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Professional Painting Contractors vs Painters – Which Should I Hire?

A painting contractor painting a wall beige.

When it comes to painting projects, just any person with a brush and can of paint won’t do. A painting contractor is a superior professional with a guaranteed list of qualifications and loads of experience. But what is a painting contractor? What do they do exactly, and how can you find a good one that won’t break the bank?

Painting Contractor Defined

Professional painting contractors are professional painters working for a general contractor or hired directly by a homeowner. They range from self-employed painting pros to a small company of professionals. Their focus is painting interior and exterior locations, but some specialize in other areas like staining, wallpapering, and drywall repair.

Average Cost of a Painting Contractor

For most professional paint contractors, you’re looking at $2 to $6 per square foot of interior space. This usually included two coats of paint. Adding in doors, trim, and other peripheral areas will increase that price a bit. For exterior gigs, you’re looking at a slight increase: $3 to $6 per square foot. 

If your contractor charges by the room (it’s rare but does happen), you can expect to pay about $800 to $1,200 per bedroom and $1,000 to $3,000 for large spaces like living rooms and kitchens. Per room rates usually include painting the mold and trim, but if you opt out of those, you can expect to save anywhere from 30% to 40% on the total cost.

Day rates for professional painters are rare, but if your painting contractor does charge this way, expect anywhere from $200 to $500 a day. Per hour rates are similarly not seen often, but will usually land between $20 to $50 per hour.    

How to Find a Painting Contractor

One of the best ways to find a good painting contractor is to ask friends and family for recommendations. Second to that is searching Google and Facebook reviews to see who is at the top of the list in terms of customer satisfaction.

Get at least three to five different quotes, making sure to disclose as many details about the job as possible including square footage and special requests. Compare the costs of the quotes, but also look closely at how each is itemizing the specifics. What’s the cost of labor versus cost of materials? How much time is each attributing to the job?

When speaking with your potential painting contractor, here are a few important questions you’ll need answered in order to properly gauge their capabilities and value:

  1. Are you licensed and insured?
  2. Do you have previous clients I can call for a reference?
  3. What guarantees does your work carry?
  4. Do you perform the job yourself or hire out to freelancers?
  5. How long have you been a painting contractor?
  6. Can I see your “insurance declaration?” (This is a one-sheet summary of their coverage. Do they have general or professional liability insurance?)

If you’re satisfied with your contractor’s credentials, agree on a payment plan (never pay more than ⅓ of the total cost upfront) and review the contract thoroughly before signing.

What Does a Painting Contractor Do? 

Besides the painting work itself, there are a few additional duties your painting contractor might take on.

If your home was built before 1978, for instance, a painting contractor would handle testing for lead first. This may require a fee of around $300 to complete but is a necessary part of safety regulations. If your property does test positive for lead, a contractor will either encase the paint or remove it completely. 

Professional painting teams will also move furniture (it’ll be cheaper and easier if you do it yourself) and commit to prep work which may include sanding, covering surfaces, and some light repairs. Make sure you tell your contractor ahead of time if there are popcorn ceilings or other old finishes that need to be removed prior to the job’s start.

Painter Defined

Simply put, anyone who owns a paintbrush and possesses the modicum of skill required to apply paint can be a painter. However, being a professional painter requires an actual license.

Average Cost of a Painter

The average cost of a painter generally depends, but you can expect to pay around $25 an hour for small gigs and upwards of $100 a day for larger ones. The price for a non-professional painter is a toss-up, and normally comes down to how inexperienced your painter is. 

For someone who knows what they’re doing and understands the job, you’re going to pay more. For someone holding a brush for the first time, it’s likely you’re walking away with barely a dent in your pocket. Just be careful–you get what you pay for. 

How to Find a Painter

You can find general painters the same way you find loads of other self-proclaimed handymen: Craigslist, social media, your neighbor’s cousin who’s looking for side-work all the time. Local Facebook groups are great for recommendations, but even a simple post from your personal page will turn up a few half-dozen people willing to paint your property. 

Painting Contractor vs Painter

Painting Contractors are different from painters. A painting contractor carries both general liability and workers compensation policies, removing any risks and responsibilities from a potential client. They provide their own materials and equipment, so the risk of a faulty material purchase is between them and the supplier, not you. Not all painters are professionals; but all painting contractors are.

The Value Painting Contractors Bring to Your Project

A painting contractor is able to do any paint job, from a single room to an entire house – and beyond. They bring with them years of experience, and have complete access to whatever types of equipment or supplies the job might require. 

Whatever your project, you can be sure that a Painting Contractor will bring you maximum value. 

Summary of Painting Contractors

If you’re looking for a trained and certified painter who can complete a job quickly and with the highest quality possible, then you’re looking for a Painting Contractor – so look no further than Pizazz Painting for trustworthy painting services in Cherry Hill and surrounding areas. 

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