I am a painting contractor and have been since 2001. Make sure the estimate provides in writing: What is EXCLUDED as well as INCLUDED. It should state the manufacturer and type of paint going to be used. Estimate says ALL LABOR AND MATERIALS. My estimates to my customers say "guaranteed coverage" eliminates the conversations of 1 coat vs 2 coat. I have my customers submit colors 5 days prior to start date. Customers need to inform me if they are going to use pure white, dark reds, oranges, and bright yellows they need to inform me in that 5 day window, so I can adjust my pricing for 3 coats. Although this more uncommon now than years past because a lot of paint manufacturers have primer with paint products. Let the contractor know if your doing accent walls. This takes longer to cut in straight lines and it requires the contractor to purchase more paint. If you add anything on the scope of work have the painter write out the description and cost prior to them doing the work. Have the estimate say how many days it will take to perform the work. Ask how many workers will be doing the job. Make sure to enforce that number of workers their everyday until the job is complete. Do not give final payment until you do a final walk through. Walk the job when its almost complete and point out areas that you want fixed prior to the contractors final walk through. Its best to do while the workers are still in that particular area as they will have tarps down and areas covered and it will be easier for them to take care of. Purchase a roll of blue tape and stick it to areas that you want fixed. This is called a punch list.
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.
This company painted my house about one year ago. We have paint peeling off the exterior of the house now. We have left many messages for him to come out and fix the problem, he gave us a warranty incase this type of thing happened. We bought the best paint and primer the problem was in the prep work, that's why its peeling off of the house. Basically 3500 bucks down the tube be aware his warranty is worthless...
I do not mean to come off with an edge, however, this is an article for people hiring low bid, uninsured, one man band painters out to "hustle" a buck. Hire reputable, established companies or hire someone you know or have a strong referral from. If you are arguing over watered down paint, ticky, tacky deposits, buying your own supplies, you have hired the wrong guy.
With songs that varied in tone from light acoustic numbers to more powerful, though still restrained, plugged-in tracks,The Red House Painters established themselves as one of the premier indie rock outfits of the mid-'90s. Led by singer/songwriter Mark Kozelek the Painters documented the dark and dirty side of human nature. Without using the safety net provided by metaphor, Kozelek, a self-professed agoraphobic with a ghostly voice reminiscent of Tim Buckley, airs myriad insecurities and emotional inconstancies over his quartet's skeletal backing.

I turn away any job when the client refuses to pay anything up front. It sends a red flag. I also charge a scheduling fee which is non-refundable. I get 33 percent when I show up and begin work. Another percentage halfway through, and the balance upon completion after client is satisfied. There needs to be skin in the game for both parties as a measure of good faith. If you are dealing with a reputable company (did your due diligence, right?) why wouldn't you want to pay something as work progresses? We do this not only because we love to paint but we require cash flow to stay in business. There is not always 'money in the bank' as you suggest. It's tough these days. The suggestion buy 'Kim' 'Never pay a contractor a deposit' is nonsensical.
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.

When I had my interior painting done, after clearing out all of the furniture, myself, I also removed all of the wall plates in all the rooms to be painted. They were a beige color and probably yellowed. The wall was originally an off white and I had it painted a light-mid grey, so those wall plates would look terrible. After pricing replacement plates, switches and outlets (Would have been way too expensive to replace all of them), I decided to just paint all of the wall plates, switches and outlets (Used just a black gloss spray paint). I sprayed the plates outside and used a small brush on the switches and outlets. It worked out just fine and the blacks plates, etc compliment the wall color. It has been 7 years and the plates, switches, outlets are holding up well.

Home Painter Company

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