The Peninsula's Preferred Residential Painting Contractor
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1) Your painting contractor needs to be licensed by the state. The painting contractor classification is a C33. An unlicensed contractor is a very bad idea and a General Contractor does not do painting as their specified trade. Be aware that license numbers are only 6 digits. Any more or any less, are not likely to be a contractor’s license, but only a business license. You can check the status of a license here, www.cslb.ca.gov
2) The license numbers provided by the contractor’s state board are in numerical order. The larger the number the more recent a license was issued. 900,xxx has been licensed in the last year or two. 800,xxx was licensed about 10 years ago, etc. This will give you an idea as to how long your prospective contractor has been an actively licensed business.
3) Proper insurance is an important factor, particularly for high value homes. $1,000,000 general liability insurance, $500,000 commercial auto insurance and a $12,500 bond are good guidelines to follow. An amount less than this may not cover your home in the event something gets damaged. A license check at www.cslb.ca.gov will provide you with the specific contractor’s bond coverage. A certificate of insurance provided by your contractor will provide their general liability and commercial auto coverage’s.
4) Worker’s compensation insurance covers the employees of a company if they are injured on your project. The lack of this insurance makes the homeowner liable for any injuries to workers on your property. Make sure your contractor carries workers compensation insurance. Again, this is something you can check at www.cslb.ca.gov
5) The quality and condition of a contractor’s tools, equipment and vehicles usually reflects the pride they take in their work and how invested they are in their trade. An old truck and one little toolbox may be indicative of how seriously they will take your project and vice versa.
6) Employee turn over reflects both the quality of the employee and the employer. It also plays a huge role in how your paint job and experience will turn out. If employees skip from employer to employer they are less likely to care about the reputation of the company and the quality of their work. It may also be a sign that the employer is unfair and does not run a solid business. Employees who work for years with the same contractor are good indicators that they are very good at what they do and that the employer is fairly compensating them. It is also a strong sign that there is steady work, which is a direct reflection of positive business practices and a solid reputation which keeps the phone ringing.
7) The reliability of your contractor is very important. If your contractor cannot maintain a basic appointment to bid or return inquiry phone calls in a timely manner, just imagine how challenging it will be once you hire them.
8) If a painting contractor is offering a smorgasbord of services that range in size from painting a bathroom to waterproofing a commercial building then they probably aren't experts at either one. No painting contractor businesses are set up to do ALL painting projects. Make sure you match the type of business you're using with the type of project you are hiring them to do.
9) Is your contractor local? If they are from out of the area, the likelihood of them returning to fix a problem or being committed to the long term success of your project is probably limited. More than likely they don't have a local reputation to be concerned about, nor are they worried about running into you at the grocery store.
10) Its a good idea to start small. Don’t hand over your entire home to a contractor if you don’t have any prior working relationship with them. It can be a nightmare working with a contractor that turns out to have little respect for you, or your home. Once the contract is signed, some contractors think you are at their mercy and you don't want to work with anybody who has that attitude. Anyone can tell you what you want to hear and attempt to pitch you - but in the end, only experience will demonstrate how a contractor really conducts their business.