How To Hire A Commercial Painter: Your Checklist

Figuring out how to hire a commercial painter to handle maintenance around your properties can be a stressful undertaking if you don’t know what to look for, which is why we created this checklist of questions to help you through that process.

Do they have a portfolio of past jobs?

You’ve heard the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and painting contractors understand this. Photos of previous jobs help you determine the painting contractor’s quality of work. Some things to look for:

  • Clean-cut edges and lines, especially where two different colors meet.
  • Photos of employees working on a job. This helps ensure that the photos aren’t stock images.
  • Comparison of before and after photos of projects, like these. This is where you can see what steps the contractor took to restore the surfaces before painting began.


Look on their website to find photos of jobs similar to yours, or simply ask. Any high-quality painting contractor will be happy to email photos to you.

What quality of products do they use?

With so many brands and types of paint on the market, do not assume that all painting contractors will use top-quality paint on your project. Not all paint has the same durability, so it’s important to know the brand and type of paint a contractor proposes using – and get this information in writing. Additionally, if you are unfamiliar with the paint a contractor is proposing, call or visit a paint store. They’ll be happy to give you an unbiased opinion.

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Is the scope of work well-defined?

You’ve seen enough bids to know that not all of them are detailed in the same fashion. This is why we highly recommend you spec the project before calling for a bid (a service we offer for free). The specifications for the RFP should include all of 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. Read more about this process in our Property Managers’ Guide to Getting Exterior Painting Done.

Will the painting contractor provide references?

Quality painting contractors should have many references and reviews to provide to you, and some will also post their clients online. When you call a reference, here are a few questions to ask:

  • What kind of work did the painting contractor do for you? When was it done?
  • How did this project compare to others?
  • Was the project completed on time and on budget?
  • What did you like best about working with the company?
  • What would you change if you had to do it over again?
  • Would you hire this contractor again?

Do you feel comfortable working with the company?

When undertaking a large-scope painting project, it’s important to feel comfortable with the contractor you hire as you will be working with them for weeks – or more. By this point in the selection process, you have been in contact with the contractors a number of times, so before you hire one, assess each one for comfort level.

  • Do you feel comfortable with the scope of project and the process they propose?
  • Do you feel as though you are getting good value for the budget?
  • Can you easily communicate with the contractor?
  • How easily can you reach the contractor when you call/text/email?

When you assess each contractor against this checklist, you should be able to determine the one that stands out from the others.

We’d welcome the opportunity to discuss your painting needs for 2018. Call us for a free estimate, (630) 214-9562 or contact us online.