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
This is an area that interior painters can easily cut short to save time. Most contracts don't state the extent of the wall repairs included, so it's up to the painter's discretion how much they will do. If it seems like too much work, they'll usually point out the repairs but don't include it in the bid. They'll then ask you if you'd like it fixed after they start your project and let you know how much more it will cost.
As a painting contractor I find that most contractors charge between $20 an hour and $45 an hour plus paint and materials pending overhead here in Pennsylvania i figure $30 an hour is a safe bet. figure a good painter should be able to prep a 12 x 12 to a 12 x 15 room, caulk, apply 1 or 2 coats to the ceiling 2 coats on the walls and 1 coat on all baseboards, trim, doors and crown moulding in an 8 to 9 hour day. This is with minimal or minor spackling repairs like nail holes and nail pops, not cracks and peeling tape. Thats extra paint is usually  $30 to $70 a gallon pending quality. A room this size will need 1 gallon for the ceiling 2 for the walls and maybe 1 gallon for the trim, doors ext... the square foot price is $1.50 - $3.00 as far as asking for money up front I never ask. If the home owner buys the paint there is no need for money and if your buying the paint and your an established contractor you have an account with your supplier's.  any ways that's my input and guidelines 
We charge $55 per hour for labor and i constantly hear that is too much. If house cleaners are between 50 and 90 per hour and my lawn cutter gets 70 for an hour I’m always confused that a professional painter with all insurances almost always has to negotiate his or hers hourly wage. It just seems that the painting profession gets very little respect compared to other trades
We charge $55 per hour for labor and i constantly hear that is too much. If house cleaners are between 50 and 90 per hour and my lawn cutter gets 70 for an hour I’m always confused that a professional painter with all insurances almost always has to negotiate his or hers hourly wage. It just seems that the painting profession gets very little respect compared to other trades
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I had originally budgeted a lower amount for this project....painting had always been a DIY project in this home, so I didn't have a clue.    Now that I'm older and less nimble, I decided to hire it out.    Waldner's Handyman Services was very professional and worked with me to understand how costs were factored into my painting project.  I am very satisfied with the finished result and will use them again for future jobs. 
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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