When looking for a professional, you need to know what you need to know!
The PDCA (Painting & Decorating Contractors) national association has published 9 items to look for.
I think they've missed one very important one:
The best companies have a strong history of quality work, and can give you local references for similar projects.
On a recent proposal, we were able to provide references and reference letters from two nearly identical projects.
Don't let the standard brochure references be your only source. And be sure to CALL the reference contact and hear for yourself.
Here's the nine the PDCA offers:
Painting can be hazardous work, whether it's working on a ladder or dealing with dust, paints and solvents. Hiring a professional contractor means you don't have to worry about these problems.
In order for a contractor to be listed on this site the company must be insured and must be licensed in their area of operation (if required by law). Quality contracting firms will be only too happy to provide you with copies of their license or business registration and copies of their current certificates of insurance. They should provide bonding information (if the job is large enough to require such) and documentation of safety training and compliance programs. Not all states and municipalities require licensing however business registration with your state and municipality is generally a minimum requirement. Spend a few minutes to verify the insurance and registrations are current by contacting the insurance broker and regulatory agencies.
Obtain a list of references from the prospective contractor. This list should include the contact person, address, and telephone number of the previous client. Follow up on this list with a phone call. Remember, the contractor will not give you a bad reference. Therefore, ask references if they know of any other work this contractor has performed. Be sure to ask whether the contractor and employees treated them professionally and with respect. The references you are interested in should be projects similar in size and scope to yours. Some of the projects should be at least a few years old. This will help you gauge the performance of the construction and materials used. If possible, try to see the work that was done. Discuss any guarantee or warranty programs the contractor may offer. Ask about the manufacturer's warranty on the products to be used on your project. Remember you are looking for long-term durability from the paint job. The use of high quality products is as important as the selection and performance of the contractor. Verifying references will provide a bigger return on your project investment.
The choices today are more complicated than just oil or latex. Professional contractors know what works, how to use it, and will have the right tools for the job. Professional contractors utilize and partner with professional paint, coatings, and wallcovering suppliers.
5. Insurance, Licensing, Education & Skill
Determine if your contractor is a member of the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America. If you've chosen one from www.findapainter.com they are. The focus of the association is the education of its members and the promotion of professionalism within the industry. Look for the PDCA logo on your contractor's business card, bid sheets, or trucks. PDCA offers many programs for the education of painting contractors. This education includes training in the areas of safety, business management, technical areas of painting, surface preparation, and more. Quality painting and decorating contractors are well educated on the different aspects of any painting project and that knowledge helps eliminate surprises. Excellence in paint application is as important to your selection of a contractor as are their skills to properly manage their business and your project. National Associations such as PDCA and the Better Business Bureau are Non-Profit Associations who are interested in making the contracting world better, not just selling their marketing based contractor promotions. PDCA is the only national association for painting and decorating contractors and one of the oldest contractor associations in America. Industry standards are another benefit of industry associations. PDCA produces nationally recognized Painting Industry Standards that cover many different aspects of a painting project. Use of these standards in proposals and contracts helps improve communication between the client and the contractor, assists in ensuring quality, and becomes a basis for evaluating the job's requirements.
If your home or business was built before 1978, it may have lead-based paint in one or more of the older coats, which can cause serious health issues when it is scraped or sanded in preparation for repainting. Professional contractors will take appropriate steps to protect you. Painting contractors are required to furnish EPA-produced pamphlets to their residential customers and certain other customer types, before they begin a job that involves disturbing lead-based paint in or on a surface. Professional painting contractors will understand and be willing to follow the recommendations on this pamphlet. For more information on the EPA's lead requirements visit ( http://www.epa.gov/lead ).
Getting the surface properly prepared makes all the difference. Professional contractors know the value of preparation and will do it right.
8. Clean Up & Disposal
Hiring a professional contractor means you don't have to worry about dealing with paint residues and other leftovers. Professionals know how to handle hazardous wastes that may be part of the job.
9. Contract Guarantees
Reputable contractors will encourage the use of a written contract. This contract should clearly explain the scope of the work to be performed. It should also cover such items as surfaces to be painted, methods and extent of surface preparation, time schedules for the project, and payment procedures. Knowing the total scope of the work enables you to carefully evaluate the different bids you may receive with the proper information and keep them on a level playing field. The contract serves to protect both you and the contractor. Most contractors listed at www.findapainter.com are aware of the industry standards created by Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (the Association that runs www.findapainter.com). You can download the standards free of charge, http://www.pdca.org/Standards.htm.
As a proud member of the PDCA, you can find our member page at PDCA - Find a Painter
With credit to Painting & Decorating Contractors (PDCA) from their article, Why Use a Pro.