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What Should You Expect from a Professional Painter?

Sep 13

Most homeowners don't know that a common business practice in the house-painting industry is now widespread. Many house-painting companies, even large national franchises don't do any of their own work. If you believe you are hiring professional painters to paint your house, then you need professionals. It can be time-saving and cost-savings to know the differences between general labor crews and professional painters.

What should you expect from a professional painter?

A professional Denver house painter is more than a man with a brush or a woman with a sprayer. They are experts in all aspects of the life cycle of paint. This includes preparing the area and maintaining high quality work for the longest time. These skills are based on nationally recognized standards and specialty training.

House painting companies do not employ professional painters to paint your house. Many companies don’t have professional painters as part of their workforce. The company sells their services to homeowners and then passes the contract to a subcontractor to do the work. They are merely a middleman, collecting the checks and sharing the money 50/50. This is a risky practice that can benefit the homeowner and not the company.

Why professional painters are worth it

W-2 employees are a good way for painting companies to manage their quality work. They can also offer ongoing skills training programs for their workers. Their employees will use the best equipment and techniques by following industry best practices. They adhere to the Painting & Decorating Contractors of America's standards of craftsmanship so that the quality of each job is consistent.

Professional quality painting

A professional painters will complete a project in three steps: Prep, Paint and Punch Out.

Preparation is an essential part of any painting job. Preparing your project for painting takes professional painters a lot of time and attention. This includes drying the surfaces properly and cleaning them up so that paint sticks to them. You can also cover or remove items and surfaces that you don't wish to paint. These tasks are time-consuming and can cause damage to the surrounding areas. Professional painters, however, are more concerned about quality of work. They also stand behind their workmanship warranty.

Professionals have the right tools to paint. Professionals use better quality materials than cheaper ones to ensure that their work lasts until you decide to repaint.

The punch out involves cleaning up and touching-up areas. The homeowner is walked through by the foreman, who matches the scope of the work with what was done. This step is a demonstration of professionalism and pride in the final product. The punch out is used to identify any problems that the homeowner or company may have with the work before it is considered completed.

Painting companies are not allowed to regulate or control subcontractors' methods of completing a job. It is difficult to guarantee professional standards. As someone who has hired outside workers, I know that there is not much vetting. There are many different types of work and it is difficult to get a sub-contract crew to correct them.

Until the problem is fixed, a primary contractor may refuse to pay sub-contractors for their labor. It's not much consolation for homeowners when their painting project looks bad and they have to wait for a sub-contractor to fix it.

A subcontractor can only collect the money in these cases if the homeowner does not correct the errors. To force the painting company into paying them, a mechanic's lien is filed on the homeowner's home.

Although these may seem extreme, they are more common than you might think.

The Painting Crew - Who are they in your Home?

My experience is that subcontractors feel that the fastest way to make money is to do their work as fast as possible when they are free to work on their own. They are paid a fixed percentage of the overall painting contract. They are not being directed or compensated in a way which encourages them to take the necessary time to complete the job correctly and without skipping any steps.

What does this tell you about their character? You would expect your crew to be trustworthy and respectful when working in your home. You, your family and your belongings would not be put at risk by the company you hired to paint your home.

You would be amazed.

One of the biggest national franchise painting companies did not conduct a criminal background check of any sub-contract crew members they hired during my time there. Before assigning the jobs to them, they didn't meet any of the crews.

No matter if you choose to hire a painting contractor who does their own labor, or not, ensure that the people working on your project are thoroughly vetted, background checked and drug tested.

Contractor Safety Plan

Homeowner liability is another serious problem that is often overlooked. To ensure safety at work, every legitimate painting company has an OSHA-based safety program for its employees. Falling from ladders is one of the most common workplace injuries. To ensure that their employees are protected in the event of an accident, a legitimate painting company will pay workers' compensation premiums.

Professional painters must know and demonstrate the following OSHA-regulated safety protocol:

  1. Fall Protection and Ladder Safety
  2. Safety in Hot and Cold Weather
  3. Lead Awareness and Respiratory Safety
  4. Hearing Protection
  5. Safety of Heavy Machinery, Pressure Washing and Airless Sprayer

Sub-contract crews often have crew members who are not employees. They could be sub-contractors for the subcontractor, or they can get paid under the table by their sub-contractor. They are rarely covered by a workers' comp policy in either case. Uninsured workers can sue the homeowner for medical expenses if they are hurt on the job or fall off a ladder. This is a nightmare.

Do not assume that the employees in your home have been trained or are covered by the company's insurance. Before you hire anyone to work in your home, make sure that they have proof of all insurances.

Safety is not an accident. This is a commonly used saying in the workplace. Safety practices that are safe and sound aren't instinctive. They must be learned. Ask yourself this question: Who is insuring or safety-training their workers at your painting company?

General Liability Insurance

Lacking proper insurance could result in you being financially liable for any damage to your project. You should ensure that the company you hire has a minimum of $1 million in general liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance, which are required in most states.

General Liability Insurance protects against being held responsible for any injuries or accidents that may occur during your painting project. In the event that they cause damage to your property, the contractor is also covered.

You cannot trust your General Liability Insurance to pay for damage to your home. It can be costly to make a mistake by leaking five gallons worth of paint onto your roof. Even under the best of circumstances, mistakes can still happen. Do not try to save money by working for an uninsured business. This could end up costing you more long-term.

Make sure that everyone on the crew has coverage under both the general liability insurance and worker's comp.

What Does it Cost to Hire a Professional Painter

Homeowners often ask when they shop for estimates for painting. "Why are there so many different prices between painting companies?"

Price fluctuations can be common when comparing multiple company proposals. Variances can simply be due to a difference in the scope or work. One company may have plans to do more work than another. Sometimes, the difference could be as simple as comparing a legitimate business to an illegitimate one (one that doesn't have insurance, licensing, workers' compensation coverage and/or is paying workers below the table). However, if there is a significant discrepancy between the prices for the same work scope, it is not because of an apples-to–apples comparison.

To ensure that their customers are satisfied with the highest level of professionalism and craftsmanship, painting companies invest in these areas:

  1. Hire, screen, train, and then properly supervise high-quality professional painters
  2. All jobs should be completed according to the Painting & Decorating Contractors of America standards.
  3. Keep the required insurance and workers' compensation levels.
  4. Implement an OSHA-based safety program

Companies will spend more to do business right, which could affect the price they offer to customers. Although the homeowners may not be concerned about the dilemma faced by the business owner, the end result almost always results in a satisfied customer who is well protected. That is something that every homeowner should know.

There will always be customers who want to work with the lowest bidder. However, there are times when it is possible to save money by using a third party or illegitimate company to do the job. It is easy to see how these business practices can put customers at risk.

Before you hire a painting contractor, ask these questions

We recommend that you ask the right questions if you are considering hiring a contractor to paint your house.

  1. Is it my employees or contractors who work in my home?
  2. Are all employees fully covered by the company's general insurance, worker's compensation, and commercial vehicle insurance
  3. Are all the people who are assigned to my painting project background and drug tested?
  4. What training and safety programs do your workers need?
  5. How are you measuring your company's quality standards?
  6. Do you have proof of training?

To find the right fit for your project, you will need to identify what qualities are most important to you in a painter. Sometimes the cheapest option may not be the best.

Jay's Painting LLC knows that we may not be the most affordable option in your local area. However, we are the safest. You don't need to believe us when we say that our work is top-notch and has received multiple awards. Contact us today if you are ready to schedule an estimate or have any questions.


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