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Published: Jun 15, 2023 13 min read

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Hiring painters can be more difficult than you expect. Between needing to find someone who can meet your deadlines, stick within your budget and paint at a professional level, there’s a lot to think about. Keep reading to learn how to hire painters more efficiently and effectively, from writing a good job description to posting on a job search site like ZipRecruiter.

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What is a painter?

A painter is a person who applies paint to walls and other surfaces professionally. They’re also typically responsible for preparing the surfaces they paint and keeping the surrounding area clean.

Some of the tasks that a painter may be responsible for include the following:

  • Covering floors and furniture with drop-cloths
  • Using scaffolding and ladders to reach high areas
  • Filling small holes in walls
  • Mixing paints to achieve the desired color
  • Using a variety of brushes, rollers and other instruments to paint diverse surfaces

There are different types of painters, as well. For example, there are full-service painting companies that can do it all. But you may be more interested in hiring an interior home painter or an exterior house painter, depending on your needs. Start thinking about the type of painter you would like to hire now because it can impact the best way to craft your job descriptions for online ads.

What to expect from professional painters

Professional painting contractors should give you more value than amateur painting services throughout the entire process. This begins with an in-depth price estimation and consultation. During this planning phase, professional painters will also be able to offer advice about colors and types of paint based on their expertise.

Once you agree to hire a professional painting contractor, they should take the time to prepare both the surface that’s being painted and the surrounding area. Then, they may use a variety of tools throughout the painting process to give you a higher-quality end product.

The bottom line is that hiring professional painters should give you a better paint job faster than what you would get if you hired amateurs. If you feel that you’re not getting that level of service from a professional paint team, it may be time to explore some alternatives.

How to hire a painter

The painter you hire may determine how your walls, building exterior or other surface looks for years to come. It’s worth taking some time to make sure you choose well. The following information should help.

Determine whether you need a painting contractor or a full-time employee

A good first step when hiring a painter is determining how extensive your painting needs are. If you run a business that offers painting, you may want to add a full-time employee to your team. But if you just have a single painting job (even if it’s a large one), it will likely make more sense to hire a painting contractor.

The big difference is that when you hire a full-time employee, that person goes on your payroll and starts receiving benefits. You would have to fire them and potentially pay severance if your needs change.

A painting contractor offers more flexibility. You can hire them for jobs when you need them and won’t be on the hook for benefits or a salary when you don’t. However, contractors may not always be as reliable as full-time painting employees and could take longer to get started on your jobs because they have to manage other clients, as well.

Craft the perfect painter job description

The next step is to create a painter job description that you can start sharing on the best job posting sites for employers. You can use an online painter job description template as a starting point, but make sure to customize it with the following information:

  • Experience and educational requirements
  • Responsibilities of your job
  • An overall summary of the position and what you’re looking for
  • Any other information you think applicants should know

Promote the painter job opening

Before you can hire a painter, you have to attract qualified candidates to your job opening. The easiest way to do that is by posting help-wanted ads on popular online job boards.

That being said, there may be other places you want to look for a commercial or residential painting contractor. For example, you can also find painters through local trade unions, community websites (such as Nextdoor) and other local sources.

Examine past painting projects of all applicants

Painter hiring is often less about education and training than it is about finding someone with a proven track record of success. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask your applicants for photos of previous painting projects they’ve worked on. Ideally, these projects will be similar enough to the job you want to hire a painter for to give you some good insight into which applicant may be able to give you the best results.

As part of this process, you should also ask for references. Anyone can share a photo of a good painting job with you. You will need to verify an applicant’s work experience to ensure they aren’t misrepresenting themselves.

Interview at least three qualified candidates

Before you hire painters, try to interview at least three candidates. Doing so will give you the opportunity to compare them to each other, which could illuminate important factors you may not have thought about if you only interviewed a single candidate.

Hire your top pick

Now all that’s left to do is hire your top choice. You can take a look at this guide covering the process of choosing between two great candidates if you need some help making a final decision.

You may also want to run a background check before making the hiring process official, especially if you’re hiring a single painter instead of a painting company. This person will likely spend significant time in your home or business, and you want to be sure that you can trust them.

