Testimonials & Guide

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What Others are Saying

“… very pleased with the results. Thank you again for a job well done.”

Klassen Funeral Home

“….I got 3 quotes, Stephen’s Edge Painting was the most affordable, they were very friendly and did an awesome job.  I highly recommend them.”

Larry Guimond – Fort Alexander 

“We wanted to let your customers and your staff know how pleased we are with the painting project on our home in Linden Woods.  We will definitely contact you for any further projects.  The quality and workmanship were top notch.   Thanks Pete” 
                                                                   LJ Dent – Winnipeg

 

“…..excellent job on my first home, when I needed interior finishing work done quickly…”  “Price seemed very fair, and his crew was excellent, polite and skilled.”  “His company has been the only one I’ve been able to recommend with confidence.”

JR – Winnipeg

Consumer Awareness Guide

Consumer Awareness for Winnipeg Painting Clients

Taking A Little Bit of Time BEFORE You Hire a Painting Contractor in Winnipeg Will Ensure a Great Paint Job at a Fair Price Without Stress

I’m Peter and I’m the owner Stephen’s Edge Painting. I want to show you how we eliminate most of the problems people traditionally have trying to hire, evaluate and work with a painting and fine finish contractor in the Winnipeg area.

Taking time to ask questions of each potential painting contractor – before you choose one – will go a long way to getting your painting project off to a good start, and ending with your complete satisfaction.

There is so much more to achieving a top quality paint job than merely putting paint on your walls or siding.

The excitement of getting “a really great price” will quickly fade if your painting project cracks, peels or chips 6 months later. It is your money and like you, I always want to get the best price but I never want to get a great price with a mediocre result.

The low bidder is typically a contractor that hires day labour and sub-contractors at the lowest rates possible to make more money at the customer’s expense. Labour is the biggest part of a professional painting contractor’s expense so low bidders save money by hiring inexperienced workers or “summer painters”.

Low bidders may not carry insurance or may be grossly underinsured and this can leave the homeowner or business owner exposed if there is an injury.

Low bidders will also shortcut the preparation time to save on labor even if it impacts the quality of the project. They don’t expect to work for you again.

Making an informed decision in choosing your painting contractor comes down to asking lots of questions and then comparing each potential contractor on the experience and professionalism he or she can bring to your painting project.

There’s often significant anxiety or concern involved when choosing a painting contractor.

Will you be treated honestly and fairly?

Will you get what you pay for?

Will the job go as planned and heaven forbid, should there be a problem how will it be resolved whether it’s during the application stage or afterwards.

Like any home improvement project, the chance of having a satisfactory experience depends almost entirely on hiring the right contractor to perform your work. I’ve put this guide together for your benefit… to assist you in avoiding the pitfalls of choosing an unprofessional contractor.

I think it fair to say that contractors have the honour of having the most consumer complaints for an industry group. I don’t think painting contractors are any worse or better than any other contractor. I would like to say that amongst our peers that there are some excellent and honest companies, it’s the few that seem to be really terrible and give the rest of us a poor reputation. I hope the following helps and please call us if you have any questions 204-229-9980

The Basics

There are five main areas to consider when purchasing professional painting services.

Manpower – The contractor and workers including their training and experience.

Materials – Choosing the right paints, primers and other materials used on your project.

Methods – Proper application of paints, including surface preparation.

Monetary Investment – Cost versus the value of having your painting project handled by a professional painting contractor.

Communication “They never call back!” What to look for before you hire so you will never have to worry about getting your calls returned.

A lot of companies approach these five areas in different ways and many times their decisions are based on making more profit not providing higher quality.

Please read on to learn more and to find out how you can get an Edge, with Stephen’s Edge.

1. Manpower

This area takes into consideration the contractor and the workers who will be perform the painting on your home or property.

Manpower is the most important part of the equation. A well trained and knowledgeable painting crew will deliver consistently great looking paint jobs that you will be pleased to show off.

Unfortunately, many painting contractors in the Winnipeg area hire day laborers and sub-contractors that are paid by the job to make more money at the consumer’s expense. These workers do not have the training and experience that full-time employees bring to your painting project.

Paint manufacturers introduce new products each year. Professional painting contractors stay informed with these new advances by subscribing to industry trade magazines, attending manufacturer training courses, working with manufacturer representatives and by belonging to industry trade associations like the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America.

Professional painting contractors continually learn more about the paints and coatings they recommend to their customers.

