Do You Know Who You Hired and Why?

Brooks Painting recently started an exterior painting project on 6 commercial concrete buildings that have not been painted in 15 years, and they were (are) a mess. During the process of the washing, prepping and painting we discovered a number of interesting things.

What Went Wrong Before Brooks Painting?

This particular commercial property owner previously hired another painting company and gave them the “keys to the store” as one would say. No one really watched what was going on.

  • You could tell where paint had peeled off the building and no primer was ever applied prior to doing the new paint job.
  • The paint was so thin you could see the original color showing through the darker top coat color.
  • Cracks in the concrete walls were filled with caulking and never smoothed out to blend in with the walls.
  • Concrete walls with large portions of the wall missing form settling were filled over with fiberglass.
  • Caulking was applied over the top to seal the fiberglass.
  • Duct tape was used to cover holes that should have been filled and patched with concrete.

The listed just goes on and on. This proves the point you get what you paid for. Just because someone says they are a licensed painter or painting company does not mean he has your best interest in mind. These types of guys stay busy, but do not last long, and when they close shop they change their company name. Then another group of painters just like them is ready to fill their shoes with the same poor craftsmanship.

Will Not Make the Same Mistake Twice

This client has learned a valuable lesson. This type of work has caused substantial damage to their buildings and caused more cost to re-paint and repair than it should have if it was done right the first time. Anybody can paint a building but not everybody should paint a building! It needs to be done with the proper safety equipment, tools, products and professionals!

When the goal of a property owner is the lowest price, you are setting everyone up for failure: the property owner and the painting company.

Start knowing who you are hiring. See the buildings they have done over the years. Call past clients to make sure they backed up their warranty if needed. You want a company that puts the interest of the client first. You want a working relationship with your subcontractors to build trust and loyalty for both parties involved. One last thing, this does not mean that the highest price companies are the best either. Sometimes they overbid a project because they do not know what they are doing either. So do your homework and make sure the company you hire stacks up to being the best for your painting needs.

 

2014 Charity Paint Recipient Announced!

Congratulations to Davis Arts Center, the recipient of the Brooks Painting 2014 Charity Paint Give-Away! Of our three finalists, Davis Arts Center received the most votes and Brooks will be donating up to $10,000 in painting services for their facility. It is our honor to be able to give back to the communities we work in through our Charity Paint.

Davis Arts Center is a non-profit organization located in Davis, CA.  It is a gathering place for dynamic engagement with the arts. Through multidisciplinary classes and programs for the regional community, the Arts Center inspires creative expression in people of all ages and fosters an environment for the arts to flourish.

You can learn more about Davis Arts Center at www.davisartscenter.org.  We are looking forward to this exterior painting project and giving back to our community. Thank you to everyone who nominated and voted in this year’s giveaway. Be thinking about who you will nominate for 2015!

 

Does It Matter if a Painting Contractor Has Insurance?

When homeowners are shopping for a painting contractor in the greater Sacramento area, there are many things they are looking for: a good reputation, quality services, positive testimonials, and of course, a fair price. Very few people give thought to whether a house painter has insurance. So, is it important? Should I make sure the painting contractor I choose has insurance?

Yes! While it may be tempting to think, “Hey, it’s just painting… what could go wrong?” the truth is that all kinds of unforeseen events may occur, and you want to be protected.

Why Should a Davis Painting Company Have Insurance?

There are two basic kinds of insurance that a house painter should carry, and each one has a different purpose.

  • General Liability Insurance covers any damage that may occur in your home. Of course, a good painting contractor will be very careful and make safety a high priority. Nevertheless, accidents do sometimes happen. Falls and spills are always a possibility, no matter how careful you are. Also, painting tools and vehicles can cause damage, unlikely though it may seem. Hiring a painter with liability insurance means you are not at financial risk should something happen that is by fault of the contractor.
  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance is another important coverage that a good house painter should carry. This is a sign that an employer cares about his employees and complies with employment laws. In the unlikely event of an employee accident on your project, you will not be at risk of a lawsuit, since the Worker’s Compensation is designed to protect both you and the employee.

Fully-Insured Yolo County Painting company

At Brooks Painting, we want to be above-board and responsible to our clients and our employees. That is why we carry full Liability coverage and Worker’s Compensation coverage. We will even provide you with certificates of insurance upon your request.

