Choosing a Painter; 5 Tips to Making The Best Choice!

Color911 Blueprint paint colors Amy Wax

Choosing a painter can be a real challenge. The right painter can make your home look spectacular, a bad painter can be a complete disaster. Before hiring any painter, I always suggest looking for a referral that you trust. Take the time to speak with friends, family, even your local paint store. While online reviews can be helpful, they can also be misleading, or even fake. Here are 5 important tips you definitely should know about before choosing any painter!


The safest way to choose a painter is to get at least three quotes. That way, you know that the price you are being charged is accurate. You also get a chance to interact with the firm before hiring them. If you do not get a good vibe immediately, the painter you are meeting with may be one to avoid.


Once you’ve settled on a painter, there will still be things they may not tell you. It could be that they only share info on a “need to know” basis. I always suggest that homeowners ask any questions that come to mind. There are no “stupid” questions when you are hiring someone to work on your home.

Here are some great things to keep in mind, and red flags that might indicate that there’s a problem!



  1. How to they prepare the house before painting begins?


Painters will have different ways of preparing the exterior of a home that they will be painting. Will they be sanding down the house? Do you need paint or can you use a stain? Most importantly, how to you protect those who live there, so that no one will be breathing in the dust from the paint that has been removed? In an older home there might be lead in that dust, I certainly don’t want anyone to be breathing that in. Ask your painters what they do to capture the airborne particles. Painting is primarily about changing the color of your home, but your safety is just as important!


  1. Do they tidy up as they go?


When you are painting the interior, professional painters should be mindful of the fact they are in someone’s home. This applies even if you’ve temporarily vacated it for redecoration. As such, they ought to keep mess to a minimum before, during, and after the paint job. I have found the cleaner they are, the more they care about your home and the better the job is once it’s done!


Messy workers suggest a lack of professionalism. You are within your right to tell them to tidy up. That includes making sure any furniture in the room and exposed floor areas are well-protected from paint and foot traffic.


  1. Do they bill for work they have not done?


You may not have the time to supervise the painters’ comings and goings. This means you need to trust them to get to work and stay for the contracted hours. It is so important to see them at work, and to have a detailed list of the work to be done.


I also like to know that anyone I hire to work on my home is reliable. If they are constantly rushing off to other “more urgent” jobs, or breaking for cups of coffee, the net effect will be a delay. This means your paintwork may not be getting done or worse, you’re being charged for hours when the painters have been slacking, not working. This is not only potentially frustrating but it can be costly and you may not even realize it is going on. Getting estimates for the job that they are doing, regardless of the number of hours it takes, if often the best approach to take.


A possible way to combat lazy workman syndrome is to do random, unscheduled checks at various times. If the men are hard at work – you can rest assured that they are working as hard as they should be. If you find them snacking, or not there at all, let them know you’re not going to be a soft touch.


Finally make sure your instructions are as detailed as possible. The more thorough your instructions are the better! This gives you the ability to review the list of what you hired them to do. Fewer items will be lost in the shuffle, if you have detailed instructions to refer to.


  1. Are the paint cans labeled?


Always look to see if the paint cans are labeled. If the paint pots used are not labeled the painters might be using a different paint brand than what you contracted for. That could mean that the painters are using a cheaper line of paint. That’s fine if that is what you told them to do. But if you paid for premium paint or a specific brand, you’ll want to see it come out of the name brand paint can and onto your walls.


There are more paints than ever and painters can easily switch out the paint they will be using. The reason this matters is because the less expensive paint may not last as long. It can possibly mold, or it can even fade or discolor over time. Generally if the paint you hired the painters to be using costs more money, you will be getting a better product that will last longer and be more color stable.


  1. Check their references!


Any painter that is worth hiring, will have many many references! Anyone can have a few friends of family members answer a phone call and say the painters were terrific, but professional painters will be able to give you list of homes they have worked on. I suggest reaching out to at least of few of them. You owe it to your home to do your homework on getting the right painter. This is an important step in the process!



Finally, make sure you discuss the whole job with whomever you hire to work on your home. It’s important to make sure that you and your contractors are on the same page regarding what is required and what you expect. Be proactive, meet every painter or contractor you will be hiring to work on your home. Choosing a painter and painting your home should be an exciting process. Take the time to get it right, it’s well worth it in so many ways!





About the Author: Amy Wax

Amy Wax, creator of Color 911®, is an artist and experienced color consultant, recognized for her expertise in the world of color and design. Fifteen years ago, Amy created Your Color Source Studios, Inc. a company specializing in the architectural application of color. Amy has received numerous awards for her color expertise.

Learn More About Amy


  1. says

    I like that you mentioned that a good painter will be able to give you a lot of references. Talking to past customers can be a great way to figure out if a painter is the right fit for you! I am trying to find a painter for my exterior, and I want to make sure I make the right choice. I will definitely have to ask for references before I make a decision.

    • Color911 says

      Thanks for your great comment Ernest. It is so important to talk to both the trades and the people they have worked for. It is well worth it to do your homework to find the best painter for the job!

  2. says

    Your advice to ask for references and call several of them would be a great way to find a painter that provides quality services. This could be important to ensure you get the results you’re looking for. When choosing a painter, you’d probably want to consider what style you want, such as a plain color or a design, so you can find someone who has the necessary skills for the task.

    • Color911 says

      Thank you Tiffany that is great advice! It is so important to get the right painter for the job, and I think your suggestion is a good one!

  3. says

    I’m planning on having our house repainted, so I’m glad I came across your post with these helpful tips. I would definitely check their references. Doing so, I’ll be able to find reviews from past clients. Thanks for sharing!

    • Color911 says

      Thanks Spencer, I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I have lots of color and paint tips throughout the blog, feel free to look through past posts to find what else might be helpful for you.

  4. says

    Thanks for your advice to hire a painter who knows how to get a house ready to be painted as well as paint. I like how you said that they should be professionals about their work and clean up after themselves. My husband and I are considering qualified and professional residential painters for our house’s exterior.

    • Color911 says

      Thanks so much for stopping by an commenting. Hiring the right painter is so important, I’m so glad you found my Color911 blog post helpful!

  5. says

    I like that you mentioned to look for a painter that is tidy, and keeps the house clean as he works. That can show you that he cares about his customers and wants to leave the house better than he found it. I need to find a painter to help me redo my interior. I will definitely keep this in mind as I search, thanks for sharing!

  6. says

    I loved when you mentioned how a professional painter should keep their work area clean. It is important to understand that looking for someone like this can help you get the services you need from a painter you can trust. We need to repaint our house before we sell it and need to find a good professional as soon as we can, so I’m glad I found your post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *