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How to Choose the Right House Painter: An Interview with Tom Reed of CertaPro Painters

By Tom Reed

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

We are a full service painting company doing interior and exterior painting of residential and commercial buildings. CertaPro is a national brand and we are the franchise for the Columbia area. My company must meet the criteria established by the corporate company with insurance, training and quality subcontractors. Every painting job comes with a two year warranty on workmanship and we stand behind our work.

Can you briefly talk about some of the key qualifications that a skilled painter should have?

Our painters must have the skills necessary to do a professional job. Not only is the quality of the work necessary but their ability to communicate with the customer in a professional manner and to have a professional appearance. I don't allow anyone into a customer's home that I would not allow into my own. They must have the necessary equipment to be safe and to do the job quickly and professionally. Doing a neat, clean job is essential to a great painting experience.

What are some good questions that you recommend asking a potential painter or painting company?

I believe that you should always ask about their experience as a painter. Where have they worked, do they have any references, are they covered by Workman's Comp and Liability insurance to protected yourself from lawsuits if they get hurt at your home. Ask about what paint they use, do they give a written estimate that is specific to the scope of work that is going to be performed. Some independent painters will ask for money "up front" to get started, that is a questionable request. Reputable companies don't ask for any payment until the work is completed and you are satisfied.

What are the biggest challenges that homeowners run into before finding and hiring the right painter?

Hiring someone for an important job and having that person or crew in your home to perform work is a difficult decision without a good recommendation or proof that they are responsible and honest. The quality of work is most important while being neat and clean is essential. If they do not have liability insurance and Worker's Comp you are taking a chance. A contract should be presented with the specifics of the work to be done and once a crew starts on a job they should stay with it until completion. Starting one job and leaving part of the way through to start another is unprofessional the homeowner should be assured that the crew will stay until completed.

Should painters offer any type of guarantee? What would it typically cover?

We offer a two year warranty on work performed. If it is something that we did that was wrong we come back and redo the work without charge. This can be an issue with an independent painter that may not be in business a year or two from now. We are a national franchise and if something goes wrong with your work there is a local franchisee that will always take care of your issue. CertaPro also has a national call in number where appointments can be made and issues discussed.

Do you have any advice on what people want to stay away from and what they should do if they are unhappy with some aspect of the painting job?

The homeowner and the painters should have an "upfront" agreement with a contract to know exactly what is going to be done. The quality of the paint, the estimated time to complete the job and start and finish times should be understood. Good communication between the Job Site Supervisor and the homeowner is important. If for some reason you are unhappy with some aspect of the job you should tell the supervisor at the time you notice the issue. Don't wait. Many times what appears to be an issue, really isn't. It will be done correctly in the end but they need to explain that to you for your "peace of mind." Communicating with the owner of the company to discuss concerns can also be done to make sure you are getting what you expected. Not paying anything but your deposit until the job is completed is probably the best way to insure that you will get the results you are looking for.

What is the best way for people to contact you and your company?

We can be reached by calling the national call center or contacting me directly to discuss your painting plans.
Tom Reed: 803-414-2120 (direct)
National Call Center: 800-462-3782

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