There are home improvement projects than many homeowners can tackle on their own and make it a DIY project for a weekend or over a week.  Painting the interior or exterior of a home can be a project that seems simple enough.  After all how hard can it be to slap some paint on the walls with a brush or paint roller.

Painting can be a simple enough project to work on as a do it yourself project, but if you want to get professional results where the necessary prep work is done first such as repairing holes, patching any drywall imperfections, painting straight lines, making sure caulking is added where necessary and other fine details that only professional painters will do then read on to find tips on how to hire the right painting contractor to work with when the simple DIY turns into frustration.

painter with paint can and paint roller

What Is a Painting Contractor

A painting contractor can be a one-man sole proprietor of a painting company or have 10 or more painters working for them.  Painting contractors can work directly for the homeowner,  or work as a sub-contractor or under a general contractor.

While the primary focus of expertise for contractors is painting, some will also do drywall and plaster repairs, wallpaper removal, trim and molding, stipple ceilings repairs and removal along with  other professional services to give homeowners top notch quality finished work.

How Find The Best Painting Contractors in Ottawa

It can be difficult at times to find reliable painters especially in peak season, which usually starts in March and goes to about October.  The combination of the one-man sole proprietor painting contractor and the high demand for their work can make it difficult at times to find qualified painters.

One of the best ways to find a good reliable painter is to ask family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers.  Reading through the reviews and or testimonials can also prove very helpful.

When deciding to hire professional painting contractors in Ottawa you want to know you will be hiring the best to work with you on your project.  A simple google search to find painters in Ottawa will give you pages and pages of painting companies near you.

Question is how do you know which one to choose from.  The following tips are intended as a guideline to help you know what to look for when hiring painters and to help you make the right decision the next time you need to hire reliable painters near you.

Tips On How To Hire The Best Painters in Ottawa

The first place to start is by reading reviews on google  and compare them with at least three other painting companies.  Be weary of fake or paid for online reviews that unfortunately some businesses pay for in order to come up quicker in the search results.

First impressions, customer service and reputation is the feedback you want to look for provided from past clients when looking to hire the best local painters.  Word of mouth is the best reference and trusting that family or close friends or neighbors with a referral is a good way to go.

After all reviews and referrals have been taken into consideration, compile a list of 3 to 4 painting contractors to obtain a painting estimate or quote from so that you can compare the prices.  Get a clear and concise quote that lists all the paint products that will be used, all the work that will be done so that you are not left with surprises in the end.

Before hiring a painting contractor consider these additional tips and add them to your find the best painters checklist to make your project more simplified.

Tip 1: Experience  

The more you know the better is that old saying and it certainly applies to any type of professional company you may be considering to hire to do work in your home.  When hiring a painter you want to look at things like how long they have been in the painting business for, what types of painting services they provide and are they in a neighbourhood near you.

Hiring a local painting company is easier than hiring painters who work for an out of country franchise with franchise owners located in Ottawa.  By hiring small local Ottawa businesses you support the local community and can rest assured that contacting the business will be easier when they are located near you.

An appointment for an in-home consultation is the perfect opportunity to meet with the painters and ask questions.  It provides homeowners with the opportunity to get to know the people that will be working in their homes as well as get an accurate quote for painting work to be done.

Working with experienced professional painters will save you time, effort and money in the long run.

Tip 2: Owner, Employees or Subcontractors 

You should find out who will be doing the house painting in your home.  If you are hiring a personal painter who owns the business and who also does the painting, this will most times guarantee you that the work will be done properly and that the painter is always on the job site ready to address any of your questions or concerns and is easily available without having to wait days if not weeks before you ever hear back from anyone.

It is also good to know whether the contractor you are hiring uses subcontractors or if they have employees.  Normally, big painting companies will lead homeowners to believe that they will be doing the work, give you a lower bid so they get hired and then they hire subcontractors and pay them less money to do the work.  These subcontractors may not be the professional you are looking for and do not necessarily take care of things like an owner would.  This is usually because the money subcontractors get paid is way less than a professional painter, and unlike the actual owners of a business whose reputation is on the line with every painting job they do the subcontractors won’t really care since it’s not their names and reputation on the line.

