Landlording & Rental Properties

How to Hire a Painter

Expertise: Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Development, Flipping Houses, Real Estate Marketing, Real Estate News & Commentary, Business Management
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Hire a Painter

So if you’ll notice, I didn’t title this blog “How to Hire a Good Painter”. It’s easy to hire a painter, it takes a bit more diligence to find a solid one. It will be this attention to detail and questioning, though, that will land you with an excellent tradesman, or a hobbyist hack. This post is going to teach you how to hire a painter – a great one.

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If you’re wholesaling, you’re typically spared the agony of vetting contractors, supervising work, and dealing with performance. If you’re rehabbing, renting, or selling properties, though, painting it typically always included on the list of “must do’s” to prime your investment.

So why is it difficult to acquire a honest, skilled and fairly-priced painter? The answer is, it shouldn’t be, but I’m sure we all have nightmare stories of When Painting Goes Wrong.

1) Where to Find Leads for Good Painters

The mirror should not be your top answer. Listen, these bony arms have seen their fair share of frog tape, cutting in, and rolling until I feel like I can roll no more. Who am I to not dig into some labor work from time to time to save money, after all? I’m a business owner, that’s who. And as adequate as I feel my painting might be, I can bet you my work is elementary compared to a proficient veteran. Let alone the hours, frustration, and disdain I feel after having to re-paint a room because the previous owners decided that 3 different shades of the same color that look the same in different lighting was a good idea (WHO does that?!)

A good source is your local supply stores. As in, the actual paint supply stores, ie, Sherwin Williams, Dunn Edwards, etc. Ask the friendly sales staff if they have a couple people they recommend in that area. And, ask them why. Why do you recommend ABC painting and have you had other customers come back later and speak of their good work?

You can also reach out through your local REIA to see if there are go-to painters that other investors in your area like to use. It’s also a good way to ask for references, as they should be willing and able to provide you with names and numbers of current or past clients, whom are also investors.

If all else fails, check Craigslist and AngiesList. Professionals still use these sites to advertise and I often find solid companies that are simply using a high-traffic but less expensive way to get and keep their name out there. You may have to research their company a bit more, look up licensing details, and ask for references, but there are plenty of good contractors out there that are looking for work via the web.

2) How to Hire a Good Painter

With my experience working in property management under the principals, I got a lot of exposure to working with general contractors and subs. One of the rules I was taught consistently was to always get 3-4 bids, no matter what. (Eventually you will find a few go-to people, but even their pricing/materials/quality of work may change, so it’s always good to continue to get other bids).

It allows you to get an idea of who sounds professional, who returns your calls in a timely manner, how they bid the job, when they can start, if they are licensed, among other things. Always give yourself options. On the licensing note, I typically do not care if they are licensed or not. I’ve found numerous tradesmen that work under someone elses license, or work as a painter/electrician/etc for a company during the day, and side line the same work at half price in their own hours. Just get the true story and go with what works best for you. But if you do hire someone that is un-licensed/bonded/insured, just know you may have less recourse if the deal goes sideways and/or more exposure if someone gets hurt.

Once they visit you at the property, you can also see how they behave, how they will approach the job in terms of organization, prep, and delivery. If in doubt, ask. Get a bid in writing with specifics, and determine whether their pricing includes paint, or if you’re supplying it.

At this point you should have enough information and feel for the prospects to choose someone who you feel is proficient, fair, and drug and drama free!

3) The Details

Never pay someone for the full job upfront. If they need a small stipend if you have a larger job to buy materials, so be it. But visit them on the job once they start to check their prep work, lines, and quality of work. You should have a clean job site that shows they have taken the time to prep the house, fixtures, trim, etc and shows clean lines and even paint. Any drinking/smoking/family members hanging around should not be tolerated. This is your business, so make sure it’s treated like one. If things aren’t being done correctly, make sure you have communicated exactly what needs to be done and get it in writing so there are no assumptions or memorization. If the job is done shoddily or there is monkey business going on, it’s time to move on to painter #2.

