10 Important Questions To Ask Your Painter and Decorator

Are you wondering what questions you should be asking a painter or decorator before hiring them? You likely already have an idea of what you want. However, there are questions you should ask to ensure the job turns out as expected 

One of the most important things to ask about is the estimate. This is how you can tell if their work is within your budget. To learn more about the painter’s quality of work, you should ask about their approach to prep work, the process, and clean up. You should also ask about their previous experience and employee’s background.

Knowing which questions to ask can help you decide if the company you’re interested in is the right fit for your project. After all, you don’t want to run into issues once the job has started. Today, we’re going to discuss 10 of the most important questions to ask your painter and decorator. 

Do you think you’ve found the right painter and decorator for your home project? Here are 10 questions you need to ask to make sure they are right for the job.

Essential Questions To Ask Your Painter & Decorator

1. Does Your Company Provide a Free Estimate, and What Exactly Is Outlined In A Contract?

One of the first topics you should address with the painter is the estimate. Not only should you ask if the estimate is free, but you should also ask what to expect. Some companies will offer a rough estimate over the phone based on the information you provide.

Estimate Form Sample

Other companies will arrange an in-home estimate. This is when a professional comes to your location to take a look at the area you want to have painted or decorated. When they offer an in-home estimate, they are able to provide you with a more accurate estimate of the job. 

You should also find out if the company offers estimates or quotes. Many homeowners prefer working with painters that provide a quote. This is because when a quote is offered, that will be the final price. With estimates, the price could end up being higher at the end of the project.

Once you have been offered an estimate or quote that you’re happy with, you will need to ask about the contract. Make sure they break down what the contract entails. This includes timescales, level of prep and clean-up, types of paints used, and more.

2. What Credentials Does Your Company Have?

A good painting and decorating company will have no problem showing proof of credentials. So, what credentials will a reputable contracting company have? Don’t hire a painter or decorator unless they are licensed and insured.

When you want to hire a painter or decorator, you can hire a company or an independent contractor. In order to legally provide contracting work, they will need to have a business license in the state. 

Sample of Business License
Image from: https://www.esppainting.com/

It’s also very important that the painter or decorator you hire has insurance. General liability insurance is important to make sure both the workers and the homeowners are protected. If the painter gets injured while working, you will not be held responsible. 

Some companies will also provide workers’ compensation insurance for their painters and decorators. When a company offers this, you will know that they have salary protection and are covered for medical treatment.

3. Does Your Company Have a List of References and Previous Work You Can Show Me?

Any painter and decorator can say that they are the best around. However, do they have the proof to back that up? If you want to know what to really expect, ask for a list of references. You can also ask to see photos of previous projects they have completed.

Checking references is a great way to get full insight into a painting or decorating company. You will get an idea of what the finished results will be like, how professional the painters were, and anything else you want to know about the company.

4. What Materials and Brands Do Your Company Use?

Every professional painter will have preferred brands and materials to use. This will give you a better idea if the company is more concerned with long-term quality or saving money. 

We recommend using a professional that works with premium brands. This is because they are focused on quality and providing results that will last for many years. With cheaper brands, you will likely have to contact the painters again in a couple of years for a re-paint. 

Painting Materials

You may not be an expert on paints and finishes, but the painter you hire should be. Make sure you ask questions about the formulas they use and what to expect for the longevity of the paint job.

It’s also important to consider your own budget for materials. If the painter’s preferred brand is too expensive, see if they have suggestions in your price range that they can work with.

5. Who Will Be Working On My Project?

If you’re hiring a painting crew, there could be multiple workers inside your house. You should ask the painting company who will be working on the project. There are a few reasons why this is important.

To start with, you’ll want to know who the project supervisor is. This will be the person you speak to if you have any questions or concerns during the job. 

There’s another reason why homeowners feel it’s important to ask who is on the project. While most painting crews are made up of honest workers, you can’t 100% guarantee this. You don’t want to take the risk of allowing someone into your house that has intentions of burglarizing you or worse.