Large painting companies will send out an estimator first to provide homeowners with a painting quote and once they have convinced homeowners to hire them they will in return hire the sub-contractor.  Know that these large companies cannot provide you the same attention to details as a small painting company, because they have quotas to meet at the end of each month and many overhead expenses to pay such as franchise fees, and the subcontracting fees.

It is less expensive for the larger companies to hire subcontractors at less pay than it is to hire employees of whom they would have to pay vacation pay, sick leave pay, CPP and UI benefits too.  When you receive the the cheapest quote for the cost of painting it is not because you will be working with the best and most experienced but more because your project will be added to the many they try to bundle for each month’s quota, not using the best quality of paints and skipping important first steps of preparing the surfaces.

The lower painting quote comes with many cons.  From amateur painters that won’t give you professional results to their use of sub-standard paint products to save money, always do your homework so you don’t get scammed.

When you hire professional painters that own their own business you get an accurate and fair painting quote, and the painters will guarantee you the best quality of work, paying more attention to every detail of your painting project because they care about their business and their customer service and reputation.

Get personalized service from painters that own their own company and guarantee quality, expertise and knowledge at affordable and competitive prices.

Tip 3: Prep before painting

A professional painting job is only as good as the preparation work done before any paint is brushed or rolled on to any wall.  The pre painting services are important factors to getting professional results for your home.  Ask the painter who comes for the estimate what preparation work will be done before the finishing coats of paint are applied.

It should all be detailed for you in the conversation you have at the in home consultation and or in an email detailing the scope of work.  A written estimate/quote is the perfect way to ensure everyone is on the same page and that there will be no surprises at the end.  Homeowners do not want the additional surprise costs that they were not expecting to pop up during the painting project or at the end.  It should be clear from the beginning the work that is expected, the work that will be done and the cost of it all.

Cutting corners by skimping out on the necessary prep work, using cheaper brands that may not provide coverage that the minimum of 2 coats paint finish of quality paints do are just a few ways homeowners may be getting ripped off. In a previous article on how to know if you are getting ripped off or scammed by painting companies we outline some of the thinks to look for.

Be weary of the coupon type deals, the 2 for 1 deals or the ones that start with a certain dollar amount to paint one room.  This will always cost you more in the end.

That special deal of the day will always buy you cheaper quality of paint, there will be no drywall repairs or patching done.  No caulking or sealing around any trim or baseboards, cove molding, doors or windows.  There will be no patching repairs of drywall imperfections, no sanding or priming of the walls needing the paint.  Deals like these will more than likely get you one coat of lower end paint, no paint primer will be applied and it will go without saying that these low ball deals will not include painting the ceilings or any trim work, doors or frames.  The price will be only for one coat of paint on the walls only.

If you were anticipating professional painting results with the coupon deals, it won’t be happening.  For the best painting results hire the best painters.

DIY Painting is easily tackled by home owners but can prove to be frustrating when paying attention to the smaller details that may be unknown to the untrained eye.  When you hire expert painters they will ensure that all the small details are looked after.

From the little things like making sure all the furniture, art work etc is covered and protected, removing and re-installing the electric or cable wall plates after the job is complete, ensure repairs to any drywall imperfections are taken care of before any painting is started.  Most experts will provide sanding, ensure the best paint primer and the right paint are used and ensure gaps are sealed with caulking around window frames, doors or baseboards.

Tip 4: References

You should be able to get a minimum of 3 to 5 references of whom you can call and speak to in regards to the painting company you are looking into.  Although today it is easier to simply visit the testimonials page of the website or do a google search for reviews for painters in Ottawa.

Empower yourself with information and knowledge to make the best decision and avoid those reviews that sound to good to be true.  CBC Marketplace has created a video that describes how many businesses pay for reviews on popular sites.  Know before you decide by watching the video about fake online reviews .