Painting a house is one of the most dramatic and cost effective ways to improve the look and resale value of a home. Skip the DIY mentality and learn to hire and work with an experienced painter. The process of finding a good one, utilizing them, and seeing their handywork is that much more rewarding.

What about your experience readers? What questions or system do you use to help you find a good painter? Have a painting horror story, please share!
Photo Credit: erix!

    Gary Parker
    Replied over 6 years ago
    I have been lucky enough to have been able to use the same painter since I started. At times he could not meet my time line, so I had to get other bids. WOW what a pain. I pay $1.25 for 3 tone and know others are paying as low as $.75 and prices can go way up from $1.25. I expect great prep work and tight lines. I found a guy for $1.00 that was awesome; however, he is always 6 to 8 weeks out and if I miss his window I could get delayed a few weeks. So, I go with my $1.25 guy, and it is one less contractor to worry about.
    Alan Mackenthun
    Replied over 6 years ago
    $1.25 per what? linear ft?
    Gary Parker
    Replied over 6 years ago
    The prices I discussed are SF of the house. So if it is a 1500 SF house at $1.25 per foot then the labor is $1875.00. The price is for labor only.
    Painting Work
    Replied about 6 years ago
    Great post! Been reading a lot about tips on hiring painters. Thanks for the info!
    louie k.
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I’m a painter looking for painting jobs. I take pride in my work.I believe good prep work is the key to a good paint job.I was recently working for a contractor.but I am on my own now.
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Thank you for this post! There are some really cool ideas here. I love your blog, keep up the awesome work!
    Jennifer Andrews
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I usually hire the first painter who gets back to me but that hasn’t always worked out in my favor so I will have to be sure to get 3-4 bids. If I can’t check the painters you can always ask a friend or coworker to check it out as well. Painting takes so much time that finding a painter is usually work it, especially if it’s for your business.
    Ridley Fitzgerald
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Thanks for the tips for hiring a painter. I am not a very good painter myself, so hiring a pro is something I need to do. I like how you talked about always getting at least 3 bids, no matter what. That makes sense to me!
    Jade Brunet
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Having potential painters visit you and your property is a good idea. This would give you a feel of how they approach the job in terms of organization, prep, and delivery. My mom says that hiring painters is definitely worth it because not only do they accomplish the project but carry out preparation and clean up efforts as well.
    Rachel Lannister
    Replied about 3 years ago
    You advised not paying the painting contractor completely up front, and waiting until the job is completed. My cousin is painting their family room, and want it to be done by a professional as they don’t feel they can do it themselves. I’ll tell them to make sure that the painter is okay with them paying a part before and after the job is done, to ensure that they don’t pay for a job they aren’t satisfied with.
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I agree that it is a good idea to get multiple bids to keep your options open. I think that this allows you accurately compare what is an appropriate cost for the services. My mom is wanting to hire someone to repaint all of the rooms in her house. I’ll have to point this advice out to her the next time I see her.
    Replied about 3 years ago
    I agree that it is a good idea to get multiple bids to keep your options open. I think that this allows you accurately compare what is an appropriate cost for the services. My mom is wanting to hire someone to repaint all of the rooms in her house. I’ll have to point this advice out to her the next time I see her.
    Ridley Fitzgerald
    Replied about 3 years ago
    Finding a good painter is super important. Paint is one of the first things people notice, whether it\’s on a house or a business, so it\’s vital! I like how you said to always get at least 3-4 bids for the project.
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    There indeed is a good reason in hiring a professional painter than doing it by yourself. And when it comes to choosing the right one, asking for recommendations from people is one smart move. There’s nothing that is better than the word of mouth.
    Earnest Watkins
    Replied about 2 years ago
    My favorite tip was how you suggested asking for references when hiring a painter. I’d feel a lot more confident in a painter’s ability if they give me past clients to speak with. How many references would you say are customary to get?