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.
In Mark Twain's classic "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," Tom tricks his friends into painting his aunt's fence. You probably won't get that lucky, but there are good reasons many homeowners keep their painting in-house. No building codes apply to interior decoration; if you do something dumb, you don't risk life and property as you would if you were, say, tackling a rewiring job; and because labor typically accounts for 80 to 85 percent of the price of a paint job, you'll save a ton by doing the work yourself.

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!

When I had my interior painting done, after clearing out all of the furniture, myself, I also removed all of the wall plates in all the rooms to be painted. They were a beige color and probably yellowed. The wall was originally an off white and I had it painted a light-mid grey, so those wall plates would look terrible. After pricing replacement plates, switches and outlets (Would have been way too expensive to replace all of them), I decided to just paint all of the wall plates, switches and outlets (Used just a black gloss spray paint). I sprayed the plates outside and used a small brush on the switches and outlets. It worked out just fine and the blacks plates, etc compliment the wall color. It has been 7 years and the plates, switches, outlets are holding up well.
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.
Prep. For new work the painter accepts the finish done by the drywall or plaster and once he accepts the work and starts painting he owns any wall repairs. Existing work is a different thing. I take a high intensity light and circle the kinds of defects with chalk so we are all in agreement before they start. Sometimes this results in a higher price and we have to compromise on how much to do...
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.
The speed with which a painter can complete the job will determine its final cost, but time is difficult to estimate. Some painters have more experience and cover a wall faster, but some are more methodical and take more time. Most painters should be able to cover about 100 to 120 square feet of flat surface in an hour, unless they are working on a very large wall. Wood or plaster might reduce that amount to 80 to 100 square feet. You should also consider the time required for a first coat to dry before a second coat may be applied. This will add time as well -- anywhere from one to 48 hours depending on the paint.
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.

My wife and I just painted the interior of our house with about 6-8 gallons, of $30+ per gallon (meaning the good stuff, non-diluted) with absolutely fantastic results. However we just paid an average of $5 per gallon. Reason...all big box stores have paint, set aside, that has been mixed but not picked up by the customer. They need to sell it quick and if you're not in a hurry (you know well in advance that a room or two need painting and it's not like the roof leaking and needs an immediate fix) you can go to each store when you need other supplies or food, like Walmart (when convenient, driving 20 miles to each is not worth it) and over the course of a month or two, pick out some very nice colors of quality paint. We found perfect colors...not saying they were our first choice but when we opened the can, very nice and some even better than our original picks. Cost to paint the entire house was about $100, with all materials included, period. We had it on the market for a few months to sell, didn't sell, painted the rooms, got 2 offers the day after we finished, took the best one and never looked back.
I do not mean to come off with an edge, however, this is an article for people hiring low bid, uninsured, one man band painters out to "hustle" a buck. Hire reputable, established companies or hire someone you know or have a strong referral from. If you are arguing over watered down paint, ticky, tacky deposits, buying your own supplies, you have hired the wrong guy.
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.

My painter franchisee, who I got from Angie's List, must have found some shmucks on the corner to paint my house. I specifically said I wanted stain. First my house was painted the wrong color, Then it was painted with LATEX paint- not stain. Estimates to 'undo' the damage is around $10,000 and its not a guarantee that it will work. The work is at best amateurish. Many underpainted or not painted spots, drips, etc. They did the entire outside (scraping?, priming? caulking?, painting), cleaned up and left within the time I left for work and came home. There were thee of them (my neighbor told me) This was two years ago and I am still upset. Can't be fixed.
When hiring a contractor it is always best to hire one who is personally referred to you by someone you trust. Hiring through ads or phone book is hit and miss. Check with your local paints stores, they know the good guys from the bottom feeders. Go to the stores that sell the high quality paints like Benjamin Moore(nonpareil), Pittsburg, Sherwin Williams or Glidden. Don't go the the big box stores for referrals, the people there don't know squat!
When requested by the party contracting for renovation services, must use an EPA-recognized test kit or must collect paint chip samples, submit them to an EPA-recognized laboratory, and obtain test results from the laboratory to determine whether components affected by the renovation contain lead-based paint.  Note: you must assume lead-based paint is present for housing and buildings covered by this rule, unless testing is done that determines the components affected are lead-free.
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.

