How Many Interior Home Painting Quotes Should I Get For My Home In Bellevue?

How many interior home painting quotes should I get for my home in Bellevue?

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There’s no doubt, in almost all situations, a second quote on an interior painting project is worth considering. Just like you’re likely to take the diagnosis from your doctor as just the ‘first opinion’, why not consider a second painting contractor. If for no other reason, to help you understand what can be expected in a cost estimate and what is unique to a specific contractor.

Interior Painting BrushesThere’s one big exception to this, by the way, and it’s when you get a highly recommended referral from someone else who is very satisfied with someone’s work. In almost anything we buy, that’s the first more reliable source of contractor on any part of your home. Good contractors build their business by doing great work and the word-of-mouth doing the rest for them. Still, let’s look at what a few quotes might be like, and how to compare one with the next:

Examining the labor element of the painting cost estimate

Aside from contractor licensing numbers, I don’t know of any law that stipulates how a painting contractor breaks out a costing estimate, but even if there are laws on the books about it, there’s nothing to stop a contractor from writing a cost estimate on the back of a napkin and giving no details if they wanted to. For example, if you bumped into a painting contractor in Starbucks and you asked them how much it would cost to paint the inside of your home, they might ask about size, then do a quick calculation in their head. The on-the-spot estimate is simply a dollar figure written on the side of a latte cup. Clearly, no contractor could be expected to stand by such a casual estimate, not having seen the house, or the condition of the interior, but some estimates will be detailed while others will be less so.

Today, contractors use phone apps or online programs to help them calculate the cost estimate for a painting project. Some even interface to dwelling databases to get required data to feed into the calculations. From there, they can spit out the cost estimate.

Labor is an interesting element. How long does it take to paint a room? Well, it would take me, personally, three times as long to do the work as it would take a professional painting contractor. For one, I’d be taking a break every time by Facebook account beeped at me; two, I don’t do the work every day, so my ‘painting’ muscles would get tired quickly; and three, I’m not that good at painting with all its pesky attention to detail problems.

An estimate could say 40 hours of work at $30 an hour, or 30 hours of work at $40 per hour. It comes to the same total, which might be just fine for you, but there’s a hidden risk with odd calculations in any cost estimate. There are fairly standard price-per-hour rates for work such as painting in the Seattle region. It might be $30 per hour in the cost estimate here in Seattle, but a similar interior painting project in, say, the Detroit area, could be significantly less. That hourly rate is affected by demand, of course, but also by expected costs of the painting contractor which, in turn, is affected by the price of houses (employees have to live within driving distance) and the availability of contractors in general. Let’s say you opted for the lower per-hour bid, but at the same total price. Does it mean the contractor is hiring cheaper workers, or is simply better value? Be sure to ask about the relevant experience of the people doing the actual work itself, not just the question of how many years the business has existed, or how many houses the business owner has painted.

Is preparation included in the painting cost estimate?

It’s true of almost any profession. Someone once said that a pause to sharpen one’s ax is time well spent. When it comes to preparing a home for interior painting , everything rests on how well the room or rooms are prepared before a lick of paint is applied.

In some cases, a painting contractor will do a lot or all of the preparation work. At one extreme, they can’t be expected to, for example, tidy up your daughter’s clothes, but they will certainly be able to protect that grand piano or other furniture that cannot be moved out of the room while the painting takes place. A professional painting contractor will have their own furniture protection drop-cloths and covers of one type or another. They’ll also have every required type of masking tape. Not every roll of masking tape is suitable for every situation, and that’s another reason hiring a contractor to do that part of it makes complete sense. It’s much easier to put a little extra time into protecting your furniture before the project begins, than it is get paint drops out of the nap on the ten-thousand-dollar billiards table later.

The better the preparation, the better the end product. Aside from the obvious protection of everything you do not want painted, a well masked room means the painters don’t have to worry. They can proceed with their work, focusing on the finer details of that wainscoting, instead of working around a sloppy masking job. Of course, you can’t spend forever doing the prep work, either, but there is an optimal amount of prep time investment that will give a low spill-risk during the project, and will allow you to spend far less time on the painting itself, as well as the cleanup time when the painting stage is completed.

Is cleanup included in the painting cost estimate?

A painting company will want to keep its ladders, drop cloths and other equipment, so they will obviously remove all of that when the painting is done, but there’s still potentially a lot of other cleanup to do. For example, while the work is in progress, the painters will need to clean their own equipment at intervals. Professional brushes, for example, need to be cleaned thoroughly after each day’s work (or perhaps even more frequently), so whose sink will that work be done in? And who cleans the sink after that is done? All in all, there’s a lot to do. Personally, I like to see included in the cost estimate a consideration to ‘bring the house to the point there is no sign of the work, just the finished product’. it’s nice to come home to a house to see that painting project completely done!

See you next week.

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