Choosing the Right Contractor
Once you have decided to contract with someone to do a particular painting and decorating project, how do you go about selecting
the right company? Do you make your selection on price, size of company, years in business, or other criteria?
locate the names of reputable contractors, there are many sources of information. Some of these sources are PDCA's Find a Pro search engine, friends, relatives, architects and design professionals, and local "quality- oriented" paint supply
stores. However, these sources can only give you limited general information. In order to make an educated decision, you need
some specific information about any person or firm you are considering hiring.
Always verify the contractor
is licensed and insured.
Quality contracting firms will be only too happy to provide you with copies of their
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.
Written Contracts are a Must
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.
Invest Time in Verifying References
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 you professionally and with respect. The references you are interested in should be projects similar
in size and scope to yours. Also, 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 return on your project investment.
Is Your Contractor a PDCA Member?
Determine if your contractor is a member of the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America. It has been in existence since 1884 and has over 3100 members all over the country and parts of Canada. 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. Trade associations such as the Painting and Decorating Contractors
of America (PDCA) offer many programs for the education of painting contractors. This education includes training in the area
of safety, business management, technical areas of painting and 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 with your selection of a contractor as are the skills to properly manage their
business and your project.
Not all association memberships are alike
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 products, which many marketing and sales type association type groups are in business for.
PDCA is the only national association for painting and decorating contractors and one of the oldest contractor associations
Industry standards are another benefit of trade 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.
Good contractors are very eager for your business.
They are also very proud of their craftsmanship. Once you have made your selection, step back and give the professional room
to execute the project. You have both done your homework, so give the professional the opportunity to meet and exceed your
expectations. Remember, as with anything else in life, you get what you pay for. If you want high quality and reliable service,
be willing to pay the price that comes with it.
Here's to your successful painting projects.
The Painting and Decorating Contractors of America is a full-service national trade association representing over 3,100 companies engaged in all sectors of the coatings
application industry. PDCA has developed this article to assist you in making an informed decision when you next contemplate
a painting or decorating project.