How To Hire A Great Painting Contractor In Winnipeg
I want to paint my house but there are so many contractors to choose from... where do I start?
Hi, I'm Rob White of URBAN TOPCOAT, Paint & Renovations Design... Those companies claiming to be the best painters in Winnipeg, or the best painting contractor in Winnipeg, or one of the top three painters in Winnipeg for example are not always "the best" or even amongst the top ... so... when choosing a contractor, forget the marketing and keep these 12 questions in mind... the pros will have and can demonstrate the answers right away...
1. Do they provide free estimates?
Most honest painting contractors do not charge a fee to provide you with an estimate for your project. Some contractors offer a color consultation in conjunction with your estimate, and at times that can associate to a fee if you are having difficulty deciding what colors to choose.
If a company charges for estimates, ask them why. Are they providing you with a service you do not need? You may choose to receive some free estimates first and determine if you still need to seek a paid estimate.
Only accept in home estimates instead of quotes over-the-phone (pandemic protocols excluded). No home is the same and estimates should be treated as such. Schedule a time when you are able to meet the contractor at your home and walk with them to ensure the contractor has a full, eyes-on understanding of the painting you’d like to have done.
2. Do they have any references?
Customer reviews on Google can misrepresent and be misleading’ they can lack detailed feedback of a painter’s work. If the company has done business in your area, ask if those customers left reviews and where you can read them. You may also look up verified reviews from trusted sources from others in the industry like realtors
3. Is their company a member of the Better Business Bureau?
Painting contractors who are members of trade organizations like the BBB are required to hold certain levels of customer satisfaction and need to maintain minimum professional requirements. Their active memberships to trade organizations demonstrate they meet those professional standards. Their BBB reviews are verified and attest to past performance.
4. How long have they been in business and how many project do they do per year?
Every company must start somewhere, but it is important to determine if you are willing to risk hiring an inexperienced company that might not even specialize in residential painting. They might be so new, they don’t qualify for memberships with trade organizations. Additionally, many companies who specialize in exterior spray jobs don’t have the established skill set for interior fine finishes and tightly defined lines.
Companies with longevity and greater experience are more likely to be around to fulfill the warranty they offer on their work and be available in the future should you choose to hire them again. After going through the research of choosing a painting company, you would be doubling your efforts if the company you hired for a previous project went out of business.
5. What materials do they use … and why?
From paint, to brushes, and sprayers, ask the company what brands and tools they use – and why. The highest quality paints allow the contractor to extend their professional warranty and save you money over time by not having to repaint faded or cracked areas. Also, knowing what paint manufacturer they use can help you find the right color in that brand. Can you tell the difference between Benjamin Moore’s Amazon Moss and PPG’s Blarney Stone?... Shades matter and differences can be enhanced by lighting even when they are close.
6. What sort of prep work do they do and is it on their written quote?
Run from any painters who plan to walk in, paint, then leave. Prep work is essential to a long-lasting finish and is required if any warranty is offered. If your home is not prepared properly before the painting takes place, you’ll be repainting with a professional within the year to fix all the mistakes.
Ensure the painting contractors plan to appropriately prepare the designated area, as well as protect the areas you don’t want painted. Often, defining what they don’t do, is just as essential as what they do.
7. Who will be working on my project? Are they employees or subcontractors?..
Be sure the people you hire to paint your home are the ones who will actually painting it. Many companies subcontract their labour and pass out their shirts for workers to wear while actual worker's habits and skills are essentially unknown to the company. For your peace of mind, make sure you know who will be working in and around your home - only choose a company who hires their crew as employees and each person is fully licensed and insured.
8. Who would be my main point of contact and when are they available?
Is the company’s owner your point of contact? Are they also the foreman for your project? It might be hard to stay in consistent communication with a sales person who planned the project with you just for them to pass it to another crew to execute.
Larger companies have office staff to assist you during business hours with questions, changes to your contract, and scheduling the work – but their salaries come from somewhere - you.
Either way, if you hire a larger company, knowing who to call and for what purpose will help you set the right expectations for communicating your needs.
9. Do you have a safety program or training for employees?
You only want to hire a painting company who is compliant with OSHA safety standards and whose employees are knowledgeable about the same. If the crew is made up of subcontractors, the company cannot guarantee they’ve had any safety training.
When dealing with previously painted surfaces, heights, and unusual landscapes, you want to ensure the painters are adhering to industry safety standards to prevent accidents or harmful conditions in your home. Ask them to verify their current WCB standing.
10. How long is your warranty, what does/ doesn’t it cover and HOW is it financed…
Ask a salesman how their warranties are financed and the good money goes on a blank stare. Two and three year warranties are standard on workmanship yet can differ between companies. Be sure to read the company’s warranty closely to understand what would be needed to maintain or request corrections under the warranty after the job is complete. If they do not offer a warranty, they are not obligated to correct any mistakes. If they do not know how their warranty is financed, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.
11. Are they insured? Can they provide proof of insurance?
Without proper insurances, you are back in the DIY zone and could be at a loss if something goes wrong during your painting project – spilled paint on a carpet or furniture – insurance matters. Not to mention, you could be held liable if a worker is injured in your home if they are not in good standing with WCB insurance. Ensure the company you hire carries a general liability insurance of at least $1 million and worker’s compensation insurance which is also required in most provinces including Manitoba.
12. What are their payment terms? Do they require an deposits or milestone payments?
Smaller companies without excess capital might require a deposit to secure scheduling and purchase needed materials, which is very common. Other companies can request payment after the work is complete. Know the payment terms before signing a contract and know they are in your favour through the duration of the contract right to completion.
Hiring the Right Painting Contractor: Deciding what qualities you find most important in a painting contractor will help you review these answers to determine the best fit for your project. The cheapest option is not always the best. Do they have your best interests in mind? Will they care for your home as if it were their own? How hard was it to get the answers you requested? Answers to these questions will ensure you are making an informed decision.