This is an area that interior painters can easily cut short to save time. Most contracts don't state the extent of the wall repairs included, so it's up to the painter's discretion how much they will do. If it seems like too much work, they'll usually point out the repairs but don't include it in the bid. They'll then ask you if you'd like it fixed after they start your project and let you know how much more it will cost.
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. I'd already researched him and figured that while he was amazing, he'd be most likely be the most expensive, especially after how prepared he was in the meeting. When he sent me the quote and I was stunned, 5k cheaper than the second ranked painter on Yelp. When the workers came they took care of all the stuff I'd seen other reviewers mention, removing old phone lines, some stucco work, but one thing I didn't expect is that one of my awnings had some dry rot that I'd planned to get fixed. There was slight language barrier but the workers took it into their own hands to saw off and repair the awning before painting it. Wow! I am a small business owner myself and understand that it can be exhausting to maintain a high level of service and care for your customers over time, but it's clear that James is still very dedicated. That's why he's #1. That's why he's staying there. Thank you James and co!
It's okay to receive ballpark figures over the phone however, insist upon an in-home estimate. A quality painter will help point out why certain parts of the project might be more expensive and can even talk through the repair process if it's necessary. A painter should also ask questions regarding access to the painting site, where they should park and if any HOA rules prohibit hours of work.
A thorough scrubbing is a must before painting any exterior surface. It removes the dirt and broken-down paint residues that keep fresh coats from adhering and gets rid of mildew that grows on paint in all but the most arid climates. Most contractors clean with pressure washers, but in the hands of someone unfamiliar with the equipment, these can gouge wood, shatter glass, and drive water behind siding and trim. Using a hose, a pump sprayer, and a scrub brush is slower but safer, and just as effective.
If the point of hiring a well established, experienced, reputable painting contractor is to secure the professionalism and trust suggested to be inherent with that choice, then I would EXPECT that professionalism and experience to include the ability to make the proper and correct calculations for labor and materials for a fixed price quote, and there should be NO reason for the contractor to put the cost burden of their miscalculation on the consumer.
Payment. Every client is different. Every job has it's own unique set of circumstances. I always start off the discussion with my clients saying that I'm flexible on how they would like to proceed with payments but that I prefer half down. I refuse to change order. Change orders are my last resort. Instead I ask questions at our initial meeting and try to be sure to cover all bases before I submit my estimate.