Any time you need to hire a contractor for a home improvement project, you should get at least three written estimates before choosing who to trust with such a significant responsibility. This includes when you’re looking for a painting company to paint your Scarborough home or business.
You may come across some painters that don’t, and this should be a major red flag. Only work with Scarborough painters that are transparent about their fees, what’s covered, what’s not, etc., and are willing to put it in writing.
With an estimate for a painting project, homeowners often focus on the prices for materials, labour and the overall cost, but how a contractor prepares an estimate can help you decide if they are trustworthy and reliable.
These are some of the things you should look for when you get an estimate from a painting company in Scarborough.
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Contact Information and Business Details
A painting contractor’s estimate should provide at least a few options for contacting someone at the company. Also compare the business name and/or number, phone number(s), email address, business address, etc., with what’s on their website and what’s listed on Google to confirm that they are consistent.
You can also use that business name or number to look them up on the Ontario business registry to learn more about them, including how long ago the business was registered and their principal place of operation.
If they are licensed and provide a licence number on the estimate, you may also be able to look them up on the licensing body’s website for more information.
The Scope of Work to be Completed
When a painting contractor comes to inspect your property, they should be asking you questions about your goals and expectations as they assess the project area. Having this conversation can get you and the contractor on the same page and help them more accurately predict how much work is involved.
When you’ve agreed on the work to be completed, ideally, the estimate will detail the exact paint and materials to be used, if the work will be completed by a sub-contractor, each step in the process, the predicted timelines and the overall time to complete the project.
Terms and Conditions of the Estimate
This section should clearly state that what you’ve been provided is only an estimate and not a contract for services. There may also be a disclaimer regarding material and labour costs and possibly an expiry date on the prices in your painting estimate.
Prices for construction materials can fluctuate, and this type of clause protects the contractor in case material costs change between when you get the estimate and when you sign a contract for services. Look for this section to know your timeline.
The law in Ontario is that a painting contractor cannot charge you more than 10% above the total estimate cost if it is included in the painting contract unless you agree to a new price or work order. So have the contractor include the estimate as part of the contract for services.
Potential Risks and Contingencies
A painting contractor’s estimate may also include stipulations and policies for dealing with delays and unforeseen circumstances.
Possible delays and increased costs can be attributed to weather, injuries or property damage that isn’t visible until the work begins. It’s vital to know how a painting company will deal with these situations and potential increased costs to help you in your selection process before your final decision.