Thorough preparation is essential to ensure a good finish. Contractors might have to fill cracks or holes and remove old paint if it is badly worn, peeling or flaking. They remove all paint and apply a suitable primer to the bare surface. If the existing paint is in reasonable condition, they clean it and rub it with abrasive material to provide a key for the new paint. On new surfaces, such as bare wood or fresh plaster, they apply a suitable seal, followed by a primer coat.

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.
Thanks, all, for your time & efforts adding to the article & comments, especially Dave urging requesting both General Liability AND Worker Compensation insurance certificates to protect from real & fraudulent liability--from my experience especially in California, where insurance fraud is a popular income thief, even causing car collisions to collect.
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.
I agree with JHs. If there is no new color on it at all, just talk to the painter about it, if it was an honest mistake (which can happen very easily while painting) your painter should have no problem fixing it. However, in my years of experience, it is not unusual for 2 coats of door paint (good quality) not to cover very well at all. I once painted a red door 7 times, plus a tinted prime coat before I found the door to be a solid color.

Congratulations! You've made the smart decision to improve your home's appearance and value with a professional paint job. Now comes the daunting challenge of finding a paint contractor. Not to worry!  These 10 secrets will help you find a GREAT paint contractor who'll deliver a top-quality job at an excellent price and leave you with a satisfying home improvement experience.1. A GREAT Paint Contractor Presents Proof of Insurance While a good paint contractor may tell you he's insured, a GREAT contractor presents a copy of his policy, proving the amount of coverage he carries for both property damage and bodily injury that may result from the contractor's work. By nature, paint materials are highly flammable and, should a tragedy occur, you need to know your contractor is sufficiently insured.2. 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GREAT Paint Contractors Give Professional, Detailed Quotes A GREAT painting quote includes a detailed list of ALL aspects of work to be done:   FREE Power washing Caulking, sanding and priming Trim repair - GREAT contractors will know what needs to be done Details of products and application - GREAT contractors know the right products for every job Touch-ups and clean-up In addition to the quote's content and accuracy, is it presented professionally? Is the quote printed on company letterhead? Does the sheet show the contractor's license number? Does he use a local land line phone number? (beware if only a cellular phone number is listed) TAX I.D. number? Work guarantee and relevant product warranties? Inexperienced contractors, using standard business forms purchased at office supply stores suggests they haven't invested much in their business and may not be properly licensed. Also, they may not be paying income taxes.6. 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GREAT Paint Contractors Have a Professional Website While it is certainly possible to be a good paint contractor and not own a Website, GREAT contractors are also successful business people who understand that today's consumer is looking for instant information. A GREAT contractor's Website will include all the details homeowners are looking for - references, before & after photos, details of services, contact information and history of the company and its owner and staff.
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This was very helpful. I wonder if i would really follow through and check to see if my painter was cheating me. I used a painter I found on Angie's List. This was 5 years ago. He did a great job. I know he did patching only for about a day and a half. We decided on the kind of paint before he started. that is what he used. I don't know if I could stay on top of him and watch him open every can of paint. 

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