What to Ask Before Hiring a Professional Painter

what to ask before hiring a professional painter

Choosing a company to paint your home is a big decision. The paint job will have an enormous impact on your home’s appearance and will, if the work is high-quality, be around for a while. How do you choose a painter? By asking the right questions. Find out what those questions are below.

How Do I Choose a House Painter?

painting professional holding roller and giving a thumbs up

To get the best results, you need a trusted, quality professional with a long history of successful projects and good reviews. Such information will help you narrow down your options, but once you have a handful of contractors selected, you need to know what to ask when hiring an exterior house painter or interior painter.

What Questions Should I Ask a Painting Contractor?

Below is a list of 16 things to ask a professional painter to check their background and get more information about your project. We have answered each question with information specific to our services at Klappenberger & Son.

1. Are You Licensed and Insured?

professional painter painting house

One of the most important things to ask a professional painter is whether they carry insurance or not. Our company has a contractor’s license and insurance. You will not be liable in case of an accident on your property during one of our projects.

In Maryland, where many of our franchisees operate, the state requires contractors to show proof of at least $50,000 general liability insurance before getting a new or renewed license. This type of insurance protects you from having to pay in case of an accident that causes harm to your property. If you work with one of our Maryland locations, their state license is also proof they carry insurance. Similar rules apply in other states.

2. Do You Offer Consultations?

historic home after professional paint job

Communication with our customers is critical in helping us to meet their expectations. We want you to have the chance to voice your desires for the project to our contractors. Before we start, we offer a consultation to allow us to see your home and determine the best products and processes to use. If you have a historic home, the meeting enables us to see the specific types of materials to use to maintain the period look of your home’s origin.

The consultation gives you the chance to ask us any additional questions you may have about our company, our services or the products we use. The best part of the consultation is its the fact that it’s free. While we use quality products for all our painting work and never cut quality to reduce costs, we still believe that you should not have to pay to get questions answered. The consultation with us costs you nothing, but you will earn the reward of all the information you need about the project and cost.

3. How Much Will the Job Cost?

accurate cost assessments for a professional paint job

The exact cost of the job will vary. Some places will give you a quote online without seeing your home, but that is just a guess and not a guarantee. We need to see your home and get measurements to give you the most accurate estimate.

We provide accurate cost assessments based on the square footage and types of materials. Every job is different, and even if you had us paint for you in the past, newer, more advanced products might change the price. We will work to give you a fair price that does not compromise on the quality of the products we use or the work we do.

Interior Painting costs generally start at $2 to $4 per square foot for painting, with an average of $3 per square foot. This amount is for a typical job with two coats of paint on the walls, one coat on the trim and one on the ceiling. Additional coats will be needed if you are changing colors. Some colors may also require us to add more layers to achieve the proper look. The exact amount you spend depends on the paint grade we choose and any additional prep work we need to do, such as repairing walls and trim or wallpaper removal.

3. How Long Will the Project Take?

professional painter painting interior walls in a house

The time needed for the project depends on how much space you need us to paint. The answers to these will help us give you a time estimate for interior work.

  • Do you need several rooms or only one?
  • Do you have new or existing construction?
  • How much preparation will our painters need to do to get your rooms ready for painting?

questions to ask for an accurate time estimate on an interior paint job

If you need the exterior of your home painted, the answers to the following questions will determine, in part, the length of the project.

  • Do you need the home’s whole exterior painted?
  • Do you only need outside trim painted?
  • How much prep work or rotten wood is there to do?
  • Of course, the weather can always affect the duration of any exterior painting project.

For most projects, we cannot complete the painting in a single day because we paint at least two coats on the walls. Each layer must completely dry before we can add the next coat, leading to the task continuing the following day. On average, most projects we do take a week to account for preparation, painting, drying time between coats and cleaning up.

professional painter painting walls bright yellow

4. Does the Work Come With a Warranty?

Another question to ask exterior painters, as well as those who work inside, is whether the work and products come with any warranties. The quality of the preparation and painting work will ensure the coloring lasts longer. Painting contractors who believe in their efforts will guarantee their jobs. While we offer a warranty on our kitchen cabinets and a five-year guarantee on Mad Dog Primer, check with your local Klappenberger & Son about other guarantees.

