8 Tips for Hiring a Residential Painter

Finding a talented contractor to paint your home can be challenging. From understanding the estimate to seeing your vision come to life, use these tips to feel confident in your decision and avoid any surprises.
A paint roller on an extension handle, putting blue paint on a white interior wall.

Whether you’ve moved to a new area or have lived in the same city for years, finding a talented contractor to paint your home can be challenging. Leaning on word-of-mouth or random websites to find contractors usually leads to more questions than answers.

The ambiguity in pricing and frustrations with communication makes even the most reasonable person question if their standards are too high. To relieve any uncertainty about cost fairness and quality expectations, we’ve created a list of 10 tips to help you evaluate your next painter.

1. Understanding the Estimate

You shouldn’t feel like an estimate was created based on what you can afford. There needs to be a clear rationale as to why you’re paying a specific number. Residential painters typically charge based on three things; materials, labor and time.

If the quote you are given isn’t clear, ask these questions to ensure you understand cost:

  • Scope of the project: What areas in my home are included in the quote? What preparation is expected of the homeowner versus the crew? What repairs are needed? How long will the entire job take?

  • Materials: What brand and type of paint do you use? Is the price of the paint included in the estimate? How many coats of paint are included for each space?

  • Labor & Other Costs: How many people will working on the project? Does the total cost include taxes? What do you typically pay employees per hour?

A yellow tape measure being held against the corner of a white wall, measuring a horizontal distance. The tape goes out of the image to the right

2. Premium Materials

We hire experts to understand what materials are best for each space in our home. Painters should provide details about the type of paint they are using in each room and explain the value of each selection to justify the cost.

Usually, higher-quality paint:

  • Has a thicker consistency, achieving quality results with fewer coats.

  • Enables easier touch-ups, especially if you’re using the exact paint from the original can.

  • Has superior resistance to scrubbing and can hold up to regular cleaning without wearing down.

  • Lasts 10 years before fading.

If you are planning on moving soon, request less expensive paint.

3. Who is coming into your home?

It’s important to feel comfortable with the people entering your home. From the business owner to the painters, homeowners can discover if they are hiring an above-board company that respects their employees.

Here are a few questions you can ask:

  • Are the people coming into my home employees or subcontractors?

  • How do you select your subcontractors?

  • Are you responsible if the subcontractor makes a mistake?

  • Do any of the employees or subcontractors have a criminal record?

  • Are your employees paid a fair wage?

A man wearing a ball cap and a grey shirt rolling paint onto the top half of a two tone white-green wall. He is holding a paint tray with white paint in it.

4. Business Credentials

Paint companies must be licensed specifically for residential painting in over 20 states. Professional painters are also required to have active liability insurance and workers’ compensation coverage for a license to be issued.

Liability insurance relieves the customer of the responsibility for any damages incurred by the contractor. If you file a claim for property damage done by the painter, there will be a monetary payment for that issue. Workers' compensation coverage ensures that the homeowner doesn’t have to pay for any medical bills or other payments if the painter is injured during the project.

If a contractor hasn’t shared their credentials, request the painter’s contractor license number and certificate of insurance prior to signing a contract.

You can confirm licenses online as well:

5. Communication & Scheduling

Contractors coming in and out of your home can disrupt your routine. Understanding when they’ll be in your home, if you have to be there, and what rooms you won’t have access to can be stressful to your family, pets, and neighbors.

Here are a few questions that should be resolved before work begins:

  • What time will the paint crew be at my home and leave every day?

  • Do I need to be home while you work?

  • Where will the paint crew park?

  • Where will your crew clean their tools?

  • What condition will my house be left in during a multi-day project?

  • When will I regain access to specific rooms?

  • If I find an issue or mistake, who do I tell?

  • What should I do with my pets while your team is in my home?

  • If there is an emergency and I can’t have people in my home, what steps should I take?

  • Are there any financial repercussions for rescheduling?

6. Understanding Payment

When you’re ready to move forward with a contractor, it’s important to understand if their payment methods work for you. Typically, professional home painters require a down payment of 10% to 50% of a job’s total cost, in order to pay for materials needed for the job.

The contractor should provide a formal contract defining the payment terms in detail, including:

  • When the downpayment is due and how it can be paid

  • How unexpected costs will be addressed during the project

  • If there are any fees associate with last minute changes by the homeowner

  • How the contractor will resolve issues if you are unhappy with the final product

  • How you can tip the team who has worked on the project

  • When the final payment is due

Someone rolling paint onto a white wall with a paint roller

7. Customer Referrals

Established painters will have reviews available on their website or customer advocates you can call, but you should check Google Reviews for more candid feedback. If you want to go the extra mile, you can check the Better Business Bureau to see if there is a complaint history.

If you are speaking with a previous customers, here are three essential questions to ask:

  • Was the project completed on time?

  • Were you satisfied with their work?

  • Did your project run over budget?

8. Warranty

Residential painters should provide a warranty for their work with the contract. A typical interior painting warranty covers the contracted scope of work for 2 - 3 years, with the contractor coming back to your home to repair areas that degrade unexpectedly.

Keep in mind warranties usually don’t cover fading paint or damage due to normal wear and tear, abuse, weather, or accidental damage.

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This article includes photos by Theme Photos on Unsplash.