Friday, April 24, 2009
A lady called me for an estimate on painting a small bathroom and two accent walls in the living room. After a couple minutes of conversation she told me about her sad experience with the previous painter.
A guy showed up at her house to give an estimate. The lady was given a $200 estimate for this painting project. She decided it was a reasonable price and asked the painter how soon he can do the job and how much money would be required up front. To a customer's pleasant surprise the painter said that one of his jobs canceled and he is available as soon as the next morning. Complaining on tough economic times the painter asked for $150 up front. Not sure what was going through the customer's mind at this moment but the money(cash) exchanged hands and the painter promised to start 8 am the next day. Needless to say the would be customer never saw the painter again.
For a small painting project this lady had in mind one would need one gallon of paint for the bathroom and another gallon for the accent walls, a total of $30 -$40 for a decent quality paint. And though it is a good business practice to charge some money up front to make sure the customer is not going to change their mind at the last minute, after the contractor has spent a few hundred dollars on custom tinted paint that is non refundable, customers should have more common sense and realize that if the contractor is asking for more than 3rd of the money down something is not right. And if the contractor can't come up with $40 to buy paint the person should not be in the business for himself in the first place.
I believe in the situation like this when you have a painting project that requires small amount of paint it is better for a customer to buy paint themselves and pay only for labor when the painting job is done. Most of the paint stores catering to contractors have knowledgeable staff that can tell you exactly what kind and how much paint you need based on your description of the painting project.
Or better ask your neighbor with the nicest house on the block who painted their house last time and save yourself stress with a proven painter.