I did go with the highest bidder and it did not matter. They did a shoddy job and threatened to take me to court when I pointed out mistakes that they made based on their work standards stated on the quote. I have not paid them yet, just filed a complaint with the BBB. No money down asked, no contract signed. The boss stated I have to high of expectations just because I live in a 121 year old house!
Painters with bad reputations can avoid the problem of reference checks by giving their customers lists of relatives and friends.  The people will say great things, and the customer won’t be the wiser.  The best way to avoid this smoke and mirror trick is to ask specific questions about the project. If the reference seems hesitant, doesn’t know the details, or gives sketchy responses, be skeptical. 

Skip the do-overs and pick the perfect paint color the first time around. No matter what space, shade, or aesthetic you're looking for, we've got ideas. And then we've got some more ideas. We compiled all our best paint color advice in one place to make it even easier. By the time you're done with this story, you'll have your paint woes all solved.

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!
If less than half the old paint is left, however, it may be worth stripping it all off. Guertin gets rid of stubborn remnants using shrouded grinders (like the PaintShaver), infrared paint strippers (such as the Speedheater), or chemical strippers (like Multi-Strip), then smooths the wood with a course or two of sanding. When siding (or bank accounts) can't take the shock of a total strip job, Rich O'Neil, of Masterwork Painting in Bedford, Massachusetts, has successfully hidden rough, well-adhered paint under Peel Bond, a thick primer.
Not only careful communication is essential, but we would greatly recommend, when you pick out your type and brand of paint that you go and pay for it, with the contractor's discount, which is given by Sherwin-Williams and most paint companies. Then you will know how much paint you purchased and the coverage. If it is possible, inspect the work of the painter daily.
If less than half the old paint is left, however, it may be worth stripping it all off. Guertin gets rid of stubborn remnants using shrouded grinders (like the PaintShaver), infrared paint strippers (such as the Speedheater), or chemical strippers (like Multi-Strip), then smooths the wood with a course or two of sanding. When siding (or bank accounts) can't take the shock of a total strip job, Rich O'Neil, of Masterwork Painting in Bedford, Massachusetts, has successfully hidden rough, well-adhered paint under Peel Bond, a thick primer. 

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