Tip 5: Knowledge

Experience counts when hiring the right painting contractor.  Many experienced painters will be able to answer your questions.  They will recommend or suggest the best materials, paint products, finish and sheens and some may even have the know on what the latest paint colour trends for painting are.

hand of painter with pen writing an estimate for house painting

Tip 6: Painting Estimate 

When you meet with the painter or painters you are receiving painting estimates from make sure you discuss the scope of work you are looking at having done.  Ask the questions you need to in order to be best assured and informed before accepting the quote.

Some painting companies provide written estimates on the spot at the meeting, others will send you one by email as a follow up to the meeting in your home.  Either way it’s a good thing to have, as this is your written contract listing all the specifications, materials, whether paint is included or not and all the preparation work they will do before painting and the follow up after they’ve completed the job.

It is a good idea to get something in writing on paper or email as to what is included or not included with your painting estimate especially if the scope of the work to be done is large and very detailed.

Tip 7  Cost of Painting Your Room or House

Get at least 3 quotes from three different painting companies.  Try not to focus or base your decision on the cheapest price because what you need to remember is the lowest bid given by a painter may be because they are in desperate need of work, they will not be using quality paint products,  and most definitely will not be providing all the preparation and detailed work that either the middle or higher end estimate will provide.

Do Not be Afraid of the Higher Price.  The better the quality of work done by painters, the more in demand they will be and therefore there may be a higher the price to pay.  It may be worth the added expense to hiring a professional that does high end quality work.

The middle priced painting estimate may work out too, you can visit all the references, reviews and testimonials to help you decide.  But do not base your decision on price alone. Remember that old saying ” if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is” simply go with your gut instinct and trust it.

Tip 8: Guarantee

Here is a little demystifying of the myth of the guarantee for painting work.  A Painter can guarantee his work, meaning he will provide the best quality workmanship using the best quality paint products your budget allows.

They can guarantee to come back if a spot was missed (as everyone is human) and it does happen.  They can guarantee that if the paint peels or cracks after a couple of days or weeks they will come back to fix it.  What they cannot and will not guarantee is they will repaint anything if 2 or 3 years have passed.

Exterior paint is exposed to the natural elements such as sun, extreme temperatures, rain snow etc., and will need painting more often that the interior.  How often do you need to paint will depend on whether it is interior or exterior.

Painters or painting companies cannot guarantee to come back and re-do the painting in 2 or 3 years at no cost it just would not be practical nor make business sense.  So when you read on some websites that they will guarantee to repaint it in 2 to 5 years or after you have scratched and damaged the paint on the interior, it is just not true.  Please always read the fine print on all warranties and guarantees.

Painters can not guarantee the paint product itself as it already comes guaranteed by the manufacturer. Today’s mostly water based paint products consist of little to no VOC and are environmentally safe paints.  Paints from 20 or 30 years ago were stronger, lasted longer but had strong odours that caused health issues for both the homeowners and the painters.

Find out more about the difference between water based and solvent based paints to better understand why manufacturers have made the changes over the years to the paints compared to when all paints were lead based.

If you’ve hired a knowledgeable, experienced painter who knows what types of paints to use in the appropriate area then they can guarantee you a quality finish with the right paint sheen or finish and if a higher end paint product is needed to ensure the durability of the painted walls.

A painting contractor can guarantee the application and preparation process as mentioned above even after a couple of weeks or months.  But if you stop to think about it for a moment, when you read somewhere that a painter offers a 2 year or 3 year warranty or guarantee, ask yourself on what?

Tips On How To Find The Right Painting Contractors To Work With

With the tips mentioned above you now have all the information you need to start to find a reliable painter near you.

When you begin your search for painters try to make appointments with at least three painting companies.  Get a written estimate and quote with a detailed list for all costs.  Many painters have reviews online that you can read through or you can ask for at least three references from past clients.

By doing your due diligence before the project begins ensures all the t’s are crossed and i’s dotted.

Contact Us if you have any questions or are looking to hire painters in Ottawa.


This post was originally published on May 28, 2017  and updated on August 16, 2020