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How to Choose the Right House Painter: An Interview with Kieron McCartney of McCartney Painting Company

By Kieron McCartney

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Generally speaking we offer complete interior and exterior painting and waterproofing. We also do deck refinishing and are experts at staining and applying specialty finishes such as gold leaf.

Can you briefly talk about some of the qualifications that a skilled painter should have?

He or she should have served a full apprenticeship for painting. Thats at least 3 1/2 years under direct professional supervision. Ideally a skilled painter would also have been going to a tech school apprenticeship program at least one day per week as part of the apprenticeship.

What are some good questions that people should ask a potential painter or painting company?

Ask them to provide certificates of insurance. They should also provide proof of EPA lead training and certification credentials for both the company and all personnel. Find out what services the company offers. In particular you are looking for what they commonly provide and is that what you are looking for? You do not want to hire a company that does not specialize in the service you are looking for. Try and find out what the skill level of their crews are. Ask questions like do they have mainly long term employees or do they mainly hire seasonally? Find out how long the company has been in business.

What is one of the biggest challenges that homeowners run into before finding and hiring the right painter?

Finding a company that offers a fair estimate for excellent workmanship. If both of these match then you have found the right painting contractor. The problem is they don't always match. We are not all selling you the same car. In many instances a cheaper price can mean inferior workmanship. You should look very carefully at the specification section in the contract. Are the specifications clear and easy to understand. Are they comprehensive? Do they match your expectations? Are they the same or better than other painting contractors?

Should painters offer any type of guarantee? What would it typically cover?

Yes a painting contractor should offer a warranty. It should guarantee that all work conforms to industry standards. The contractor should agree to promptly repaint any faulty workmanship performed under the contract.

Do you have any advice on what people want to stay away from and what they should do if they are unhappy with some aspect of the painting job?

Clients should stay away from contracts that are asking for too much money in the earlier stages of the project. Progress payments should match the amount of work completed as agreed upon between the client and the contractor. Make sure the final payment is at least 10% of the total project price. This payment should not be paid until you have inspected the completed job and are entirely satisfied with the results. You also have other recourse to make sure the job is completed properly. You can contact the Contractors State License Board and file a complaint. You can also file a complaint against the contractor's bond. Both of these organizations will intervene on your behalf.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

By email or telephone. Also through my website by filling out an estimate request form.
Office: 415-566-0414

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