How to find painters to hire

There are many different resources you can use to find interior and exterior painters for hire. Keep reading to discover some of the most common ones, or take a look at our guide covering how to find great candidates for a job to learn more.

Online job boards

When a painter goes online and searches for “full-time jobs near me”, you want your open position to pop up. Posting it on an online job board such as ZipRecruiter should help to make that happen, especially as it gives you access to over 3 million job seekers a day. Your position will also appear as a result when painters visit these sites to look up the latest opportunities in the area.

Your organization’s website

Your website can be another excellent resource for finding talent. When people are interested in working for your company, they may visit your career page to find out if you’re hiring.

That’s why it’s a good idea to keep your career page updated with your latest painting jobs. Doing so will leave open the possibility of the perfect candidate coming to you. You can take a look at our guide covering how to create a better career page to learn more.

Local trade unions and other organizations

You may also be able to find an excellent local painter through regional organizations, such as trade unions. These groups can be a good way to find skilled painters affordably since you won’t need to pay a fee to find or hire them.

Other local groups may be able to help you during the job hunt as well. For example, Nextdoor is a popular site for talking to neighbors. Posting your job opening there could help you find a qualified painter quickly and without having to pay any finder’s fees.

Recruiting agencies

If all else fails, you can also turn to recruiting agencies. But these companies tend to be significantly more expensive than other talent-sourcing options. You can look at the best recruiting software as well if you want to save some money.

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What to look for when hiring a painter

When searching for painters for hire, it can be helpful to create an ideal candidate profile. This acts as a checklist for hiring a painter that you can use to find the right fit. Some of the information you may wish to include in your ideal candidate profile includes the following:

  • Years of experience
  • Area of expertise
  • Scheduling availability
  • Hourly rates
  • Other factors that matter to you during the hiring process

When you start with an ideal painter profile, it’s something you can use to evaluate candidates throughout the hiring process. It should help you find a painting professional who checks as many of your boxes as possible.

What to ask a painter before hiring them

Conducting a thorough interview process is an important part of finding the best painter for your needs. There are a variety of professional and behavioral interview questions you may want to ask your applicants, but here are a few to get you started:

  • How do you prepare a room for painting? This question gives you insight into a candidate’s preparation process. Asking it can help you determine which applicant will put the most energy into preserving your space.
  • What safety equipment do you use? Asking a safety question like this will help you learn how seriously each applicant takes that aspect of the job.
  • Tell me about a challenging painting job you’ve had. This question is designed to help you assess how an applicant responds when a job doesn’t go the way they expected.
  • What type of painting have you spent the most time doing professionally? If you need a specific type of painting, this question will be an important one. It can help you determine which applicants have the most experience in the niche you need them for.
  • How do you respond when clients aren’t satisfied with your work? Asking this question will let you know how a painter will respond if you don’t like the work product they deliver. They should, ideally, fix the problems you point out without significant upcharges.

The more questions you ask and the more candidates you interview, the more challenging it can be to keep track of all the information you receive. That’s why you may also want to look into using an applicant tracking system (ATS) during the interviewing phase. You can read this guide covering the best practices for using an ATS to learn more.

How to hire a painter FAQ

How much do painters make?

Painters earn an average of about $22 per hour in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, rates can vary based on experience, your location and the type of painting you need. For example, commercial exterior painters may have different rates than home painting contractors.

How much does it cost to hire a painter?

The average cost to hire painters depends on how you do so. Online job boards may charge you a one-time fee or a cost-per-click. But if you hire a painter through a trade union or local organization, you may not have to pay anything but the person's wages and the cost of materials.

Do professional painters need to be licensed?

Yes, most professional painters need to be licensed. However, each state sets its own licensure requirements, which may or may not apply to the person you want to hire. You should research your state's licensing requirements before making a hiring decision to avoid any issues.

Summary of Money's how to hire painters

Hiring painters is a multi-step process. You should begin by assessing your needs and then create a job description that reflects them. Post your help-wanted ads widely, and you should receive applications from a variety of qualified candidates.

As you go through the interview process, be sure to ask for references and photos of previous work to get a better sense of who may be right for your task. Don’t forget to look up your state’s licensing requirements before making a decision either, as they could impact who you’re able to hire.

*Based on ZipRecruiter internal data. Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2021.