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.
The last big decision is how to apply the paint. Most pros use paint sprayers because they're fast, but in inexperienced hands a high-powered sprayer can leave drips, thin coats, and a mist that may land on many things other than your siding. If you do hire a painter who uses a sprayer, make sure he is meticulous about removing, covering, or masking off everything in the area that might get hit with overspray: gutters, roofs, windows, shrubbery, walkways, cars—you name it.
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.
When hiring a contractor it is always best to hire one who is personally referred to you by someone you trust. Hiring through ads or phone book is hit and miss. Check with your local paints stores, they know the good guys from the bottom feeders. Go to the stores that sell the high quality paints like Benjamin Moore(nonpareil), Pittsburg, Sherwin Williams or Glidden. Don't go the the big box stores for referrals, the people there don't know squat!
Complete the EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) program. As of 2010, all painting contractors in the United States must be officially certified to work with lead-based paints. The purpose of the RRP program is to inform new contractors about the risks and proper safety procedures for working on properties that contain hazardous materials.[2]
Maybe you've just moved into a new home, and you haven't got around to buying brushes and rollers yet. Perhaps you're worried that your brush-skills aren't that good, and you won't achieve that professional-looking finish that you’re really going for. Handy professionals will turn up with everything they need to get the job done, from ladders and brushes, to rollers and tarps. You just have to provide the interior paint and primer!
I hired this person because he was listed on Angie's List. This man claimed he took and passed his contractor's license test after he signed me up for a project (Feb.) that included fixing cracks, painting, repairing a gate, installing a screen door, etc. He said he would charge me the original "handyman" prices. He postponed the start date, brought one worker who fixed a few cracks, repainted the gate terribly, but ruined a dining room ceiling when his worker used silicone in a tube instead of the expansion tape, spray ceiling covering, and paint I had purchased saying this silicone was "better". Then they said they would have to paint the whole ceiling and charge extra. They left holes in the walls and did a sloppy paint job in several places. I just paid them to get them out of my home as I felt intimidated as a senior citizen who is handicapped. I will try to have the main guy come back when I let him know what I need redone. Don't know if he will come back without charging me more.
The question, “how is your warranty program funded?” will probably get you some puzzled responses.  The fact is, most contractors have never even considered how to pay the expenses associated with warranty callbacks, and some contractors just seem to vanish when they get a warranty call.  A professional contractor will be preparing for callbacks (they will happen, even to the best contractors) by including a line item in their budget for warranty work.  Ask the question and see what kind of response you get.  Sometimes, how the question is answered is more important than the answer itself!

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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.
Contractors apply several layers of paint to achieve a suitable finish. They leave the first coat to dry for the recommended time and apply one or more finishing coats. They might choose paints with special qualities for different types of room. Manufacturers have developed paints for bathrooms or kitchens that have good resistance to moisture for example. When they have completed painting, they clear away any equipment and restore the area to its original condition.

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.
Maybe you've just moved into a new home, and you haven't got around to buying brushes and rollers yet. Perhaps you're worried that your brush-skills aren't that good, and you won't achieve that professional-looking finish that you’re really going for. Handy professionals will turn up with everything they need to get the job done, from ladders and brushes, to rollers and tarps. You just have to provide the interior paint and primer!
Specialty painting by the hour costs between $40 to $50 on average. Paint might range between $75 to $90, costing an additional $40 to $50 per hour. The painter's skill and experience are also determining factors in the cost of specialty painting. While a freelance artist might charge $25 to $30 an hour, a very skilled professional might charge $80 or more. Some painters might also charge $60 or more for a consultation. Trompe l'oeils, in particular, will run on the expensive end of the price spectrum. Return to Top
Purchase surety bonds. Surety bonds essentially act as a kind of agreement between the contractor and the person hiring them that the job will be performed to standard. You can obtain these through your current insurer as a separate form of financial protection. As a contractor, many states require you to be bonded before you can begin working legally.[17]
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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