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