How To Find A House Painter

When you're ready to get the outside of your house painted, be sure to get the most qualified and cost-effective painter available.

Painting the outside of a house years ago wasn't such a big deal. A small ranch or simple two story colonial might be completed in a couple of days when undertaken by a busy father eager to get the job done.

But today many men are too busy with jobs and families to take on a massive undertaking like this one. Instead, they farm out this task to the lowest bidder, like an unemployed family member or friend, hoping for a decent result. Sometimes it turns out okay, and other times it doesn't.

When you decide to have your house's exterior painted, be sure to find the most qualified painter available. You don't want to hire someone, paying a sizable down payment, only to find the man's a drunkard or the woman fails to return the next day. Nor do you want the job finished and discover belatedly that there are spots, stains, or uneven places in the finish.

Painting a house is a big job, and it requires a competent painter. After all, your house reflects who you are and the kind of people represented in your family. Take the time to find a professional painter who will get the job done right the first time, and not have to be called back time and again to fix minor flaws.

Your first course of action might be to check with family members and friends who have had good outcomes with having their homes painted. Word of mouth is a powerful selling tool, and they may have a business card or the phone number of the person who handled their house painting. If you don't know anyone who's had it done recently, ask around to see if someone has heard of another person who had a house painted. Even this indirect method can work if you can trust the source who reports a quality paint job.

Next, expand your efforts to ask acquaintances at work, at church, or at civic organizations to which you belong. Again, be sure you know this person well enough to trust any recommendation that might be made. And be prepared to follow up by checking references of the person who comes highly recommended.



The next step can be the newspaper ads. Check community and regional newspapers, and look for established rather than fly-by-night advertisements. Call and talk to the person at length, asking questions that you have prepared in advance, like these:

How long have you been painting houses?

What part of town do you usually work in?

How long does a two-story colonial (or whatever type house you live in) take to paint?

How much do you charge?

Is your work guaranteed?

Are you bonded and insured?

May I have the names of some references?

The yellow pages may be your next stop. Again, call the most promising ads and get detailed information on the telephone before spending time to meet with someone you don't know. You may decide, based on this preliminary information, to ask for a free estimate.

When you've selected a few names for consideration, call your local Better Business Bureau to see if the person has a file there. You may be able to find out if the person has a history of disputes with clients, and whether the person has resolved those successfully. You probably will not be able to get a credit rating, professional assessment or ranking, or a warning or recommendation from the BBB.

Check with the references that you are given. Ask when the work was done, what type of work was done, whether they were satisfied, if the rate seemed fair, and if there were later problems with peeling, cracking, fading, etc.

Make your final selection of painter after comparing references, interviews, and estimates. You may also want to count somewhat on your "gut feeling" about the person. While it may not count for much, intuitive feelings about someone should not be discounted altogether. Many times they pan out, for whatever unknown reason.

Choosing a house painter may seem like an extremely easy or complicated task. Actually, it is neither. For the best results be prepared to invest a little time and effort to find the best person available for the job. Even then, there are no guarantees, but you can rest easy knowing that you tried your best.

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