Painting New Jersey homes seems like an easy business to many people, that's why it attracts so many fly-by-nighters.
After all, it doesn't take much to start calling yourself a house painter - just buy a paint brush and a roller, and technically you are in business.
this low entry threshold is the very reason the painting industry is so
full of unskilled and incompetent people calling themselves
But even poor quality issues aside, there are even more serious reasons you should be cautious:
Since the investment requirement to get in this business is so low (just a few dollars), this creates an opportunity for scammers to take advantage of.
Because they have no office or shop, no expensive tools or equipment, no payroll employees or professional associations, it's very easy for them to just take off at any moment.
Nothing ties them
down, so they can sell you their story (usually about having just moved to
the area), promise you the world, take your down payment and then
disappear with it... to repeat the same with another trusting soul they
And they can do this indefinitely, sometimes scamming an entire neighborhood at once, until (hopefully) they get caught.
Unscrupulous New Jersey painting contractors harm everyone:
They cast a shadow of doubt on the integrity of all contractors, even reputable ones.
But they hurt homeowners even more:
... and that is just for starters.
It's unacceptable to get shoddy work in exchange for your hard earned money.
It's even worse to get your property damaged or completely lose your money without getting anything at all in exchange.
But it's the worst to endanger your family's safety.
the sad reality is, in this trade you have pretty high chances of
running not only into a
"con artist" who will disappear with your deposit, but also an outright
criminal who may steal your property or even threaten your life.
But fortunately, all those problems can be avoided if you just do your due diligence before hiring someone for painting. New Jersey contractors (even the real ones) all come from different backgrounds, so choose yours carefully.
NJ Division of Consumer Affairs is a good place to start your homework. They screen all painting contractors (and that includes checking their business registration, liability insurance, criminal background, etc.) before issuing a license for home improvement painting. New Jersey law requires all contractors who do residential painting in NJ to have such a license.
Public records websites allow you to do a complete background check on anyone for a fee (usually around $20-$25). You can find any criminal/sex offender/arrest/parole/court records and much more.
Better Business Bureau lets you check for any complaints filed against the painting contractor in question within the past 36 months, and see how they were resolved.
Google the business name of the contractor (in quotes). Sometimes you will be amazed (or shocked) at the results that come back!
References - pick up the phone and actually call the
who have already seen the contractor in action - his past customers. Ask
about things that are important to you in a contractor, be it
reliability, tidiness or anything else. But above all else, don't forget
to ask about how the contractor behaved and how he made them feel while
working in their home.
The resources listed above will help you see what kind of contractor is in front of you and whether or not you should trust him with your money, family and home.
Remember that you are letting a stranger inside or near your house, sometimes for a couple of weeks. So be smart about it, and always trust your gut instinct.