Three referrals should be enough to assess the quality of work as well as the communication skills of the painter. Ask about the overall quality of the work, the work style of the painter, how the work has held up over time, and if they would hire him or her again. Be wary of any professional that refuses to give you references; a quality painter should be happy to have to speak to past clients.
The article and comments were great information to have before deciding how to go about getting a painting job done. I think the important point is that there are several key choices (who to do the work; color, sheen, quality, of paint; how many coats; amount of prep/repairs to be done and by whom, how long the job will take, provisions for changes, how detailed the contract needs to be; advanced deposit/progress payments/final payment; final inspection, etc.) that need to be made and it requires advanced research and planning in order to become well enough informed to make the right choices. Then it requires spending sufficient time to check materials and inspect the quality of the work while it is on-going, raher than waiting to do it all at the end. President Reagan's philosophy of "Trust, but verify." applies.
I had the interior of my home painted (kitchen, & cabinets) the final product looks AMAZING!! Theresa in the office was very helpful and quick to schedule my project. Nick, the owner came out to give me an estimate he was very professional, on time, and very knowledgeable in his trade he also had great design ideas and wonderful taste in colors the workers were very polite, respectful and clean daily on the job. I highly recommend this company for any project big or small!!!
Sorry it is difficult to trust almost anyone in the trades. It is easier to do the work myself and not deal with strangers in and around my house. When I have to hire someone I tell them up front that I'll be checking every detail, pay extra to purchase the materials myself, and if they don't want the job - well good! I always fine someone who will work with me as I pay a bonus for that.
Back to the article. You can add water to all latex based paints / thinner to oil based paint. The tinting base has absolutely nothing to do with it. Say you are working outside and throughout the day you have to add a little water to keep the same consistency. If somebody really tried to add 20% to 50% water they no longer would be painting they'd be performing a whitewash or pickle finish.
Nothing is more frustrating that not being on the same page as your professional. During your in-home meeting, clarify your expectations of the job and have the painter set appropriate expectations on his or her end as well. If you want the painter to show up at an exact time every day, or if you need them to leave at a certain time, see how your schedule might impact the completion time. Additionally, ask the painter about their expectations for the job like requiring a staging area for supplies, needing to use the driveway, or having access to running water. Don't forget to ask about the clean up and disposal expectations and find out if they need access to your garbage receptacle or if they plan on leaving extra paint with you.
So sad that Angie's List requires the contractor be notified!! They have lost me as a client. If I'm dissatisfied and want to give an "F" rating (question/workers...I SHOULD NOT be intimidated into passing up an opportunity to explain my experience! There is NO WAY my contractor got an Aplus rating from over five hundred people....so someone was lying....yet I can't report that without the contractor knowing it? REALLY?