How to Find A Painter (Complete Guide)

finding a painter

In the modern world, it can be difficult to find a painter nearby your home that you can trust to do a good job.

Especially if you’ve just moved into the area, you may not be able to rely on word of mouth referrals from friends. Furthermore, social media has become unreliable as a lot of people will just suggest their friends’ work without any regard to quality.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to find a painter in your town or city, whether you’re a long time resident or brand new to the area.

How Do You Find a Painter for Your Home?

residential painter

Finding a painter can be difficult, especially if you don’t know anyone in the area. As new homeowners or renters, finding a reliable painter is an important first step to a fresh new living space. (1) Still, there are some things that you should keep an eye out for, even with simple solutions.

A painting contractor should have, at a minimum, a license and current insurance coverage. You can start by researching companies online and reading reviews.


Common indicators of quality are whether the company has a positive record of success and willing testimonials from previous clients. The painter should also be certified or have any necessary permits, if required in your local area or state.

The painter your hire should also have basic liability and workers insurance at the bare minimum. This protects their workers if they fall from a ladder or sustain another injury within your home and protects your home if they damage it in any way.

These basic qualifications are all you need to ensure that you have a legitimate painter for your interior painting job; the rest is friendliness, punctuality, and accountability.

Get Estimates from Different Contractors

painting contractor

It is always a good idea to get estimates from different painters and talk to them to get a sense of how they operate.

You should try to get an estimate for the exact same scope of work, asking after any additional fees or potential setbacks that could arise during the project as well, as companies may price their services in different ways.

Sign a Contract and Protect Your Property

Whenever you hire a contractor of any type, you should always carefully read the contract they provide to ensure that you agree to the understanding that has been laid out on paper; if there are ever any disagreements, it may be due to something that was covered in the contract but not fully discussed in a verbal conversation.

If you have any questions about the contract before signing, let your painter know and discuss it, asking for revisions is necessary. This is the best way to protect your property and prevent disagreements about payments or scope of work.

Questions to Ask a Painting Company

Before you hire a painting company, there are a few subjects you should broach with them to ensure that they are the right choice for your home’s interior painting project.

Asking for references is a good start, but you should also ask after their expertise and experience.

If they’ve seen the home, you can ask about different color choices, and determine if there are any difficult parts that they think may be a challenge before starting the project.

Ask About Testimonials, Policies, and Guarantees

Before you sign a contract with any company, it’s important to ask for previous client testimonials so you can get a sense for what the company does well, and what they might need improvement on.

These testimonials are the best way to hear another client’s voice and opinion on the painters’ work, all before they begin working on your home.

Company policies and guarantees are also important to discuss, as there is always a possibility of damages or accidents when it comes to interior painting, especially if you will not be in the home.

Ensure the Project Can Be Completed on Time

Especially if you are painting your home for a remodel or first move-in, it is important that it can be completed on time, as you will have to ensure that the space is comfortable and liveable once you are ready to move in.

If the project cannot be completed on time, the painter should notify you as soon as possible and provide a new timeline so that you can adjust your plans accordingly. For some people, this might mean staying in a hotel for a night or two while the paint dries, or waiting to bring pets or children back into the home.

In cases where the project timeline or painter’s availability doesn’t work for you, you may need to find a new painting contractor; but switching contractors in the middle of a job could put you on the hook for two separate payments depending on company policies.

Consult with Your Painter on Paint Choices

painting pro

If you aren’t sure about different paint colors or types, it can be difficult to answer when the contractor asks “what kind of paint do you want?”

Often, the difference between your possible choices is so subtle, that it can be troublesome to imagine. Still, deciding what paint you want for your home is a big decision, and it’s important to get it right. (2)

But there is a world of possibilities beyond basic paint and wallpaper that can make a dramatic change to a room: You could paint a blank wall with a mural, coat it in lime wash, install paneling or add decals.


If you aren’t sure about your paint choices, it’s important to be able to consult with your painter and ask for their opinion. As a professional, the painter will be able to provide you with pros and cons about any paint type imaginable, whether you are looking at different brands, colors, or sheens.

Furthermore, your painter may be able to suggest alternative solutions that you might not have known are possible, helping you achieve the unique and homey look you are after with an even better solution than the ones you thought you had to choose between.

What Should I Expect to Pay a Painter?

The rate you pay a painter can vary greatly depending on the area you are in and the availability of painters local to your area. Painting may seem like a mundane job, but it takes quite a bit of skill and experience to do correctly. Certifications and insurance can add up as well, creating a lot of overhead for the company, but a lot of peace of mind for your project and home.

Furthermore, when you pay a professional painter, you are receiving experience and expertise that a contractor or handyman will have difficult matching; this is something that they do on a daily basis, and for homeowners looking to one day sell their home for a higher value, it pays to have the work done right the first time around.

