What to look for in a decorator?

There seems to be an increasing number of poor quality jobs being done by so-called decorators lately. I’m repeatedly being called upon, either to correct the work or advise on how the homeowner can best rectify the situation.

I’m not sure what the cause is, but it's putting a bad name onto the construction industry.

I’m not talking about being overly fussy either. Examples include wall paint being all over the ceilings (which weren't being painted), paint on carpets, furniture and windows, peeling paint from recently finished woodwork, the list could go on. One guy even turned up on the bus!

The worst part is in every case the ‘decorator’ has been paid for the ‘work’ done - often up front. One had even asked to paid early only to not ever come back to finish the job. When I ask why they paid them the answer is always the same ‘I just wanted to get rid of them’.

If I'm too busy to fit a job in, the question usually follows - 'what should I look for when choosing a decorator' or 'who do I personally recommend, or not'. So I thought maybe I should make a small list of checkpoints for what to look out for when picking a decorator. It's worth noting your consumer rights as well. If you didn’t get what you expected from a job, you do not have to pay for it. However you do have to have given the person who did the job a fair chance to put right the problems with the work.

 

So here is my list (in no particular order):

  • Comes recommended either by someone you know, preferably that you have seen the work of, or at least has testimonials and customers you can speak too. Where this isn’t possible pictures and videos should be available. A decorator should be proud of their work.

  • Turns up on time,by appointment, to quote for the work.

  • Smartly dressed, in uniform, possibly logo’d (bare in mind they have probably just come from a job, so won’t be spotless)

  • How much experience do they have, what qualifications and in what area of decorating (domestic, commercial, exterior, interior etc)

  • Has a vast range of knowledge about the industry and can answer any of your questions clearly and with ease.

  • Has a prefered range of paints and products that they use and can supply sample books if needed (I have a top 3 paint brands for example)

  • Has the correct tools to complete the work (ladders for access, dust sheets, plastic sheeting, dust extractors/sanders etc)  

  • Has a waiting list of work more than a week or 2 (though cancellations do sometimes allow things to be slotted in last minute, they should have plenty of other work lined up)

  • The quote should arrive within a week, or at least within the agreed timeframe.

  • Get 3 quotes and don’t necessarily go for the cheapest. Look at why one is cheaper than the other. Does one have more detail about the kind of job you will be getting? For example - one just says ‘paint walls’ and another says ‘fill and sand walls using a dustless system before painting with 2 coats using brand x’

  • Is the quote clearly laid out using proper spelling, a logo, name and address.

  • Find out whether the person doing the quote is going to be carrying out the work themselves.

  • Is it a quote or an estimate? A quote is a fixed price, pending changes to specification or unforeseen circumstances. An estimate is a ballpark figure that could go up or down.