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 
Transitioning your painting business away from these mistakes can be difficult, but I guarantee you it’s worth it. You’ll look back at your business and say, ‘How did I even operate that way?’ Once you start doing things more efficiently and reaping the benefits, you’ll be UNABLE to return to your old ways of running things. Try eliminating just 2 of these mistakes and see what happens!
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. A GREAT Paint Contractor NEVER Asks for a Deposit While some paint contractors may request a deposit before beginning the work, well-established, successful painting professionals have sufficient operating income and can easily afford to purchase materials and make payroll. BE WARY of a contractor who asks for a deposit! If he is unable to purchase materials, he's probably unable to pay his staff. Every year, too many homeowners fall victim to contractors who walk off the job - and out of town - with the deposit in their pockets.If you agree to advance payment of any kind, be sure materials have been purchased and are on your property, leaving you some kind of leverage should the contractor default on the work. Bottom Line: GREAT painting contractors NEVER request a deposit. 3. A GREAT Paint Contractor Offers Great Warranties You can tell a lot about a paint contractor by his warranty. Well-known contractors with established reputations are respected by paint suppliers who, in turn, pass on extended - even lifetime - warranties on their paints because they know the product will be applied right. For any number of reasons, less experienced contractors may not have valuable relationships with suppliers. On the labor side, a GREAT contractor works with solid, experienced painters whose work he knows he can stand behind with an extended labor warranty.4. GREAT Paint Contractors Go the Extra Mile Because GREAT contractors have learned the value of a satisfied customer, they're able to focus on service and offer extras that shows you how important your business is to the contractor. Check to see if your contractor offers the following:   Professional color consulting FREE color try-ons FREE power washing Two coats of paint - as a standard offering! 5. 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. GREAT Paint Contractors Have an A or A+ Better Business Bureau RatingThe Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a trusted consumer rating body that grades businesses based on collective criteria. In addition to finding their grade, be sure to check how long the paint contractor has been a member. Also confirm that any complaints have been resolved. BBB will still afford a good rating if a business has addressed issues in a timely manner. Questionable painting contractors will have either no BBB affiliation at all or a grade of B or below.7. GREAT Paint Contractors Care about Their Communities and Industry Associations Being active in local Chambers of Commerce, committed to area charities and having a presence in the Painting and Decorating Contractors Association (PDCA) shows that GREAT paint contractors have professional integrity and care about their communities. Fly-by-night contractors avoid connections to civic or professional organizations.8. GREAT Paint Contractors Provide References in Your Area - Both Old and New Good paint contractors may have references from local work that was completed in the past few weeks. GREAT Paint Contractors will provide multiple local references from both recent and past work. References from a year ago or longer show the paint job's durability and confirm that any necessary follow-up or billing issues were handled correctly.9. GREAT Paint Contractors Invite You to See a Job in Progress If a contractor is confident about the way they work, they'll prove it by asking you to judge for yourself. Things to look for: Work vehicles - are they clean, organized and professional? The painters - are they neatly dressed and groomed? Materials - are ladders, scaffolding, drop cloths and electrical equipment in good condition? Is work being done carefully so as not to damage landscaping or property? Bottom Line: GREAT Paint Contractors treat a home - and its homeowner - with respect at all times.10. 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.
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.
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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