You might think it’s obvious how to hire the best Adirondack house painter. After all, Tom Sawyer had no problem getting others to whitewash that fence, so what’s to know? But it’s important to avoid any frustrations—or worse still, money lost—especially if your building is in the Adirondacks where winters are severe and painters come and go. Review these basic suggestions before you embark.
1) Make sure the painter has insurance and runs a legitimate business.
If this is a project bigger than your closet, and you want to use a pro, you will want to make sure your painter is insured in case there is an accident, an injury, or damage to the property. You will also want the painter to be a legitimate contractor so s/he can purchase paint at a wholesale price and get the best price for you as a result.
As part of standard interview questions (while you are seeking an estimate of the job) ask the painter about insurance and consider seriously the risks you may be taking if s/he does not have insurance. Can you really afford to be sued if something goes wrong on your personal or professional property?
2) Get a free on-location or in-home estimate and make sure the painter has experience with the work required for your project.
It’s fine to hear a ballpark figure over the telephone, but if you are serious, you will want a site-specific estimate.
If the painter has experience, when s/he views the project site, s/he will point out possible challenges to the job, what s/he could do to prepare or repair the site for painting, and help you manage what s/he will or will not do as part of the painting work. A good painter will also ask you questions regarding access to the site, where they should park, as well as what the rules are regarding workers and work hours.
Do you have the time to waste or resources to burn by not hiring a seasoned professional? Can you really afford to use a painter who has no experience in staining cedar-shingled boathouses? Or using an electric lift to paint the fourth floor of your commercial building?
3) Ask for references and pictures: the best Adirondack house painter will have them.
Don’t stop at the estimate. Ask the painter for at least three past clients who would be willing to talk to you. Three references should be enough to assess the quality of the painter’s work. Did he or she complete the work within a reasonable time period (Or did they accept the job and then table it for later because the painter got a bigger job?) and if the client was ultimately happy with the job completed. Ask the client, would s/he hire the painter again? Word of mouth is a great way to find the best Adirondack house painter.
Ask the painter for examples of his/her work. Does s/he have a website with images you might consider? Seeing visuals will help you determine the painter’s style and expertise, as well as his or her knowledge of historical Adirondack architecture.
4) Communicate clearly your needs and expectations and ask those of the painter.
When you are ready to hire, ask for proof to see the painter is insured. And then, before you seal the deal, it’s really important that you communicate your expectations because once the job begins, adding things on will likely cost more. So try to review as much upfront as possible. For example, when you say you want the exterior of your house painted, what parts of it do you not want to be painted? Are you expecting it to be one uniform color or are there decorative parts you want to paint different colors? How about the foundation? The chimney, the cable, or electrical boxes?
Additionally, ask the painter about their expectations, like needing staging areas for supplies, access to the driveway, or having access to running water.
Also important: ask the painter about clean up and disposal issues. Do they need access to your garbage receptacles or do they take trash with them (every day?) and will they leave you or your staff with any extra paint they do not use?
5) Understand what your estimate does and DOES NOT include.
The cheapest estimate may not include everything you must pay for in the end. It’s important to understand that most painters usually bid their projects based on an hourly rate, their prep time, supplies, type/quality of paint, ceiling/roof heights, equipment needed, difficult access points, and the number of people working. Ask your painter to talk through with you various additional or potential costs. And again, know, it’s always better to clarify all project costs in the beginning before the work begins. In the end, the best Adirondack house painter is one who can effectively estimate and complete your project.
Specializing in painting and insulation, Christopher M. Caldwell LLC has been dedicated to the detailed care and preservation of historic houses, boathouses, Great Camps, and commercial buildings in the Adirondacks since 1978.
For your free painting, staining, or insulation estimate, contact us or call Christopher Caldwell at (518) 891-7354.