Stephen’s Edge: We only use employees. We want you to know that you will have a knowledgeable, well trained, quality painting crew that knows what they’re doing. 204-229-9980

We only use full time employees. We don’t employ day laborers or sub-contractors. You may be surprised to learn that many of our competitors do use day laborers or sub-contractors. The main reason they do this is to make more money at your expense.

Every employee must comply with a strict written policy that prohibits smoking on your property or the use of alcohol or drugs on the job.

Our project foreman has more than 15 years of experience. He is fully trained in our quality standards to ensure our checklists and processes are followed and will be on your job each day.

We take educational classes and training courses every year. The available training is one of the principal reasons why we belong to the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America.

I sure wouldn’t want untrained day laborers or sub-contractors that are paid by the job in my house or on my property and I wouldn’t think you would either…avoiding those companies is a smart move.

Four Questions to Ask Every Painting Contractor About the Workers They Use.

These questions will help you weed out the guys that don’t have the best reputation or that do it in their spare time. This might seem like a bit of a chore but spending a little more time up front is a lot better than being disappointed in the end.

Do you have a safety program in place to ensure a safe working environment?

Working with ladders, tools and equipment can be dangerous. Ask every contractor about safety issues and the specific training they conduct.

Stephen’s Edge: Our employees receive monthly training and updates on safety.

How long has your painting company been in business?

There is a very high turnover of contractors in all trades. It’s important you work with a contractor who has been in business for at least five years (more than 33% fail in the first 5 years)

Stephen’s Edge: We have been in business since 1996.

How many years of experience do your painters have?

Ask if the contractor has experienced painters working for him, or about any training or job qualifications he has. Because the safety and security of your family and home are of great importance, ask your contractor about the workers he will be sending to your home.

Stephen’s Edge: Our project foreman has more than 15 years of experience and all of our core painters have been with us for at least 3 years. We have a strict written policy on the use of drugs or alcohol on the job. All of our employees are trained to act like a guest in your home. 204-229-9980

What type of insurance do you carry? Does your insurance cover every worker who will be on my job?

It’s extremely important that your contractor has all the necessary insurances to protect you and your home. (NOTE: Homeowner insurance policies may not cover work performed by third party contractors.)

Don’t risk working with a contractor who is uninsured (or under insured) for general liability and workmen’s compensation. It is reasonable to ask for the contractors’ workers compensation number. You can always check their current status by going to the W.C.B. website.

Worker’s compensation insurance does NOT COVER subcontractors. This means that if a subcontractor or a day laborer gets hurt on your property you can be held liable for their injuries.

Stephen’s Edge: We only use employees on our painting projects and they are all covered by our workers compensation insurance.

2. Paints and Materials

Materials include all the paints, primers, finishes and sundry materials that will be used to complete your project. Choosing the right paint and sundry materials is essential to achieving lasting protection for your home – and maintaining your home’s beauty.

Many consumers believe that all paints are basically the same. However, every paint manufacturer formulates a wide range of paints designed for specific applications. There are several grades of paint to choose from depending on the type of work and the budget they have to work with.

Paint manufacturers introduce new products each year. Professional painting contractors stay informed with these new advances by subscribing to industry trade magazines, attending manufacturer training courses, working with manufacturer representatives and by belonging to industry trade associations like the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America.

The painting trade requires a set of skills that requires constant learning about new materials, application methods and processes.

This is not something you can pick up from a magazine article. These best practices must be taught, practiced, and learned by a professional crew before they apply them to your project.

Part-time, or “summer painters” simply don’t have the commitment to keeping current on all the advances in paints and coatings – this lack of knowledge will directly impact the quality and longevity of your project. Stephen’s Edge: Our project foreman has more than 15 years of experience and all of our painters have been with us for at least 3 years. We conduct training on a monthly basis on safety, surface preparation and application of paints, on the job conduct and much more. 204-229-9980

Product Specifications – Paint manufacturers publish “Product Specification” sheets for each of their products. These product specification sheets outline the types of surfaces the paint is recommended for, along with important information about surface preparation, application of the paint, and the expected results that can be attained from the product.

Many product specification sheets even list the quality grade of the product. (If you’re in doubt, call the paint store to learn more about the quality rating of the paint that has been recommended by your potential contractor). These product specification sheets are written in clear and easy to understand language. Consumers are encouraged to review the product specification sheets presented by their contractor. The professional paint contractor will be familiar with these specification sheets and if asked will include copies in his or her work proposal.

