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 

If you are going to hire a contractor (professional painter) give a room by room punch list of the fixing of holes small or big, have it identified for the painter to tell you if you need a drywall finisher or if he does this type of work good. Wall repairs can be 3-5 steps to do repairs ( one per day for good drying of patching material and a good sanding) this is what gives you a good paint job only using high quality paint.

When you’re ready to tackle your next paint project, we offer an amazing choice of colors from top paint brands, at the best price, and expert know-how to help you do the job right. Start outside by taking an inventory of your siding and trim. If your paint is fading or peeling off your siding, start the prep work by repairing the siding and trim with some waterproof patching compound. Once dry, sand and apply primer. Then, repaint those areas until your exterior looks fresh and clean.
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.

Load flat or eggshell exterior paint color into paint sprayer. Depending on intensity of hue, apply one or two coats of flat or eggshell exterior paint to entire house. Be sure to work your way from top to bottom in a smooth, controlled manner, overlapping each stroke by 8 inches. TIP: When changing exterior color from light to dark or dark to light, start with a coat of primer to ensure proper coverage. Primer is not necessary when a fresh coat of existing color is being applied.
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...

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...

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Home Painter Company

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