Wednesday, April 29, 2009


As promised here is another one of my guest posters that will be appearing weekly. Bill is not much of a political pundit(we have enough of those) but he brings some great insight into other everyday things. Please Enjoy.

In This Economy?

Yep, how many times have you heard that? How many times have you SAID that? It’s getting a little old, I know. It almost seems like we need to do things differently than we did before. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but maybe we can reevaluate some of the things in our lives.

If you were looking for something political here…..sorry! Not gonna do it!

First of all, let me thank JOCOSOB for letting me help out a little here. My name is Bill, also known as “Bill the Painter.” That’s the name of my blog here on blogspot. I own a painting, siding and window company here in Kansas City. I have been in the home improvement industry for nearly 20 years. Yeah, I know…I don’t look that old! My guest columns are going to be home improvement related, not necessarily political. Thanks for reading and watch for me each week, usually on Wednesday.

Back to “this economy.” There are many of us who, for one reason or another, are cutting back on things. This is all good and fine. Heck, we may all learn a little from the experience. I will say that one place you should NOT CUTBACK is you home’s maintenance. Sure, we would all like to move to a bigger home, maybe a newer home, condo or something else. Since that isn’t always possible, why not “Love the one you’re with?”

Home improvement can take many forms! Sure, painting your home is a great way to freshen it up, increase your curb appeal. It also helps protect your investment. Usually your home is the biggest investment in your portfolio, it will always be worth something! A typical home in the Kansas City area should be painted every 5 to 7 years. I don’t care what “warranty” is placed on a can of paint, it won’t last 25 years! Ok it may, but you certainly won’t like the way it looks!

Spring is a great time to get outside and take a look at the condition of your home. Is the paint peeling? Fading? How about your siding and windows? Look for rotting wood, bowing siding, missing window glazing. You’ll see it. Rot needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. It’s a fungus that will do nothing but spread, doing more damage as time goes on.

Ok, so you’ve figured out that you need some work done…now what? Grab the Yellow pages and find a painter? You COULD to that, but how do you choose? Not all painters are created equal! Its one thing to paint a house, but taking care of the rot issues takes a certain skill set that not all painters have. Just as most carpenters aren’t good painters. You should really check out the Better Business Bureau. They are unbiased and honest. Most reliable painters are on there and are rated according to people’s experiences. You owe it to yourself to do your due diligence!

What should you look for in a painting contractor? I’m glad you asked! After you checked them out with the BBB, call the ones that you are interested in working with. Don’t just let them come by and put a bid in the door! MEET WITH THEM! How do they know what you are looking for? How do you know they are what YOU are looking for? Just make sure you tell all the contractors the same thing so they are all bidding on the same project.
What should their proposal include? It should include all labor AND materials for one thing. Any painter that wants you to supply the paint should be disqualified immediately! If they can’t buy paint, it’s probably because they have no credit and owe the paint store a LOT of money! Not cool! It should include a detailed description of the prep work and painting to be done. The price for the painting should also be firm. A good painter knows what it will take to paint a home. You should not be penalized if he doesn’t include enough paint to complete the job. References! Don’t just ask for them…call them! Sure, the painter will give you favorable ones, but you should ask the reference if they were happy with the project and most importantly: Would you hire this person again? Insurance! This is the most important item of all! Make sure the painter is covered for general liability and worker’s compensation insurance. It is your responsibility to make sure you are protected. Many painters use subcontractors. Make sure THEY are covered as well. Some work comp policies exclude subcontractors. Don’t hesitate to call their insurance carrier. Still awake? Good!

Payment terms. This is a tough one. I usually require full payment on completion. I have credit with my suppliers and may not get the bill until after your project is complete. It is very rare for me to ask for a deposit for a residential paint project. Siding and windows are a different story! If they require a deposit, only give it the day the work begins. Why do they need your money weeks before your project starts? To guarantee a spot on their schedule? Please…. If they don’t trust you, maybe you shouldn’t trust them. Pay only when you are satisfied with the finished product. They are less likely to come back and take care of you once they have your money. Thankfully, we are not all like that.

Conclusion. Ok, by now you are really interested or really bored! Thanks for reading this and staying awake. Your questions, suggestions and criticisms are always welcome! Feel free to comment here, I will read them. If you have specific subjects you would like to see discussed here, just let me know. You can always visit my home at Bill The