Dave, you said it best! Every pro painting contractor truly worth their salt would and should cut and paste exactly what you say here about where customary and legitimate practices and expectations should be in regards to what customers should expect from contractors and how contractors should professionally deal with their customers. By the way, Dave, if you work in the Atlanta area, I would like to hire you! Thank you for your valuable advice!
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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Picking exterior house paint colors is a lot different than picking a color for a shirt or a car.  It may help to drive around to observe colors that other homeowners have combined on homes that are of similar size and design as yours.  There are also online resources that provide homeowners with the ability to create virtual makeovers of their home by combining colors together through their software programs as well.
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.
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.
Interesting information! We just got scammed in White Stone, Virginia... we chose the same color, but went from a flat to an eggshell finish. I wasn't available to stand over the painter while he painted. For such a detailed job, I marveled at how quickly he finished the project! After he was paid for the job, we discovered all he did was roll paint across the walls and close to the crown, baseboards and detailed trim around windows and doors leaving about an inch or so of the flat finish. By using the same color, he didn't even do the job he was paid to do, which explained why he could finish the job so quickly. By using the same color... he got lucky and passed it off as a completed job not bothering to paint to and cut in around the trim. Upon further evaluation of our walls we could see exactly where he stopped because we could see the difference between the flat and eggshell finishes. There are walls he didn't even bother to paint. Then where he did paint near the crown when we were in the room watching ... he hit the crown moulding and tried to tell us it was already there... and tried to sell us on painting the crown moulding. I am so disgusted and upset!! He'll be hearing from us to rectify the situation.
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Hello, I have a sad situation to share -- a friend of mine who is a very good painter, experienced too, fell off a tall ladder that did not have "boots" on it. (I've never seen those.) Anyway, do you think he should have asked for boots before painting? Possibly it was a situation where he was shy to ask because he wanted the job... (I don't know all the details.)
The companies with the best paint products are Benjamin Moore, Dunn Edwards, Sherwin Williams, and Vista Paint. As a painter I don't recommend Berh from Home Depot as much because it's quality is just marketing. Flat paint has no sheen and it shows its true color, but is not easy to wash or clean. Satin, eggshell have low sheen and is washable. Semigloss ang glossy has a high sheen and these paints are recommended for bathrooms and kitchen or where there's high humidity and steam.

For interior paint I prefer the semi-gloss, provides a very subtle sheen and is super easy to clean -no flaking, chipping, etc. I've painted a lot, and found that Sherwin Williams Ovation paint has been the easiest to use, and provides the best coverage. I even painted my ceilings with it and WOW! I was done it no time at all, with perfect coverage.

So sad that Angie's List requires the contractor be notified!! They have lost me as a client. If I'm dissatisfied and want to give an "F" rating (question/workers...I SHOULD NOT be intimidated into passing up an opportunity to explain my experience! There is NO WAY my contractor got an Aplus rating from over five hundred people....so someone was lying....yet I can't report that without the contractor knowing it? REALLY?
Hello, I have a sad situation to share -- a friend of mine who is a very good painter, experienced too, fell off a tall ladder that did not have "boots" on it. (I've never seen those.) Anyway, do you think he should have asked for boots before painting? Possibly it was a situation where he was shy to ask because he wanted the job... (I don't know all the details.)
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