A Little Backstory
When I started out as a “professional” painting contractor in 2004, I’d paint almost anything. It was just me. I needed to make money. Any way I could. Any project I could. You name it. Exteriors, decks, interiors, ceilings, walls, apartments, houses, condos, and I even took on a cabinet job (that went terribly wrong. Yes, I’ll admit it. Those people never should have hired me.) Years later, and as I’ve aged in the business, I still see those who are new to the trade doing the exact same thing. I don’t blame them. However, with wisdom gained, I can tell you the home painting trade is more complicated than you’d believe. Not everyone is cut out to do every type of painting. And I can tell you, specialization pays greater dividends to the consumer and the contractor. And with that, you should be careful in who you hire to do what. Learn the benefits of hiring the right painting specialist.
The Preferred Method
As it stands, I head a painting company with roughly 22 people and 3 primary subcontractors. We gave up doing exterior work because frankly, we weren’t very good at it. Additionally, we learned to subcontract drywall work, because…. drumroll, that’s for drywallers. We now have three divisions, and the painters in those divisions are very good at what they do; plus, they almost always stay in that division, gaining experience and adding to their expertise. Our painting specialists in our first division focus exclusively on cabinet painting. The second division is interior painting. The third is workshop and spray booth work. This allows our painters to get in the groove and hone their skills and abilities. It makes sense: When you do something almost every day, you can get really, really good at it! This results in a happier customer. Happier customers mean happier painters. And happy painters provide more beautiful work, with both better aesthetics and physical performance properties.
When You Hire
Without getting into the nitty-gritty, don’t assume all painters are equal, and equally don’t assume a skilled painter is skilled in all facets. Beware the yes man (or woman). Beware the lesser experienced for more technical tasks. As it comes to tricky work (cabinets, faux finish, truly breathtaking trim/woodwork, refinishing) we encourage consumers to seek out painting specialists. Look for a company that specializes in these areas. Look for them to have photos of jobs that had the same or very similar circumstances to your project. Ask to visit such a project, and call the customer for a reference check. Just be careful, and while you can trust the person you call, it always makes sense to verify too!