Not all people live where they can hire a painting contractor, like you describe. People who live in small towns can only hire painters who have a very small business, and do two or three paint jobs per week. In this case, you do have to be very careful, when you hire a painter, as we have several, in our area, who are out to make a fast buck anyway they can.
A do-it-yourself approach can work well for a simple painting project. More complicated, large-scale endeavors tend to require the expertise of a professional contractor. If you live in a house built before 1978, there’s an extra reason to hire a contractor: safety. Houses from that era often contain lead paint, and most contractors are specially trained to minimize the health hazards it can cause. 

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Painters with bad reputations can avoid the problem of reference checks by giving their customers lists of relatives and friends.  The people will say great things, and the customer won’t be the wiser.  The best way to avoid this smoke and mirror trick is to ask specific questions about the project. If the reference seems hesitant, doesn’t know the details, or gives sketchy responses, be skeptical. 
When selecting a color scheme for the home’s exterior homeowners can choose color options that will correct flaws that they may feel exist with their home and property.  Some examples include utilizing two shades of a single color to make a home appear appropriately sized when the home may be too large or too tall.  To accomplish this effect individuals will want to place the darker tone on the upper level of the home’s exterior.  Smaller windows can appear more proportionately sized by trimming them in a lighter tone of paint.  Darker colors make a space or feature appear smaller.  The same effect can be obtained for homes positioned further away from a curb.  By using lighter tones the home will not feel camouflaged.
I would never suggest that one of my clients buy their own paint because A . They will pay an average of $20 to $30 more per gallon which could add up to $1,000 or more to a full repaint B. most times I'm in the paint store homeowners are kind of pushed to the foreground as they handle all the contractors in the store and C. Paint is heavy, takes up a lot of room needs to be left in it clean dry area and I hate to put a client to work when they are trying to hire me to do their job.
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.

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"There's wisdom in a multitude of counsel" {Bible Book of Wisdom/Proverbs} I thank you all I learned so much here not only painting but contracting in general. After all this I realize how blessed my ignorance not taken advantage of by Greater Philadelphia area motivated young skilled pride-in-work honest hardworking + seasoned older employee of Scott Gribling Painting of Lansdale PA. I'm proud I had the idea that Tom Parkinson here taught me the phrase & affirmed paying daily "progress draws" & purchase receipts instead of advance deposit in case something happens to contractor, and as Tom teaches the natural effectiveness of receiving from the day's work :)
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.

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The PREP Study is attempting to reduce isocyanate, dust and solvent exposures for autobody shop workers in Connecticut. We have produced a user-friendly DVD-based training program with a great deal of input from the autobody community. The DVD contains information for painters, autobody technicians and anyone else working around a body shop, including:

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With that said, here's the reality of that particular scenario. Painters do put water in the paint, but not for reasons you would think. Some materials need to have their viscosity manipulated in order to slow drying time, allowing gravity to 'smooth' out the product for a better finish. It also prevents 'drags' and 'sausages'. I personally try not to do it too often, but from time to time I have to. I want my client to have a proper finish.

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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

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CertaPro Painters® provides a range of custom interior and exterior painting services, allowing for a smooth, seamless experience and exceptional results in every home. Whether you’re having your two-story foyer updated or refreshing the paint in your home’s bedrooms, the CertaPro Painters® team approaches every painting project with an eye for detail.

Interview your contractor.Before you choose a contractor, get three bids for comparison and ask the right questions. Bunting says you need to know the following: Do they have proper licenses, insurance, and bonding? Do they subcontract the work out? Do they offer written guarantees of their work? “Recommendations from friends and family are always a good measure,” adds Rance. “And ask for references from previous customers.”
Small random-orbit or pad sanders make this job go faster. (Wallis first covers these boundaries with Synkoloid patching compound so no edge is visible after sanding.) As shown, you want to make sure that there is a feathered, smooth transition from exposed wood to old paint. For areas that might get close scrutiny, you can follow up with a 100- or 120-grit rubdown to erase any scratches.
This is another reason why you should always hire contractors who have employees and not those who use subcontractors. If the company you hire uses only subs to paint, they have no control over the training those subs receive.  However, even if you choose a contractor with employees, this does not guarantee that those employees receive training. The sad fact is that training just isn’t in the budget for most contractors.

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When you choose Tony’s Painting for your painting needs, we guarantee your 100% satisfaction. Our company will not call a job well done without your approval! Our customers in and around San Jose, Los Gatos and Santa Clara, CA always come first and are treated with utmost respect. That’s why our slogan says “Customer Service at its best!” Expect our painter to arrive at your house on time, every time, and ready to begin work! We will always arrive on time, in a clearly marked vehicle.
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