Beware of contractors from out of town or without a physical home office. Often times they’ll descend on an area to try and get quick work, then leave without any way to contact them if any issues arise. Using a local painting contractor with a physical street address will help protect your investment because they can always come back for touch-ups or repairs if needed.
If you decide to hire help, have several contractors inspect the job and provide proposals. You'll probably find huge price differences for the same job. A Checkbook undercover shopper got quotes from nine Washington-area contractors to repaint the walls, ceiling and trim for a living room, dining room, family room, bathroom and kitchen. Including paint and supplies, prices ranged from $2,650 or less to more than $6,500.
When we checked out their work the next day we found multiple, I mean MULTIPLE, paint splatters all over the place. On the hardwood floors (had to be at least 10 paint splatters on the ground), paint on the fireplace, clumps of paint on the wall. There were several areas that needed a paint touch up that weren't. It seemed like the whole job was done by a kid. We called them and asked if they could come back and basically finish their job. We told them we will mark all the paint splatters and areas missed with blue paint tape, so when they came back they would know exactly where to look. We marked probably about 20 areas that needed attention. Sounds flawless right?
FIRST: Unless you can stay in business painting 1 bedroom at a time for $500-$1000, which you can't, then you will be taking on several thousand dollar contracts that require thousands in Labor and Materials to fulfill the order. Multiply that by 3-4 jobs at one time or in our case 15-20 jobs at a time, YOU NEED TO TAKE DEPOSITS!!! It is horrible business not to take deposits. There are many jobs where its not possible to get a deposit and that is built into or pricing accordingly. If we are not getting a deposit, there is a finance charge built in, contractors are not banks. If you don't have a good feeling about a deposit, your hiring the WRONG CONTRACTOR. Hire people you know or well established businesses.
We were performing some remodeling in conjunction with the painting project and Henry's crew was able to work with and around our contractor with ease. Henry's crew was ahead of schedule, so they were able to start our project early (nearly a week ahead of schedule) and ended up finishing the project the day they were originally scheduled to start!
Deciding which paint to use has gotten much easier now that acrylic latexes have pushed oil-based paints almost to extinction. The acrylics offer superior performance (they don't harden with age, the way oils do, so they move and breathe without blistering), they don't mildew as readily, and they emit fewer VOCs, so they comply with new air-quality regulations. They also work over both oil- and water-based primers.