I disagree with your criteria to hire a painter. A prompt returned call is nice but does not indicate the quality or fairness of the painter. As far as a written estimate, that should be more of a qualifier for the bid versus an evaluation criterion. I'm not sure one would have favorable results by hiring a painter on this basis. As far as the bidding process, change orders should ONLY be used if the customer requests additional scope (PMP 101). Angie's list should consider asking reviewers if/how much they were told to pay compared with the estimate. Unfortunately, there are a lot of contractors that are unethical and need to be accountable.
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• One room or the whole house? Applying one coat in one room is a reasonable DIY Saturday project (especially if you have help and beer). Multiply the time spent moving furniture, prepping walls and sanding old trim by the number of rooms in the house, and you might want to hire real help. It's the same outside. You can probably tackle one shady garage wall that needs a little scraping and sanding plus a coat of paint, but covering all surfaces of the house is usually best left to a pro. 

Our nineteen year old home needed a new paint job. We didn't know which company to choose. After reading many reviews about painters in Salem, we chose to go with Jim at Your Home Painting. We are sure glad we did! First of all, you will be hard pressed to find a nicer and more honest person than Jim. Second, he is VERY skilled in his craft. Our home looks BEAUTIFUL! The quality of the paint job is second to none. Jim also provided a color consultant. This is something that we would never have thought of. We had Shannon from Shannon Campbell Designs out to our home, and we went with colors that again, we would have never thought of. Our home colors are beautiful, and we have NEVER seen out exact color combo! Trust me, we spent literally months looking at homes, websites, etc to choose our colors. Jim and his crew pressure washed, prepped, and painted the house quickly. They left NO mess. Our painted decks were a total mess. They were so ugly that we used to close the slider door blinds when guests came over. Jim explained the correct paint to use so the deck could "breathe" and guaranteed that the decks paint won't peel again. Speaking of guarantees: Jim will come out annually for three years to inspect the paint, make sure all is well, and that we are happy. And finally, Jim told us that the paint job didn't require as much time to paint and prep it, so Jim cut the price of the job by $700.00! He could have kept the money and we still would have been thrilled. We were beside ourselves with Jim's honesty. This type of customer service is sorely lacking in our society. Bottom line: If your house needs paint, search no further. Call Jim and your problem is solved! Stewart & Christine West Salem 2017 UPDATE: Jim stopped by every year as promised. He inspected the entire exterior of our house and made sure that there were no problems whatsoever. The house still looks freshly painted three years later. Thanks Jim!


Safest way to ensure that everything is fair is to get it ALL in writing , signed by both parties. Specify each item that needs repair. Also, BUY the paint YOURSELF. That way, there is no incentive to water it down, and you KNOW that you are getting the grade/quality you actually purchased. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish; if you are paying to hire a painter, buy the best paint that you can afford, to ensure maximum life of this home improvement.
First off all clients want a "deal" As a painting contractor for 38 years I can tell you that residential-commercial-industrial clients (and their needs are all diffrent. It seems this discussion mostly concerns residential repaints,so here goes--first off ALWAYS get a personal referance from a friend or co-worker. Always get an itemized contract that specifies the prep,color, number of coats, and specifics on payment. Remember you want to set up a relationship with the painting contractor of your choice. Bond, license and insurance are required to get a contractors license and are readily available online at your state Labor and Industries website. Second-- find someone you trust. He or his crew will probably be left alone in your home for most of the time. I always tell my clients that I wont bring someone to their home I wouldnt have in mine. Third--$$ Dont ever pay up front always insist on progress draws if the project is 2 or 3 phases remember If a contractor wants $3000 to do the job and you give him half up front he will be working for $1500. It WILL affect the quality of the product. In 38 years of business I have never taken a deposit and have never not been paid in full remember do what you said you would do for exactly what you said it would cost and there will be no problems with getting paid. one last reminder to clients you are also being evaluated when you interview a contractor. He is sizing you up as well. If he thinks you are a bit sketchy the the price will go up or he wont take the job at all. I have turned down some jobs that looked very profitable on the surface that turned out not to be so.(word gets around fast in the small painting community) Good Luck to clients and contractors
OF the different type of customers there are at least two: cheap charley's and people who want great results. I agree the need for wall repair is critical to the end results. Most critical is for the customer to be told ahead that the walls are going to need exactly what is needed. This means the contractor must look, touch, examine the walls for defects and needed work. I've been a building manager for 40 years and seen a few paint jobs. Typically a contractor does a lot of talking about how expert he is, but the guys who walk through with note pads, iPads, examine, measure, point things out, explain and recommend are the ones I will deal with. It confirms if they know what the business. Nobody likes the workers to show up and when you talk about the job they're going to do they know nothing but they we were told to be here. Their boss who bid the job doesn't supervise - a big no no around here. Nobody likes surprises or worse, at the end of a job that's not right getting a bunch of little kid excuses. Contractors that do not like the customer to be around looking at the progress don't get the job.
I hired this person because he was listed on Angie's List. This man claimed he took and passed his contractor's license test after he signed me up for a project (Feb.) that included fixing cracks, painting, repairing a gate, installing a screen door, etc. He said he would charge me the original "handyman" prices. He postponed the start date, brought one worker who fixed a few cracks, repainted the gate terribly, but ruined a dining room ceiling when his worker used silicone in a tube instead of the expansion tape, spray ceiling covering, and paint I had purchased saying this silicone was "better". Then they said they would have to paint the whole ceiling and charge extra. They left holes in the walls and did a sloppy paint job in several places. I just paid them to get them out of my home as I felt intimidated as a senior citizen who is handicapped. I will try to have the main guy come back when I let him know what I need redone. Don't know if he will come back without charging me more. 

House Painter Contractor

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