Good contracts include descriptions of prep work and repairs; paint specs by brand name, type, color and product number; the number of coats; and a full description of the work, including frequently omitted items such as cabinet interiors and shutters. Minimize delays by specifying that, weather permitting, work will be continuous. Get a payment schedule that minimizes the down payment — the more payment you can withhold until the end, the more leverage you'll have to get the job done well and per your specifications. Insist that contractors provide proof that they carry both general liability and workers' compensation coverage.
A fellow (actually lives in the same neighborhood) by the name of Wayne Hickey (843-655-0366) painted the ceilings and most of the walls of our house in February 2017. He got paint all over my light fixtures, all over my trim around the doors, and had visible lap marks everywhere on the walls. He came back and rectified some of the problems, but not all, as I have noticed as I have had time to look more carefully at the work he and his assistant did. His assistant had no idea (not a clue) how to roll paint on a wall or ceiling. Some places were not covered. He said he would pull nails for pictures and then re-insert the nails exactly where they were. This he did not do as he promised. He painted over the nails. His assistant had no idea how to use a paint roller. I have painted all my life, and would have done this work myself, but I just had a full knee replacement and the other knee is in bad shape. I just could not do the work. Wayne is a pleasant and congenial individual, but he can not cut in a ceiling or wall to my satisfaction - not even close. He should have a putty knife and wet cloth with him all the time to correct any paint that might get applied where it shouldn't. That is something I always did as a painter. I would not recommend Wayne to paint anybody's home.
Can't speak highly enough of the service we received from James and his team. I did my due diligence and met with 3 painters. If I'd have met with James first, I might have skipped the other meetings. He talked me out of some extra work that wouldn't have come out the way i'd envisioned and showed me a packet full of successful projects, happy clients that dated back to the 1970s.