LOS ANGELES & SAN JOSE – While some paint jobs are easy to do yourself, others like whole-house, exterior work or anything that involves ladders or scaffolding should probably be left to a pro.
When hiring a contractor it’s important to do your research. In 2016, consumers nationwide filed more than 2,000 complaints with BBB against painting contractors, including paint removal services. Some painters demanded more money than the contract said in order to finish a job, and others did shoddy work.
Follow these suggestions to avoid a painting disaster:
- Watch out for scams. According to the BBB Risk Index, home improvement scams are the riskiest for consumers. A scammer comes to your door claiming they just finished a job down the street and offering a low price or the ability to do the work fast. Once they start, they either find problems that will cost more to fix, leave a half-finished job or take your payment and never return to do the job.
Watch out for contractors that claim they’re working in your neighborhood and have extra supplies, only accept cash, use high-pressure tactics, demand a high upfront payment or insist on making a deal without a written contract. Learn more about avoiding these scams.
- Do your research. Ask friends and family for recommendations and check out the painters to see their complaint history and reviews from past customers.
- Get three estimates. Invite at least three contractors to look at the space that needs to be painted and provide estimates. Make sure all of the estimates are for the same scope of work – including the amount of preparation required, the number of coats and other details. Ask for references and check them out.
- Ask and verify. Your painter should have an active C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor license from the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). Ask for proof of general liability and workers’ comp insurance. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Who will be supplying the paint? A business should be transparent and willing to answer any and all questions.
- Document details. Every detail you discuss with your contractor should be included in a written contract. This includes start and completion dates, work hours, the area being painted, personnel that will be present, a list of itemized costs, how clean the area should be when the work is done, and more. Don’t feel pressured to pay a majority of the cost before the work starts; make sure to hold back a part of the total payment until you’re fully satisfied.
Whatever your experience, BBB wants to hear about it! Report scams to BBB Scam Tracker to help warn others. If you have an issue with a business, you can file a complaint with your BBB.