You can never predict what you may encounter when you enter a customer's home. Not all clients will hire a professional painter for an empty house – some may just want to change up the interior design of a room or two.
You'll mostly likely encounter children or pets as a professional painter, so here are some tips on best practices.
Young children or pets
You have the responsibility to do your job efficiently, and exercise your better judgement as to what may prevent you from doing so. Sometimes there may be young children or animals milling around, possibly even fascinated by you and your work.
This will influence the way you conduct your job, and while you should always be aware of possible hazards, you'll need to implement even more caution to your job. This involves setting up equipment, climbing ladders and keeping in mind where you leave your tools.
Don't mix paint in cups as they may be mistaken as drinks by young children. Leave any potentially hazardous tools or unused paint out of reach of any small beings, especially when you have your back turned or have to return to your van for more supplies. It'll be extremely embarrassing to tell your client that there is a paint trail of animal footprints throughout the house!
If they are hindering you from working effectively, don't hesitate to let your customer know. Parents would much rather their children and pets be safe than harmed or splattered in paint.
Where possible ask the homeowner to keep pets and children busy in other areas, so you can carry on with the job unhindered. If that's not an option, you may be able to enlist children as 'helpers' and give them a job to do (perhaps as 'quality control') that will enable them to watch what you are doing without causing a potential trip or spill risk.
The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ reports that around 1 in 9 adults have asthma. There are many triggers, one of which may be fumes. It's not required that you ask about allergies, but it will prove that you're a professional who goes the extra mile.
Safety around the home
Make sure surfaces are prepared properly and any mould is treated, not just painted over. Ensure there is adequate ventilation and use low or VOC-free paints to avoid a buildup of solvents. A Swedish study found that exposure to VOCs indoors increases the risks for developing asthma in pre-school aged children, so something as simple as installing a small fan while you work and ensuring adequate ventilation will show your clients that you care for their health and wellbeing as well as help the paint dry.
Painting attention to details will help you to establish a good reputation for your business.