I would not recommend this company for the following reasons:1. Original appointment was very specific to them on what was needed and to take photos for 3 apartment unit plumbing fixture repairs. One unit had a bathroom tub/shower backup.2. No photos taken, 3 trips later and only 1 unit completed to satisfaction. (Backup) 3. Other faucets unable to find on line with their suppliers and repair 4. Had to find another plumbing company to complete the jobs. 5. Invoicing had to be redone as not in detail of job address for tax purposes 6. Bad communication throughout the project process with their internal customer service. Their technician and project manager ordering parts. 7. For the back up. Did not bring out correct snake on both trips and had to replace lines as too small to break through backup. Costing over $800 for 3 trips just to complete that situation out. 8. Ordered the wrong parts when 2nd trip out since no photos taken to confirm what was needed. Very dissatisfied and will never ask them to work in any of our rental properties again.
Home Works Painting is licensed (Virginia Class A #2705-153298) and insured (Workman’s Comp and General Liability), and has been servicing Northern Virginia since 2005. We pride ourselves on delivering a first class job with exceptional service. Home Works Painting has been selected as Northern Virginia’s Best Pick for painters for the past seven years, and is a member of Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA).
I have a Home Improvement/Painting business, and Angie's List always advertises that that everyone is out to get them. Of course there are people who try to take advantage of homeowners My reputation and repeat business is based on word of mouth. Shoddy work is always a way to get put out of business quick. As far as strictly painting, preparation is a big factor in getting a quality paint job. If you don't prepare the surfaces you are painting you are spinning your wheels, and wasting money, no matter what paint you use. Getting a deposit from a customer is beneficial, but not always necessary. Sometimes it is a godsend, when you get stuck by the customer, which has happened to me more than once
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.

Your home is your most important asset and maintaining it is vital in upholding and increasing its value. As a full-service painting company, Home Works Painting will provide you with a superior professional painting experience. Our services include interior/exterior painting, drywall repair/installation, wood replacement, pressure washing, and color consulting. We stand behind our work by offering a six year warranty.

Even if you think you'll probably do the job yourself, it's good preparation to seek estimates from professional home painters, whether your painting the exterior or interior of your home. Then you'll have a financial point of comparison and you may benefit from what a home painting contractor has to say about the condition of your home, color choices and types of paint available. Let the painter make his pitch for a professional job before you decide what to do. You can still opt to do it yourself while having learned something worthwhile.
To win work, contractors generally have to bid against other suppliers. To make an accurate bid, they estimate the time and materials required to complete the job. They measure the area to be painted and discuss the type of finish the customer requires. They assess the quality of the surfaces to work out how much remedial work they must carry out before painting. They might have to remove old paint or wall coverings, or repair cracks and other damage. They also calculate the cost of any essential equipment, such as scaffolding for exterior walls.
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This article is outdated. Deep based colors were an increase in price back in the 90's. Most stores have a standard price for all colors now. The problems the author are citing are outdated and rarely happen. This is the 2nd time I've seen this article being emailed out, it's irresponsible of angies list to keep sending out this poorly written and inaccurate article.
The article was well-intended, but it makes it sound like painters are the crooks and consumers are innocent victims. That is blatantly un-true. Maybe there should be a follow-up article that educates consumers how not to be shysters by expecting a ton more than they said at the start, or not paying the balance of the job unless something else is done that was not in the contract. Tradesmen have a rough road when dealing with consumers that have short arms but long lists of by-the-way items. No, I'm not a painter...
We’d love to discuss your interior painting needs and provide a cost estimate and plan to meet your dreams. At Home Painters Toronto our goal is your 100% satisfaction. We deliver a professional end result you can be proud of, so we can be proud of it too. Our professional painting crew will make your interior painting project seamless and easy for you. Let us do our job, so you don’t have to.
My painter franchisee, who I got from Angie's List, must have found some shmucks on the corner to paint my house. I specifically said I wanted stain. First my house was painted the wrong color, Then it was painted with LATEX paint- not stain. Estimates to 'undo' the damage is around $10,000 and its not a guarantee that it will work. The work is at best amateurish. Many underpainted or not painted spots, drips, etc. They did the entire outside (scraping?, priming? caulking?, painting), cleaned up and left within the time I left for work and came home. There were thee of them (my neighbor told me) This was two years ago and I am still upset. Can't be fixed.

Inspect the surface area for holes, cracks or other problems and apply acrylic caulk to fill them in. Use a putty knife to smooth out the caulk and remove any excess to prevent bumps. For particularly thin or narrow crevices, you may have to use your finger to smooth out the caulk. Caulk contracts and shrinks, so apply a second layer once it's dried.
I did go with the highest bidder and it did not matter. They did a shoddy job and threatened to take me to court when I pointed out mistakes that they made based on their work standards stated on the quote. I have not paid them yet, just filed a complaint with the BBB. No money down asked, no contract signed. The boss stated I have to high of expectations just because I live in a 121 year old house!

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.
• One room or the whole house? Applying one coat in one room is a reasonable DIY Saturday project (especially if you have help and beer). Multiply the time spent moving furniture, prepping walls and sanding old trim by the number of rooms in the house, and you might want to hire real help. It's the same outside. You can probably tackle one shady garage wall that needs a little scraping and sanding plus a coat of paint, but covering all surfaces of the house is usually best left to a pro.
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.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 45 percent of all painters are self-employed, though that number may be slightly higher if companies hire freelancers or self-employed painters as part of their team. The price that painters charge for their services is largely dependent on their association and whether the job is completed in the warmer or colder months (painters often charge more in the summer and less in the winter, given demand and other factors). More information regarding painter rates and associated factors is included below.

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