by Marcus Pickett
House painters aren't hard to find, but trying to determine which ones will do a good job and who is right for your home is a different story. Some painting contractors are just trying to make a quick buck, but some contractors know everything there is to know about house painting and satisfying their customers. Quite a few house painters are somewhere in between. Different priorities may lead to different choices in hiring your painter, but there are also some common pitfalls to avoid.
The average length of a house painting project is almost four days. If you need the project done in the next three days, you can probably pay extra for overtime labor and make it happen. Unfortunately, simply saying you need the project done in three days isn't enough. In an effort to get the job, a painter may show up the first day, complete one-third of the project, take your check, and then move onto other projects. Too many people don't take the time to check on their painters before they make a hiring decision because they're in a hurry. But you can't make sure a project is going to get done quickly until you make sure it's going to get done at all.
The average cost of house painting is $2,152 (or $3,511 for exterior house painting). Some people suffer from sticker shock when they first solicit estimates from house painters. If you're in this position, resist the urge to skimp on labor costs by hiring a non-professional painter. Instead, look at ways to save money through discounted paint products. Many painters can work with you, modifying paint supplies and coverage to help with the bottom line, but they can only go so far. If a highly reputable company is still 10% more than your budget, you should be skeptical if the next guy comes in with a bid less than your budget.
The slew of homebuilder bankruptcies in 2009 flooded the house painting market with unemployed painting subcontractors. These painters frequently offer a lower bid. For an unfurnished home this may be your answer, but these painters may be unaccustomed to navigating furniture, electronics, and other personal belongings. Ask an experienced, independent painter about the subtleties of handling a fully furnished house and you'll soon realize you have more than just your walls to consider when hiring a painter. Also, don't assume that a well-qualified interior house painter is able to tackle your exterior painting needs or vice versa. From surface preparation to working around the weather, exterior house painting can sometimes be a world apart.
-- Marcus Pickett is a senior home improvement writer with ServiceMagic.com. He has written more than 1200 articles on managing your home and home improvement trends.