This all comes down to the rules.....1. references....does the contractor have them??? I ALWAYS furnish all my prospective customers them....no excuses...2. insurance....again, I always furnish proof....3. Read the proposal carefully...I ALWAYS list materials down to tape used, the brand, the grit of sandpaper, the manufacturer, etc....its INEXCUSABLE to not list all of these items....I am a member of the PDCA, the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America, the foremost authority in the coatings industry and they also approve of what I listed....if you do not follow these guidelines, you will NOT get a job reflective of "professional". Look for the PDCA where any painting contractors are, if they are not a member, RUN!
Safest way to ensure that everything is fair is to get it ALL in writing , signed by both parties. Specify each item that needs repair. Also, BUY the paint YOURSELF. That way, there is no incentive to water it down, and you KNOW that you are getting the grade/quality you actually purchased. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish; if you are paying to hire a painter, buy the best paint that you can afford, to ensure maximum life of this home improvement.
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Some proposals simply say to paint the walls and ceiling and never specify the number of coats to be applied. If the colors are similar enough, it's possible to get away with one coat of paint and not discount your pricing. No matter how hard you try, tiny, pin-sized air holes will pop exposing the original walls. This may not bother you if you can't notice it, but principally speaking you should have paid your painter less for the work.
The Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule establishes requirements for firms and individuals performing renovations, and affects contractors, property managers, and others who disturb painted surfaces. It applies to work in houses, apartments, and child-occupied facilities (such as schools and day-care centers) built before 1978. It includes pre-renovation education requirements as well as training, firm certification, and work practice requirements.