Finding a contractor you can trust isn’t easy—if it were, this site wouldn’t exist! Unfortunately, pictures you see on a painting contractor’s website aren’t always enough proof that they know what they’re doing. Consider this list of the top red flags to look for when hiring a painting contractor.

Too Much Specialization

If you talk to a painting contractor who only paints, run the other way. Having an extreme specialization may sound like expertise, but it’s usually a sign of the opposite. A typical painting job involves a lot more than just painting; there may be sheetrock to patch up, wood to repair, and pressure washing to do first. A painter who only paints might be trying to hide a lack of experience in these other areas.

Flaky With the Details

A company that takes forever to get you an estimate or can’t seem to figure out a starting date is another bad sign. While there might be good reasons for the delay—maybe they’re in high demand!—it could also just be a sign that they don’t know what they’re doing. Poor organization always affects more than just the paperwork.

Opaque Pricing Scheme

Another red flag to look for when hiring a painting contractor is a company that avoids nailing down their prices with you. A professional business will give you a detailed quote in addition to rules about how they handle changes in requests once the project has started.

No Prep Work

Hopefully, things won’t get this far, but if you hire a contractor who doesn’t do any prep work before starting, kick them out immediately. Prep work includes things like patching walls and taping off molding and edges. If you don’t see anyone pulling out painter’s tape and other prep supplies before starting, that’s a sign of a bad interior paint job about to happen.

Should You Hire a Contractor or Just DIY?

Even though hiring a contractor has its risks, it’s still better to hire a professional rather than complete the task yourself. One reason you should hire a professional painter is that they know how to paint efficiently and without making mistakes. Just be sure to look at reviews, request referrals, and ask all your questions upfront.