5. How Long Has the Company Been in Business?

professional painter painting window trim

How long a company has been in business says a lot about their reputation and quality of work. Many companies can offer painting services, but if they do not provide long-lasting work with high-quality products, they won’t be around too long. This is especially true in areas with many historic homes that require extra care in any restoration projects.

Klappenberger & Son has been in the business of painting both interiors and exteriors for 30 years. In that time, we’ve learned a lot about how produce the best results.

6. Have You Received Any Awards for Superior Service?

You don’t have to take our word for it when we tell you about our service. Listen to what our previous customers have said and look at the awards we’ve received.

Customer testimonials are essential to our operations because they establish us as a leader in the field and show how committed we are to providing superior service. For seven years in a row, we have earned listing among the Best Picks.

To get this award, we need to give Best Picks contact information from 300 customers from the previous years. Best Picks Reports interviews those customers on the quality of the work we did. As a third party, they are neutral in their choices, making our ranking even more critical.

Best Picks also has strict requirements for those painting companies it chooses. Companies must requalify each year by maintaining an A grade, have licensing and insurance and have recommendations from verified customers. Our listing shows how committed we are to quality service and high standards.

7. Do You Use Your Own Employees? What Kind of Training Do the Employees Receive?

professional painter giving rigorous training to trainee

Some painting companies cut their prices by using third-party subcontractors. These workers may be freelance painters or work for another company, but the painting business you hire does not have to insure them, nor can it guarantee their work. This inability to ensure the quality of subcontractors is one of the hazards of going with the lowest price. To ensure that you get qualified painters who’ve undergone thorough vetting, we only allow our trained employees to work on your home.

Our employees undergo rigorous training to become painters with us. This process includes four and a half hours of videos outlining best practices and how to avoid mistakes. Training consists of a process that teaches workers how to reduce the number of errors and identify the right products to use for the projects they work on.

Information in the videos comes from our owner’s experience painting houses. In the videos, David Klappenberger describes over 800 errors he previously made in this business and tells our painters how to avoid making the same mistakes.

After the training, the workers test their knowledge through quizzes to verify their comprehension. Once completed, our painters will have the experience they need to choose the right products and use the ideal techniques for any job they do.

8. Should I Feel Concerned About Your Crew in My Home?

professional painter with painting equipment

Homeowners have a right to feel concerned about the contractors entering their houses. Never feel bad about including this question among what to ask a professional painter. You want to protect yourself and your property.

Because we only use our employees, we can assure you of the safety of having them in your home. All our workers undergo thorough screening, and we only hire good people who adhere to our company’s values and high standards. Most of our workers have been with us for some time, averaging five years in our company.

The thorough training classes that they take emphasize the focus they should have during the work. Our employees will keep their focus on moving things out of the way to protect them from the paint. They want to complete the painting job, not steal things.

9. How Many People Will You Have to Complete This Project?

The number of people we assign to each project depends on the size of the job. If you have only a single room or similar small space, we may only send one or two painters. Medium-sized jobs require two or three people. For the largest projects, we often send out three or four people.

Our goal for any painting project is to finish the task on time, generally in about a week. To accomplish this, we change the number of people we assign to complete the work in this timeframe. Whether we send one painter or a team, you can rest assured that they will all have undergone the same training and background checking.

10. What Grade of Paint Will You Use?

professional painter using specific paint grade

Not all painters will give you options for the grade of paint they use. Some operations will cut costs by choosing the cheapest paint they can get, which may wear out or fade sooner than quality paints. Your desired goals for the painting project will help our team to choose the best paint for your task, but we will never use low-quality products.

If you just want to refresh your home for the short term, we will use a mid-grade paint to balance price and quality. However, if you intend to remain in the home for several years in the future, we will upgrade your project to a premium paint. These tend to last longer than lower grades.

The cost of your job will include the cost of our materials. Paint grade will change the materials cost, but on average, plan on 15% of the total job cost going toward paint and other materials for the project.

