Some contractors work on time and material others on a firm contract. I would never hire the former and am leary of the latter. A contractor may low-ball a bid to get the job planning to make a killing on change orders. If you say good morning to them, they charge you extra for that. If the contract is not very, very specific and extensively fleshed out or if they display their change order schedule prominently on top, show them the door.
This all comes down to the rules.....1. references....does the contractor have them??? I ALWAYS furnish all my prospective customers them....no excuses...2. insurance....again, I always furnish proof....3. Read the proposal carefully...I ALWAYS list materials down to tape used, the brand, the grit of sandpaper, the manufacturer, etc....its INEXCUSABLE to not list all of these items....I am a member of the PDCA, the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America, the foremost authority in the coatings industry and they also approve of what I listed....if you do not follow these guidelines, you will NOT get a job reflective of "professional". Look for the PDCA where any painting contractors are, if they are not a member, RUN!

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.


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.
They did an exceptional job of painting the interior of my house. As we were moving into an ongoing remodel, they came out on two separate occasions to better accommodate me. In order to put away the bulk of our stuff and make our place habitable, they first came out to paint all of our closets. Jay was professional enough to recommend that they come back to paint the remainder of the place later so that the paint job would be uniform, cohesive and less likely to be damaged during the completion of all our other projects. They were easy to contact and get a hold of and promptly returned to complete the job when we needed them. Despite having a house full of stuff, they covered everything neatly and took care of all our possessions. I would definitely use them again and would highly recommend them to others. Their price was better than several others, even my own contractor.
You are right on with this - why do people leave switch plates on when it's just so easy to take them off? Another thing that happened to us - we had the popcorn ceiling taken off and the ceiling painted white. When the job was done and I later went to change out all the fixtures/fans, they had left every fixture in place, so there was a large patch of popcorn and unpainted ceiling left behind - it just didn't dawn on me to specify that they take those down before scraping and painting. It was kind of a mess.
Stacee, I agree with you completely, from adding water to latex paint to taking whites from job to job. This article makes all painters look like scam artists. You get what you pay for people! There is no denying that there are scammers out there but in my experience, most painters are under paid any ways so if you want a good paint job, you are going to pay for it. If you just want a new color on your walls real quick, and that is what you pay for then that's what you pay for people. Most painters get the crap end of the stick and are left with making an entire house look good when it took a lot more than a painter to build the house in the first place. Good painters do not get enough credit. They are not all scammers who are cutting corners!
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.
Painting the exterior of your house is about more than just curb appeal. The right paint provides a protective layer between your home and the elements, preventing costly damage to siding, trim and other materials. With proper prep work and the right paint for the job, you can expect your home’s paint job to look great and stand up to the conditions for several years.

I am getting quotes to paint the exterior of a 2,500 sq ft split levei home that just had all new windows and pre-primed Hardiplank installed 3 months ago. the quotes are up to $2,500 different ranging from power wash,prime again 3 coats of paint to no powerwash needed so soon and one coat of paint.. All quotes include trim. One includes complete replacement of 80 feet facia boards another just 40 feet.
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.
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 have used James and his folks for many jobs over the years, both big and small. I keep coming back for reason-- they are FANTASTIC!! The most recent job in August 2018 was a full redo of the exterior of my house. The price was very reasonable; we set up a time a couple weeks out for them to start, and everything got off and rolling as planned. His team is very meticulous, very careful, very clean, and very courteous! They're also very accommodating. For instance, I mentioned a couple spots under some angled siding where I thought a little extra filling was needed, and they obliged without question. Same thing with a request for a stain-proof primer under a balcony. Doing these kinds of little things without question or extra charges is really nice! They did the job in exactly the amount of time they predicted, and everything around the house was returned to exactly where it was. But most important of all, it turned out fantastic! It looks like a new house, with a very professional paint job. Of course I will use them again for my next job, and I highly recommend them!
The PREP Study is attempting to reduce isocyanate, dust and solvent exposures for autobody shop workers in Connecticut. We have produced a user-friendly DVD-based training program with a great deal of input from the autobody community. The DVD contains information for painters, autobody technicians and anyone else working around a body shop, including:
I have used James and his folks for many jobs over the years, both big and small. I keep coming back for reason-- they are FANTASTIC!! The most recent job in August 2018 was a full redo of the exterior of my house. The price was very reasonable; we set up a time a couple weeks out for them to start, and everything got off and rolling as planned. His team is very meticulous, very careful, very clean, and very courteous! They're also very accommodating. For instance, I mentioned a couple spots under some angled siding where I thought a little extra filling was needed, and they obliged without question. Same thing with a request for a stain-proof primer under a balcony. Doing these kinds of little things without question or extra charges is really nice! They did the job in exactly the amount of time they predicted, and everything around the house was returned to exactly where it was. But most important of all, it turned out fantastic! It looks like a new house, with a very professional paint job. Of course I will use them again for my next job, and I highly recommend them!

I agree with you Richard, as a painting contractor for very many years, people are always looking to get more and more out of you. I had to give an estimate to a lady a few weeks ago who had more stuff around her home than a thrift store including heavy furniture, stuff all over the floor and junk everywhere. I knew if I accepted the job id be a furniture mover and cleaner. I also agree this article makes it seem like the contractor is out to rip off the customers. Fact is I always leave doing more work than agreed upon. It doesn't bother me since the customer is always satisfied. Just saying
If you do decide to make it a full-time business, the sky’s the limit. The house flipper/contractor that I worked for billed clients $35 per hour for painting, and paid his best painters perhaps half of that, so there is room for some profit there. Consider the case of Matt Shoup, who started with $100 and went door-to-door, asking neighbors if they needed some painting done, then built a painting business that earns $2.5 million per year!
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