How Do I Know I Got a Good Price to Paint My House? Tips for Picking the Best Bid in Arlington, Va.
We all want the same thing in our home improvement service projects: the perfect balance of quality and price. Here in the painting industry though, it can be almost impossible to compare painting bids. There are always clients who go for the lowest price and there are some techniques painting estimators use to keep the price low on your proposal.4 Questions to Ask About What Is in Your Paint Bid
For you to be savvy here are things to look for on the bids you get for your painting project:
- Solid Preparation. Look at the time in the job for clean up and prep time. Some contractors will leave this out, or compile all of the time for the job into one category and not specify how much time is set aside for each step in the process.
87-93% of a residential painting job is labor.
7-13% for materials. Materials may cost a little more if you have a specialty paint, murals or faux finishing.
These percentages give you the ability to figure out how much time is put into the painting bid. If one contractor quotes you less time, the prep stage is most likely to be shorted. Some paint firms will leave out the time breakdown to avoid questions about a decision to do less prep.
- Bid 1 Coat and No Primer: Many paint manufacturers today boast that their premium paints are self priming. Because of those claims, some painters will bid one "premium" coat of finish and cite the self-prime factor. Other proposals will leave out how many coats of paint will be used, hoping the homeowner won't ask. This is actually rather common. Certain siding, if not painted in a while, will leave a chalky residue when you run your hand over it. If that happens the area needs to be thoroughly cleaned, primed and coated with at least two coats of paint.
- No Details = Change Orders: A lack of details is damaging to the contractor and homeowner. When you walk around your home and address all the problems, your friendly painter may tell you verbally, "We can do that," or "No problem, we'll take care of it." The estimator may be trustworthy, likable, and have a great price, but if the details are not written in the proposal it can cause expensive problems. Halfway through the project, when you notice the items you mentioned are not being fixed, the contractor will pull out the quote and review what was covered. If not in the original proposal, the increased costs can cause tension. Make sure the details are spelled out and that there is no room for disappointment and miscommunication.
- Using Subcontractors: It is not uncommon for painting companies to hire subcontractors to do the work. There is nothing wrong about it and it often allows the painter to be more competitive on price. However, the possibility is to lose control of the quality and consistency of the work. This is a way that a painter can lower his cost to do a job and another technique for you to be aware of.
Hire a Quality Painting Contractor in Northern Virginia
There is nothing to fear about hiring a contractor and taking a lower bid. Now that you know the risks you can be aware of how the painter is able to give you a cheaper price. If you go with a lower price you will spend more time managing, and probably worrying, and you will need to pay attention to the details to avoid future frustrations and headaches. A quality painting contractor will budget the time to clean, prepare, and properly coat your home. It takes skilled people, good knowledge of materials and craftsmanship to do a job right.