A fellow (actually lives in the same neighborhood) by the name of Wayne Hickey (843-655-0366) painted the ceilings and most of the walls of our house in February 2017. He got paint all over my light fixtures, all over my trim around the doors, and had visible lap marks everywhere on the walls. He came back and rectified some of the problems, but not all, as I have noticed as I have had time to look more carefully at the work he and his assistant did. His assistant had no idea (not a clue) how to roll paint on a wall or ceiling. Some places were not covered. He said he would pull nails for pictures and then re-insert the nails exactly where they were. This he did not do as he promised. He painted over the nails. His assistant had no idea how to use a paint roller. I have painted all my life, and would have done this work myself, but I just had a full knee replacement and the other knee is in bad shape. I just could not do the work. Wayne is a pleasant and congenial individual, but he can not cut in a ceiling or wall to my satisfaction - not even close. He should have a putty knife and wet cloth with him all the time to correct any paint that might get applied where it shouldn't. That is something I always did as a painter. I would not recommend Wayne to paint anybody's home.
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.
When coverage is difficult to estimate, add more rather than less when doing DIY wall painting. You can always pour the leftover back into cans. For large jobs, use the bucket and a roller screen rather than a roller tray. It’s much faster to load your roller with the screen than to use a roller pan. Simply dunk the roller into the paint bucket, then roll it along the screen until it stops dripping.
If your home was built before 1979, the paint might contain lead, which is extremely hazardous to children age 6 and younger. Call your local public health department for information on how to check for lead and handle lead paint safely. For a free booklet on dealing with lead paint, contact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at www.epa.gov/lead.
Did you even read the article? It was specifying UNSCRUPULOUS painters! And, by the way, the photo at the top was not identified at all. How would anyone know whether it was done by a homeowner or not? Also did you ever stop to think that if a consumer has the knowlege to spot a dishonest contractor then by default he also has the knowlege to identify an honest one as well? And, pardon me, but just because you've never seen something has absolutely nothing to do with whether it has actually happened to someone else. Why would any honest business person be so defensive about the publishing of such useful information? If any painters/painting contractors object to a consumer having this kind of information maybe they are the dishonest ones!