This can be a tricky question to ask because you don’t want to offend the company you’re about to hire. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry. One of the best ways to approach this is by asking what company provides background checks for the workers and to see a sample of a report.

6. How Does Your Company Deal With Lead Paint?

If you have an old home, it’s very likely that there’s lead paint on the walls. Always ask about how to company handles lead paint to see how informed they are. There are precise rules that must be followed with lead paint, but some companies will make light of them to get the job.

Sample of Lead Paint

So, how can you tell if a company is prepared to safely deal with removing lead paint? One of the main things they should mention is having a lead-certified professional overseeing the removal process. 

They will also be able to mention what safety gear and equipment they will use during the process. Lead paint should always be removed with a HEPA-filtered vacuum. It’s important that the workers are also wearing appropriate protection so they don’t breathe in any of the dust.

7. Will My House Rules Be Followed?

A reputable painter and decorator will always be respectful of your house rules. If you hire a crew, it is a good idea to go over your expectations with the project supervisor. This is a good idea because some crews will treat a client’s house like their own personal work area.

There are 4 things, in particular, that should be addressed about your house rules before the job starts.

  • Footwear in the house. While contractors can wear their footwear where they’re painting, you likely don’t want dirty footprints in other areas of your house. Be upfront if you want them to remove their boots before going to the washroom, kitchen, or other areas in the house.
  • Smoking areas. Make sure the painters know where they are allowed to smoke and what they should do with their cigarette butts. This will prevent them from tossing their butts anywhere on the property.
  • Inappropriate language. Contractors are used to working in teams of all adults, so the language isn’t always pretty. If you have children present or don’t want your neighbors hearing inappropriate language, make sure you address this. 
  • Music volume. Painting can be boring, so music makes the job a lot more bearable. Let them know your expectations regarding the music volume before they start. 

8. What Kind of Painting Prep Before and Clean-Up After Will The Crew Do?

The painting prep and the clean-up after are just as important as the painting process. Make sure you ask about this so you know what to expect. This will give you a better idea of how long the project will take. 

Asking about the prep and clean-up will also give you an idea of how thorough the workers are with their practice. It will also give you an idea of how respectful they will be with your property. A reputable painter will take your furniture and belongings into consideration.

Cleaning Up after painting

It’s a good idea to know how thorough a company is with the painting prep before hiring them. Some questions you should ask include:

  • Will they remove old paint or cover it up?
  • Do the painters wash the walls before they start?
  • How do they approach mildew and mold?
  • Will they make surface repairs before they start painting? 

When you ask about the clean-up, you are also setting your expectations. You’re paying money for this crew’s service, so you shouldn’t have to clean up after them. This lets the painters know that you expect them to clean up after themselves. 

9. What Kind of Prep Will I Need To Do?

Find out what prep work you can do to make the job easier for the painters. While good painters will move and cover your furniture before starting, they shouldn’t have to rearrange all of your belongings to begin working.

Most painters will require very little prep work on the homeowner’s behalf. If you don’t have time or space to store your belongings in another room, they will use tarps to keep everything covered.

However, one request that most painters will have is for you to remove things from the walls. This includes pictures, shelves, and any other belongings that will be in their way from prepping and painting.

We suggest bringing this question up during the in-home estimate. Since the professional will be seeing your space in person, this gives them the best opportunity to let you know how you can help with the prep before they begin the job.

10. Does Your Company Offer a Warranty? (If So, How Long Is It Good For & Will I Be Able to Obtain a Copy in Writing?)

Reputable painters and designers are proud of their work. They will offer warranties to back up the quality of their job. Check to see if you are able to get a physical copy of what the warranty includes. 

Sample of warranty form

There are 2 types of warranties that painters often give clients. One is a manufacturer’s warranty for the products they use. The other warranty will be for the workmanship.


Asking the right questions gives you more insight into how painting and decorating companies perform on the job. There are many things you should know about a painter before letting them into your house.

By asking questions, you will get to find out more about the painter’s previous experiences and how they approach different problems that they could run into. It’s also a good idea to check out references or a portfolio of their previous work.

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