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.
My wife and I just painted the interior of our house with about 6-8 gallons, of $30+ per gallon (meaning the good stuff, non-diluted) with absolutely fantastic results. However we just paid an average of $5 per gallon. Reason...all big box stores have paint, set aside, that has been mixed but not picked up by the customer. They need to sell it quick and if you're not in a hurry (you know well in advance that a room or two need painting and it's not like the roof leaking and needs an immediate fix) you can go to each store when you need other supplies or food, like Walmart (when convenient, driving 20 miles to each is not worth it) and over the course of a month or two, pick out some very nice colors of quality paint. We found perfect colors...not saying they were our first choice but when we opened the can, very nice and some even better than our original picks. Cost to paint the entire house was about $100, with all materials included, period. We had it on the market for a few months to sell, didn't sell, painted the rooms, got 2 offers the day after we finished, took the best one and never looked back.
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.

If you paint over dirty, oily surfaces, the paint will easily chip or peel off. So before painting, clean grimy areas with a deglosser or heavy-duty cleaner intended for prepaint cleaning. They work well to clean painted, varnished or enameled surfaces to improve the adhesion of the new paint. They’re ideal for cleaning greasy or oily areas like kitchen and bathroom walls and removing hand marks around light switches and doorknobs.
Even if you think you'll probably do the job yourself, it's good preparation to seek estimates from professional home painters, whether your painting the exterior or interior of your home. Then you'll have a financial point of comparison and you may benefit from what a home painting contractor has to say about the condition of your home, color choices and types of paint available. Let the painter make his pitch for a professional job before you decide what to do. You can still opt to do it yourself while having learned something worthwhile.
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.
If you have ornamental or colorful trees, shrubbery or floral selections around your home you should figure their colors into the color scheme selection that is made.  These landscaping attributes will have an effect on how appealing the property is as a whole throughout the year.  Homes that have a great deal of trees can make the property darker and cast shadows onto the home.  Individuals will want to avoid darker colors for these situations.
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...
The smallest detail can make a world of difference. This is why we take special care to prepare our workspace before the project begins. We will mask and protect any flooring, windows, furnishings, and other possessions before we begin painting. We take any necessary steps to ensure the job is done right the first time, and that you are completely satisfied with your paint.
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]
Register your business. The final step to becoming operational is to actually form a business entity. Usually, this is as simple as filling out a few forms with the Business Services Division of your local government. Private contractors will need to file for sole proprietorship, which means you'll be recognized as having full ownership of the company.[21]

It is one of our core values to ensure our clients’ dreams for their home comes true. So often, clients come to us for a new coat of paint or a repair but what they really want is so much more. We understand your house is your home and that when it is time for change or for a repair, you want a crew that will take care to make your home look its best.
After our own inspection, your Job Site Supervisor will walk you through the space, giving you the opportunity to review our work and to provide any initial feedback. You may also be contacted for a follow-up satisfaction survey so that we know how we measured up to your expectations. Our paint jobs are designed to last up to 7 years on a properly maintained surface, so you will get to enjoy your beautiful newly painted room for years to come.

Oh, where to begin? Let me start with 'watered down paint'. 25-50% before the material gets to the site? Impossible. You would basically be painting with water at that point. It would be less of a hassle, and cost, to simply use proper material. You would be forced to apply three coats instead of two, as the coverage would be horrible. Whatever cost you think might be saved in materials would be lost in labor.

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