Can I achieve a quality design finish with a local painter decorator near me?
Using a local painter and decorator for a renovation isn’t the same as using a general handyman, and doesn’t mean you’re not going to get a great design service.
When you’re carrying out any size renovation, it’s often the painter and decorator that gets forgotten about until the end when you’ve nearly completed the job. Whilst the hard work of any construction, joinery, and moving the electrics and plumbing is a large chunk of the work, to ruin the effort to date with a sloppy finish would be tragic.
Painting and decorating is a skill on its own, and as anyone who has ever tried wallpaper hanging will know, it’s not an easy one. Depending on your level of skill, using a professional decorating service for a better finish is a sensible plan.
How do I look for a painter decorator near me?
The first thing to exclude is generic ‘workman’ style companies and local handymen/women. They might well be a jack of all trades which is helpful for a property maintenance ‘one stop shop.’ But for painting and decorating you do need someone that is a master of that skill alone as opposed to a master of none.
If you’re planning to ask around then it’s important to specify that you’re looking for an accredited painter and decorator with experience in a similar project. Otherwise, you risk having the head of the PTA’s Uncle Rod on your doorstep, who recently repainted their bathroom and ‘did a pretty good job.’
In the same way that you wouldn’t let someone with a bit of knowledge install your toilet, you shouldn’t play fast and loose with the level of skill you demand in the decorating of your home or place of business.
Questions to ask when interviewing a painter decorator
You should definitely be carrying out an interview of some kind even if it is a friendly and laid back one. When getting a quote, be sure to ask them a few questions.
- What does the quote include? Ballpark figures can snowball, so get in writing the quote broken down into exactly which materials, labour and ask if there’s VAT to add. Tying that down at this point vastly reduces the chances of the cost increasing and ensures that all expected materials are included.Are they providing the materials and labour, or just labour? Some painters and decorators expect to turn up to the materials already there, but you will find that painters and decorators might well be able to get more specialist products and better prices. If they’re looking for you to source the materials, get in writing what specifically they are going to need right down to the brand and exact quantity. Check the price and ask them how much they’d be able to get it for, from any reputable companies that they know.If you’re buying it yourself, it’s worth finding a supplier that will take back any unused unopened products. That way you can err on the side of caution when ordering to make sure you don’t run out of paint and delay the project, without risking spending more than you really need to.
- Timescale – what can they commit to? It could be you have your own deadline with regards to either moving in or selling/renting a property. Ensuring they can commit to the timescale you need should be a deciding factor.
- Have they carried out decorating jobs of a similar kind before? The follow up question is if they can provide references on those jobs so that you can get in touch, or view a quantifiable testimonial of work that has been done to the highest standard. Individuals that have been truly happy with a fantastic job well done will be happy to highly recommend the people involved.
- Are you insured? Ensuring they have public liability insurance as well as employers insurance if they have employees, reassures you that – heaven forbid – should there be an incident or accident on your property where their work was involved, it is their insurance that will deal with it and there would be less quibble on if you are liable in any way.
- What kind of wallpaper and paint they’re planning to use? If you were just planning on slapping on some B&Q value paint, you’d be doing that yourself. Ensuring they are using the right paint or products for the job is essential in your signing off of materials involved.Whilst they are the painting, decorating and property maintenance experts, you should take it upon yourself to do some due diligence. Are they using the right primer products as well as the right finish and longest lasting for the job in hand? Interior and exterior paint are obviously different but then there is oil based, water based, custom mixed, satin, gloss, matt; the list goes on.
- What do you think of my suggested colour scheme? If they have decorating services experience in the job you’re recruiting for, they might well have some pointers. Invite them to be honest, and it could be they think the colour is too cold for a north facing dining room wall, that the colour is too dark for a smaller room, or that the wallpaper hanging needs to be adjusted to fit the space etc. An expert with 20-30 years’ experience will know this.
- Can they commit to leaving the space clean and tidy at the end of the job? I’d highly recommend you ensure this as otherwise you might be looking at paying someone to clear up after your decorating services. The quote and price should include this service to ensure you stay within your budget.
What accreditations do I look for when choosing a painter decorator near me?
Credibility is a leading consideration when looking for decorating services and those providing the highest standards will belong to a number of government and leading trade bodies to demonstrate the level of professional service they can offer.
Here are a number of the accreditations and partnerships to look for when choosing a painter decorator.
- Regional trading standards approved. All over the UK there are regional associations where painter decorating services can provide evidence that minimum standards set by trading standards are met. This might be through the local county council or a more generic area, but the knowledge that these standards are met is a great basic assurance of quality work.
- Checkatrade does stringent background checks on tradespeople before they are able to become a member. Once they are a member, they must agree to have feedback from their clients put online for the general public to look at. The public feedback as well as the strict checks shows the company’s commitment to customer service and quality workmanship. In addition, every member must agree to follow the ‘Checkatrade Standard’.
- Trustmark is a government endorsed quality scheme that customers can rely on to ensure technical capabilities, good customer service and the following of fair-trading practices on their home. They have their own Code of Conduct and Customer Charter, which sets a high standard level of expectations you should expect when dealing with a Trustmark registered business. They also provide an ‘integrated Trading Standards disputes process’, which gives you a fair sanctions process if you need it.
- Partnerships with quality manufacturers related to painting and decorating services. This should include paint suppliers such as Dulux and Benjamin Moore, but might extend to other manufacturers depending on the kinds of decorating jobs they carry out.
At what point do I ‘bring in the decorators?’
Earlier I said that people tend to bring in the painting and decorating services at the end, but just because they provide the finish, that doesn’t mean that they can’t get there until the rest is finished.
If this is a larger renovation, allowing them to take a look at the project in progress will give them an idea of what to expect when they arrive on site in terms of what finish the plastering will leave them etc. It might also be worth bringing them in before items like the floor are complete and before some installations are in place.
For smaller projects, if you’re looking at just repainting a dining room or general living rooms then there might not be that many other people involved. For new kitchens and bathrooms, and work where there is a specific installation, it might be worth them meeting the other party involved.
Exterior painting is more of a standalone role when it comes to outdoor walls for painting, and is often done when all other work on the outside of the house or property is completed to ensure a high standard of work undamaged by other tradespeople.
What do I need to consider before signing off a project?
When signing decorating jobs off, you can only really say that a painter decorator has completed the job when:
- The area is decorated exactly as you agreed in writing with no deviation from the specification at all, unless agreed at a later point.
- Every task that makes up the project is finished. Do not sign a job off, and more importantly pay them, if they’re still due to come back ‘just to do the skirting boards’ or something similar. You might end up with a dining room with unpainted skirting boards for some time or end up doing it yourself.
- Everything is clean and tidy. Leaving a room decorated to a high standard comes from years of experience, but the customer service that comes from ensuring you’re not left with a room full of empty paint cans, trays and paint thinner is equally important.
Special considerations when hiring a painter decorator during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government are consistently giving out guidance on the safest ways to operate throughout the pandemic, and those guidelines change. It’s best to pre agree what precautions can be taken throughout the project to minimise risk. It’s also worth getting in writing what they will be doing in terms of additional safety measures, and what they will need from you to be able to confidently work with less risk involved.
Is it worth maintaining a good relationship with a painter decorator near me?
When the project is completed, if the local painter decorator that you used has done a fantastic job, I’m sure they’d value it if you showed your appreciation beyond paying them. Providing a good review and referring your friends will put you in good stead when it comes to getting a competitive quote in the future.