Multi-family residential property management is fast-paced work in a competitive industry. A property manager is pulled in multiple directions to deliver value to residents, maintain full occupancy, and ensure sustained profitability for the property. Contracting painting work is only one in a long list of responsibilities. And there are a lot of painters out there, so it’s essential to know the questions to ask when considering multi-family painting contractors.
Everyone comes into a client-contractor relationship with their own experiences and impressions of how it’s supposed to work in a commercial setting. To accommodate different levels of comfort and experience with the process, we’ve divided twelve questions to ask when considering multi-family painting contractors into three buckets: execution, trust and strategy. The first set of questions is straightforward, while the second and third dive into the relationship aspect and the influence that an excellent painting experience can have on your sustained profitability.
- What prep work will be done? Multi-family painting projects require more than a fresh layer of paint. A quality multi-family painting contractor takes a holistic approach and takes the time necessary to assess the project and estimates power washing, waterproofing, carpentry or stucco repair, and/or other prep work to be done.
- Which paint (brand and finish) do they recommend? If a commercial painting company has no opinion on the matter, walk away. The stakes are too high to have a go-with-the-flow, lowest price wins attitude. Your multi-family painting contractor should have a preferred brand and strong recommendations on paint brand and finish. This simple question offers your prospective painter a chance to demonstrate the expertise and value they can bring to your project.
- What will it cost? Pay attention to the estimate. Is there a level of detail that you feel comfortable with, or is there so much wiggle room in there that you’re not satisfied they know what they’re estimating? How your commercial painter handles the administrative functions of their business will reflect on the paintwork itself.
- What is the process? Does the multi-family painting contractor have a process? Do they establish a written timeline and modes of communication with you before beginning work? If you don’t know how important these items are, you will understand soon if you jump in without a process.
- Are they bonded and insured? The benefit of having a bonded and insured painter is peace of mind. It simply means that they are bound to a standard that ensures they will do your project to contract specification, and you will not be held liable for any loss resulting from their work.
- Do they have references or online reviews? You should easily find evidence of a prospective painting contractor’s good work online. In addition to references or reviews, ask for a sample book or slide show that shows work similar to what you are contracting. Many references or reviews may include images, but the intelligent multi-family painting contractor will have favorites or particularly relevant samples to share.
- What equipment or resources do they employ for multi-family property painting? If you haven’t seen firsthand evidence of it, it’s fair to ask if your painting contractor has the equipment needed for commercial work. Their equipment list will give you a sense of how good a fit they are with the scale/scope of your project.
- Do they maintain and update their work? Your multi-family unit may need frequent freshening up as residents rotate through or as you stay on top of tastes and trends. Is your multi-family painting contractor responsive or even proactive in making sure your units and structure stay looking good as new?
- Can they work as a color consultant or in conjunction with architects and designers? Excellent commercial painting companies will be on top of the many aspects of color choice and come with tools and knowledge useful to the property owner or manager.
- Do they know the geographical market? What works in Florida may not work in Indiana, Ohio, or Kentucky. It’s a small thing, but having a regional contractor who knows the local geography is a helpful backstop against bad color decisions or decisions without proper context.
- Do they know the competitive set? A multi-family property doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You are competing against the rest of the local housing market, especially other multi-family properties. A commercial painting company should be aware and tuned in to the appearance of your competitor’s properties.
- Do they understand my business? A multi family painting contractor should understand how your property’s paint, finish, and features influence real-world factors such as occupancy, rental rates, and customer satisfaction.
Twelve questions might seem like a lot, but as you begin a conversation with potential multi-family painting contractors, the one you will want to hire will anticipate these questions and answer many of them in the course of that conversation before you even have to ask. The questions your contractor asks, the introductory materials, and estimating process will reveal their grasp of your needs as a multi-family property manager.
Hopefully, this list of questions to ask when considering multi-family painting contractors gives you something to lean on when approaching that conversation. You may find one or two particular questions that seem especially relevant to your project and can flag those to make sure they are covered no matter what. The right relationship, with a quality painter committed to the process and the sustained beauty of interior and exterior surfaces, can positively impact your business. Contact ONiT Painting for an accurate estimate, thoughtful consultation, and consistently reliable service as you prepare to paint your multi-family property.