Tara Benn, executive director of SAPMA

Selecting the correct paint contractor for commercial and domestic projects needs careful consideration, says Tara Benn, executive director of the SA Paint Manufacturing Association (SAPMA).

Benn says SAPMA membership includes several reputable paint contractors whose work and professionalism were carefully vetted before being granted membership. “Ideally, therefore, the first step in the selection process should be to contact SAPMA for guidance. But there are also some other aspects that the client could personally undertake to verify the status of the contractor he or she is considering,” she advises.

“Check the contractor’s website references and speak to the company’s last few clients as well. Ask these people if they would be prepared to work with the contractor again and ask for the reason if not. Establish if the contract was completed on time, and whether the contractor exceeded the approved budget in any manner. Also ask if there was sufficient personal supervision by the contractor or whether he or she simply dropped his team in the mornings and collected them again at the end of the day.

“Experience is, of course, vital in hiring a painter – you simply should not hire the cheapest contractor. Unexpected and unrealistically low prices could mean that the contractor will most likely be using inferior products and techniques, such as inadequate preparation. It is worthwhile making sure the paint brand to be used is produced by an accredited SAPMA member,” Benn adds.

She also advises inquiring about insurance. Professional painters who have insurance can cover repairs, replacement and compensation for damages to a client’s property during the project.

“You should also never hire a contractor without a written contract listing the specifics and assignments pertaining to a particular project. The contract should include all the expectations and responsibilities of both the painter and customer. Also, steer clear of contractors who insist on full payment before job completion.”

Benn says the professionalism of a contractor could also be gauged by the level of communication experienced at the outset. “Instant replies are not necessary or always possible, but there should be some response within 24 hours. A professional contractor should also state the details of his company’s process and the steps that will be taken to paint a property. A starting date, estimated time of completion and, as mentioned, the type of paint being used, should be in the contract — and communicated directly to a client as well.”

Finally, the client should stipulate post-project cleaning up as part of the contract. “Professional painters will clean up after their work is complete, and properly dispose of supplies and any hazardous waste,” Benn adds.

Visit www.sapma.org.za for more information.

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