11. Do I Need to Do Anything Before You Arrive?

Some painters will require their clients to do all the prep work, including moving furniture and spackling walls. The contractor should do these tasks, not you. By forcing you to do much of the hard work before the painting project starts, these companies can cut costs and increase the number of houses they paint in a day. However, requiring a customer to do any part of a project the client hires the company to do is a bad business practice. We will never do this to you.

We only request that you remove small breakable objects from the room and take down expensive artwork from the walls. The only reason we ask you to take out these expensive or delicate things is because you know how to handle them properly and store them correctly until we finish our job. Don’t worry about the furniture, though. Part of our job is to move heavy furnishings from the room and to prepare the walls, so you don’t have to.

Our painters will do any necessary spackling and sanding to prepare the walls for the primer. How well we prep the area will factor into how long the paint lasts and how it looks. Poorly prepared surfaces do not allow the paint to adhere, leading to cracking and peeling.

Leave these tasks to us so we can do them as part of the project while we maintain our high standards. The more we do throughout the project, the better we can control the quality of the job we do.

12. Where Will You Store Supplies and Paint Overnight During the Job?

While we work, we will cover the flooring in the room we’re painting with drop cloths, but at the end of each workday, we won’t leave our supplies lying around for your family or pets to encounter. We carefully store everything we use until we return the next day.

You don’t need to worry about our gear getting in your way after we leave for the day. Because most of our jobs will take more than a day, we will need a location around your home to store our paint and supplies overnight. Typically, we use rarely used areas such as the garage, basement, laundry room or guest room. If we work outside, we will keep our ladders there, too.

13. How Will You Keep My House Clean?

professional painter laying out drop cloths on floor

Your home deserves the same quality service and treatment we offer you as a customer. Not all painters will clean up after themselves or use practices to reduce the messes that they make. Through trial and error over our thirty years in the painting business, we’ve learned the best practices to use to keep your home as clean as possible.

During preparation, we lay out drop cloths on the floor and over furnishings to prevent paint and dust from getting on them. When we sand, we use a vacuum attachment to keep the dust out of the air. Our painters will also use the right amount of paint to prevent splatter and dripping.

Other painters may not take these precautions, but we believe that caring for your home is part of our business, whether we work inside or out.

14. What Will You Clean After You Finish the Job?

Our painters will not leave a mess in your home while they work or after they finish. While our work does not produce a lot of waste or dirt in the space where we work, we still strive to leave your home clean. During sanding, we use a vacuum attachment on the sander to collect any dust created during the process. This prevents dirt from accumulating on surfaces in the room.

Even with this precaution in place, we will still vacuum all the rooms we paint at the end of the project. Vacuuming the painted rooms is a courtesy service to our customers to ensure that you have a better-looking home after we leave.

15. Can You Provide References?

beautiful kitchen after a professional paint job

Our high-quality painting work has earned us contracts for doing interior work in many government buildings. We have painted the White House, the Pentagon, the Smithsonian and the Capitol building. What makes these projects stand out is that they fall into both the government and historic building categories.

With thousands of visitors each year, the quality of the paint job is critical in such locations. We take pride in our ability to meet the exacting standards of these properties’ interior painting needs.

To see images of other painting projects we’ve done, browse through our portfolio of prior interior painting projects. You can also read testimonials from our customers on our website.

16. Who Do I Contact With Questions or a Problem?

To contact your local Klappenberger & Son franchise, visit our website. Look for the zip code finder at the top of the screen and type in your postal code. You will see the name and contact information of the location nearest to your home. You can then contact the team through an online form, by phone or by email with questions about your project.

Contact Us for a Painting Contractor for Your Home

professional painter painting interior walls blue

Hopefully, now you have the answer to the question of what you should look for in a painting contractor and are ready to book your painting project. At Klappenberger & Son, our highly trained painters know how to give your home an improved appearance through a fresh coat of paint on the interior or exterior. Whether you need a restoration or want to personalize your space with new colors, trust us to give it the long-lasting color that will make it more valuable.

To schedule your painting project, contact us online. You will get our decades of experience in painting that owners of both government buildings and historic homes have used for their projects.

COVID-19 Update: Klappenberger & Son Is Still Open For Business

Klappenberger & Son is still open for business during COVID-19