We have all been there before. It is time to get the house painted and you are not sure who to call.
What do you do?
You ask the neighbors if they know a good painter. This is a good idea because referrals are often the best way to make sure you are getting a quality contractor. But what if they weren’t really happy with their painter? What if you call the recommended company but they never call you back? What if this company’s estimate is way more then you are able to pay? Who’s to say your neighbor wasn’t overcharged?
Ok, what’s next?
Well, maybe you turn to your handy-dandy phone book and lookup ‘paint contractors’. One look in this book and your head will spin. There are literally hundreds of different names in there. How do you choose? Usually, people just start calling paint companies. In doing that you soon find out that most don’t answer their phones and many don’t even call you back if you leave a message. This is not a good sign…would you hire a painter you can’t easily get a hold of?
If you’re lucky after this excruciating exercise you may have 2 or 3 companies able to come out and give you an estimate. Of course, they are all coming on different days and different times, so you are going to be running back and forth from work to meet the painters.
Let’s say that you eventually get your estimates. The estimate from the paint company that was the most professional, with the nice van, and the one that you liked the most is (of course) ridiculously expensive. The painter with the lowest estimate didn’t even leave you a written statement describing the work they would perform! Can you trust them? Will they do quality work?
The ‘dog and pony show’ of trying to hire a contractor could go on forever. It’s a hassle, it’s risky, it is time-consuming, and it is hard to figure out what price is fair and acceptable for a quality job.
If you live in the Raleigh-Durham, NC area you may not have to do any of the above, at least for house painting needs. There are some new services available that work with homeowners to put together a price and job description package for any painting job. Professional painters then compete to accept the exact services listed in the homeowner’s job description at the price that was also set by the homeowner. Customers will meet the painters that have accepted their job to talk about their needs. After this meeting, the homeowner can simply decide to hire the painter to begin work or have the service locate a new painter at the same price.
This concept is very different from the nightmare described above. It also seems to be helpful to both the homeowner and the paint contractor. The homeowner can deal with just one service and still reach lots of area professional painters. Homeowners can also set an affordable price for a quality job and see what companies are available to meet their demands. Contractors like the business concept because they are able to accept jobs that they did not have to spend time and money to find.
“We try to take the hassle out of finding quality painters,” says Steve Frasher, the Manager of one such service called Name Your Own Price Painting. “With one call to us we help set up your estimate and then contact the pros in our network to see who is available to perform the work at the specified price. The paint companies love it because they can easily fill in some of the gaps they have in their work schedules. We found that it also allows customers to get quality work done at a reasonable price because of the competition to accept these jobs. In other words, the market is really helping to dictate the price for the homeowner and they are not forced into a take-it-or-leave-it estimate.”
The concept of a contractor locating service that revolves around setting your own price is something that is still new, but on the surface, it appears to be an innovative concept that is based on a win-win business model. This usually is a great sign of success.
Only time will tell if the nightmare of locating contractors to do work around your house could become a thing of the past.
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