In Advice, How To

Painting can be a simple home improvement project that home or condo apartment owners can tackle as a DIY weekend project.painter with paint can and paint roller

Depending on the size of the project the time it takes to complete it will vary.  Painting a small room can be easily be accomplished in a day by a casual DIYer but painting an entire interior or exterior of any home can become overwhelming for a diy painter.

When the project is beyond your scope of wanting to spend a few days of labour intensive work, this is where you should turn to find painters near you to take care of the project for you.  Although it may look easy and simple enough to just slap paint on the walls and have it turn out perfectly you might want to ensure professional results to prevent having to do it over again.

To get the best results we have compiled a list of tips and details on how to hire the right painting contractor to help prevent your next DIY frustration.

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 To Find The Best Painting Contractors in Ottawa

It can be difficult at times to find efficient and reliable painting contractors especially in peak season, which usually starts in March and goes right through 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 since the best ones are sometimes booked for four to six weeks in advance.

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

The question however is how do you know which one to choose from the hundreds found in the search bar.  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.

How To Hire The Best Painters in Ottawa

The first place to start is by reading reviews for painters in Ottawa on google and comparing them with at least three other painting companies with trustworthy testimonials.  Be weary of fake or paid for online reviews that unfortunately some businesses pay for.

First impressions, customer service and reputation is the feedback from past clients is what you want to look for when hiring the best local painters.  Word of mouth from family, close friends, neighbors and co-workers is the best referral.

Once you have taken all the reviews and referrals into consideration make a list of three to four of the best painting contractors and give them a call or contact them by email to obtain a painting estimate or quote.

Compare prices from all the painting companies you received an estimate and quote from.  Ensure the quote is clear and concise on all the work that will be done.  You should have a list of things like what will be painted, what is included in the quote, what types or brands of paints will be used, will the prep work be done, how many coats of paint are included in the price etc.  Most painting companies will list frequently asked questions on their websites and these can be helpful to use as a guideline when you meet with the painters for the consultation.

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

Before hiring a painting contractor consider the following additional tips that should be added to your find the best painters checklist.  To help simplify the process of finding the right painting contractor to work with and prevent frustrations, the following tips are good to have information for your next search to find the right painting company.

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 any work in your home.   You want to base your decisions when hiring a painter with whom you want to work with based on their experience, their qualifications, reliability, expertise, knowledge and what other clients say about their customer care and service.  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 as it is always best to hire local painting companies in Ottawa.

The appointment for an in-home consultation is the perfect opportunity to the homeowners to meet with the painters and ask questions.  It provides the opportunity to get to know the people that will be working in your home as well as being able to get an accurate quote for painting.

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 professionals you were 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 the homeowners to hire them they will in return hire the sub-contractor.  Consumers should know that these large companies cannot provide you the same attention to details as a small painting company can since these larger companies have quotas to meet at the end of each month and many overhead expenses to pay 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.  Getting the cheapest quote for the cost of painting from these bigger companies it is not necessarily always the best bang for your buck.  Since their primary focus may not be perfection and getting your project done right but rather how they can bundle as many projects together to meet their month’s quota.

Lowest bids and painting quotes come with many cons.  By deciding to go with the painting company that comes in with the lowest bid and cost quote for your project you may run into issues such as inexperienced, amateur painters, use of sub-standard paint products to save them money but charging you for the higher quality paints.  You will only get one coat of paint instead of the standard two to three coats if a primer is used, they may be watering down the paint products, and so many other issues that may end up resulting in your total unhappiness.

Always do your homework and due diligence to avoid getting ripped off or scammed.

When you hire expert painters that own their own business you get an accurate and fair painting quote that ensures the proper prep work is done first, and the painters will guarantee you their best quality work and attention to every detail for your project because they care about their business and their customer service and reputation.

Best advice and recommendation is get personalized service from painters that own their own company and can 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.

The detailed list of everything that is included should be discussed at the in-home consultation or in an email that details the entire scope of the work to be done with pricing.   A written estimate/quote is the best way to ensure everyone is on the same page and that there will be no surprises at the end.  A breakdown of the work to be done such as drywall repairs, filling nail pops, painting walls, ceilings, baseboards and trims should all be included in an itemized cost list, to avoid hidden charges at any time during the project.

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 things to look for to prevent being scammed.

Be weary of the coupon type of 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 since the so called special deal of the day will not include any quality paint, there will be no drywall patching or repairs to cover any imperfections, no sanding or priming of the walls, the little details such as caulking or sealing around any trim or baseboards, cove molding, doors or windows won’t be done because that all adds to the cost of labour.

Deals like these will more than likely only get you one coat of the lower end paint, no paint primer will be applied and it goes without saying that these low ball deals will not include painting the ceilings or any trim work, doors or frames, the price will typically only be for one coat of paint on the walls.  These special low cost deals will only cover certain things and not everything like you might be expecting, therefore it is recommended to hire the best painters to ensure your project is completed with the best end results.

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 and they should be able to answer all your questions make recommendations or suggestions on the best materials needed for your project, advise on the type of paint products, the right types of finish and sheens and even the knowledge of what the latest paint colour trends for painting are.painting estimate from painters in Ottawa PG PAINT & DESIGN

Tip 6: Painting Estimate 

When you meet with the 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 while 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 that lists what is included or is 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 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 after 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.

While today’s water based paints  have little to no VOC and are environmentally safe to use compared to their predecessors which were primarily lead based and had strong lingering odours that caused health issues for both homeowners and painters alike.  The changes made to water based and solvent based paints by manufacturers today help us all rest and breathe easier with less risks to our overall health.

Painters nor painting companies can actually guarantee to come back and re-do the painting in 2 or 3 years at no cost to you as it just would not be practical nor make any business sense.

So when you read on some painting company 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 simply is not true.

Paint manufacturing companies guarantee their own paint products therefore it is not the responsibility of the painters.

An experienced, knowledgeable, confident and reliable painter who knows what types of paints to use, the right paint sheen or finish that is needed for the specific project can guarantee the preparation and application process, can guarantee his skills and workmanship and guarantee to come back for touch ups in a reasonable time frame after the project is completed is more of the truth, for if you stop to think about it for a brief moment the next time you read a painting companies guarantee of 2 or 3 year warranty, ask yourself on what.

With the tips and information you now need and have to get started to find a reliable painter near you, remember to book at least 3 to 4 companies to get an estimate and quote from and take the time to do your due diligence to ensue all the t’s are crossed and i’s are 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 January 29, 2021