<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=3263748927046193&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Skip to main content

«  Learning Center

9 Signs of a Bad Painting Contractor & 3 Tips on Finding the Best One

January 30th, 2023 | 5 min read

By Kaylea Kuhlman

A person signing a paper agreement with a pencil

Have you ever said or heard someone say, “I trust you because you’re the expert”? Telling this to a painting contractor may leave you disappointed if they do not meet your expectations for your project.

Finding a painter can be hit or miss. This is because painters can be self-proclaimed  “experts” without any prior knowledge or experience like other professionals are required to have. 

Painters are also un-monitored and not under any ethical regulations to provide low or high-quality service.

This isn’t to say that painters can’t be self-taught, but the best, most trust-worthy painters seek certifications and outside industry knowledge from classes and workshops, to learn about the products to use and the prep work they should be doing. 

In this article, we will inform you of signs of a bad contractor and provide 3 tips on how to find the best one. After reading this article, you will know what you should look for in a trustworthy contractor for your project.

Brush & Roll Painting has been a certified and trusted contractor in Omaha, Nebraska since 1996. We take pride in the products we use, the prep work we do, and in giving our customers the best experience possible. 

9 signs of a bad painting contractor:

1. They aren’t being transparent to you

If they are not telling you clearly what the product is that they will use (the brand and kind of paint), an exact or range of price for your project, and each step of the prep work, then they probably have something to hide.

A painting contractor should be proud of the products they use and the prep work they do. They should also be confident that the price they are offering you is the best value you can get for their quality work. 

2. They did not show up to your scheduled quote on time

When they are tardy without notice or don’t show up at all to the quote, this is a sign that they do not value your business. 

It may be a good indication that they won’t show up to complete your project on the established timeline, leaving you guessing when or if the job will finally be complete.

3. They have not provided good communication to you so far

Contractor talking with couple about their project.

If they don’t return calls or messages in a timely fashion, it will likely carry on into your project. This can put you in tough situations and leave you with many unanswered questions and concerns in the middle of your project.

4. They do not have industry knowledge and experience

If they do not present any knowledge about the painting industry and do now have much related experience, they shouldn’t be trusted with a home investment project. This can likely be avoided with painting companies, however it is important their employees are trained and experts in their craft. 

5. They do not have a detailed process 

If they do not have standard processes for how they do work, prep work can get missed, communication can get confusing, and your paintwork won’t last long. 

6. They are not insured or do not have worker's compensation

If a contractor or painting company is not insured or doesn’t have worker’s compensation for their employees, they are not considering safety. Safety should be the most important thing, especially when working in your home, to ensure nobody gets injured or none of your items get broken. 

This often gets overlooked, but will protect both you and the painting contractor or company.

7. They do not inspect and measure the scope of the project 

Woman measuring window with tape measure.

When a contractor does not look at the scope of work thoroughly, they may underbid the customer. Instead of just looking at the space, they need to measure it. This can lead to cutting out prep work like cleaning, sanding, caulking, or watering down paint to make it spread more to reach the cost that they gave you originally.

This will leave you with something that only lasts a few months before it begins to chip, peel, or fade.

This misstep could also lead to having to charge you again with a new price. Some contractors could do their additional work without notice to you.  

8. They say they work “quickly”

Working quickly sounds great because your project will be done sooner. However, this can mean that they are rushed and want to get through the job as fast as possible so they can move on to the next. If they work quickly, they should also work accurately and precisely. 

9. They don't assist you with some of the project decisions 

choose colors

Choosing colors, finishes, and styles, for projects may be difficult, so your contractor should be able to guide you through making the decisions instead of making them for you. They also shouldn't leave you to make the decisions on your own if you are not comfortable.

3 Tips on Finding the Best Painting Contractor

So now that you know the signs of a bad painting contractor, let’s look at 3 tips you can use to find the best one for your next painting project.

1. Research, research, research

Finding the best contractor will begin with research, ideally before you request any quotes. You should know how long a contractor has been in the industry and what they have experience doing. You should also know if they are insured to solidify that you will be protected.

You will want to find out what prep work they do and what products they use. You may have to do more research to understand which products are the best and worst to use to obtain the quality you are looking for. 

2. Phone a friend

You could reach out to family, and friends, and look at online reviews to provide you with information that might help you figure out more about them. Here you can look for commonalities between what people are saying while also taking into consideration the negative experiences some people may have had. 

3. Scope them out during the quote

So far, if all of the signs point to a great painting contractor and you decide to schedule an quotes, try to get a feel for how the project would go if you chose them. However, even if a contractor talks about the specifications of paint or prep work and uses all the right painting terminology, you should not automatically trust them to sound like an expert. 

Instead, listen for thorough or detailed information to get to know them better. This might tell you that they have experience, are knowledgeable, have a detailed prep work process, or use high-quality products, or it can show their red flags. 

During this phase, they should always consider your best interests and provide suggestions and recommendations to help you and your project.

Additional information to keep in mind when finding the best painting contractor

When searching for a painting contractor, you should also be looking for a contractor who consistently obtains professional memberships in associations in the industry. This shows they are investing their time into the industry and staying on top of product and technique advancements. Associations establish and promote industry standards. 

Certified, knowledgeable painters should want to teach others about paint as well. They should especially teach their employees or coworkers so they have a mutual understanding of the purpose of the work that they do. Customers should have the opportunity to learn from them as well. This could help them better understand a contractor's process for completing a project correctly.

Trust Your Gut When Choosing Your Painting Contractor 

Ultimately, you need to trust that your contractor is doing things that benefit you, rather than themself. They need to be transparent about their price, products, and prep work and follow through with those intentions. 

Next, download our free ultimate guide to hiring a painter. Whether you've hired a painting contractor before or not, this guide will help you find the best one for your next project.


If you still need help choosing the right painting contractor, contact us and we’ll be glad to discuss your needs and help you make the best decision! If you're ready for a quote on your project, click the button below.


Kaylea Kuhlman

Kaylea is the Brush & Roll Painting Content Manager.