I'm an architect and my firm routinely specifies interior finishes for projects so I thought I'd contribute a professional's perspective on the issue of how many coats of paint are deemed "acceptable". The fact of the matter is the average consumer usually isn't a paint expert and can't be expected to know about all the factors that impact coverage. That knowledge is considered "means and methods" and in a court of law, the responsibility lies with the painter or general contractor, not the consumer. What the consumer should be concerned about is the final result-does it look good and is it what you expected? The simplest way to communicate this to your painter is to stipule in your written agreement that the number of coats will be "as required to cover". That way all the guess work about what kind of primer, how many coats, how color affects the scope of work, etc., is removed from the consumer's responsibility and resides where it belongs-with the professional. In the contract that's why retention is always a good idea-typically 10% is withheld from payment until the job is completed to the satisfaction of the customer. Of course in return you as the customer have to be reasonable about what constitutes a completed job. Just my $.02.
FIRST: Unless you can stay in business painting 1 bedroom at a time for $500-$1000, which you can't, then you will be taking on several thousand dollar contracts that require thousands in Labor and Materials to fulfill the order. Multiply that by 3-4 jobs at one time or in our case 15-20 jobs at a time, YOU NEED TO TAKE DEPOSITS!!! It is horrible business not to take deposits. There are many jobs where its not possible to get a deposit and that is built into or pricing accordingly. If we are not getting a deposit, there is a finance charge built in, contractors are not banks. If you don't have a good feeling about a deposit, your hiring the WRONG CONTRACTOR. Hire people you know or well established businesses.

I turn away any job when the client refuses to pay anything up front. It sends a red flag. I also charge a scheduling fee which is non-refundable. I get 33 percent when I show up and begin work. Another percentage halfway through, and the balance upon completion after client is satisfied. There needs to be skin in the game for both parties as a measure of good faith. If you are dealing with a reputable company (did your due diligence, right?) why wouldn't you want to pay something as work progresses? We do this not only because we love to paint but we require cash flow to stay in business. There is not always 'money in the bank' as you suggest. It's tough these days. The suggestion buy 'Kim' 'Never pay a contractor a deposit' is nonsensical.


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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I disagree with your criteria to hire a painter. A prompt returned call is nice but does not indicate the quality or fairness of the painter. As far as a written estimate, that should be more of a qualifier for the bid versus an evaluation criterion. I'm not sure one would have favorable results by hiring a painter on this basis. As far as the bidding process, change orders should ONLY be used if the customer requests additional scope (PMP 101). Angie's list should consider asking reviewers if/how much they were told to pay compared with the estimate. Unfortunately, there are a lot of contractors that are unethical and need to be accountable.
When coverage is difficult to estimate, add more rather than less when doing DIY wall painting. You can always pour the leftover back into cans. For large jobs, use the bucket and a roller screen rather than a roller tray. It’s much faster to load your roller with the screen than to use a roller pan. Simply dunk the roller into the paint bucket, then roll it along the screen until it stops dripping.
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.

OF the different type of customers there are at least two: cheap charley's and people who want great results. I agree the need for wall repair is critical to the end results. Most critical is for the customer to be told ahead that the walls are going to need exactly what is needed. This means the contractor must look, touch, examine the walls for defects and needed work. I've been a building manager for 40 years and seen a few paint jobs. Typically a contractor does a lot of talking about how expert he is, but the guys who walk through with note pads, iPads, examine, measure, point things out, explain and recommend are the ones I will deal with. It confirms if they know what the business. Nobody likes the workers to show up and when you talk about the job they're going to do they know nothing but they we were told to be here. Their boss who bid the job doesn't supervise - a big no no around here. Nobody likes surprises or worse, at the end of a job that's not right getting a bunch of little kid excuses. Contractors that do not like the customer to be around looking at the progress don't get the job.


Payment. Every client is different. Every job has it's own unique set of circumstances. I always start off the discussion with my clients saying that I'm flexible on how they would like to proceed with payments but that I prefer half down. I refuse to change order. Change orders are my last resort. Instead I ask questions at our initial meeting and try to be sure to cover all bases before I submit my estimate.
Our profession is competitive but the way we go about our business is anything but normal when it comes to servicing our client’s homes. We take pride with every single exterior or interior painting project that we undertake because we understand that we only get one chance to prove ourselves to you and your neighbors concerning your house paint project so we make it count, every time.
Generally, it will take a minimum of two gallons of paint to cover a room. At the highest end, paint will cost anywhere between $30 and $60 per gallon and come in three different finishes: flat, semi-gloss or high-gloss. Flat finishes are the least shiny and are best suited for areas requiring frequent cleaning. Semi-gloss finishes are a bit shiny but can also be easily cleaned. A high-gloss finish is stain-resistant and easy to clean. Traditionally, living rooms should be painted with a flat finish to allow the paint to stand out. Glossy finishes should be reserved for hallways, and a semi-gloss is best suited for trim. Invest in pre-primed paint whenever possible. This cuts down on time by combining the layering process. Almost any paint job will require a primer, which will cost anywhere from $7 to $15 per can. Primer helps the paint to stand out against the underlayer of paint it's covering, especially if the new paint is lighter than the old coat. You will need at least two cans of primer, if not more, to cover one wall. Here are some paint brands and their average price per gallon:

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