Learning how to hire a painting company for rental property is a skill every landlord and property manager should do. One of the most popular property improvement projects that rental property managers and landlords undertake every once in a while is painting. Regardless of the project scope, hiring a professional painting company is the secret to a well-done job. It saves you a lot of effort and time in the long run.
Due to the high number of painting companies on the market today, it can be confusing when selecting the best painting company. This is why it is wise to be skeptical about who you are hiring. Below is a comprehensive guide on how to hire a painting company for rental property.
Before selecting a painting company to meet your needs, follow the steps below.
1. How to Find Painting Companies
You have a few main options when you start looking for painting companies.
Your first option is to do a simple Google search, or a site like Angie’s List. These are good options to start, as they will give you a lot of feedback and let you find user reviews.
The second method is to use the old school method or just looking in the yellow pages, or for a company’s sign while driving around. Asking your local paint supply company, like an employee at a Sherwin Williams store, can also work.
Finally, you can ask around if any of your friends, family or coworkers have had great experiences with painting companies. The best people to ask are those who have also invested in real estate or are property managers, similar to yourself. If they refer you to a company you were already interested in working with, that’s a good sign.
Referrals are important as they are more effective than just checking out companies online. You get an objective appraisal of the business ethics and skills of the company. That said, you shouldn’t rely entirely on the feedback you are given from your friend. They may be biased towards the painter they refer you to if they’re a friend or family member, so that’s something to dig into before you move forward.
2. Compare at least three painting companies
Talk to at least three different companies before making your decision. If you don’t get multiple bids, it’s more difficult to get a feel for how much the job should cost.
Ask the same questions to each company. All questioning should be done in a week. You want to move fast on this, because if you wait too long their quotes may change due to demand. Note that if any estimates sound too good for the deal to be true, think twice.
Make sure you have a great list of questions to ask your painting contractor. The list will make sure you don’t forget anything and get all of the information you need to make a decision.
3. Critical Information to Find Out
A painting project involves a lot of money and time. Make a point of meeting the company representatives for an interview. Watch how quickly and efficiently they answer your questions. You should also be keen for any suggestions that they give you as this confirms their expertise. During the interview, find out the following information from the representative.
Find out how long the painting company has been operating. Companies who have been in the industry for long have gained priceless skills over time. Such companies have also settled with necessary equipment in place. They have survived the challenges that come with this business, so they deserve more credit.
However, do not entirely make your decision based on experience as you might miss great painting companies in the entry level. It is recommendable that you hire a painting company that has been operating for at least two years.
b) Licensing and Insurance
This should be the first thing you should check before dealing or negotiating with a painting company. The company should have a license issued by the state, worker’s compensation insurance and liability insurance. It is imperative for the company to have these documents before hiring them.
A reputable painting company will have those documents in their possession, and they should be free to show them to you as proof of legal business operation. These documents protect the company and its workers when on site. They also protect you and your home.
Hiring painting companies outside legal boundaries denies you the entire right to regain your money for neglected promises. Give more credit to any painting company that is a member of a national or local association, such as Painting and Decorating Contractors of America.
c) Preparation work
Inquire on the preparation work that the company does before painting. A great company spends time doing everything necessary for the project perfection. A cheap job skimps the prep task to cut corners.
The prep work required will depend on the type of job. If it’s an exterior job, they should pressure wash the house to get all dirt off. If it’s interior, they should tape molding around the room and cover the floor and furniture with plastic or dropcloths to keep paint from splattering.
d) Employee VS subcontractors
Find out if the employees of the company are direct employees. Direct employees are those that get a monthly paycheck. The alternative to this is subcontractors, and if this is the case, they should have individual insurance policies. The direct employees should be covered by the company’s general liability insurance policies and workers compensation.
If they use contractors, confirm the company’s insurance covers them. Remember, they’re working for YOU. You call the shots- and if their bases aren’t covered, you should consider hiring someone else.
e) Guarantee and Warranties
Ask if there are any guarantees offered by the company. This should be in addition to the guarantee given by paint manufacturers on the products. Ask for a guarantee in black and white. A verbal guarantee isn’t enough.
Seek clarification on the start and completion dates. Find out if there are any specific obligations you are responsible for. If you delay on executing your responsibilities, you might interfere with the completion dates.
One example of your obligation might be moving all furniture to the center of the room. The painting company usually won’t do that for you, because it’s a liability for them to do so and it takes up valuable painting time.
Find out from the company representative how much the painting task will cost you. The lowest quote should not be the only or the first consideration. A rental property painting project needs a skilled, experienced company to undertake the task.
You also need an insured and licensed company that has great employees and is aware of safety issues. Therefore, the ideal company will not have the lowest bid. Even if the price is usually a natural concern, it should not be the sole determinant.
4. Gauge How knowledgeable the company is
Knowing how to hire a painting company for rental property means knowing what to listen for when you talk to the contractor.
A skilled and experienced painting company should be eager to answer the questions you ask. They should be able to demonstrate their knowledge regarding the task at hand, leaving no doubt in your mind they know what they’re talking about. It should also be in a position to make recommendations on the best brand of paint to use.
The company should also be knowledgeable about the latest painting techniques and products. It should suggest finishes and colors of the latest trends. Experience matters.
5. Call the References
Once the company gives you references, make a point of calling them. Check their records against the business bureau to determine their credibility.
Obviously, you can choose to ignore this advice, but it never hurts to spend an extra 5-10 minutes to get feedback from these references.
Brandon Turner from Bigger Pockets emphasizes that you should always check references. Considering he’s one of the most well-known and respected real estate bloggers, if he says to do it, it’s probably a good idea.
6. Get the formal estimate
The company should give you a scope of the material to be used, amount of prep work and the project in a written contract. This information should not be scribbled on the back of business cards or a napkin. Professional painting companies offer their clients written contracts as well as specifications.
By written, I don’t necessarily mean it’s a hard copy. Many will give you a physical copy, but a digital version sent to your email is fine too. In fact, I would argue that’s a better format since it is much easier to save away in case you need it again later.
There you have it – how to hire a painting company for rental property. With this information, you can now select the best company to paint your property. Above all, you will need to trust your gut. Did you find the company punctual and courteous?
Do not leave your rental property in the hands of anyone who has a paintbrush and a white van. Use the above tips to hire the best painting company. All the best!!!!