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...
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.

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From downtown Austin to the suburbs. We can handle any situation. Painting is a tough job, time-consuming and can be dangerous if you don't have the right equipment. Our qualified contractors are dependable, cautious and professional. Our goal is to satisfy all our customers with an excellent and efficient finished product. Austin Paint Contractors can take care of your remodel jobs, fix and flip jobs, before you sell your home jobs, or maybe its just time to paint the outside and replace some of that rotten wood you've been meaning to get too. Please check the services tab to see what we can do for you.
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 article with comments was terrific - it was so informative. I found the advice useful. It addressed specifics like the condition of the dry wall surfaces, any additional repairs such. pin holes, chalking, smoothing of wall surfaces, absorption of paint and number of coats that may be needed. It should also include insurance coverage, and reflect the clean-up afterwards. Having a written contract with the company's letterhead is a must.
The last big decision is how to apply the paint. Most pros use paint sprayers because they're fast, but in inexperienced hands a high-powered sprayer can leave drips, thin coats, and a mist that may land on many things other than your siding. If you do hire a painter who uses a sprayer, make sure he is meticulous about removing, covering, or masking off everything in the area that might get hit with overspray: gutters, roofs, windows, shrubbery, walkways, cars—you name it.
If a company has a formal training program, it’s a safe bet that they have their act together. They can do training in-house through regular meetings of their employees.  They can have field training systems in place, usually coordinated with classroom training sessions.  They can also use trade associations, such as PDCA (Painting and Decorating Contractors of America) or paint manufacturer’s representatives to stay up to date with the latest materials and techniques. 

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Both options have their pros and cons. Spraying is the faster method that usually only requires one coat coverage, is free of brush marks and can get into hard to reach areas. Spraying does, however, have a longer prep time, the possibility of uneven coverage, and poor adhesion. Brushing has excellent control, good adhesion, uniform coverage and is better for getting into smaller cracks. Brushing takes a lot longer, requires two coats and can leave brush marks. Make sure your contractor has solid and definite reasons for picking one method over the other.

I agree with you Richard, as a painting contractor for very many years, people are always looking to get more and more out of you. I had to give an estimate to a lady a few weeks ago who had more stuff around her home than a thrift store including heavy furniture, stuff all over the floor and junk everywhere. I knew if I accepted the job id be a furniture mover and cleaner. I also agree this article makes it seem like the contractor is out to rip off the customers. Fact is I always leave doing more work than agreed upon. It doesn't bother me since the customer is always satisfied. Just saying
The national average cost for an interior painter ranges between $450 and $900. Interior painters can tackle everything from complete color makeovers in each of your rooms to touching up an accent wall to painting pieces of furniture. The square footage and complexity of the project, along with the materials needed, are the main factors that will affect cost. Other factors include whether you supply the paint yourself or want the painter to do so, whether you move the furniture and do the prep work or ask them to do it, and whether any repair work is needed on the walls. Painting the ceiling and the trim will also have an effect on cost. The type of paint you choose can also raise or lower your house painting cost. A gallon of paint may range from $20 to over $100, depending on quality and brand. Ask your painter if they charge per hour or per square foot, and how much you can save by doing prep work (moving furniture, etc.) yourself.
Is your landscaping growing out of control? Any trees or shrubbery that are against the house will need to be trimmed back at least 1 foot so that enough space is allocated for painting. Not only will this make it easier to properly apply the paint, but it will also keep the fresh paint from getting marred as the wind moves the plants. Exterior paint takes about 30 days to fully cure and you do not want overgrown shrubs damaging your beautiful new paint job.

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The majority of our work done is in repainting residential homes throughout the Fraser Valley (Painters Surrey, Painters White Rock, Painters Langley, & Painters Delta BC). One of the more common needs of our residential customers is that they are looking at staging their homes for reselling. We can help you in deciding on the best color choices and the most important aspects of the job that should take priority giving the most cost effective strategy for prepping your home for reselling. For others, moving into a new home is the best time to paint, allowing you to reshape the look of your home to your own personal taste.  Getting your place painted just before moving in can save you money as well; we give extra discounts to empty homes free of furniture etc. If you have been looking for a reliable interior home painting company please look no further. We will give a free no-charge painting quote as well as an expert color consultation that will leave you feeling confident about your next painting project.
Painters Supply & Equipment Co. has been a leading Automotive and Specialty Coatings Distributor since 1952 and has grown to be one of the nation’s premier suppliers of Automotive, Industrial, Fleet and Architectural coatings and associated products.  Painters Supply continues to provide leading-industry sales, service and support that has led to the elite status of “PPG Platinum Distributor.” PPG, one the world’s leading manufacturers of automotive and commercial coatings, relies extensively on Painters Supply and the Platinum network to provide certified technical training and best-in-class support to the refinish and commercials markets.  Painters Supply has been awarded the PPG’s prestigious Distributor of the Year designation multiple times over the last 25 years, and recognizes the Painters Supply organization as the leading PPG Distributor in North American based on growth, customer service, industry training and support initiatives.

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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...

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These days, it seems like anyone with a paintbrush and a business card can call themselves a painting contractor. Homeowners who are most likely to be taken in by these unscrupulous “painters” are those who are focused on cost and cost alone. With painting, like anything else in life, you typically get what you pay for. If the painting contractor you are considering cannot answer these ten questions, proceed at your own risk. If they answer all ten satisfactorily, then you know you’ve found a great great professional contractor to work with.

Choosing and matching colors can be nerve-wracking, which explains why there are so many white houses. Fortunately, paint companies are taking the pain out of this process. Many offer color cards that suggest color combinations for siding and trim. Several have also come up with other approaches. For example, Sears tracked colors customers preferred and those found in nature for its Weatherbeater line. Research by the company yielded palettes that correspond to different regions of the country - one set of colors for the coasts, one for the Sun Belt and a third for the center of the country. Color experts from The Home Depot came up with 30 popular combinations from its Behr line that range from soft pinks and peaches to bold rusts and blues. And if you have a classic home, or even a modern classic, the Sherwin-Williams Preservation palette offers a range of historical hues. Most paint dealers will also help you win the match game. Some offer color-matching software. For instance, Benjamin Moore dealers will also scan a photo of your house and let you experiment with color on a computer screen. Or you can choose a house from the program that looks like yours. Whichever method you use, remember that your roof and landscaping, along with the other houses on the street, won't change. So consider these permanent colors when making your selection. And favor lighter hues, suggests Mark Knaebe, a chemist at the FPL. Dark colors absorb heat and are more likely to suffer from moisture problems.

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