Note: The cost of materials is the smallest cost of a paint job. A true professional painting contractor wouldn’t consider using inferior paints and materials in an effort to save just a few dollars for the following reasons:

Stephen’s Edge: First, the professional painting contractor is committed to providing their customers the best quality paint job possible, which means using only premium grade paints and materials.

Secondly, professional painting contractors are craftsmen who take pride in their work. A craftsman wouldn’t jeopardize his reputation by cutting corners and using inferior paints and materials.

Extended Warranty Products – Traditionally, manufacturers have warranted their paint products against defects and replace the paint if it fails.

However, the labor cost of a paint job far exceeds the cost of materials. If a paint job fails the biggest cost to have it repaired is the labor.

Stephen’s Edge: We provide a 2-year workmanship warranty on all of our projects. This is twice as long as most of our competitors. The training our employees receive gives us the confidence to offer such a strong warranty.

We want our customers to know that their project will still be looking good long after the last piece of hardware is reinstalled. 204-229-9980

3. Proper Methods of Applying Paints & Coatings

The application method of paint varies with the type of surfaces being painted, and the type of material being used. You can’t just hand someone a brush and some paint and expect a quality job.

As mentioned above, the manufacture’s specification sheets outline what type of surfaces the product is recommended for, the proper surface preparation requirements, the necessary thickness that the paint needs to be applied, the type of equipment or tools recommended for application, and safe handling of the products.

The professional painting contractor is familiar with the product and application specifications for each product he or she applies. These specification guidelines, when followed, ensure the application of the product is done properly.

Stephen’s Edge: Our project foreman has more than 15 years of experience and all of our painters have been with us for at least 3 years. We conduct training on a monthly basis on surface preparation and application of paints and coatings.

Warranties Depend on Proper Application!

Ask your contractor to review with you the recommended application methods as outlined by the paint manufacturer. Below are important questions to review with your contractor. Professional painting contractors will be happy to go over these items with you.

What does the paint manufacturer specify about surface preparation for my project?

Surface preparation is the most important aspect of achieving a long-lasting paint job. Be sure your contractor explains to you how the surface preparation will be done according to manufacturer’s specifications.

Stephen’s Edge: We inspect each surface to ensure that we know what steps will be needed so that the paint or coating will adhere properly and keep looking great long after we are gone.

What types of tools and equipment are recommended by the manufacturer for surface preparation and paint application?

Power tools and equipment, such as; power washers, sanders and spray equipment can cause damage to your home if not operated properly. Knowledgeable painting contractors are experienced with the use of power equipment, and the safety issues involved.

Stephen’s Edge: We have successfully completed over 1,400 interior and exterior painting projects. We know from experience and training what needs to be done, how to use the proper equipment and we do it.

Has the manufacturer specified anything in particular concerning moisture?

Is moisture a concern, and how will it be remedied prior to painting? Moisture is a major concern that needs to be addressed to ensure a long-lasting paint job. Has the contractor used a moisture meter?

Stephen’s Edge: We use a moisture meter to ensure that we are following the manufacturer’s guidelines.

How thick does the manufacturer recommend the paint be applied? Is more than one coat of paint recommended? How will the contractor ensure enough paint has been applied? Paint manufacturers are very specific as to how thick the paint needs to be applied. In fact, not applying the paint to the recommended thickness can void the manufacturer’s warranty entirely. 204-229-9980

Stephen’s Edge: Again this comes down to our ongoing training and the experience gained in successfully completing over 1,400 interior and exterior painting projects.

Has your contractor explained the application methods he/she plans on using?

Consumers shouldn’t assume every painting contractor understands or follows manufacturer’s recommendations and specifications.

Stephen’s Edge: We provide a written step-by-step painting process so you can see clearly what we are going to do to ensure a quality job. This process allows our clients to easily compare what we are offering to what other contractors are offering.

I recommend that you ask every painting contractor for copies of the manufacturer’s product specification sheets and an explanation on how he or she will perform the work according to those specifications.

4. Monetary Investment

I understand. Of course you need to know this.

Unfortunately, this is the key question many people base their decision on. Not all painting companies are created equal.

The old adage of getting what you pay for certainly applies to the purchase of any type of contracting services.

Obviously, consumers should not pay more than necessary to have their projects completed, but it’s not always wise to compare contractors solely on price.

