painting homeSome people enjoy painting, while other people despise this task. My thoughts exist somewhere in between. For simple projects - such as painting a single room - I actually enjoy getting down to business. However, if the job is labor- and time-intensive, I often call in a professional.

Over the past few years, I have learned quite a bit about the "professional painting industry." One thing is certain: most painters or painting companies are either a pleasure to work with, or a complete disaster. For the money you pay, you should expect the job to be done right. But before your crew ever gets their brushes wet, you need to be aware of common scams and problems you can encounter to ensure that you avoid troubles and hire a crew that will be easy to work with and provide a quality job.

Common Scams to Be Aware Of

Just as with all industries, there are people who are out to scam you. There are many painters who can do the job right - but some of them will want to do a good job while taking as much money as possible. Furthermore, there are painters who may take advantage of naive customers and perform a sub-par job.

1. Prep Work Fees
As I received quotes for an exterior paint job last summer, I quickly found that there was a lot of prep work involved. For example, there were holes that needed patching and some bad wood that needed to be replaced.

After talking to four companies, only one charged for prep work. And not only did he want to charge for prep, the cost was outrageous. While this may not have technically been a scam, it is safe to say that he was charging for something that others were doing for free.

2. Not Applying Two Coats
If you don't know anything about painting, this may be one area in which you get scammed. There are times when a wall or other type surface needs two coats. If you feel this is necessary, there is nothing wrong with requesting or agreeing to two coats of paint.

Of course, there are situations in which applying two coats is overkill. For example, if you are having your walls painted the same color (or a similar, darker shade) as the existing paint, you probably don't need two coats.

In some cases, painters will charge you for two coats so that they can double the cost of labor. To make things even worse, you could be charged for two coats and only have one applied. If your job doesn't need the additional coat, you may never know that you've been scammed.

3. Refusing to Sign a Contract
When you hire somebody to do work on your house or property, you need a contract, no questions asked. For whatever reason, some people just don't believe this. Instead, they think that a handshake is good enough.

Fortunately, for me, the last time I hired a painter, the contract came in handy. In the contract were explicit details on what was and was not to be painted. However, one of the workers neglected to heed the contract and painted an area (the backdoor) that was not to be touched. Soon enough, I realized that this had been done and questioned the crew. The response was not what I wanted to hear: "Sorry, we made a mistake. It will only cost you about $30 for us to fix it."

Despite knowing it was their mistake, they didn't want to pay to fix it. Fortunately, the contract settled the dispute easily enough.

Final Thoughts

If you don't like painting, you may have to hire a professional at some point. This can be an positive experience if you get the right person on the job. However, hastily hiring the wrong person for the job may cause you a major headache. Be sure to stipulate your needs in the contract, and be sure you are not over-paying, nor paying for services you do not need.

What additional scams do you suggest to look out for? Have you ever had a negative experience hiring a painter?


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