Dealing with Terrible Tradies – Curse of the Painter/Decorator
I am blessed when it comes to most Trades. I have a great portfolio of Builders, Plumbers, Electricians and the like, that I can happily recommend and have used myself on numerous projects. I’m certainly an understanding client who knows things can go wrong on a job (I once had a job flooded completely on the last day and had to start again due to the water damage), but what is important is the way the problem is handled, how it is corrected and if it is done in a timely manner. The overall finish the trade provides and the ease of communication and keeping ones promises far outweighs any unforeseen problems along the way.
Three is one trade however, where I have been anything but lucky. I seem to have a “Curse of the Painter/Decorator” Over the past 3 years I have gone though 4 separate Painters, been ripped off 3 of those times and had to walk 2 of them from my property. I am yet to get through a whole Job with just the one painter.
Painter #1 – The first painter I hired, a recommendation from a family friend, not because they had used the painter but because they were a family member, so they should take care of a young girl doing her first renovation, or one would assume. This job ended with a lot of tears. Not mine, the painters. As he sobbed on my living room couch apologising for taking my money, painting my house the wrong colour and with no means to fix it, admitting he had spent the money on drugs and could certainly empathise and feel sorry for him in his very sorry state, this however did not get my house painting finished, nor back to the right colour or the money back in my pocket. Goodbye $13,000 of hard earned cash.
Painter #2 – Came in and told me exactly what painter #1 had done wrong and sympathised with me. He was a LOT more expensive to fix it but I wanted to get it right this time. I came home one day, after I had paid 2/3rds of his fee to find he had packed up all his things, left and was never to be seen again. He had completed approximately 20% of my job. When I finally got a return text as to why he had disappeared, he told me he had underquoted as it was taking twice an many days to paint as he thought it would. This is a man who turned up at 11am every day and finished at 2pm, yes with those hours it would take twice as long. he was also extremely intimidating and being a single woman living on my own I did not chase Hom for the money through the appropriate channels, fearing that something would happened to me given the stories he had told me whilst he was at my home.
Painter #3 Came and Fixed the Job as best he could that the there 2 did not. He did not ask for any money upfront and I would happily use him again. He has, unfortunately for me, had a change of career since.
Painter #4 Was certainly the most expensive quote for the next Job, but having seen his work on another place and being professional in his approach I was confident he would be good. I ensured I had everything in writing this time including the preparation and sanding of surfaces, I was not leaving any stone unturned. Our relationship ended when he stormed out of my house telling me to keep the last instalment as even though I had in writing he would sand the windows before applying paint that this was an unreasonable request and the fact that the paint was bubbling and peeling off after mere 2 weeks was my problem as well as the window he smashed whilst there.
On the upside, I know what to look out for in the future and whilst Painter #4 did not end well, I still had enough money to hire someone to come in and fix the job because I had everything in writing, I had learnt from my previous ,mistakes.
Here are a list of things to look out for when hiring a Painter.
- Dirt is one thing, but looking professional is another. Not everyone has a shiny new van, but consider if their vehicle is suitable and appears to be well-stocked and organised. You don’t want to be paying an hourly rate for them to find stock or tools in a pile of rubbish.
- Check out their registration number – and check that number to see if there have been any previous complains against them. The time taken to do this is worth it.
- Do not pay them upfront – not even for 1/2 the Job. A good painter will have enough to get the job started Legally they can ask for 10%, which most do and I am hazy with, but never any more.
- If they need you to pay for the paint from the supplier there are wringing bells. – Usually a supplier will have a 30 day account, if the painter isn’t on good financial terms with the supplier, they may not end up on good financial terms with you.
- The cheapest quote is not he best, nor is the ,most expensive, go with the person who you can communicate well with and has good reviews online. Take the time to check out their reviews online.
- Keep the final payment until the job is finished and walk around checking items before you hand it over. A good painter will be happy to fix any drips or imperfections, we are human and little errors can occur, it’s the way they are fixed that counts
- If the painter states he needs money for paint, call the paint shop and pay for it directly, not to the painter. Refer to paint #3, it’s also a waring bell of someone who does not have their affairs in order.
- Get it in writing. If the quote they provide is broad, check it includes, prep, and trims and how many coats etc. Also check start times and finish times.
- Stand up for yourself if something goes wrong. Let them know you won’t pay the final instalment until it’s fixed. If he walks out at this point, you should have a bit of money left to get someone in to fix it and will not be left out of pocket. You should never have to pay for an incomplete job from anyone.
- Check out some of their previous jobs, and check more than 1, anyone can do good job once.
- If they are recommended by a friend or relative ask why? Did they actually use them themselves, or do they simply know them? Knowing someone does not mean they will not rip you off – see above my experience with painter #1.
I hope this help and you have a better experience with your painters than I have.