Unfortunately, many painting contractors get into business on a shoestring budget and simply cannot afford to maintain the required insurances and other mandatory business requirements. This applies not only to liability insurance but also to workmen’s compensation coverage’s in the event their employees are injured on the job.

These business compliance costs are reflected in the paint contractors pricing. As a consumer, it’s in your best interest to work with a contractor who is in compliance with all insurance and local business requirements.

The risk is just too high to allow an uninsured – or underinsured-contractor to work on your property.

The turnover and failure rate for contractors is extremely high. More than 33% fail in the first 5 years. This places a major inconvenience on the consumer in the event there is a warranty concern. Working with a financially sound contractor goes a long way to aiding peace of mind, knowing your contractor will be around if you need him.

When comparing contractors spend some time reviewing exactly what each contractor has included in their proposals. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples, and most importantly, make sure that each of your potential contractors has specified that your work will be performed according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Professional painting contractors will be happy to provide you this assurance.

Base your buying decisions on the value you’ll receive, and consider all the aspects each contractor can bring to your project. Not all contractors offer the same level of expertise and professionalism.

Choosing a contractor solely on price will end up costing you more in the long run or maybe even in the short run.

Stephen’s Edge will meet every client in person; ask plenty of questions to make sure I understand your painting needs. I take all of that information and prepare a written estimate including our detailed preparation and painting procedure for a typical home. 204-229-9980

This information allows you to easily understand the cost of painting your home or business and to compare on an “apples to apples” basis our proposal with another proposal.

6 more questions to go over with any painting contractors you seriously consider:

Has your contractor put everything in writing for your review? Are the payment terms clearly spelled out in the work contract?

Stephen’s Edge: I don’t like surprises and I am sure you don’t either. Once we agree on the specifications of your painting project, your price is guaranteed for the work we specify.

If a deposit is required, how is that handled?

Stephen’s Edge: I’ve never liked the idea of accepting money before we start a job and in smaller jobs we typically don’t accept any money until it’s completed to your satisfaction — that’s a personal preference.

I think it reasonable to pay a deposit once the contractor has shown up with staff and materials and then to pay based on agreed progress. Typically that might be a payment upon arrival with staff and materials another payment based on having all the preparatory work done with the final payment being due upon satisfactory completion.

Unless you’re dealing in tens of thousands of dollars I wouldn’t want to deal with anyone who wants any money before they even start and show up on the job site. You don’t get paid in advance of your work why should contractors be any different

How will the work be reviewed after the completion to ensure your complete satisfaction?

Stephen’s Edge:Only after the homeowner has accepted that all work has been done correctly is our final payment due.

Can your contractor provide a list of local customer references?

Call the references provided to see how your contractor handled jobs similar to yours.

Stephen’s Edge: Our company binder which will be provided to you contains over 100 references. Over half of our work comes by referral. I believe that those two facts are the best evidence I can offer about the consistently great service we provide.

Are the warranties included in the written agreements? Does the contractor provide an extended product and work warranty? Most provincial laws require contractors warrant their work for at least one year. However, many contractors have extended work and product warranty programs. Two years is typical and reasonable. Manitoba winter is particularly hard on horizontal surfaces where moisture sits and melts and freezes.

Ask you contractor about his warranty options and request a written copy. Look for the small print. Does it sound like it’s trying to create a way out of fulfilling any warranty obligations? If the warranty goes to more than a couple of paragraphs I’d wonder why?

Like all relationships it has to be fair to all concerned. You can’t expect your whole house repainted because there’s a failure on the window. Equally most warranty issues can be fixed with a gallon of paint and a couple of hours of labour so a responsible contractor assuming it’s vaguely reasonable will fix it.

Stephen’s Edge: We provide a 2-year workmanship warranty on all of our projects. This is twice as long as most of our competitors.The training our employees receive gives us the confidence to offer such a strong warranty.

Mistakes do happen. We use over 1,000 gallons of paint every year and typically we have 0-1 warranty claim or call back every year. I’ve always liked the maxim of “mess up, fess up, fix up” and so should your contractor.

5. The KEY that ensures a great paint job at a fair price with no stress…Communication

Developing good communication and rapport with your contractor is probably the most important ingredient to achieving a project all parties will be happy with. It ought to be a respectful meeting of minds to achieve a common goal – a great paint job with minimum inconvenience and fuss!

Just as you want to know more about the contractor you are considering hiring, they will need to know what your wants and needs are before they can outline a work proposal.

Letting your contractor know the following information will help get your project off to a good start, and keep it on track after the work is started.

