used and their paint preparation methods.  You should receive a thorough estimate in writing, detailing what brands they plan to use and any extra fees like furniture removal and painting the crown molding, says Angie’s List.  Only a small deposit should be administered before any work commences.

Get Acquainted with Your Painter

After asking for references from other customers, inquire about their training, experience, and how long their business has been established.  Ask the same questions about their staff.  Although Consumer Reports states that membership in trade organizations is great, it’s not a guarantee.  Decide if you’re comfortable with their credentials and have them work around your home.

Check Out Their Certification

If the company is not licensed and/or insured, be wary about hiring them.  Especially with exterior painting jobs, there’s always a chance someone could fall off a ladder or otherwise get hurt.  Consumer Reports suggests obtaining copies of those certificates along with your contract.  Ask them about their guarantees as well and what their warranty covers.

Policy and Price Check

Ask the painter or company you plan to hire about their painting practices and procedures, the equipment and materials they use, time frame, and how many staff painters will cover the work.  Ensure the contract lists the brands they intend to use and what prices you approved during the signing of the agreement.   If you require both interior and exterior paint jobs, see if they specialize in both and what’s offered.  Most paint jobs should involve a preparation process before painting where they resurface walls if necessary, clean them and make any repairs prior to painting as well as explaining how they will protect any areas you don’t want to be painted.  Make sure they offer follow-up maintenance and will reconcile any damage incurred during the work. Once the work is done, give a good look at what they’ve accomplished and make sure it’s up to your standards and expectations. If it’s not satisfactory, do not offer the final payment.