Apartment Painting Challenges
Depending on the scope of your apartment painting project, hiring the right painter can be a challenge. Apartment buildings come in all shapes and sizes. As a result, they create complex painting projects.
Consequently, finding and hiring apartment painting contractors is not as simple as opening the phone book. Whether you need unit doors painted or a full exterior repaint these tips will make sure you find and hire the right painter.
Finding Apartment Painting Contractors
When a property manager needs to hire a new painter, where do they start? While it sounds easy, hiring apartment painting contractors is not always as simple as picking up the phone. In fact, it can be a struggle to find qualified painters to call. Here are great resources for apartment managers struggling to find reliable painters.
Painting and Decorating Contractors of America
Known as the PDCA, this is the largest association in the country for painting contractors. Member companies, by and large, are reputable companies committed to training, product education, and industry best practices. Use their Find A Painter search engine to locate a member.
Commercial Google Search
Searching on Google can be an effective way to find apartment painting contractors, but it must be done correctly. While just searching for “painter” will not work, Google can find apartment painters when more specific search terms are used. These example searches illustrate this concept:
- Apartment painting contractor
- Multi-family painting company
- High rise painting contractor
By using terms like apartment, multi-family, and high rise, your Google search results should be more accurate. Check out the websites of painter who show up for these searches. When reviewing their websites, look for pictures of recent projects at apartment buildings.
Ask Your Colleagues
Apartment managers with large LinkedIn networks should ask for referrals online. This is a simple and effective way to ask many people at once for a recommendation. Plus, your social network can tag or even connect you to a painter they recommend right on LinkedIn.
While a LinkedIn post asks your social network for a referral, it is also a great idea to ask your colleagues. Many times, they can refer you a great painter from a previous project. Additionally, the painter can already be on any approved vendor lists. This can make it easier to hire them if they are the right fit for your project.
Use Property Manager Insider’s BidSource
Ready to short cut the entire process of finding an apartment painting contractor? Apartment managers can use BidSource to have the team at Property Manager Insider locate a reliable local painting contractors to bid their project. Here’s how BidSource works:
- Apartment managers tell Property Manager Insider about their project
- Property Manager Insider researches and identifies qualified painters
- Apartment managers are matched with up to 3 qualified companies
- Qualified painters contact apartment managers to bid their project
There is no cost to apartment managers to use BidSource and the service is available in all major cities nationwide.
Hiring Apartment Painting Contractors
While identifying the right apartment painters is key, it is equally important to nail the hiring process. Most apartment managers can attest to the pitfalls of hiring the wrong painter, or any contractor for that matter. To avoid critical mistakes, use Property Manager Insider’s guide to hiring apartment painting contractors.
Licensing and Insurance
Before hiring a painter, request a copy of their license and certificate of insurance. If required, request proof of bonding as well. While this does not have to be the first step in the process, it is a mandatory one. Any painter that cannot produce these documents quickly should be disqualified from the process.
Defining Scope of Work
No, this does not mean writing an RFP. While an RFP is helpful, an initial scope of work is critical to hiring apartment painting contractors. Consider these apartment painting projects:
- Exterior repaint of a 15 story high rise apartment building
- Interior repaint of stairwells on a 3 story walk up
- Turnover painting after residents move out of a unit
While a local painter might be a great choice for turnover painting, this does not mean they can repaint an apartment tower. The scope of work should dictate the appropriate apartment painting contractor. Additionally, having a defined scope of work for the project allows painters to provide “apples to apples” bids that can be easily compared.
Request and Check References
Since investing in an apartment repaint is a major financial decision, it is important to know who you are hiring. Ask for specific references using these guidelines:
- Properties are similar size, location, and overall quality
- Projects at the referenced properties are similar in scope
- References and projects should be current (within 12 to 24 months)
- Ask for email addresses and phone numbers
The most important of checking references is taking the time to contact them. While phone conversations are best, email is usually faster and more efficient. If possible, drive past the property and see their work for yourself.
Do Not Hire Exclusively on Price
While it is tempting to hire the apartment painter with the lowest price, this strategy can backfire. Many times, the lowest price does not accurately reflect the scope of work. This can cause change orders and unexpected costs. As a result, the lowest bid can exceed other bids by the time the project is over.
Conversely, this does not mean choosing the highest bid. Not hiring on price does not mean price is not a factor in the decision. Simply, it means considering it equally against other factors.
Major Apartment Painting Projects
Overall, the above guidelines are a great way to identify painters for apartment painting projects. Occasionally, projects will come up that require a more detailed process. This is especially relevant for projects exceeding $100,000. As a result, property managers must drill down further when hiring apartment painting contractors for these types of projects. Here are three additional ways property managers can identify a great apartment painter for a major project.
Host a Bid Meeting
Although they are more common in new construction, a bid meeting is appropriate for a six-figure painting project. While they require writing an RFP, a bid meeting makes hiring apartment painting contractors easier. This is because they increase efficiency in the process:
- Eliminate multiple property visits by painting contractors
- Provide clear guidelines for the project timelines and expectations
- Create an opportunity to meet and speak with potential painters
While bid meetings are not necessary, they can be very beneficial for running a major apartment painting project. This is especially true for any property manager handling their first major project such as an exterior repaint.
Need help with a painting RFP? Use Property Manager Insider’s BidSource to have our team find a painter who can build one for your project.
Face to Face Interviews
During the bid meeting, explain you will meet with selected contractors for face to face interviews. Coupled with the bid meeting, this is a great way to start and end the process in person. Conduct these interviews after you have received the initial bids and eliminated any painters you are not going to hire.
Crawl Walk Run
While most property managers do not think this way about hiring apartment painting contractors, it is a solid approach. Do not award a major project to a painter you have never worked with before. Instead, test the waters by hiring them for small projects. Have them paint a common area hallway or game room, first. Evaluate that work before hiring them for a major project.
If a painter can’t deliver on small projects, why would they deliver on a major project? Conversely, if they do an exceptional job, it should increase confidence in hiring them.
Apartment Turnover Painters
Many commercial painters avoid or simply do not paint apartment turnovers. In addition to the work being sporadic, it is typically low margin and highly competitive. This is especially relevant in markets experiencing construction booms. With a lack of qualified painters, it can be hard to find one willing to paint apartment turns. Apartment managers struggling to find a turnover painter can use BidSource to find a turnover painter.
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