To find recommended painters and decorators in your area, don’t just look at the ratings. Finding a local trader who has good reviews for a similar job ( wallpapering or external work, for example) will reassure you that they’re right for your project.

Though genuine cancellations do happen from time to time, any trader who says they can start work the next day should be hired with caution. Similarly, painters and decorators who offer cash deals or use other high pressure sales techniques are best avoided.

Ask your prospective decorator whether they use subcontractors as membership of professional organisations, for example, does not usually extend to subcontracting.

Ask for a survey

Good decorators will rarely give you a quote or agree to undertake any work without first visiting your property. Call or email three recommended traders with a brief outline of what you’re trying to achieve and rough measurements. They’re the experts and will be able to advise on the best options once they’ve seen the condition of your home and discussed your budget and preferences.

Ask a decorator whether a slightly more expensive approach, such as high quality paint, might result in a better finish or last longer. The initial outlay might be marginally more but it could end up being better value for money.

Get written quotes

Always get quotes in writing. Usually these will be accurate, but wallpaper removal can be an exception. Most traders will give you a quote based on an assumption that there is one layer of wallpaper and that the walls underneath are sound. If they find something unexpected, they might reasonably charge more.

Don’t forget to check that there are no hidden charges, such as for parking or working at weekends, before you agree to any work.


Most painting and decorating jobs are paid for when the work is completed and accepted. For large jobs, such as those that take more than a fortnight, your decorator might ask for an instalment upfront. Costly or unique materials, such as specially mixed paints, may also be billed in advance.

Once the work is finished, carefully examine everything and deal with any snagging before making or completing payment.



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