A Property Manager’s Guide to Getting Exterior Painting Done in 2017

As a property manager, you have a lot of projects on your plate every day and those items – and their priority – are constantly shifting depending on the urgent calls you receive. While it can be hectic at times, it is also one of the things that make your job so enjoyable. When you can ease a tenant’s concern and see their look of gratitude, it is quite rewarding.

It also means that sometimes, even with the best intentions, the lower priority items on your “To Do List” get pushed off, and before you know it, another week has passed, then a month or more.

One item often postponed is exterior painting, and all too often at the end of summer, property managers call us saying, “I needed to start this process yesterday!”

We want to help you avoid the “I needed to start this yesterday” situation by providing you with some simple guidelines for getting your exterior painting project done in 2017.

Understanding the Exterior Painting Timeframe in the Chicago Area

While it feels as though nice weather just arrived, from a contractor’s perspective, there is a shortened time frame in Chicago to successfully complete exterior work, such as repairing wood and metal railings and painting the outside of buildings. By mid-October, Chicago’s weather becomes much more unpredictable, and by then we are wrapping up exterior projects for the year.

This means that if you have an exterior project you are considering for your property this year, you’ll want to begin the estimating and scheduling process now so there is ample time to complete it before the blustery fall weather arrives.

Two Tips for Expediting the Exterior Painting & Repair Process – and Looking Like a Hero

We have worked with numerous HOAs, and have come up with two helpful tips that property managers can use to expedite an exterior painting project – and look like a hero to your board of directors!

Tip #1: Spec the project before calling for a bid.

You’ve seen enough bids to know that not all contractors look at a project the same way, and because of this you should provide a detailed Request for Proposal (RFP) from the start. It is not good enough to simply list on your RFP that you’d like 25 building exteriors with trim painted, because what you’ll get back are quotes ranging in scope and price.

When you attempt to compare these proposals side by side, it will be difficult for you to make a smart and swift decision – potentially delaying the process.

Instead, spec the project before calling for bid (a service we offer for free). The specifications for the RFP should include all the details for the work that is needed:

  • Information about the building(s), such as type of exterior and surfaces to be painted or excluded from the scoop of work
  • Power-washing / cleaning
  • Priming, caulking and sanding
  • Repairs to wood and metal railings usually identified after power washing is done and based on time and materials
  • Number of coats of paint
  • What products to use
  • Crew size start and time needed to finish the job.

This will result in quotes that are based on the same specifications and are easier to compare.

Tip #2: Inspect the entire property and create a plan.

While the board of directors may have only identified a few buildings that need immediate exterior repairs, it is wise for you to get your entire property inspected so you can develop an exterior maintenance plan.

An exterior contractor, such as Painters, Inc., can inspect the entire property and make note of any repairs they see as needed (either immediately or in a few years) and help you develop an action plan.

For example, last year we inspected a 33-building property and phased it out. In the first year, we repaired and painted seven buildings; this year we’re painting 11 more, and we will complete the remaining 13 in 2018.

This plan created a three-phase project to keep the property in good shape, while also breaking the costs down over several years – something all board members appreciate.

We’d welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs and get your project on our schedule for 2017.

Call us for a free estimate, (630) 384-9562 or contact us online.