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Hiring Local Painters? Ask These Questions During Your Estimate.

April 10, 2024

So, you’re thinking about hiring local painters. Your first step is to schedule estimates and compare quotes from a few different contractors. Asking the right questions can save you valuable time and help you find a local painter with the right skills and experience to bring your vision to life and improve the value of your home. Here are ten questions you should ask during an interior painting estimate.

First impressions

When the estimator arrives at your home, pay attention to how they present themselves and interact with your space. Are they punctual? Do they take off their shoes without being asked? Are they dressed professionally?


First impressions tell you a lot about the person and the company they represent. An estimator who treats you and your home respectfully is a good reflection of the company and how it operates. It’s a positive sign that everyone from the company will treat your space with care— even during a complex painting project.

1. What does your prep process look like?

Proper preparation is one of the most important factors to a well-flowing daily work process that leads to a pristine finished surface. Ask the estimator how the painters will prep trim, walls, or ceilings. Do they fill nail holes? Caulk seams or edges? Sand the wall to even out the texture?

Most people are surprised to hear that prep work accounts for about 80% of every PMV project. We inspect all the surfaces with an LED light and look for damage or drip marks from previous coats of paint. We knock down any paint drips, fill dents and nail holes, let the patch dry for the proper amount of time, caulk any seams or edges, and then use a pole sander followed by a sanding sponge to remove any imperfections and create a smooth, even surface. It may seem excessive, but your finished surface will only be as good as the prep that goes into it.

2. What kind of paint will you use?

High-quality paint may cost more than what you find at a big-box store, but it provides the best-looking and longest-lasting results. Ask what brand of paint the contractor prefers using and why.


It’s also a good idea to ask if the paint is low VOC. VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, give some paint an off-putting smell. Inhaling too many VOCs can pose health problems and the build-up of VOC gasses harms the environment.


At PMV, we use high-quality paint from Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore. We’ve tested many products over the years and have found these brands look the best, clean easily, and last the longest. We use low-VOC paint whenever possible.

3. How many coats of paint will you use?

The number of coats you need depends on the project. You might need more coats if you’re going from a darker color to a lighter one. A tinted primer might be a good solution if you need to cover deeper colors like red.


Not all painting contractors operate the same way, so it’s important to clarify how many coats the estimate includes. PMV defaults to two coats on everything because we have found it gives the best coverage and results. If we think priming is required, we will discuss it with you and note it in the estimate.

4. What does the daily painting routine look like?

Painting the interior of your home can be a significant disruption to your space and schedule. Asking about the day-to-day painting routine can help you understand how things will work during the project and how much space the painters need to work effectively. Ask if they will move furniture and what the daily clean-up looks like. Can you count on them sweeping up at the end of the day or putting outlet covers back on to ensure the safety of your family?


PMV believes your house is your sacred space and will treat every room as such. Therefore, PMV has a specific order of operations, so you know exactly what to expect and when. We typically move the furniture to the center of the room and lay down drop cloths and plastic. After prep, we paint the ceiling first, the trim next, and then the walls. Our painters keep the work area tidy and clean up at the end of every day.

5. How do you hire your painters?

Asking about hiring practices might feel odd, but it’s helpful to understand who will be working in your home and if they have the right experience. You don’t want a beginner painting delicate trim without someone more experienced there to supervise.


At PMV, we hire based on character. We look for painters who align with our culture and values. We then put their skills to the test at our in-house training facility before hiring. Once completed and hired we equip them with additional skills and continue to develop them to be a successful and integral part of our team.

6. Are you Lead-Safe Certified?

Lead paint may be a concern if your home was built before 1978. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends hiring a certified professional to check for lead-based paint if you have an older home.


When it’s time to renovate or repaint a home with lead-based paint, your contractor should be Lead-Safe Certified. Ordinary renovation can create toxic lead dust. Lead-Safe Certified contractors take special training on how to minimize dust and keep the surrounding environment free of contamination. PMV’s crew leaders are Lead-Safe Certified.

7. Do you offer interior design services?

Depending on the complexity of your project, an interior designer can help you select colors that create a cohesive space. The finished space should match your vision, especially if you’re also replacing kitchen floors, countertops, or refinishing cabinets. PMV works closely with a local interior designer and we offer all of our clients free consultations.

8. Do you have referrals I can check?

Nothing speaks louder than a review! Asking this question during an estimate is helpful, but you’ll have to do some follow-up to verify the answer. Check for positive (or negative) reviews on Google and Facebook. Does the company website feature any reviews? Do they reflect what you saw on other platforms?

Your community Facebook group can also be a good resource for local referrals. Ask for local painter recommendations or name the company specifically and see what other clients have to say.

9. What’s the process if something needs to be touched up after the job is done?

Let’s say you hire local painters to redo your kitchen. After they finish the project, you belatedly notice a wall where the paint has cracked. What do you do? Can you still call the company even though it’s been a few weeks? Knowing you can rely on your painters for touch-ups offers peace of mind, especially on larger, more expensive projects.

10. Why should I choose you?

This final question is the estimator’s chance to summarize why you should hire their company. Is it because they’ll get the work done the fastest, because their quote is the least expensive, or because they’ll guarantee the highest-quality results?


Who you hire should also align with your goals. If you need to repaint the living room because you plan to sell the house, then going with the most convenient painters might make the most sense. If you want a contractor who can help you create the space you’ve always dreamed of, then you may want to invest a little more money and choose a local painter who will pay attention to the smallest details and offer unparalleled service.

PMV Custom Finishes Is Your Local Painter Serving West Michigan

PMV Custom Finishes has been serving West Michigan since 2001. We strive to go above and beyond the standard to give our clients the highest-quality results and unparalleled service. From the first estimate to the final walkthrough, we’re here to help you create beautiful spaces that will last for many years to come. Have a residential painting project? You can schedule a free estimate online or contact our office with any questions at 269.276.0907.

Posted in Kitchens, Residential Exteriors, Residential Interior