When we find ourselves bidding against another painting company operating in Greater Boston we typically inform the prospective client that our pricing will likely be higher, if not substantially higher. This prompts the immediate rejoinder “why?”

Great question! Our industry is an unusual one – it lacks licensing or certification standards like plumbers and electricians – hence it has very low barriers to entry – anyone can call themselves a painter or painting company.

At the very low end of the pricing spectrum, you may find a company paying their workers off the books and so avoiding payroll taxes and worker’s compensation insurance. You’ll also likely find inexperience that leads to inaccurate estimating of a project – where we see a 500 hour project, the newer or inexperienced painter may see a 300 hour project. This is especially true when projects are made more complicated by the presence of lead paint, extensive paint failure, and productivity issues related to building height or accessibility issues.

At the middle of the pricing spectrum, you may encounter more legitimate companies paying taxes, carrying appropriate insurance but lacking overhead. The owner may still work with the tools and run her or his business from a single vehicle and via a portable office.

At the upper end, you’ll find more established companies with commensurate overhead – office space, shop space, lettered vehicles, storage yards for large pieces of equipment – you’ll also find painters enjoying benefits like health insurance, vacation and sick pay; we even offer bereavement and paternity pay for those significant life events.

These more established outfits typically also offer a deeper bench – more experienced painters offering a wider array of skills – light carpentry, plaster repairs, wallcovering installation, faux finishes. You’ll also typically enjoy a more professional relationship – high levels of communication from a customer-facing company, with greater staffing and scheduling flexibility.

Here at Catchlight Painting, we definitely fall into the higher price spectrum, but offer no apology – we pay living wages and see our painters as integral and critical to our mission – to offer our customers ‘beautiful, lasting results.’

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