THE MAGAZINE FOR PROFESSIONALS

Q: What Factors Do You Consider When Selecting a Paint Contractor to Work On Your Property?

by inPAINT

inPaint Summer 2014-204But as a property manager, I also have some special considerations. Because I have multiple properties and will have various paint jobs over time, I’m looking to establish long-term relationships with my contractors. I want someone I can work with again—someone I can scale up to other, larger projects.

That’s why the first job is important. I want to see how a paint contractor responds to my processes and how he or she fits with my company and our values.

Anything done poorly is a reflection on the property management company. I look for painters who understand this. That means being respectful of our residents in the way you dress, behave, and treat the property.

And because I’m looking to build relationships, I also ask whether they charge for estimates. If I’m going to send a lot of work your way, there will be a lot of estimates, and I expect that to be a part of the cost of doing business—not something I routinely pay for.

Another key factor is communication. Like a lot of property managers, I always need to plan ahead. Sometimes I need to coordinate with residents or other contractors on a job, so I need to understand your process and timeline. Good communication is critical. I appreciate contractors who keep me apprised of what’s happening on a job, and who let me know when a problem arises. No surprise is a good surprise.

And, of course, the quality of the work matters to me. I always ask about the quality and type of their paint and brushes. Good professional painters swear by certain types of brushes and paints—and refuse to use cheap, low-quality materials. I also expect that anyone I hire will have the tools they need for a job (except maybe specialty one-time-use materials).

I also like to ask a few specific questions about how they paint. I want to know if they edge with a brush or blue tape (really good painters don’t need tape). If they’re spraying, I ask if they back-roll, as well as what they cover (and how) prior to spraying. I might also question a painter’s warranty and look to see if they call the customer back after the paint dries. The steps someone takes to correct a mistake are important too.

I also want to know about the crew a paint contractor brings to the job. Are they employees, subcontractors or day laborers? I understand a small company might not have employees on staff, but I want a guarantee that the people you hire will do a good job. You’re responsible for your workers, and ultimately, it’s a reflection on me. I take that seriously and expect you to do so as well.

Lastly, I want to know how they prepare a space for painting—do they remove things like light fixtures, door hardware, switch plates and outlet covers? Maybe for a low-end job it doesn’t matter, but for larger, more expensive jobs, I want to know that the contractors I hire pay attention to details.

A lot of people can paint, but I’m looking for craftsmen. And if they’re craftsmen, they’ll take the time to do a job well, and they know that details matter. These questions help me assess that.


inPaint Summer 2014-205SCOTT BLOOM
Owner and Property Manager, Columbia Property Management

In 2012, Scott Bloom founded Columbia Property Management, his second property management company. He transitioned to full-time property management after nearly 10 years of managing his own investment rental properties and 20 years in marketing and customer service at General Electric and Verizon Communications. Bloom earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Indiana University and a Master of Science degree in International Affairs and Economics from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Learn more about Bloom and his company at: ColumbiaPM.com

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