Is there anyone messier than a painter? They can’t hide what they do. It’s so hard to be neat when applying a drippy liquid on a vertical surface or a horizontal surface at the top of a room, so you can’t judge them too harshly… unless it’s your apartment they’re working in!
Many of us contract out our paint, as it is a one “t” away from being a pain. And many of us have gone through several painters trying to find the right person. That’s part of the first secret to your painting vendor relationship: find the right one. Ask your prospective painter to do a test apartment for you (and pay them for it). If it’s not perfect, then you know that the rest of the under pressure, every day, got-to-get-ten-turns-done apartments are going to be even messier. If they don’t impress you with the first paint, move on.
The second part of finding a painting vendor is to get to know them as people. Just like an employee, you need to know what motivates your painter. My painter enjoys bowling and the only vacation he takes is to a bowling tournament. He’s been to Florida and Colorado recently. He lives in the neighborhood I grew up in, and remembers the mean old dog that lived on the corner. When he comes in the office and I’m there, I always visit for a minute, instead of just handing him keys and a list. Most painters have pride in the quality of their work, and they do strive for great results, but having the personal relationship with your painter and getting to know him, gives him an extra level of obligation to you. No one wants to let down someone who is nice to them.
Patience is the final component for developing a relationship with your painter. Walking your units is a must, with your painter in tow, so you can point out the missed walls and paint where it shouldn’t be. Be kind. Sometimes when you are looking at a white wall you are painting white, it becomes difficult to see what you’ve completed. Also, walk them quickly after they are done so they are fresh in the memory. Don't wait until move in and then find issues.
These same three steps can apply to hiring a housekeeping company or housekeeper, a flooring company or any other vendor you allow to work in your community. Take the time to test them, get to know them, and show them your expectations, and you will have a better community for it.
As for the title of this blog- if you aren't aware you will be soon and welcome to property management. :) Painting sprinkler heads is an expensive no-no and you should make sure your painter has signed off on being responsible for them. They can easily apply little cups to prevent the overspray from getting on the sprinkler head. If it does, the sprinkler head is "dead" and you will have to pay to replace it. In some older systems, that means emptying the entire system from the whole building to get to that one itty-bitty head. It's such a big, preventable pain in the neck. Pro-tip don't let painters tell you it's ok to pour any paint down the drain and for the love of your housekeeper, ask them to clean their brushes out in a shop sink.