Second: all the tricks of the trade in regard to "cheating" customers is for hustlers and cheaters and NOT established businesses. At the end of the project the job should come out looking professionally painted as specified in the contract. A selected color that takes multiple coats that was not calculated by the contractor should cost more money. It's not the fault of the painter.
The size of the room to be painted is the most important factor in determining the cost of professional painting. It will take a painter longer to cover a large room than a small room, and this means higher labor costs in addition to supplies and time. When estimating the paint for such a job, keep in mind that a gallon of paint covers about 400 square feet (though the label claims it will cover 450 square feet). You will be charged for the number of paint cans needed, among other factors.
Steve, not only did you come off with an edge regarding the article written for Angie's list but you came awfully close to being slanderous. The article was written if you will have read his bio by a very well established professional painter. The issue regarding the deposit was put in question by a responder. I have read your response in full as you suggested, and companies as large as yours are just as likely to use the tricks of the trade as the small guy as you suggest, if not more so. A large company has less oversight and workers get lazy with the boss not looking over their shoulder. I have had experience in this area, and thought that i was dealing with a very reputable company that had been recommended by a couple friends, my insurance company, and my adjuster who had dealt with the company. I had terrible problems with the company, who do full restorations and like your company paint in all areas. To finalize your statement that Established businesses do not cheat customers is completly false and is a very misleading statement. I am suprised that Angies list allowed you to post such an outragious comment. All you have to do is look in the Civil lawsuits section of the Established businesses that are being sued or are under investigation for fraud and cheating their customers!
Some contractors work on time and material others on a firm contract. I would never hire the former and am leary of the latter. A contractor may low-ball a bid to get the job planning to make a killing on change orders. If you say good morning to them, they charge you extra for that. If the contract is not very, very specific and extensively fleshed out or if they display their change order schedule prominently on top, show them the door.
IF the average cost is $1700 to paint an interior, then that means the cost of paint is approx. $200 (12% of the job). Or better said 5 gallons of paint (if the average cost is $40 retail). The average room takes 1.5 gallons which will cover 3 average rooms. Doesn't sound to average to anyone with knowledge of this industry or a average house. You are misleading consumers and should do a better job in your research. No wonder so pay people think prices to get work done by professionals is high. Its not high, its actually average which is more like $3700.