Prep. For new work the painter accepts the finish done by the drywall or plaster and once he accepts the work and starts painting he owns any wall repairs. Existing work is a different thing. I take a high intensity light and circle the kinds of defects with chalk so we are all in agreement before they start. Sometimes this results in a higher price and we have to compromise on how much to do...
Deciding which paint to use has gotten much easier now that acrylic latexes have pushed oil-based paints almost to extinction. The acrylics offer superior performance (they don't harden with age, the way oils do, so they move and breathe without blistering), they don't mildew as readily, and they emit fewer VOCs, so they comply with new air-quality regulations. They also work over both oil- and water-based primers.
My painter franchisee, who I got from Angie's List, must have found some shmucks on the corner to paint my house. I specifically said I wanted stain. First my house was painted the wrong color, Then it was painted with LATEX paint- not stain. Estimates to 'undo' the damage is around $10,000 and its not a guarantee that it will work. The work is at best amateurish. Many underpainted or not painted spots, drips, etc. They did the entire outside (scraping?, priming? caulking?, painting), cleaned up and left within the time I left for work and came home. There were thee of them (my neighbor told me) This was two years ago and I am still upset. Can't be fixed.
Picking exterior house paint colors is a lot different than picking a color for a shirt or a car.  It may help to drive around to observe colors that other homeowners have combined on homes that are of similar size and design as yours.  There are also online resources that provide homeowners with the ability to create virtual makeovers of their home by combining colors together through their software programs as well.
When hiring a contractor it is always best to hire one who is personally referred to you by someone you trust. Hiring through ads or phone book is hit and miss. Check with your local paints stores, they know the good guys from the bottom feeders. Go to the stores that sell the high quality paints like Benjamin Moore(nonpareil), Pittsburg, Sherwin Williams or Glidden. Don't go the the big box stores for referrals, the people there don't know squat!
the price can always be adjusted based on on or off season, amount of colors to be used. A job like this can be done in 2 days and much quicker with a helper. I charge a bit more than others just because its quality work done professionally. Theres others that charge more than this just because they can on the on season and most people dont get a 2nd bid... 

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.
Consider purchasing supplies personally to save money. Ask the painter for a bid that separates labor and materials. Then explain that you'll purchase the materials and ask for a list of exactly what will be needed to complete the job. Caulking, for example, is an extra supply commonly used to fill any cracks or damaged areas in your walls -- and one that might be overlooked in an incomplete list.
Inspect the surface area for holes, cracks or other problems and apply acrylic caulk to fill them in. Use a putty knife to smooth out the caulk and remove any excess to prevent bumps. For particularly thin or narrow crevices, you may have to use your finger to smooth out the caulk. Caulk contracts and shrinks, so apply a second layer once it's dried.
The only time it's acceptable to mix water in the paint is when you're using a deep or ultra deep base paint to reduce its stickiness, which is rare with new paint technology. Dark primary colors are composed almost entirely of tint that makes it very hard to work with without adding water. (You never use a sprayer and need to thin paint.?) If i was still in the industry I'd take the time to make a better article than this. Take this for a grain of slat. Use a reputable painter or someone you know you can trust or has been referred to you by someone you trust. I wouldn't hire anyone I had to watch like a hawk to make sure they're not screwing me.

Historically, the painter was responsible for the mixing of the paint; keeping a ready supply of pigments, oils, thinners and driers. The painter would use his experience to determine a suitable mixture depending on the nature of the job. In modern times, the painter is primarily responsible for preparation of the surface to be painted, such as patching holes in drywall, using masking tape and other protection on surfaces not to be painted, applying the paint and then cleaning up.[2]


It is often necessary to have a rental property painted -- whether it's to make it your own before you move in or to clean it up for someone new when you move out. Some buildings and landlords have pre-selected painters, while others will contract companies to paint on an as-needed basis. If your landlord or building doesn't have a pre-selected painter, see if you may be allowed to paint the walls yourself. If you're moving in and selecting a non-neutral color, understand that your landlord may require you to repaint the walls the original color when you move out -- and ensure that you're ready to make that investment down the road.
Also prime the ends of adjoining boards. This step pays off by slowing the moisture penetration that can lead to peeling at the joints. If the new siding is redwood or cedar, buy a special “stainblocking” primer. Both of these woods contain natural chemicals (tannins) that can bleed through paint, causing brownish stains. A stain-blocking primer will seal in the tannins.
When you refinish your existing cabinet doors, you get a whole new look without the astronomical costs normally associated with a kitchen remodel. It’s a much smarter way to update your space, especially if your cabinets are still in good condition. It doesn’t make sense to throw out perfectly good materials, just because you’re tired of the color.
I had florida home painters paint my tri level. Joe is a nice guy and owner who quoted the job. He was very helpful and gave us a paint sample book to choose from. He help to suggest colors for the patio floors which was a nice compliment to the color of the house.  His crew was fast and clean during the painting process. They used quality sherwin Williams paint the whole experience was great i would recommend checking them out for a quote
A thorough scrubbing is a must before painting any exterior surface. It removes the dirt and broken-down paint residues that keep fresh coats from adhering and gets rid of mildew that grows on paint in all but the most arid climates. Most contractors clean with pressure washers, but in the hands of someone unfamiliar with the equipment, these can gouge wood, shatter glass, and drive water behind siding and trim. Using a hose, a pump sprayer, and a scrub brush is slower but safer, and just as effective.
My wife and I just painted the interior of our house with about 6-8 gallons, of $30+ per gallon (meaning the good stuff, non-diluted) with absolutely fantastic results. However we just paid an average of $5 per gallon. Reason...all big box stores have paint, set aside, that has been mixed but not picked up by the customer. They need to sell it quick and if you're not in a hurry (you know well in advance that a room or two need painting and it's not like the roof leaking and needs an immediate fix) you can go to each store when you need other supplies or food, like Walmart (when convenient, driving 20 miles to each is not worth it) and over the course of a month or two, pick out some very nice colors of quality paint. We found perfect colors...not saying they were our first choice but when we opened the can, very nice and some even better than our original picks. Cost to paint the entire house was about $100, with all materials included, period. We had it on the market for a few months to sell, didn't sell, painted the rooms, got 2 offers the day after we finished, took the best one and never looked back.

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 have a Home Improvement/Painting business, and Angie's List always advertises that that everyone is out to get them. Of course there are people who try to take advantage of homeowners My reputation and repeat business is based on word of mouth. Shoddy work is always a way to get put out of business quick. As far as strictly painting, preparation is a big factor in getting a quality paint job. If you don't prepare the surfaces you are painting you are spinning your wheels, and wasting money, no matter what paint you use. Getting a deposit from a customer is beneficial, but not always necessary. Sometimes it is a godsend, when you get stuck by the customer, which has happened to me more than once
I made the HUGE mistake of hiring Certa Pro to do several interior rooms of my house, and remove popcorn ceiling in a bathroom. What a nightmare! They didn't paint any door jams, they broke a cedar window sill-and didn't bother telling me, they gouged a hardwood floor, they never sealed the room that had the popcorn removed--causing white powder to be in all rooms of a 2 story home. I can go on and on. Horrible company
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