I was attracted to Wow because they offered painting with a large crew to get the work done quickly. 3 people came to do the estimate, they were training that day. We walked around the house and discussed the walls that we had removed wallpaper, the walls that had chair rails that I was taking down and all the rooms that we needed to be painted. The estimate we were given was ~$5700.00. With the understanding that it would take 2 complete days and that we'd be able to sleep at home during the work. The work days were scheduled for about 10 days after the estimate. I had to email 'Paul' the general manager with my colour choice, and received no confirmation of the colour. So I emailed again to confirm the work dates and that he received my colour choice. I got a reply confirming the work dates with no mention of the colour.
I emptied all the furniture and removed all artwork for the day. The crew arrived promptly at 8am, that was when I realized that all Wow does is sub-contracts painters to create a large crew, I was surprised about as during the estimate they spoke as if the crew was their own guys. The crew were wonderful, they were courteous and friendly and worked their butts off for us. But, Paul, who arrived after many of the crew, had to run out to get wall fill to finish the chair rail wall prep, sand paper, and plastic sheets to cover our furniture. He seemed put out that the guys were going to have to do the wall prep......bit we had discussed this during the estimate. The painters weren't upset about this, but Paul was, and it was not considered in the estimate. Then Paul told me that 2 rooms had been left off the estimate, and I did not notice that at the time. I told him I needed those rooms painted, he accommodated. Then there was an issue regarding the walls that had wallpaper removed. The painter immediately recognized that there was going to be an issue covering the walls. Paul told me that the walls would all have to be sanded..the painters stepped in and said no, we just need a tinted primer to cover these walls. Paul had no clue about what action to take, and I was surprised that this wasn't considered in the estimate. Paul had to run out and procure the required paint and the boys went to town, the walls turned out great. As for spending the night at home.....it was a nonstart. It smelled bad, was so dusty and everything was still covered up with plastic...we ended up paying for a hotel room. This expense was a surprise as we were told this would not be the case. Finally was the cleanup. They used a shop vac to clean which was woefully inadequate, they should've used the house vac. The furniture was covered in a heavy layer of dust due to the chair rail repairs and lack of good cover sheets. I spent the following 3 days cleaning and washing floors and furniture.
So, all in all, the final job was very good, the crew were fantastic. The weakness was with the original estimate. I'd much rather have them under promise and over deliver than the opposite, which is what happened. I also found Paul to be condescending and aloof. This was likely a cultural difference, but he intimidated me, which I didn't like. I also was very uncomfortable with having him sitting in his car for 2 days in front of my house while the painters painted...that was just creepy. His apparent lack of knowledge about painting in general devalued the whole Wow experience. Next time I'd hire one of the independant contractors in a heartbeat and let them have 4 days to do the job, and skip the Wow guys. I'm pretty sure we'd have fewer surprises and a more accurate estimate. Sorry guys