Not only do we carry full insurance, we are also licensed by the city of Davis and by the state of California. Additionally, we have also earned accreditation from the PDCA (Painting and Decorating Contractors of America), an honor very few residential painters have achieved.

 

How to Review A Contractor Proposal

Always Read the Fine Print…

This blog is more of a personal observation than my other blogs on painting projects. Over the years I have submitted hundreds of proposals for homeowners, businesses and general contractors and I have discovered one common FLAW in the bidding process. Most people reviewing proposals do not read them thoroughly… I always mention to clients when submitting my proposal to review my scope of work and paint products submitted for the job. I always have hopes they will call and ask “can you change this” or “add that here” or “clarify this” because then I know they have taken the time to read and give thought to my proposal. But the phone calls or emails never come, or maybe I should say, rarely come. If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “Oh, I didn’t know you had that in your scope” or “I thought you included that”, I would be on a real nice vacation every year! I’m sure most of us have heard the phrase, “apples to apples”. These days it isn’t anything close to “apples to apples”, but more like “apples to vegetables”.

Know Quality & What You’re Getting

To me “apples to apples” isn’t just the scope of work and products used. But the type of bidders involved. It’s also values and culture of a company. How does the company bidding represent themselves in the business community or the community they live in? So many companies use the words “value” and “quality” that we have become jaded to the true meaning of those words. Homeowners and contractors alike need to get back in the “apple” business and hold our tradesman companies to a better standard. The “need it now at this price” standard is common. If price keeps driving the decisions to hire a company, we will just continue to drive the quality companies away and lower our expectations.

You probably had no idea of the trickling effect of not reading proposals or hiring under-qualified companies, on a contractor market. It’s hard to stick to your guns, but those who do stay in business year after year in good times and bad. Always read the fine print. Make sure what you are buying is what you’re going to get. Most professional contractors really are reasonable people and are willing to take the time to thoroughly explain their proposal and answer any questions you may have. So, next time you’re reviewing bids, take the time to read them and don’t hesitate to ask questions to get the information you really need.

 

How Do I Decide Who Will Paint My House?

Brooks Painting does a lot of residential painting estimates in a year, and it is not uncommon for us to come across people who have never worked with any type of painting contractor.  We provide our potential customers with a contractor comparison checklist so that they can easily compare each of their estimates.  This 16 items checklist can be a very helpful tool for a homeowner to make their decision, by easily comparing the companies on an equal field.

The questions are simple and easy to answer.

Hiring a Painter Checklist

1.)   Does the contractor have a valid California C-33 license?
2.)   Does the contractor give a quality guarantee and written warranty?
3.)   Does the contractor carry Liability & Workers Comp insurance?
4.)   How long has the company been in business?
5.)   Will the contractor give you a list of references with phone numbers in your area?
6.)   Is the contractor a member in good standing of the Better Business Bureau?
7.)   Is the contractor a member of their local chamber of commerce?
8.)   Is the contractor a member of his trade organization, the PDCA?
9.)   Are the painters who will be in your home company employees or subcontractors?
10.) Does the company do background and drug testing before hiring?
11.)  In the contractor’s proposal clear with detailed pricing for each area of the job?
12.)  Did the contractor discuss the time required for your job?
13.)  Did the contractor specify the type of paint to be used?
14.)  Did the contractor specify the type of surface preparation to be done?
15.)  Did the contractor appear professional, knowledgeable, clean, and neat?
16.)  Did any of the references indicate difficulty getting the company to fix problems?

It is so important to make sure that you are comparing apple to apple when deciding on the contractor you will use.  In the painting world, estimates can be very vague, and lack a lot of details that are important.  It is critical to have a comprehensive, well written estimate, as that job description is what the contractor legally needs to provide.  It doesn’t matter if the contractor verbally tells you something if they don’t put it in writing.  Make sure that you require the contractor to put everything they tell you they will do in writing.   A few other things to think about; are they on time for the estimate, or do they call to let you know they are going to be late?  Were they easy to reach and set up the estimate?  How long did it take to get the estimate?  These few things are all excellent indicators of how they will be to work with during the job.  Make sure you feel comfortable with the company you hire- it’s not just about price. The details do matter.