Much of the expense for interior painting comes from labor for preparation and covering fixtures, furnishings, and equipment.
Condominium, office, industrial and residential apartment building owners and managers can make painting renovations more cost-effective by using a reputable commercial painter and getting it done when these spaces are empty.
How to Find the Best Commercial Painters for Your Project
Although there are no guarantees when choosing a commercial painter, there are methods to weed out the fly-by-night painters. First, never choose a painting contractor because they are the cheapest. Typically, this leads to many problems.
Look at companies that support your industry and participate in industry trade groups like Community Associations Institute and MN Multi-Housing Association by reviewing your trade group’s vendor guide.
Some less than reputable painters gather “deposits” from clients “to buy materials” and never return to do the work. Although Minnesota doesn’t limit the amount a contractor may ask for upfront, a good rule of thumb is 10 to 25%, but never more than 33%. The majority of the expense from a painting contract goes to labor, so there’s no need to pay a large deposit for materials.
These are some methods to prevent this happenstance:
- Get references — reputable commercial painters will gladly provide references — they expect it.
- Check their website — reputable painters and contractors have a website with their address and telephone number clearly listed. If not, you might want to cross them off the list.
- Minnesota Statutes 326B.802 require contractors that provide two or more specialized skills to improve residential real estate must be licensed. Specialized skills include carpentry, interior finishing, exterior finishing, drywall, and plaster, among others. Check for their state license and insurance. If they do not list a state license, ours is MN License Number BC649107, ask them about it. If they seem shocked or don’t have one, you should cross them off the list.
- Ask for a free and detailed estimate. If a contractor is unwilling or does not detail what they will do precisely, move on.
- Within the project quote, the painter should specify the rooms and surfaces they will paint, and what type of paint they will use. Paint product prices can vary widely depending on the manufacturer and grade of paint. To assist clients in comparing proposals we developed charts identifying equivalent products among manufacturers for interior and exterior paint sheen is another consideration, a higher gloss/sheen is typically easier to clean, although there are exceptions depending on the grade and type of paint used. In high traffic common areas flat paint is rarely used unless frequent touch-ups are planned. Matte finish in a high-grade paint will perform similarly to an eggshell finish in a lower grade paint. Very few commercial painters use semi-gloss or gloss on walls except in some educational, healthcare, and industrial applications. These gloss/sheen levels are typically reserved for trim, such as windows, doors, and baseboards because high gloss/sheen paint is more durable and easier to clean.
- For larger projects, it is wise to get three or more estimates and then compare their “statement of work” and the detailed specifications of what they will do. Then, to be fair to the contractors, compare the details.
- One contractor might paint the walls, doors, and trim with low-grade eggshell paint in a single color on all surfaces which saves a lot of time cutting and rolling. Another might do the walls with high-grade matte finish paint, and a modified acrylic urethane on the doors and trim which may cost two to three times as much for materials but will perform much better; in the long run that higher price is a better value. Either approach may make sense depending on the owner and management objectives and budget.
- Higher gloss/sheen paints take more labor for preparation and application, and material prices are generally higher in a product line as gloss/sheen increases