Here are some questions I always ask – this is like your frequently asked questions.

What is your overall goal for your project? Are you preparing your home for resale, or do you want to remain in your home for many years?

Cautionary note: If you’re preparing your home for resale and you just want the paint slapped on to make it look good it begs the question what happens if the home doesn’t sell and you end up with an inferior paint job and you know it because you asked for it! It is reasonable to ask for a different standard of completion (1 coat instead of two, no feathering or nominal hole filling) but no professional contractor will knowingly do a job, which they know will fail

What is your time frame to get your project started? A reasonable practice is for the contractor to quote in number of dry days or workdays required to complete existing work on the books before they can start your job.

How soon did you expect your job to be completed? Unfortunately some contractors will take on too many jobs and then spend a few hours on each in a futile attempt to try and keep everyone happy. Typically it ends up with everyone unhappy.

If it’s an exterior job and the weather turns inclement it’s reasonable for the contractor to temporarily turn his efforts to inside work and then return in short order. Ask what their policy is and for how long they might be away in the event of poor weather.You might want to ask if once they start the job they continue until the job is complete.

Have you established a budget for your project? Will an estimate amount above your initial budget prevent you from proceeding with your work?

Have you had other projects completed by professional contractors? How did it turn out?

Do you have specific needs concerning daily work schedules? It might be a daily sweep up or you want the contractor to complete the day’s work before the kids come home or no power tools before 9 AM.

What information will you want to have from your contractor as your work progresses?

In general, spending a little time getting to know your contractor and explaining your needs will go a long way in helping your contractor provide you the service you deserve.

Painting contractors are business owners who want to develop a reputation for providing their customers outstanding service. Since most painting contractors relish the opportunity to get referrals made by satisfied customers, they have a vested interest in making sure you are 100% satisfied. Reputation is very important.

Stephen’s Edge: I think you can tell from the information that I have provided on my website that I take great pride in completed projects that make my customers happy and they in turn refer me to friends, family and business contacts. 204-229-9980

One of my primary goals on my website is to let you know we operate in a straightforward manner. Ask me a questions and I will give you the answer without dodging.

I will give you the best advice and let you decide if we are the right painting contractor for you. We are the right choice for many people.

Many folks have called us after and lamented not hiring us in the first place. We appreciate that too but would prefer that you choose us first so you have no regrets.

Just for the record – I answer most calls and when I don’t I almost always call back within 2 hours. My phone is on 12 hours a day, 6 days a week (I do have a life!).

We provide realistic start and finish dates and we are motivated to complete your project as that is the only way we get paid.

If that all sounds right to you, please call me to set up an initial visit.

Unforeseen Items – Change Orders – Most contractors especially the low bidders will never bring this up.

Another important item to discuss with your contractor is how any unforeseen work conditions will be handled after the work is underway. This isn’t to suggest that every job will have unforeseen work conditions, but in case something comes up it’s a good idea to know how you and your contractor will handle them.

A typical example: During the surface preparation it’s discovered that some siding has rotted out and needs replacing. The siding appeared to be in acceptable condition when the work proposal was being written, but now it’s obvious that the siding needs replaced.

Had this been known beforehand, the contractor would have included it in the work proposal. Now that the job is underway a “Change Order” is written for the additional work and approved by the homeowner.

Stephen’s Edge: Determining how any additional work items will be handled BEFORE work begins will give both the consumer and contractor peace of mind, and will ensure the needed work is completed to the building owners satisfaction

Most contractors will build in an amount to cover extras, as there are invariably items that can’t be seen or appreciated until work has started. The contractor no more wants to have to ask for more money than you want to pay it.

On the other hand there are companies that offer very low rates example $59.99 per room. This is a perfectly legal practice and a legitimate marketing strategy. Unfortunately, with that being said all the things you’d think you get as part of the service are extra.

I give you my word if you only end up paying $99.99 per room for a great paint job I’ll eat my paint brushes.

Summary
As you can see, there is far more to achieving a top quality paint job than merely putting paint on your walls or siding. Taking time to ask questions of each potential contractor – before you choose one – will go a long way to getting your project off to a good start, and ending with your satisfaction.

Making an informed decision in choosing your contractor comes down to asking lots of questions and comparing each potential contractor on the experience and professionalism he or she can bring to your painting project. 204-229-9980

See What We Can Do For You!

Contact Us

Address

1110 Salter St.
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R2V 2E9

Phone

204-229-9980