You should expect to pay a professional painter anywhere from $30 to $60 per hour, depending on the expertise of the team and the average cost in your area. This does not often cover the cost for paint itself, which is an additional fee at many companies.

Specialty painting services, such as mural work and other specialized labor jobs can easily increase the hourly fee for labor to $100 or more, so it is important to get a written quote from the company before starting the project.

What Makes a Good Interior Painter?

A good interior painter is a capable and experienced one. Any good painter will be able to provide you with recommendations or suggestions based on what you want for your home, and they won’t be afraid to suggest alternatives if they believe you are making a poor choice.

Additionally, you should look for a painter who is willing to refuse a project if they don’t know how to handle a certain area or don’t have the equipment to perform the work professionally.

For example, vaulted ceilings, interior pillars, and specialty light fixtures may pose difficulty for a painter, and if they do not have the knowledge or equipment to paint these areas, it is better for a painter to refuse the work or delay the project to bring in someone with that specialty.

A good interior painter is honest about their work, does a good job, and ensures that you are happy with the result. Experience and expertise are essential for these qualities.

What Will a Painter Do?

Painters do much more than just painting, even for a standard interior paint job. Before the job begins, a painter will often take a look at the walls to note any surface discrepancies that can pose a problem during painting.

A painter will begin with essential preparations, such as taping off any areas that should not be painted, along with laying down tarps, dropcloths, and other protective measures for the home and any furniture in the room. Additional care should be made for difficult corners and doorframes, as these areas can be difficult to paint.

This preparation is essential to a good and professional paint job, and can take several hours for a full home, even with a team.

Once the painter is ready to start, they’ll clean the walls and note any areas that might need to be sanded down or caulked to provide a smooth finish. Once the walls are ready, they’ll begin with a base coat to help the paint color attach to the wall more firmly, with a longer-lasting color. Then, carefully and methodically, a good painter will move from room to room painting each wall layer-by-layer until they achieve a full, rich color.

What Should I Do Before Painters Come?

There are a few things that you should do before a painting team comes. While painters will prepare the space themselves, they are not liable for any broken or damaged furniture or goods while they are painting.

To avoid accidents, a little preparation can go a long way, and makes their work on the project more productive as they can focus on the painting preparation.

First, if you are able to, move all of the furniture away from the walls in areas that will be painted to ensure that the painters have clear access to the wall while on the ladder. You will also want to cover the furniture with a dropcloth to prevent paint splatters or drips, especially if you are having the ceiling painted. These dropcloths should be weighed down at the corners.

Next, remove any wall hangings like tapestries, posters, artwork, or other valuables that are mounted to the walls. You can leave any fixtures to put them up again after the paint has dried, but they may be painted over in the process.

Finally, ensure that any electronics and knickknacks are cleared out of the room so that paint fumes, drips, and splatters do not ruin the items, and furthermore, the painters don’t have to worry about knocking these items over or damaging them in any way.

How Long Does It Take to Paint a Room?

For an average-sized room, it can take a surprising amount of time to paint. The initial preparation can take a long time, taping off individual edges and areas that should not be painted to ensure the painters achieve clean lines.

First, painters must clean the walls and let it dry to ensure there is no dust and debris.

Afterwards, they can begin on the primer, which is a base coat of paint meant to create a blank, even coating and help additional paint stick better for a longer-lasting effect. If the color underneath is a darker color, the painters may need to add additional coats of primer to completely cover it.

Then comes the painting and drying process with the final paint, which is repeated several times to get a rich, accurate color.

Going through this process with an average-sized living room can take two to five days depending on the expediency and size of the painting team.

How Long Does It Take to Paint the Exterior of a House?

It takes a lot more work and preparation for interior painting. Exterior painting on the other hand, is much easier, as there is a wider area to cover and fewer edges and walls to tape off before work can begin.

Furthermore, paint on the exterior of the house can often be applied with larger tools, allowing work to move faster. While these are benefits to exterior painting, it is important to remember that the team may need to remove previous coats of paint before beginning, and the job can be subject to weather, as the paint must dry between coats.

For a full painting team, a small house will typically take three to four days to complete. A larger two-story house can take anywhere from one to two weeks to complete depending on the weather and humidity.

Can I Stay in Your Home While It’s Being Painted?

While some people do opt to stay in a home while it’s being painted, this is only typical if one or two rooms are being painted at a time. It is not advised to stay in a home that is being painted, as the paint fumes have not yet settled, and it can cause breathing problems.

Instead, it is recommended to wait two to four days before moving back into a home that is being renovated. Any pets should leave the home with you to prevent them from breathing in the fumes as well, as this could cause breathing problems with the animals.

Individuals with breathing problems may opt to wait a few days longer before moving into a freshly-painted house.


  1. Forbes, 6 Tips for Hiring a Painting Contractor,
  2. NYTimes, Your Walls Don’t Have to Be Boring,

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