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.
When calculating total cost of your project, one of the most important factors to consider is the paint itself. Paint costs will be determined by the quantity of paint and primer required to complete your project, as well as the quality of the paint you choose. You can use this paint calculator to estimate how much paint you will need.. Once you have an idea what you're working with, go to your local home improvement store and compare the costs of a gallon in person. Painting professionals can also quote average prices from their years of experience working with different paint qualities.
If you are going to hire a contractor (professional painter) give a room by room punch list of the fixing of holes small or big, have it identified for the painter to tell you if you need a drywall finisher or if he does this type of work good. Wall repairs can be 3-5 steps to do repairs ( one per day for good drying of patching material and a good sanding) this is what gives you a good paint job only using high quality paint.
Because of our wet/cold weather, another painter was booked out through August as of May 7th, 2016.  Anyone even thinking about a VA loan refi should get estimates for painting and pest inspections BEFORE starting on the loan paperwork, otherwise you will have difficulty getting painting and inspections done in a timely manner (and it is my understanding this is common with VA loans.)  
The companies with the best paint products are Benjamin Moore, Dunn Edwards, Sherwin Williams, and Vista Paint. As a painter I don't recommend Berh from Home Depot as much because it's quality is just marketing. Flat paint has no sheen and it shows its true color, but is not easy to wash or clean. Satin, eggshell have low sheen and is washable. Semigloss ang glossy has a high sheen and these paints are recommended for bathrooms and kitchen or where there's high humidity and steam.
Dave, you said it best! Every pro painting contractor truly worth their salt would and should cut and paste exactly what you say here about where customary and legitimate practices and expectations should be in regards to what customers should expect from contractors and how contractors should professionally deal with their customers. By the way, Dave, if you work in the Atlanta area, I would like to hire you! Thank you for your valuable advice!

Beginning with the prep work and ending with last coat of paint or the finishing, an exterior paint job will last anywhere from one to two weeks. After completion, homeowners using low-quality paint will need to repaint every four or five years to keep it well maintained; homeowners using high-quality paint can go longer without a new coat -- usually about seven or eight years, depending on the type of paint and material.

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