Ives Bros Painting, Inc.
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Though a standard question, it's important to ask. Most contractors will tell you how long they expect the job to take without you asking. If they don't volunteer that information, be sure to ask. It's also helpful to ask if that's a hard finish date, meaning that it's the definite finish date. If it's a soft finish date, it may be extended for any number of reasons.
Always ask for references, and always check them. Keep in mind though that the only references you'll get are people who the contractor is certain will give him a good review. You'd also be well advised to check online review sources in Bethlehem as well, which will give you a broader view of customer satisfaction for a given company.
This is important mostly for larger jobs. Clearly a two man operation is going to build a home much slower than a 15 man crew. This is also a good indication of the overall size of the Painting company, if that's an area of concern for you. The reason you may want to ask about the fleet is that fleet size is a good indicator of the mobility of the company. Mobility may not sound important, but it's hard for the Bethlehem contractors to get to job sites if they lack appropriate vehicles.
This really only matters if you have a preference, but it is good to ask. If you have a strong ideological belief about unions or nonunions, it's perfectly acceptable to make a decision based on the preference.
Some companies may require a 10% deposit, some may not require any. For larger projects, you'll almost always need to give a deposit, and it's good to ask how much the deposit will be before going forward with a project. The Bethlehem contractor will know how much they need for a deposit when they've given you the estimate, so ask early.