6 questions to ask your painting company
You talked to the owner of the company – in fact, he or she was the one who provided you with an estimate. The truck that came to your home displayed a company logo, and the crew wore shirts imprinted with the same. Everything looks just as it should… but is it?
The truth is, it isn’t always easy to know who you’re hiring. And in the professional painting industry, there are a whole host of circumstances that might cause a contractor to sub out their jobs. For one, using subcontractors instead of hiring employees will lower their costs – subs are usually paid a flat fee, and the contractor doesn’t have to pay social security taxes or employee benefits. Now, this is not to say that subcontracting is wrong. In fact, in many cases it makes a lot of sense. But if the people you hire and the terms of their employment are not made transparent, you run the risk of encountering problems down the road.
Ask the right questions
Painting your home is a big project – right up there with roof repairs and major electrical or plumbing work. You want to know you are covered in any event, from liability insurance to quality assurance. To help protect yourself and your home, the process of hiring a painting contractor should always start with a list of well-informed questions, such as:
- Where is your place of business? Make sure your company has an actual physical location. It may seem obvious, but any company operating out of a virtual office is unlikely to be able to effectively manage a team of professionals.
- Do you do background checks? If a company is making an investment in an employee, they are hoping it will be a long-term relationship – and therefore are quite motivated to do thorough background checks before hiring them. From the homeowner’s point of view, knowing the people working in your home have been through a background check offers a valuable peace of mind.
- Do you use 1099 subcontractors? These are both questions that will help you determine if the company has employees or uses subs. Again, there are plenty of subcontractors that do quality work, but there is less accountability if they don’t always represent the same employer. And if a problem arises after the project has been completed, you might have a tough time getting the same person to come back and fix it.
- Do all of the painters who will be working on my project have Workers Compensation Insurance? The rules surrounding Workers Comp are different for employees and subcontractors. If a company has employees, the employer must cover them. Subcontractors have to carry their own policy, so you want to be sure all necessary coverage is in place. Not having the proper insurance could be potentially devastating if there were an accident on the job.
- What happens if you discover any structural issues while painting? While no company can do everything, it’s important to know what would happen if there’s a hiccup in the painting project, like discovering rot in your wood. Painting companies that employ a team of professionals will often have licensed carpenters on staff who can address these types of issues in a timely manner.
- Are you accredited with the Better Business Bureau? If the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has accredited a business, that means the business has met certain standards, including a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. You can research this online at bbb.org.
Doing your due diligence usually pays off, and it’s no different when hiring a painting contractor. Taking the time to ask the right questions will put you in the driver’s seat, helping you hire a quality company that will be efficient, thorough and accountable in your home.