When to Look for a Painter
Good contractors, in my experience, are hard to come by. What do I mean by good? Shows up on time, returns calls, texts, and emails in a timely (notice I did not say within a few minutes) fashion, knows his or her trade (can do the work properly), knows his or her limitations (a one man show should not take on jobs that should require a large crew).
Since good contractors are in high demand, they are generally pretty busy. So, if you call a guy to paint your house that has been in business for ten years, and he tells you he can start tomorrow it might be a red flag. There are of course always exceptions to the rules. When I first started a little over four years ago I was hardly ever booked out more than a couple months. The winter is the slow season for many painters...so, they might be available tomorrow. Maybe a big job has been delayed, and you happen to call him when he is scrambling to fill the void.
If you have a time line forwhen you want the work done, you should call a painter as soon as possible. Especially if it is exterior work. Exterior work is for many painters their bread and butter. Many home owners will take on interior work, but do not want to deal with exterior work. Also, the importance of doing the job right is that much more important on exterior work...so, home owners hire professionals. Often, painters will start booking exterior work the Fall before the forthcoming exterior season, which usually begins around mid-May in southern New England. Therefore, if you want to have your deck done prior to your annual Forth-of-July BBQ, it is best to not wait until the first week of June to find a painter. If you have a graduation party that you want work done prior to, it is best to call many, many months ahead of time. If you own a seasonal property, do not wait until you open the house in May to start looking for painters for work that you want done (this includes interior and exterior). By the time you get the work done, the season may be almost over....call painters towards the end of the season, and they should be able to put you on their list so that as soon as the new season begins they can start the work.
The point I am trying to get across, is that good painters are busy. And, unless they have just started their business, they do not have open schedules just waited for a phone call so that they can have work for the week. And, there really is not such thing as a painting emergency...getting a dinning room painted before the guests arrive for your Christmas party might be a priority for you, but few painters will be willing to rearrange their schedules and tell other customers they have to wait in order to get the work done. It is best for you to decide what you want done well in advance, and they start calling painters right away.