Protecting Yourself and Your Home – 14 Questions You Should Ask Any Contractor

Choosing the right Painting Contractor

The following are 14 questions you should ask any painting contractor before they start work on your home.

  1. Are you licensed, bonded & insured in the state of WA?
  2. Can you show proof that all requirements are current?
  3. How much liability insurance do you have?
  4. Is there a claim against your bond or insurance?
  5. Do you have employees? Are they covered under L & I? Do you perform background checks?
  6. Do you ever sub-contract or piece work any aspect of the job?
  7. How many years of experience in (painting) do you have?
  8. How long have you been in business?
  9. Can you give a list of references?
  10. Who will be performing the work?
  11. What quality of paint will be used?
  12. How long will it take?
  13. What is your payment schedule?
  14. How long should a exterior paint job last?

What you need to know

What is a license? The state of WA requires that all service providers be licensed, for a yearly fee. The provider is required to pay state sales tax on the total cost of each job.

What is a bond? The state requires that the service provider put up $6000 cash or pay a monthly bond insurance premium to provide the homeowner  or supplier with a resource of funds in the event of unsatisfactory work, contractor walked off,  unpaid materials bill, or failure of work performed,  with in the first year. This insurance is in place for the homeowner or supplier to file a claim against and regain some or all of the monies lost. In the event of a claim against the contractor, and the above mentioned happens to you, you may not have any recourse if the bond has been paid out to the first claimant.

What is liability insurance? The service provider is required to carry a policy of a minimum of $300,000. To protect you the homeowner in the event of an accident on your property, either to the home or to a person, occupants’ or contractors employees, you want enough insurance in place to cover the value of your home in the event of a serious accident.

What is L & I? Labor and Industries, worker wages, medical expense compensation, in the event of injury on your job. The service provider is required by state law to pay L & I premiums to the state for each employee. The provider receives reduced premium rates for having zero injury claims.
You are at risk for a law suit for total medical expenses and lost wages if the provider does not pay for L & I on said employees. Some providers try to avoid this costly premium by sub-contracting to independent contractors, or piece work.

How do you know if each sub on your job is licensed, bonded and insured? Check each company on the L&I website, it will list if the license, bond, liability insurance is current, if there is a claim against the bond and if there is outstanding debt to a supplier.

All of this was put into place by WA  to protect the consumer and to legitimatize the service providers.

It is always good practice to use a provider that stays current with state requirements and pays the fees, taxes and insurance premiums, this shows that as business owners they care about following the law, protecting their employees and clients, doing things right and establishing themselves in the community as a business that can be trusted

When comparing contractors be sure to compare apples to apples. The cost of a project can vary greatly from contractor to contractor, especially if one is not paying for all the above mentioned fees, and premiums.

Should you pay cash? We advise not to. You would need written proof of giving payment for services rendered in the event of making a claim.  Not to mention, the provider can run off with your cash deposit, you have no recourse.
It is typical to pay a (percentage of the total job)  deposit to get started, and the balance owed when work is completed

What is a back ground check? The legal background on a individual is available online from the WA state patrol. It only pertains to WA state.

Why ask how long in business? It can be an indicator that this service provider is a reliable company and has remained in business, over the years due to their business practices.

Use the internet and social media, Google, YouTube, Yelp, Facebook  will provide a lot of conversation about a service provider.

How long does Painting America’s exterior paint jobs last? Our paint jobs last 15-20 years. Because we follow all the rules of painting. From proper cleaning, preparation and painting with high performance products to application processes with considerations to daily climate.

Call us today at 425-488-1192


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