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!
Painting your home, both inside and out, improves its curb appeal, character and resale value. Painting is one of the quickest and easiest ways to give your home a face-lift -- and it yields some of the most dramatic results as well. If you have ever visited the painting section of your local hardware store, you know how overwhelming the multitude of paint choices can be. In addition to colors, there are finishes, stains, maintenance and other options to consider. And, if you're interested in adding a mural or trompe l'oeil, you're looking at a whole different set of choices and associated costs.
Second coats on similar colors are almost never recogicnized as being needed until the coat is applied and has dried. ONLY THEN WILL YOU SEE WHETHER IT NEEDS A SECOND COAT or not. Yes, painters can use a cheaper paint then what you paid for. That is solved by getting your own which, I would charge extra for because I will always have to go get more, or add second coat because home owner tried to skimp on paint, or they got the wrong color etc...
Painting the exterior of your house is about more than just curb appeal. The right paint provides a protective layer between your home and the elements, preventing costly damage to siding, trim and other materials. With proper prep work and the right paint for the job, you can expect your home’s paint job to look great and stand up to the conditions for several years.
the price can always be adjusted based on on or off season, amount of colors to be used. A job like this can be done in 2 days and much quicker with a helper. I charge a bit more than others just because its quality work done professionally. Theres others that charge more than this just because they can on the on season and most people dont get a 2nd bid...

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 45 percent of all painters are self-employed, though that number may be slightly higher if companies hire freelancers or self-employed painters as part of their team. The price that painters charge for their services is largely dependent on their association and whether the job is completed in the warmer or colder months (painters often charge more in the summer and less in the winter, given demand and other factors). More information regarding painter rates and associated factors is included below.
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.
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.

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.
Enforcement of this Act by the Painter-Stainers Company was sought up until the early 19th century, with master painters gathering irregularly to decide the fees that a journeyman could charge, and also instigating an early version of a job centre in 1769, advertising in the London newspapers a "house of call" system to advertise for journeymen and also for journeymen to advertise for work. The guild's power in setting the fee a journeyman could charge was eventually overturned by law in 1827, and the period after this saw the guild's power diminish, along with that of the other guilds; the guilds were superseded by trade unions, with the Operative United Painters' Union forming sometime around 1831.[2]
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.

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??
One of the most popular painting applications in the industry, ColorSnap suggests colors that will work in at your job site. Simply take a picture of the room, entryway or whatever else, and the software will find up to eight colors that will create a beautiful space. In addition, the program will suggest coordinating colors and help you locate the nearest Sherwin-Williams store.
I am a painting contractor and have been since 2001. Make sure the estimate provides in writing: What is EXCLUDED as well as INCLUDED. It should state the manufacturer and type of paint going to be used. Estimate says ALL LABOR AND MATERIALS. My estimates to my customers say "guaranteed coverage" eliminates the conversations of 1 coat vs 2 coat. I have my customers submit colors 5 days prior to start date. Customers need to inform me if they are going to use pure white, dark reds, oranges, and bright yellows they need to inform me in that 5 day window, so I can adjust my pricing for 3 coats. Although this more uncommon now than years past because a lot of paint manufacturers have primer with paint products. Let the contractor know if your doing accent walls. This takes longer to cut in straight lines and it requires the contractor to purchase more paint. If you add anything on the scope of work have the painter write out the description and cost prior to them doing the work. Have the estimate say how many days it will take to perform the work. Ask how many workers will be doing the job. Make sure to enforce that number of workers their everyday until the job is complete. Do not give final payment until you do a final walk through. Walk the job when its almost complete and point out areas that you want fixed prior to the contractors final walk through. Its best to do while the workers are still in that particular area as they will have tarps down and areas covered and it will be easier for them to take care of. Purchase a roll of blue tape and stick it to areas that you want fixed. This is called a punch list.
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