Do your part to keep things running smoothly.

On many home improvement projects that take more than a few days—painting often qualifies—there are things you can do to help the job run smoothly, finish on time, and produce the best results:

  • Prep work—You’re paying for painting, not for workers to move furniture or clear kitchen cabinets. It’s one thing to ask for help moving a large bookcase, but first pack up all the books on it.
  • Save space—Move your car out of the driveway so the painter can park a van full of supplies near the house, and find them an area on-site for stowing tools and materials.
  • Bathroom breaks—Either make a bathroom available or rent a portajohn.
  • Communication—Brief meetings to discuss the job—preferably every day—help quash misunderstandings.
  • Deal promptly with surprises and changes—No contract can anticipate every possibility. Materials may be unavailable. Large chunks of rotten siding may crumble along with the old paint. Exterior jobs may be stopped cold by a week of steady rain.
  • Extras—Changing your mind about a color after the trim is already painted is an extra. The procedure then is to work out a mini-contract with the painter—called a “change order”—that briefly describes what was and what will be, and establishes a price for the extra work. Be mindful that no painter can foresee that a small hole by the gutter is the entry for a horde of squirrels that chewed up your ceilings. When a questionable extra pops up, look for a middle ground.

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