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Professional Tips and Tricks

In my 40 years as a house painter and contractor, I've gathered many tips and practices that are now part of my every day routine. Some of these tips simply make my work faster or more efficient. Other tips help produce higher quality results.

I'm certain that homeowners painting their own dwellings will benefit from these suggestions. Less-experienced contractors may also find my suggestions helpful, so over the coming days and weeks I hope to provide this information freely via my Twitter feed.

Why am I sharing this hard-earned experience? It's my belief that generosity of knowledge and practice brings benefits to the giver and the recipient. I hope you'll call on me the next time you require a professional house painter.

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You can access previous tips and keep up-to-date by "following" me on Twitter.


Contractor Tip:

Always provide a written quote to your clients, detailing as much of the work as possible. Your quote should specify the number of coats of paint, the product you will use, which rooms are included, whether the ceilings (also closets and trim) are included, etc. In my experience this detail is a benefit to you—the contractor—just as much as to the client. It's easy to forget the conversation you had while writing an estimate, and written details will help you remember what you've promised to do.

If you're a client, insist on details in the written quote. If the contractor writes, "Includes two coats of Benjamin Moore Aura Paint," and you see him carrying in some other line of paint, you have a written reference. But if your contractor writes, "Includes paint," you have no idea of the quality or brand or number of coats that will be used.


I provided a written estimate to a client which said (in part): "To paint main floor of house, including walls, ceilings and trim." When I came to do the job, the client insisted that I had promised to paint all the closets. I specifically remembered asking about the closets during my estimate, and the client had said, "No closets." But because I had not written "No Closets" into my quote, I felt obilgated to paint the closets without charging for them. A lesson learned—at the cost of an unpaid day of my labor.

Copyright ©2011 by Nathan Harms
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