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.

The materials of the home’s facade should be considered before painting your home. When painting flat surfaces like siding or wood, you can opt for standard outdoor paint. When painting a textured surface like stucco or brick, “elastomeric” paint is a much better choice. This type of paint can stretch more than normal paint, which allows it to bridge over small gaps and crevices, painting smoothly over texture.
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.
This feared question gets to the heart of who will be performing work in your home and whether your home and belongings will be safe. Sadly, there have been numerous documented cases around the country where employees of a hired contractor have burglarized, injured, or even killed the homeowner.  What’s worse, in most cases it was later found that the bad employee had a criminal background that was unknown to the employer.  In learning about who will be performing the work in your home, you should ask additional questions about their hiring policy and whether they conduct criminal background checks.
The obvious trick here is for unaffiliated contractors to use the BBB, PDCA, Chamber or other organizations’ logos without being a member. Other tricks include claiming membership when that membership has expired or even make up fake organizations that sound good.  The BBB continuously goes after unscrupulous companies that attempt to trick customers into thinking they are members.  Nearly every organization has a web page these days; if you suspect something, do a little searching to find out the truth.

Consider purchasing supplies personally to save money. Ask the painter for a bid that separates labor and materials. Then explain that you'll purchase the materials and ask for a list of exactly what will be needed to complete the job. Caulking, for example, is an extra supply commonly used to fill any cracks or damaged areas in your walls -- and one that might be overlooked in an incomplete list.

to be the devils advocate i have been a building contractor 20 of the last 30 yrs. i do know that if you go to a higher sheen of paint and or darker colors then any imperfections in the walls will show up much more dramatically…therefore the painter or a good drywall finisher is needed to prepare the walls extensively. this could cause more expenses…for it takes a lot of time to prep walls (smooth walls..not textured walls) and this cost has to be absorbed.
As an owners rep and former estimator for a gc i do expect to pay a reasonable deposit say 10 percent and then weekly progress payments. I am asking the painter to book his time and to do the work on my schedule. Most painting companies are not huge operations they will pay their staff weekly. For most repaints i ask for one tinted primer coat and one finish coat for 100 percent coverage. New work gets one tinted primer and two finish coats for 100 percent coverage. The cost of the paint is not really that different for colors or finish. Brands like european fine paint and C2 are more expensive than Ben Moore and sometimes more difficult to roll based on their consistency. Some home depot brands are as expensive as the Ben Moore and of equal quality others aren't. Red paints are notorious for number of coats required and special priming requirements.

A qualified exterior house painter can walk you through the process of getting your house ready for a new coat of paint, from scraping and sanding to patching and priming. A pro can also recommend the best exterior paint for the job, whether your siding is wood, fiber cement, stucco, vinyl, or even metal. When it comes to getting the work done, your painter will arrive with all the tools and equipment needed to get the job done quickly, correctly and safely.

You can count on Tru Colors Contracting to be a commercial paint contractor that gets the job done. We can paint the exterior of any building, including your hotel, shopping center, hospital, high-rise, mid-rise, and industrial building. You can trust that the paint job we provide for you will be of the highest quality you can find. Whether we're painting the outside or inside of your commercial building, we will use quality paint that looks beautiful and lasts a long time in any condition. We will be sure to come up with a detailed plan from start to finish to ensure the job is completed on time and within your budget.
I agree with you Richard, as a painting contractor for very many years, people are always looking to get more and more out of you. I had to give an estimate to a lady a few weeks ago who had more stuff around her home than a thrift store including heavy furniture, stuff all over the floor and junk everywhere. I knew if I accepted the job id be a furniture mover and cleaner. I also agree this article makes it seem like the contractor is out to rip off the customers. Fact is I always leave doing more work than agreed upon. It doesn't bother me since the customer is always satisfied. Just saying
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. 

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