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
Stacee, I agree with you completely, from adding water to latex paint to taking whites from job to job. This article makes all painters look like scam artists. You get what you pay for people! There is no denying that there are scammers out there but in my experience, most painters are under paid any ways so if you want a good paint job, you are going to pay for it. If you just want a new color on your walls real quick, and that is what you pay for then that's what you pay for people. Most painters get the crap end of the stick and are left with making an entire house look good when it took a lot more than a painter to build the house in the first place. Good painters do not get enough credit. They are not all scammers who are cutting corners!

The article and comments were great information to have before deciding how to go about getting a painting job done. I think the important point is that there are several key choices (who to do the work; color, sheen, quality, of paint; how many coats; amount of prep/repairs to be done and by whom, how long the job will take, provisions for changes, how detailed the contract needs to be; advanced deposit/progress payments/final payment; final inspection, etc.) that need to be made and it requires advanced research and planning in order to become well enough informed to make the right choices. Then it requires spending sufficient time to check materials and inspect the quality of the work while it is on-going, raher than waiting to do it all at the end. President Reagan's philosophy of "Trust, but verify." applies.
We paint all types of projects — interior and exterior residential, commercial, public, and industrial buildings. Our expert painters are dedicated to providing our clients with prompt, professional, quality work. For over 30 years, we have provided friendly service at affordable rates. Our goal at House Painting Inc. is to instill confidence in our ability to meet all your expectations so that you know you are always our number one focus.

As an owners rep and former estimator for a gc i do expect to pay a reasonable deposit say 10 percent and then weekly progress payments. I am asking the painter to book his time and to do the work on my schedule. Most painting companies are not huge operations they will pay their staff weekly. For most repaints i ask for one tinted primer coat and one finish coat for 100 percent coverage. New work gets one tinted primer and two finish coats for 100 percent coverage. The cost of the paint is not really that different for colors or finish. Brands like european fine paint and C2 are more expensive than Ben Moore and sometimes more difficult to roll based on their consistency. Some home depot brands are as expensive as the Ben Moore and of equal quality others aren't. Red paints are notorious for number of coats required and special priming requirements.


I was taught to paint by a professional and when estimating the amount of paint needed, I always allow for a second coat just to make sure of coverage. We interviewed a painter who tried to tell me I bought poor quality paint without knowing where I purchased it, and stated he would have to buy all new paint. He had not seen the cans and was just guessing so I asked him where I should buy paint from now on. It was the same place I had purchased my paint and he wanted to charge me an extra 20 a gallon more than what I paid for. Needless to say, I have interviewed numerous painters and they are not all honest.
FIRST: Unless you can stay in business painting 1 bedroom at a time for $500-$1000, which you can't, then you will be taking on several thousand dollar contracts that require thousands in Labor and Materials to fulfill the order. Multiply that by 3-4 jobs at one time or in our case 15-20 jobs at a time, YOU NEED TO TAKE DEPOSITS!!! It is horrible business not to take deposits. There are many jobs where its not possible to get a deposit and that is built into or pricing accordingly. If we are not getting a deposit, there is a finance charge built in, contractors are not banks. If you don't have a good feeling about a deposit, your hiring the WRONG CONTRACTOR. Hire people you know or well established businesses.
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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