What Questions to Ask References When You Speak to Them

When you see signs of general wear and tear in your home, it’s time to give it a refreshed and updated look by painting. Let’s say you want to enlist professional help instead of going the DIY route. That’s a good decision. When hiring painters or painting companies, checking references is crucial. This step helps ensure you choose professionals who deliver high-quality work and can be trusted in your home or business.

References – a term referring to previous clients who can provide firsthand information about the contractor’s quality of work – are essential in the hiring process. Speaking with them gives insight into the painter’s or company’s reliability, work ethic, and the quality of their finished projects. References can share firsthand experiences, giving you confidence in your hiring decision.

This article will cover the significance of checking references, how to effectively communicate with references, key questions to ask, and red flags to watch for during the hiring process.

Preparing for the conversation

When researching painting contractors to hire, consider the following steps:

Gather background information

  • Review the painting company or painter’s portfolio and client testimonials to assess the quality of their previous work and customer satisfaction.
  • Identify specific areas of interest or concern related to your project, such as their experience with particular types of surfaces, materials, or techniques.

Set clear goals for the reference check:

  • Define the key attributes and skills you seek in a painter or painting company, such as reliability, attention to detail, and expertise in specific painting techniques.
  • List the specific areas you want to explore with the reference, including timeliness, professionalism, cleanliness, and the overall quality of work.

General questions to start with

Smart business people working with plans while talking of their new design business

Confirming basic information

  • Type of work: “Could you please verify the work the painter or company did for you?”
    • Expected answer: “They painted the exterior of my house,” or “They completed an interior painting project for my office.”
  • Dates and duration: “Can you confirm the dates and duration of the project they completed for you?”
    • Expected answer: “The project started in June 2023 and took about two weeks to complete.”

Work quality and satisfaction

  • Quality of work: “How satisfied were you with the quality of the work they provided?”
    • Expected answer: “I was super satisfied; the quality was excellent,” or “The work met my expectations overall.”
  • Meeting expectations: “Did the painter or company meet your expectations in terms of performance and outcomes?”
    • Expected answer: “Yes, they met all of my expectations,” or “They exceeded my expectations in terms of professionalism and quality.”

Workmanship and skills

Attention to detail

“How would you rate their attention to detail and finishing touches?”

  • Expected answer: “They had exceptional attention to detail and delivered impeccable finishing touches.” or “There were a few minor issues with details. Other than that, they did a good job.”

“Were there any issues with the quality of the paint job?”

  • Expected answer: “No, the paint job’s quality was outstanding.” or “Yes, there were a few issues, such as missed spots and uneven coats.”

Technical skills

“Did the painter or company demonstrate proficiency in various painting techniques?”

  • Expected answer: “Yes, they were very skilled in different techniques and knew how to achieve the desired effects.” or “They were proficient in basic techniques but seemed less experienced with more advanced methods.”

“Were they knowledgeable about different types of paint and materials?”

  • Expected Answer: “Absolutely. The painters were well-informed regarding paints and materials and made excellent recommendations.” or “The painters had a basic understanding. However, they lacked depth in their knowledge of specific materials.”

Professionalism and reliability

Woman Shaking Hands To Painter With Paint Roller

Timeliness and Reliability

“Did they complete the project on time?”

  • Expected answer: “Yes, they completed the project on time” or “No, they were delayed by X weeks due to [reason].”

“Were there any issues with attendance or punctuality?”

  • Expected answer: “No. The crew was always punctual” or “There were attendance issues sometimes, but the crew communicated them promptly.”

Communication and customer service

“How well did they communicate throughout the project?

  • Expected answer: “They communicated very well and kept us informed at every stage” or “Communication could have been better; there were some gaps.”

“Were they responsive to your questions and concerns?”

  • Expected Answer: “Yes. The crew was quite responsive and quickly addressed all our concerns” or “There were times when it took a while for them to respond.”

Problem-solving and flexibility

Handling issues

“How did they handle any problems or unexpected issues that arose during the project?”

  • The reference might discuss the individual’s proactive approach, calm demeanor, and effective communication when addressing problems.

“Were they flexible and accommodating to changes or additional requests?”

  • They may mention flexibility in accommodating last-minute changes, willingness to go the extra mile, and maintaining a positive attitude throughout the project.

Problem-solving skills

“Can you describe a situation where they provided a solution to a challenge during the project?”

  • The reference could provide a specific example of a challenge faced, detailing the steps taken by the individual to address it.

“How effective were they in resolving the issue?”

  • They might highlight the creativity, analytical thinking, and how quickly a solution was handled, emphasizing the positive impact on the project’s outcome.

Final thoughts and recommendations

Overall experience

“What was your overall experience working with the painter or painting company?”

  • The reference will share their general impression of the experience, mentioning whether it was positive or negative. They may touch on the quality of the work, communication, timeliness, and overall satisfaction.

“Are there any specific strengths or areas for improvement?”

  • The reference might highlight what the painter or painting company did particularly well, such as attention to detail, professionalism, or customer service. They may also point out areas where there is room for improvement, like punctuality, cleanliness, or responsiveness.

Rehire potential

“Would you hire this painter or painting company again? Why or why not?

  • The reference will state whether they would consider rehiring the painter or company. If “yes,” they might cite reasons such as quality of work, reliability, or good communication. If “no,” they might provide reasons related to any negative aspects of their experience.

Any additional comments or insights about their work and professionalism?”

  • The reference might offer further details or anecdotes about their interactions with the painter or company, shedding light on the overall professionalism, any standout moments, or additional context that might be useful for making a hiring decision.


When evaluating a paint contractor’s references, it helps to take thorough notes and carefully evaluate the response. Detailed notes help you compare contractors and remember key points. It is also essential to listen for consistency in feedback about quality, reliability, and professionalism.

Making a well-informed hiring decision based on reference feedback ensures you select a contractor who meets your standards and expectations. This careful consideration can save you time, money, and potential headaches in the long run.

Now is the time to contact the Custom Painting, Inc. team. Call us at 925-294-8062 or complete our contact form. Request our references and use the insights gained from them to choose the best fit for your project. Your diligent research will lead to a successful and satisfying painting experience.