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!
Second: all the tricks of the trade in regard to "cheating" customers is for hustlers and cheaters and NOT established businesses. At the end of the project the job should come out looking professionally painted as specified in the contract. A selected color that takes multiple coats that was not calculated by the contractor should cost more money. It's not the fault of the painter.

O'Neil patches shallow holes and divots with Ready Patch because it dries fast, sands smooth, and stays flexible. Deep cracks and rotten spots are best repaired with two-step epoxies, such as those made by Advanced Repair Technology. (For a step-by-step instructions, see Repairing Rot with Epoxy.) The days of using polyester auto-body fillers on wood are over. "They cure too hard," says Portland, Oregon–based painting contractor Kathleen George. "They look good at first, but then they peel away."
The only time it's acceptable to mix water in the paint is when you're using a deep or ultra deep base paint to reduce its stickiness, which is rare with new paint technology. Dark primary colors are composed almost entirely of tint that makes it very hard to work with without adding water. (You never use a sprayer and need to thin paint.?) If i was still in the industry I'd take the time to make a better article than this. Take this for a grain of slat. Use a reputable painter or someone you know you can trust or has been referred to you by someone you trust. I wouldn't hire anyone I had to watch like a hawk to make sure they're not screwing me.

Keep an eye on the new cans as they're being brought in. Make sure they look new and don't have paint in the rim of the can. If it's a five-gallon bucket, check to see whether the lid is still sealed on with the plastic strip. The only time it's acceptable to mix water in the paint is when you're using a deep or ultra deep base paint to reduce its stickiness, which is rare with new paint technology. Dark primary colors are composed almost entirely of tint that makes it very hard to work with without adding water.

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.

If a company has a formal training program, it’s a safe bet that they have their act together. They can do training in-house through regular meetings of their employees.  They can have field training systems in place, usually coordinated with classroom training sessions.  They can also use trade associations, such as PDCA (Painting and Decorating Contractors of America) or paint manufacturer’s representatives to stay up to date with the latest materials and techniques. 
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O'Neil patches shallow holes and divots with Ready Patch because it dries fast, sands smooth, and stays flexible. Deep cracks and rotten spots are best repaired with two-step epoxies, such as those made by Advanced Repair Technology. (For a step-by-step instructions, see Repairing Rot with Epoxy.) The days of using polyester auto-body fillers on wood are over. "They cure too hard," says Portland, Oregon–based painting contractor Kathleen George. "They look good at first, but then they peel away."
File the necessary business documents. For starters, you’ll need a general business license to begin taking on contract work. You may also have to have other specific licenses that permit you to operate in off-limits zones or handle certain materials. A separate home business permit will be required if you plan on using your own residence as the headquarters for your contracting business.[13]

In 1894, a national association formed, recreating itself in 1918 as the National Federation of Master Painters and Decorators of England and Wales, then changing its name once again to the British Decorators Association before merging, in 2002, with the Painting & Decorating Federation to form the Painting & Decorating Association. The Construction Industry Joint Council, a body formed of both unions and business organizations, today has responsibility for the setting of pay levels.[2]


Once work begins, hold brief daily meetings to discuss the job and schedule and quash any misunderstandings. If there are surprises, seek middle ground. No contract can anticipate every possibility. Materials may be unavailable. Large chunks of rotten siding may crumble along with the old paint. Exterior jobs may be stopped cold by a week of steady rain. But know that you'll pay extra if you change your mind about a color after the trim is already painted or otherwise add tasks to the project.


Research the licensing requirements for your area. These laws governing professional contractor work will be different depending on where you live. It’s important to be aware of these laws and what they mean from the outset. Contact the licensing board for your state or district to find out more about what you’ll need to do to get your business off the ground.
Generally speaking, in order to be considered a contractor there are standards and minimum requirements that must be met. But a professional painting contractor provides so much more than what’s standard! As customers, it can be hard to come to terms or articulate exactly what it is that we are looking for. In many cases, we are simply not well researched or informed enough to make the best decisions based on our needs. But you really can’t afford to contract the wrong company. Not doing your homework may leave you under the assumption that you have hired a painting contractor, when in reality you have just hired a painter. When you hire just a painter, you as the homeowner have taken all responsibilities of a contractor. Now all the responsibilities, liability and management is on you!
Sorry it is difficult to trust almost anyone in the trades. It is easier to do the work myself and not deal with strangers in and around my house. When I have to hire someone I tell them up front that I'll be checking every detail, pay extra to purchase the materials myself, and if they don't want the job - well good! I always fine someone who will work with me as I pay a bonus for that.
Ask companies to include all details in writing. Although that sounds simple enough, too many contractors submit offers such as "paint house for $5,000." A friendly contractor may offer a reassuring handshake and promise that the crew will take care of all the details — starting on time, working every day, cleaning up, etc. That's great, but why not include each point in the proposal? If it's a challenge to get a written description of labor, materials and other details, things will probably get worse when the work starts.
Years back our city’s classical music station made a midnight move and sold itself out from under its loyal listeners. I’m not even sure the staff knew of it until it had been sold, signed, and sealed. There was a lot of hollering of betrayal and the like, but things change and after over 50 years of Bach and Mozart it was going off the air one night at 10:00 and returning the next day at 6:00 a.m as Christian Contemporary.

When selecting a color scheme for the home’s exterior homeowners can choose color options that will correct flaws that they may feel exist with their home and property.  Some examples include utilizing two shades of a single color to make a home appear appropriately sized when the home may be too large or too tall.  To accomplish this effect individuals will want to place the darker tone on the upper level of the home’s exterior.  Smaller windows can appear more proportionately sized by trimming them in a lighter tone of paint.  Darker colors make a space or feature appear smaller.  The same effect can be obtained for homes positioned further away from a curb.  By using lighter tones the home will not feel camouflaged.

Painting contractors work in the property maintenance sector. Depending on their skills and resources, they might specialize in painting different types of buildings, including houses and apartments, or commercial properties, such as offices, factories or retail outlets. Some contractors work directly for property owners; others find work through real estate firms, rental agents and property maintenance companies.
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.
Over the past year I have had several jobs given to 2 Angie's list recommendations and 1 not from a recommendation. They all have one thing in common, lack of sufficient and correct preparation to save time, labor, and the fact that they put a person in charge that was a cut corners type of worker. The two from Angie's list sent worker/s back to try touch up problems, but once the job is not prepared correctly in the first place any extra work is like putting a band-aid on a dirty wound.
A thorough scrubbing is a must before painting any exterior surface. It removes the dirt and broken-down paint residues that keep fresh coats from adhering and gets rid of mildew that grows on paint in all but the most arid climates. Most contractors clean with pressure washers, but in the hands of someone unfamiliar with the equipment, these can gouge wood, shatter glass, and drive water behind siding and trim. Using a hose, a pump sprayer, and a scrub brush is slower but safer, and just as effective.
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