If the exterior of your North Virginia home is in need of a fresh coat of paint, don’t even think about tackling it as a DIY project. It can be physically challenging, requires specialized equipment and skills, and most definitely will be a major time consumer. You need a professional painting service. The question is, how do you select one?

There is no shortage of home painters in Northern Virginia, but like all services, there are good ones, mediocre shops, and downright scams. Finding one that is going to deliver full value for your investment is a challenge that you can’t give short shrift to. You need to invest the time necessary to ensure the painter you select is a pro and can meet or exceed your expectations for quality, cost, and time.

At Reston-based All American Painting Plus, we have won the prestigious Angie’s List Super Service Award twelve years in a row. We think we are qualified to advise homeowners on how to vet house painters. Obviously, we would like to be one of the house painting services you look at, but we would encourage you to examine at least three.

How to Select a Residential Exterior Painting Contractor

Remember, the cost to paint a house is important only if all the painting services can provide the same quality. The lowest price is not always the best value. What you want is a low risk, no hassle, professionally done house painting that fits your budget and can be completed within your desired time frame.

Here’s how you get that:

  • Invite at least three painting companies to bid on your project. How do you find those three? Friends, family, and coworkers are a good place to start. Legitimate internet review sites like Angie’s List, Google, Houzz, and Yelp are also very helpful in developing your short list.
  • The first test of responsiveness is how quickly they respond to your invitation. How long does it take them to schedule a site tour of the home? When they do the survey, how long do they take? The longer the survey takes, the more likely the painter is detailed oriented and will have a more informed proposal.
  • Make sure you set out your expectations with each exterior painting contractor. Details like hours of operation, daily cleanup, storage of equipment, and expected timeline should all be made clear.
  • When the estimates come in, look for the details. What kind of paint and primer will be used and do you have the option to pick out your own brand? If repairs to trim are needed, is that included? The most expensive element in a house painting project is labor, and the most labor-intensive part of the process is preparation of the surface. Does the estimate go into detail on how preparation will be done? If you want a truly professional finish, you need a smooth surface and that can take a lot of preparation work, particularly if the house has been painted numerous times before. The more detailed the estimate, the better.

Once you’ve selected a contractor based on the estimate, the background work begins.

  • Every professional contractor will automatically share their license number and insurance coverage. If you run across a contractor who doesn’t stay away. Check with the
  • Better Business Bureau to see if any disputes have not been resolved.
  • The painting service will likely provide references. Call them. Sure, they are probably ringers, but you never know when buyer’s remorse might set in. Get addresses in your neighborhood of houses they have painted so you can see the quality of the crew’s work.
  • Get a complete contract. Negotiate the terms. Do not put a large down payment on the project and withhold final payment until you have had all items on the punch list completed to your satisfaction. Ask for a warranty.

It’s your house, your money, and you are the customer. You have leverage. Use it. We really want an opportunity to earn your business and nothing would make us happier than showing you why we have won all those “Super Service” awards. Call us today and let’s plan your painting project together.