Sometimes customers are unsure of what to expect or what kind of questions to ask of a contractor bidding for work on their home. Westside Precision Painting has generated a list of questions that you may want to use when selecting a contractor.
Suggested Use
We suggest you allow the contractor to explain what they are willing to offer before you ask any of these questions. It is important for you to know what the contractor offers up front. Many contractors will concede to some of the important factors listed, simply to secure the job. In other words, a responsible contractor will cover many of these features before you even ask. Select a link to view answers.

How long have you been in business?
Most people know there is a high turnover rate in the contracting business and painters are no expectation to this rule. While longevity in the field does not always guarantee success, the odds of a quality job are increased with experience. There is a steep learning curve in this business and most homeowners don't want be the "test house" in which a student organization or inexperienced company are going to experiment. (WPP has been in business for over 18 years.)

Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
Licensed & Bonded: The contractor is licensed with the state. A bond protects you against poor or negligent work done by a contractor. Insurance: Protects you in cases of worker injury and/or damaged property caused by the contractor. (Yes to all three for WPP.)

Do you provide a detailed contract?
This protects you and the contractor from costly disputes that may arise concerning the work performance. This document should be comprehensive and fully explained to you in advance of payments. All parties should have a copy of the signed contract. (WPP always provides a copy to the homeowner.)

Will you work with zero money down?
This shows good faith on the part of the contractor. It also means your contractor has good financial standing and is able to procure materials without having to ask you for the funds upfront. (WPP never takes money upfront.)

Will you collect no money until the job is done to my satisfaction?
You, the customer, should get the final say in the quality of the job performed. (WPP takes the risk out of choosing a painting contractor by not asking for any money until you are 100% happy with our work.)

Once you start, will you stay until the work is done?
The contractor you hire should be committed to finishing the work they have started without disappearing for long periods of time. It can be extremely annoying when a contractor finishes 75% of the job, gets some money, and then leaves the jobsite for weeks on end. (A WPP crew only works on one job at a time which allows us to give our complete focus to your project.)

Did they give you a timely estimate after you asked for one?
Do they schedule a specific time for an estimate where specific questions of what you want done can be addressed? Does it take them a couple of days or a couple of weeks to get you a bid? (WPP will follow up and set an appointment to talk with you in a timely manner.)

Will they keep you informed of their progress?
If there are delays due to material shortages, weather, or anything else, will they call to inform you? (Communication is important with WPP.)

Can you make recommendations on what materials will work best for my project?
A professional keeps up-to-date on the latest products and techniques, makes suggestions for colors and finishes, and is knowledgeable about the latest trends. Experience counts. (WPP is in constant communication with several paint representatives who keep us informed of new products and market trends.) If there are delays due to material shortages, weather, or anything else, will they call to inform you? (Communication is important with WPP.)

Do you offer free test patches?
Nothing can be more frustrating than hiring a painting company and then having them tell you to go to pick out your color without any help. You then tell them the color, they go buy it, and then the job starts. You come home to your freshly painted home only to realize that the soft beige you picked out has a rose tone to it that you couldn't detect on the color chart. Unfortunately, you now have the only pink house on the block. Either you live with it or buy all of the paint again.
At Westside Precision Painting (unless you prefer to do it) we go to the paint store and pick up a quart of the color you choose and put a sample on your home. We do this for two reasons:
  1. To make sure you like the color. (The difference of how the color looks on a chip and on the wall of your home can be tremendous.)
  2.  To make sure the color you select will cover the current color of your home. (WPP will do an unlimited number of test patches and the first two colors you choose are free.)

What kind of preparation do you perform?
Proper surface preparation is 1) extremely important to the longevity of the paint job and 2) usually the most expensive part of a job because it is labor intensive. Therefore, when you're comparing estimates, you need to understand how much surface preparation is involved. Since every job differs, this is something that needs to be discussed in detail after a contractor looks at your home. (WPP prides itself in performing meticulous prep before applying the top coat of paint.)

Do you have plenty of references?
Most contractors can easily give you one or two references. Try asking them for five to seven, and then you decide which ones to contact. If a contractor gives you excuses instead of names, it may be a reflection of how they conduct their business. A contractor who can't spare the time to get you several phone numbers and/or addresses may not have the time to paint your house correctly. (WPP will happily supply you with as many references as you need.)

What's the difference between a good paint job and a poor one?
A good paint job requires an organized approach that includes the necessary preparation, the correct painting technique, and the appropriate tools and materials. A poor job usually is a combination of being rushed, underbid, and/or performed by inexperienced and untrained crews without proper supervision. (WPP has the experience and patience to deliver a quality paint job for every homeowner.)

What kind of paint do you use?
The brand of paint we choose is based on a number of factors including bid specifications, customer preference, and the nature of the project. (WPP only uses manufacturers that provide high quality products and stand behind their merchandise.)

How can you offer such a generous financing plan?
Please see our Financing page for this answer.

I've had bids before, and I get prices that are high, low and all over the place. Why?
The cost of the job is usually determined by the level of thoroughness, attention to detail, and quality desired. There are several factors that have an impact on the bid price. It costs more to properly prepare a surface for painting than to give it the "quick once ever." The extra care and effort to protect your furnishings, and landscaping takes more time. There's also an investment to train painters and provide them the highest quality paints, tools and supplies in order to give you the best results. (WPP would be happy to review our calculations for your project so you can make a fair comparison with other bids.)

Why so many questions? I just want my home painted!
Just like in my job, preparation for the consumer is crucial! In my experience, most of the problems customers have had with contractors could have been headed off well before work started on their project. They just didn't ask enough questions to find out if the contractor was the right fit for their project. Although some of these FAQ's may seem like small details, it is exactly these types of details that separate adequate contractors from the truly exceptional ones. It is our goal at Westside Precision Painting to be nothing less than exceptional.
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