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Old 10-10-2010, 10:05 PM   #1
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Questions to ask painting contractor when getting estimates


My home will soon be 48 years old, it's a brick home with wood trim, wood columns and plywood up under my carport and front porch area. It was my parent's home, both are now deceased and it's been at least 15 years since the exterior trim was painted last. The paint is now flaking, curling up outside, looks bad. I average about one guy a week coming by wanting to give me a bid to paint.

Right now I'm just collecting business cards from the ones who have business cards. There is also some bad wood on the outside of the house that needs to be replaced, columns on my front porch shifted by Hurricane Katrina will need to be jacked up and reset probably before any paint work can be done because 2 of them are almost off their concrete bases.

What kind of questions should I ask a contractor who appears to be reputable if I should call one back to come out to the house and give me a bid to paint the outside of the house? For example I live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, when is the best time to repaint the outside of a house here? Is it too late now, should I wait until next spring? I wanted to join the pro chat but was told I could not, hopefully some pro painters monitor this board who can give me some advice.




Stevoreno55
Biloxi, Mississippi
10/10/10

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Old 10-10-2010, 10:21 PM   #2
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Questions to ask painting contractor when getting estimates


there are a few pro painters on the board. if it were me i would want a solid 2-3 day dry spell with warm weather preferred.

questions for the painters

1. what they use
2. what kind of prep work will be done
3. how they handle call backs
4. how much attention to detail masking they spend
5. what their policy is on overspray if it hits cars etc.


the prep work is really where your question is. anybody with a little skill can lay paint down. a good company will also do enough prep work for the finished paint job to look great. many of your lower cost bids will probably short you on prep work. the single biggest mistake any customer can make with a service business is to price shop. this isn't a tv where you can compare exact model numbers, it's service and comparing paint should be done like hamburgers, not tv's. when you go to a top end restaurant you don't expect $1 burgers do you? same goes with painters, do you want mc donalds or a nice place that cooks up field graze sirloin, both burgers right? huge difference though. so, if you were shopping bids and both burgers were $5, one would be a rip off and one a great deal. same goes for any service. the cheap ones actually might be more overpriced than your mid level guys.

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Old 10-10-2010, 10:24 PM   #3
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Questions to ask painting contractor when getting estimates


Quote:
Originally Posted by racebum View Post
there are a few pro painters on the board. if it were me i would want a solid 2-3 day dry spell with warm weather preferred.

questions for the painters

1. what they use
2. what kind of prep work will be done
3. how they handle call backs
4. how much attention to detail masking they spend
5. what their policy is on overspray if it hits cars etc.


the prep work is really where your question is. anybody with a little skill can lay paint down. a good company will also do enough prep work for the finished paint job to look great. many of your lower cost bids will probably short you on prep work. the single biggest mistake any customer can make with a service business is to price shop. this isn't a tv where you can compare exact model numbers, it's service and comparing paint should be done like hamburgers, not tv's. when you go to a top end restaurant you don't expect $1 burgers do you? same goes with painters, do you want mc donalds or a nice place that cooks up field graze sirloin, both burgers right? huge difference though. so, if you were shopping bids and both burgers were $5, one would be a rip off and one a great deal. same goes for any service. the cheap ones actually might be more overpriced than your mid level guys.
good post. also watch out for guys who are hungry for work or don't have anything lined up. there's usually a reason. my father is an exellent painter, and he ALWAYS has worked lined up.
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Old 10-11-2010, 01:01 AM   #4
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Questions to ask painting contractor when getting estimates


Quote:
Originally Posted by racebum View Post
there are a few pro painters on the board. if it were me i would want a solid 2-3 day dry spell with warm weather preferred.

questions for the painters

1. what they use
2. what kind of prep work will be done
3. how they handle call backs
4. how much attention to detail masking they spend
5. what their policy is on overspray if it hits cars etc.


the prep work is really where your question is. anybody with a little skill can lay paint down. a good company will also do enough prep work for the finished paint job to look great. many of your lower cost bids will probably short you on prep work. the single biggest mistake any customer can make with a service business is to price shop. this isn't a tv where you can compare exact model numbers, it's service and comparing paint should be done like hamburgers, not tv's. when you go to a top end restaurant you don't expect $1 burgers do you? same goes with painters, do you want mc donalds or a nice place that cooks up field graze sirloin, both burgers right? huge difference though. so, if you were shopping bids and both burgers were $5, one would be a rip off and one a great deal. same goes for any service. the cheap ones actually might be more overpriced than your mid level guys.
I had a guy come by on a bicycle last week, asked me if I wanted a price to get my house painted, I asked him for a business card, he said he didn't have one, I asked him to write his name and number down and I'd get back with him later, he wrote his name down but no number, said he didn't have one. I took his note and told him to check back with me next spring. Now that guy I wouldn't seriously consider. In April 2010 another guy stopped by, took some measurements, worked me up an estimate and mailed it back to me about a week later.

What I liked about this guy he came with good references for repairing damaged exterior woodwork, his references said his painting was OK but his workwork was better. After I got his estimate by mail he didn't list how much paint he would use or primer so I called him back to ask him, he said he figured 5 gallons of primer and 5 gallons of paint. I asked him again, he said 5 and 5. I don't know the dimensions of my house but I have a double car carport which has a painted plywood ceiling overhead and a front porch which has an overhang of about 5 feet out by 20 feet across and 3 wooden columns supporting the front porch and 2 columns on my carport. My house might be at least 70 feet long by 25 feet wide, not sure of that but it's a 4 bedroom house, 2.5 baths, double car carport, it's a big house for a house built back in 1962.

That doesn't include all the woodwork going all the way around the house. He said if 5 and 5 wasn't enough he'd just go buy more to finish the job and I could pay him the extra cost. How do you figure how much paint and primer that you will need? This job is going to require a lot of prep work, pressure washing, scraping, sanding before paint can begin. The guy who said it would take 5 and 5 to do my house, I dismissed him too. Can pics of houses be posted here on this board?
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Old 10-11-2010, 01:06 PM   #5
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Questions to ask painting contractor when getting estimates


Was my thread moved? Where was it moved?
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:10 PM   #6
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Questions to ask painting contractor when getting estimates


The questions to ask are.
1, What is your contractors licenses number? (then verify)
2, Who is your liability insurance carrier?
3, Bonding Company?

After that you then can get to your painting questions.

Don’t forget to have him/her print you out a page of references.
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:15 AM   #7
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Questions to ask painting contractor when getting estimates


I would also ask:

What color are you going to paint it?

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Old 10-13-2010, 08:03 AM   #8
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Questions to ask painting contractor when getting estimates


I would ask how many coats of paint. The answer should never be 1.

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