Thanks, all, for your time & efforts adding to the article & comments, especially Dave urging requesting both General Liability AND Worker Compensation insurance certificates to protect from real & fraudulent liability--from my experience especially in California, where insurance fraud is a popular income thief, even causing car collisions to collect.
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.
I was taught to paint by a professional and when estimating the amount of paint needed, I always allow for a second coat just to make sure of coverage. We interviewed a painter who tried to tell me I bought poor quality paint without knowing where I purchased it, and stated he would have to buy all new paint. He had not seen the cans and was just guessing so I asked him where I should buy paint from now on. It was the same place I had purchased my paint and he wanted to charge me an extra 20 a gallon more than what I paid for. Needless to say, I have interviewed numerous painters and they are not all honest.

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Here is where this affects you as a consumer. You select a painter with a contract that says 2 coats, $500 down. You give the company the deposit and pick your colors a couple of days before the project starts. The painter goes to the store with your colors and figures out they are deep base. He (or she) not only needs to charge you more for the paint, but he also needs to charge you for a dark gray primer coat. Ninety nine percent of the time that primer coat is going to be really, really expensive since you already gave a deposit.
More recently, professional painters are responsible for all preparation prior to painting. All scraping, sanding, wallpaper removal, caulking, drywall or wood repair, patching, stain removal, filling nail holes or any defects with plaster or putty, cleaning, taping, preparation and priming are considered to be done by the professional contracted painter.
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
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.
With that said, here's the reality of that particular scenario. Painters do put water in the paint, but not for reasons you would think. Some materials need to have their viscosity manipulated in order to slow drying time, allowing gravity to 'smooth' out the product for a better finish. It also prevents 'drags' and 'sausages'. I personally try not to do it too often, but from time to time I have to. I want my client to have a proper finish.
So why not just paint your own home. I'm not a painter, so my wife and I take our time, buying the paint and supplies, and doing our own painting. Yes, we need to tape, and it's not perfect, but we get the satisfaction of seeing our completed work. Get the supplies, sliders for your furniture, and patience and go for it. That way YOU have control over the entire project.
This all comes down to the rules.....1. references....does the contractor have them??? I ALWAYS furnish all my prospective customers them....no excuses...2. insurance....again, I always furnish proof....3. Read the proposal carefully...I ALWAYS list materials down to tape used, the brand, the grit of sandpaper, the manufacturer, etc....its INEXCUSABLE to not list all of these items....I am a member of the PDCA, the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America, the foremost authority in the coatings industry and they also approve of what I listed....if you do not follow these guidelines, you will NOT get a job reflective of "professional". Look for the PDCA where any painting contractors are, if they are not a member, RUN!
Contracting is not conducted very often. Or, is it? What about your internet or television provider? How about a restaurant? Are we not contracting a service? Other than hunger, the attraction of the food or the ambiance – ask yourself, what inspired enough interest for you to check that particular restaurant out? Maybe it was word of mouth, good reviews, a good sanitation score, a clean atmosphere, the professional service, the quality of the food, maybe being close by or locally sourced food also helped? While you were considering all these factors – little did you know – you were qualifying and researching before you chose to give that particular restaurant your business. Most dinners cost under $50 per person. Why wouldn’t we take the additional steps needed to qualify our potential contractors for projects that typically cost much more??
When it comes to painting your house interiors, you need professional results. Whether it’s a full remodel of the house or a new accent wall, your home deserves a high-quality service and an impeccable finish. Our CertaPro Painters® interior house painting services provide a seamless, efficient, and meticulous interior painting job that will make a world of difference to your home’s overall look and impact.
As you walk through your lighted rooms (preferably day light) see if the new coat has light spots showing the precious paint. This is call "bleeding through". This means that there's only one coat of paint or the paint was diluted or the trasition of colors were from light to dark (or the other way around) and primer was not use or the painter is inexperienced.
CertaPro Painters® provides a range of custom interior and exterior painting services, allowing for a smooth, seamless experience and exceptional results in every home. Whether you’re having your two-story foyer updated or refreshing the paint in your home’s bedrooms, the CertaPro Painters® team approaches every painting project with an eye for detail.
My house is a mess. Virtually everything needs serious work. Dixon gives me the confidence to tackle one project after another. His writing style is straightforward, reassuring, inspirational. He tells you everything you need to know to complete a job and be happy with it. Every painstaking stage of prep, helpful tips on additives, priming, carrying out each stage of painting process under every possible circumstance. I borrowed Dixon's book from the library so often that I spent more than the cost of it on overdue fines. 

The quality of materials used on your project will impact how it looks and how long it lasts. There is a huge difference in quality among coatings like paints and stains. There are also many specialized coatings that should be used for specific applications. Differences in the costs of a $9 gallon of paint versus a $50 gallon of paint represent real differences in the ingredients, with higher-priced paint having more expensive ingredients that look better and last longer, such as resins, binders and even titanium.
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.
We've heard countless stories of people who have been let down by other house painting services. No one wants to take valuable time off of work to wait for painters who never show up. At Handy, we pride ourselves on connecting our customers with reliable and trustworthy residential house painters. They will arrive on time, fully ready to do your job.
I turn away any job when the client refuses to pay anything up front. It sends a red flag. I also charge a scheduling fee which is non-refundable. I get 33 percent when I show up and begin work. Another percentage halfway through, and the balance upon completion after client is satisfied. There needs to be skin in the game for both parties as a measure of good faith. If you are dealing with a reputable company (did your due diligence, right?) why wouldn't you want to pay something as work progresses? We do this not only because we love to paint but we require cash flow to stay in business. There is not always 'money in the bank' as you suggest. It's tough these days. The suggestion buy 'Kim' 'Never pay a contractor a deposit' is nonsensical.
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...
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.
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