If you are planning or considering getting some painting and decorating work carried out in Oxford you’ve probably come to the realisation that there are a lot of decisions to make!
At the top of that list stands one overriding question:
How do I select a reputable painter and decorator?
This question is so important because the expertise and integrity of your Oxfordshire painter and decorator will play a huge role in determining the final outcome of your project, and your experience along the way.
To assist you in this process, we at Lets Decorate have put together a checklist to help you vet potential painters and decorators.
This checklist is based on our experience of not only working with 100s of painting and decorating customers in Oxford, but also from our own personal experience of working with other trade businesses.
So, regardless of where you live, or whether you are looking for interior or exterior painting and decorating services, this checklist will help you identify various criteria to look for when selecting your painting and decorating contractor.
The Ultimate Painting and Decorating Contractor Vetting Checklist
1. Business Information and Experience
- Is the company fully insured and able to provide the relevant certificate?
- How many years has the company been in business?
Note: around 40% of contractors fail within the first three years after start-up leaving their customers with no warranty or come back.
2. Customer References
- How many painting and decorating jobs have they completed since in being in business?
- How many of those were carried out last year?
- Of those jobs in the last 12 months, how many references can they provide?
- Then contact between 5 and 10 of those customers for their honest feedback on the contractor.
Note: if the painting and decorating contractor provides less than half of their customers as references, we consider this to be a serious red flag. Our experience has been that the vast majority of people when asked are willing to go on a reference list. In our opinion, providing less than half of the customers as references equates to less than a 50% chance of being happy in the end.
When Calling References, Be Sure To Ask The Following:
- If you could do it over, would you use the same painter and decorator again?
- What did you enjoy about the experience?
- What was least enjoyable?
- Was the contractor always quick to respond to any communication – calls, emails and sending of estimates?
- How did the painter and decorator handle challenges and problems when they arose?
3. Reviews and Ratings
- Has the painting and decorating contractor got at least a 5:1 good review to bad review ratio on Google
- Have at least some of those reviews been placed within the past six months?
- Have they responded reasonably to negative reviews when necessary
Note: check that a large number of reviews were not submitted together more than six months ago – this may indicate fake reviews being placed online to boost a companies reputation and position on Google.
4. Products Used By the Painter and Decorator
- Does the painter and decorator use quality trade paints and sundries?
- Are the customers you called for a reference happy with the products used and leave a lasting finish?
- Are the products they use backed by competitive warranties
Note: our opinion is that any competent painter and decorator will only use the best trade quality materials. Anybody suggesting the use of DIY paints you can buy from Homebase of B&Q is purely trying to provide the cheapest price rather than the best value in terms of quality of finish and how long it will last.
5. Workmanship Warranty
- What is the duration of the painter and decorators workmanship warranty?
- What specifically does their workmanship warranty cover?
- What is the process and specific limitations of a snagging inspection at the end of the job?
- What happens in the event that remedial work is needed? (who pays for materials etc)?
Note: a workmanship warranty would cover issues that could arise such as peeling paintwork, inferior preparation, damage from spillages etc
6. Service and Workmanship Practices
- Does the painter and decorator have any customer service, workmanship or aftercare practices that distinguish them from the competition?
- Are these practices relevant?
7. Estimate and Project Plan
Will the painting and decorating contractor present a highly detailed estimate to you that shows exactly the work they will do for the price they are quoting – including the following:
- who is responsible for health and safety compliance
- exactly which rooms (and within each room exactly which items) are included within the scope of works
- what level of preparation will they carry out prior to applying the paint
- what brand, colour and finish of paint are they proposing to use for the project
- exactly how many coats of paint will each area receive as part of the work
- will they protect all of your furnishings and fixings prior to commencement of works
- who will be responsible for cleaning the property at the end of each day and on completion of the project
8. Pricing and Contract
- What are the payment terms?
- Is any payment required in advance of work?
- On completion, when will the balance of payment be due?
- What will be the exact start date of the project?
- When will the work be completed by?
- What penalty will the contractor pay for each day that they do not turn up as agreed?
- What penalty will the contractor pay for each day that the project overruns?
Note: we would advise that you try to avoid any contractor who asks for any form of payment in advance. Any reputable painting and decorating company will have generous payment terms with their supplies (so wont need money from you to pay for materials) and if they have been trading successfully for a period of time will have cash flow allowing them to receive payment in full only on completion of works and snagging inspection.
Here are some more resources to help you select a reputable painting and decorating contractor: