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?
To 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
National Associations 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 in America.
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
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.