In Cincinnati and Northern KY, I come across many different people with many different feelings about painting. Some love to paint. Others hate to paint. Some hate to paint but want to save money by painting a project themselves. Others say they are good at painting and should have hired a real professional.
Whatever your opinion of painting may be, the question will eventually come up: should I paint it myself or hire someone? This can be a frustrating decision to make for both the homeowner and the professional painter.
Here are some guidelines when making this decision:
1] Count the costs. Paint costs, that is. More often than not, a professional painter can get high quality paint* for far less than the homeowner can. Professional painters buy in bulk and receive discounts that are only available to themselves through their accounts with the paint companies.
Another cost would be blue tape. Most homeowners tape everything off before painting [and blue tape is expensive] whereas most professionals are able to use 75% less tape. In order to do a very simple project such as a kid’s bedroom, there is a lot of cost involved if you don’t have the right tools. In addition to the paint and tape already mentioned, consider other materials such as ladders, drop cloths, brushes, rollers, pans, poles, sanding blocks, putty, caulk, drywall knives, etc. The professional has all this equipment.
2] Time. If you paint your home yourself, make sure you have a lot of time to complete the job. A wise man once said, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” Many will go out and buy all the equipment and paint, start the project, but never finish and things look worse after the fact than before they started. A professional would be able to do a small bedroom in a few hours tops [walls only]. This same project for the average homeowner is going to take all weekend.
3] Professionalism. After you have spent over $100 and a whole weekend on a painting project, the last thing you want to see is imperfections on your completed project. Some imperfections could be paint drops on the floor, your wall color paint all over the ceiling, and your trim color line against your walls might be as wavy as the waves of the sea. A professional painter is a professional because he does high quality work without the drips, smears and wavy lines. After all, homeowners don’t pay painters to paint their floors! And now, looking back, you just spent the same amount of money and more time than you would have if you would have hired a professional.
4] The Best Deal. In a day and age where budgets are tight and the economy is bad, many are looking for the best price on the market when it comes to hiring a professional painter. I am, at the same time, hearing one too many painting horror stories about the good deal gone bad. Hands down, this problem could have been avoided by not having “the best deal” mentality. You have heard the phrase, “you get what you pay for.” You can always find a better price, but you cannot find the best product and service that way. BEWARE: Painters know how to cut corners. If you beat them down on price, they will beat you down on quality.
If you still decide to paint yourself, my advice to you is this: Buy the best paint [I recommend Sherwin Williams or Porter] and middle grade equipment [the poor grade equipment breaks too easily and the best is overkill for the average homeowner].
If you are going to hire a professional my advice to you is this: Get three estimates. Ask a lot of questions such as what type of paint are you going to use, how many coats of paint will be applied throughout your project, how long will it take, how many workers do you have, how many workers will be on your job, what the painters process will be from start to finish as they beautify your home, can I see proof of insurance, etc. This way you know what you are getting and the painter knows what you expect of him/her. Also, don’t go with the cheapest bid; if someone is giving you the lowest price then there is a few possible reasons why – 1. He/she is probably not paying taxes and if he is ripping off Uncle Sam then he is probably ripping you off, 2. He/she is most likely using the lowest grade paints and products and it will probably fail which means you will need to paint in a few years all over again thus not saving you any money in the long run, and finally 3. He/she is probably cutting corners by not painting the sufficient amount of coats or simply not painting some things he/she should have.
Should you paint or hire someone? It’s your call!
*BEWARE: if you think you are getting a “good deal” on paint, don’t buy it- it’s probably bad paint.