Painting experience all it’s “cracked up” to be

Painting experience all it’s “cracked up” to be

Editor’s note: The writer’s opinions in this story are her own.

One day over the winter, I thought my house was falling apart. Literally.

After living in my end-unit townhome for more than 10 years, with 20-foot vaulted ceilings and a balcony-style loft, I glanced at a wall upstairs to see a deep L-shaped crevice from ceiling to mid wall. From there, my eyes wandered to discover lots of these cracks, smaller but growing, in corners and along ceiling seams. A foundation check by a contractor revealed all was well there, but how would I fix the unsightly breaks when I could barely reach the ceiling with a telescopic dust mop?

I found answers to why my house was cracking from an unlikely source – the professional painters at CertaPro Painters of Northwest Indiana.

I would have expected they could school me on color pallets and paint quality. Yet by the time they left the 1 ½ day job at my house, I knew a lot more about the structure of my home than anyone ever bothered to teach me.

But let’s back up.

I like a good deal. That means different things to different people. Price point is important, but I only find value in a well-rounded job – quality work, done by reliable people, who will leave my home in better shape than when they walked in.

I attempted to get three estimates to patch and paint several walls in my home’s interior, including the kitchen, loft, and those vaulted ceilings I mentioned.

The first two never showed up.

CertaPro Painters of Northwest Indiana did.

“I almost wish the other two had shown up,” said John Jordan, President of CertaPro Painters of Northwest Indiana. “We have to be competitive, but our goal is to deliver value. I want to earn business where a customer has had 2 to 3 estimates, has been educated, and then they select the company that best meets their overall needs. Nobody should have to pick a company solely based on whether they bothered to show up.”

He’s right. But one thing I’ve found is that organizations with a service process in place are probably going to be the ones to win my business anyway, because I simply don’t have time for a the cheaper deal if the job isn’t going to get done in a professional and timely manner, and on budget.

Professional painter mixing drywall mud

“The process and our secret sauce is called the Certainty Service System,” Jordan said. “From the initial contact throughout the project completion, we developed these processes in order to create an expectation for everyone on our team to follow both in the office and the field.”

I couldn’t help but wonder – were the other two painters who were supposed to give me an estimate good, but just lacking in process? I’ll never know.

What I do know is that within hours of submitting an online request at for an in-home estimate, I had a response.

Given the current pandemic, and while CertaPro Painters of Northwest Indiana is named an essential service, I was given the opportunity to have a remote estimate via video as well. The company had already pivoted and was offering a number of reassurances and potential customer benefits.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact to not only small businesses worldwide and in the U.S., but right here in Northwest Indiana,” Jordan said.  “We are doing our best to manage this and support our customers and our team.”

You can find a full list of their offerings at the end of this story.

Due to the complexity of the patchwork I needed at my home and to the fact that I was healthy, as was the salesperson who would do my in-home estimate, I chose the in-home estimate.

Dan Tirpak, Residential Sales Associate at CertaPro, arrived on time, cleaned his hands before entering my home, put disposable booties on his shoes, and we kept a safe distance as he efficiently explained the scope of the project. Before he left, I had signed the estimate and by the next day, I had an email waiting for me to schedule the job.

The first interaction, for me, is what I call my “gut feeling instinct.”

I had someone provide estimates for new floors not too long ago, and while the first estimate came in lower, it just didn’t… feel right.

I’m a confident buyer who wants excellent service. I give grace where it’s due, and I am forgiving of some mistakes, but in general, I expect basic expectations to be met and am delighted when they are exceeded.

Jordan said he thinks CertaPro Painters of Northwest Indiana may have been the right choice for me because they concentrate on providing a value-based estimate, rather than simply a price-based one.

“Our company is built on people and reinforced by strong processes. We require Residential Sales Associate (RSA) training that we call the 10+1 sales process. The training for this role includes an opportunity for in-person training provided by CertaPro Painters corporate representatives, and then is followed by a 90-day orientation program that is facilitated by the RSA’s direct supervisor.”

Basically, Tirpak knew what he was talking about, answered all my questions, and even answered ones I didn’t know I had, before providing me with an estimate within my budget.

The crew of three – Rob, Dan, and Kevin – showed up on time. Before they began working, Rob provided me with the full scope of what to expect that day. Every surface was covered with drop cloth or plastic, unless it was getting patched or painted. The team moved furniture for me and always asked questions along the way.

Professional painter patching window sill

This takes me back to the beginning, when I happened to ask Rob about why the cracks were so huge in the walls.

“It could be a variety of reasons,” he said. “Some builders don’t use the strongest reinforcements in the right places, and wind and normal structure movement over time can cause the cracks to form. Other times, it could be an insulation problem.”

Professional painter patching wall

This was more than the general contractor told me and gave me food for thought: time to have the insulation checked, at minimum.

During their work, the three professional painters maintained proper distances from each other and me, cleaned their hands constantly, disinfected handles and surfaces, and kept me updated on every move.

Professional painter hanging drop cloth and plastic

I watched as they safely set up and spotted each other on ladders and scaffolding, and not a single one of my questions was a bother.

Living room furniture covered for painting. Scaffolding for painting.

Plus, they were just nice people; And that’s important to me. I need to feel safe in my home, and I need to know that the professionals here pass that “gut-feeling instinct” check. They did.

After my final walkthrough was done, I had bright new surfaces, the work was impeccable, and they left the place cleaner than when they arrived. They also gave me the leftover paint in case I ever want to do touchups in the future.

It was like a fairy had visited and left me a fresh, new house.

Bright kitchen. Freshly painted kitchen.

In the end, I probably could have waited for another, perhaps less expensive painter to provide me an estimate. But I was satisfied with a licensed, bonded, professional company who set expectations and then exceeded them. I know that’s not always easy, so that’s why I took the time to write about it.

Freshly painted living room

If you’re a homeowner or a business owner and need inside or outside painting done, please spend the time to get a value-based estimate and don’t make price your only deciding factor. CertaPro Painters of Northwest Indiana makes it easy.

CertaPro Painters of Northwest Indiana COVID-19 Offers

John Jordan, President of CertaPro Painters of Northwest Indiana, said his company has successfully pivoted to provide the best possible essential services to the residents and businesses during this time. Offers include:

  • Performing remote estimates to customers that would prefer a “contactless” estimate experience.
  • Following CDC guidelines with regard to social distancing, cleaning frequently-touched surfaces and washing hands frequently
  • Prioritizing projects that allow for adherence to these guidelines, for example:
    • Working in empty homes while remodeling or during move-ins/moveouts.
    • Working on rental properties that are vacant.
    • Working on commercial properties that have less personnel in due to work-at-home or remote working capabilities.
  • In order to assist customers during these difficult times they have also implemented some new policies
    • They have waived the 2.5% transaction processing fee to credit card payment until further notice.
    • While they have always had a 12 month same as cash payment EZ Pay option, they have added an 18 month same as cash payment option, through a third party partner Enerbank USA.