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!
Prep. For new work the painter accepts the finish done by the drywall or plaster and once he accepts the work and starts painting he owns any wall repairs. Existing work is a different thing. I take a high intensity light and circle the kinds of defects with chalk so we are all in agreement before they start. Sometimes this results in a higher price and we have to compromise on how much to do...
We had a great experience with the crew. They did an excellent job, very professional and a pleasure to have had around. We want to especially mention Miguel (top notch supervisor) and Luis. In addition to all mentioned above they were patient and courteous especially in my struggle to find the right colors.  We were also impressed with their prep work and attention to detail throughout. Highly recommended!!
Upon first impression they were amazing and gave a great quote to paint my house in Pacific Palisades.  We settled on a start date of December 3rd.  The date came and went and they did not show up.  I had to follow up with them and they said they would come the first week of January.  I have put two calls into them today and they have not returned my call.
Second: all the tricks of the trade in regard to "cheating" customers is for hustlers and cheaters and NOT established businesses. At the end of the project the job should come out looking professionally painted as specified in the contract. A selected color that takes multiple coats that was not calculated by the contractor should cost more money. It's not the fault of the painter.
To industrial and institutional. I also own and operate a professional painting company of elite painters ONLY 5 ELITE PAINTERS, and pay them good money for being elite. Less is better in my opinion.The fact is this a homeowner and a painting company owner can both be taken advantage of by hustlers and liars and amateurs posing as pros. I have had many laborers tell me they can paint. " Oh yes sir I can paint, I'm a painter of 8 years. Yes sir I can cut a straight line." Some people will say and do anything to get a buck. If yoir on the job to see their rookie mistakes you may have time to save your reputation before disaster ensues and fire them on the spot. As a painting Company owner if your not on the job with your crew at least 3 out of 6 days every week your taking a huge risk of damaging your reputation and losing the respect of your team. Homeowners want to deal with you or the crew boss (jobs site supervisor) not "the painter". Many things I have read are right on. Painters for the most part will milk a clock for all they can and still do a good job. But amateurs will leave your projects in shambles and the only ones to pay for it is the contractor and the homeowners. But an elite painter and crew will try to complete a project as quickly as possible and move on to the next one. They understand bonuses, incentives, and promotions. My company provides the opportunity for a homeowner to meet each member of the crew and shake there hand on day one. There is also a differentiation between the crew boss and the crew by the uniforms they wear. Should the homeowners have any issue at all they know exactly who to go to to get results. This eliminates the age old problem of who screwed up? I have found that by me putting on my whites and giving my crew the opportunity to out do themselves on each project it ignites competition, pride in skill, and excellent commraderie amongst the team. We all hold each other accountable. Choose your contractor by the crew not the owner. The crew is a direct reflection of the Company owner. No room for rookies on fine finish painting. Go pro for painting and you won't regret it. With that being said homeowners should always remember that you get what you pay for. With paint and services. In most cases it will be well worth a few extra bucks to get elite results. Never go with the cheapest bid there is always a reason why it's so low.

I am in northern Nevada and you have not yet gotten sufficient responses to provide a painting cost chart showing the averages.  I do have a quote from an outside (Not Homeadvisor referral) painter who is local for $2,750 for soffits, patio cover and posts, Garage facia (redwood clapboard above (~300 ? Sq. Ft.) on a 2046 Sq. Ft. home where the walls are 9 ft tall and it is fully stuccoed with plastic stucco surfaces, so not being painted.  
I hired House Painters Inc. and set up a date for them to come.  The whole operation took about 5 and a half days from start to finish.  Sung and his crew were extremely conscientious of all our belongings and took great care preparing the house.  They showed up on time at 8:30 everyday, and were completely unobtrusive with our comings and goings during their week here.

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?
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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.

Our project foreman, as well as our staff, are full time, professional house painters which means that our attention to detail is second to none when it comes to your project. From selecting the right date to start the project, colors, project staging through to completion, we concern ourselves with every single aspect to make sure that your complete satisfaction has been reached. We will not stop until it has been achieved.
Steve, not only did you come off with an edge regarding the article written for Angie's list but you came awfully close to being slanderous. The article was written if you will have read his bio by a very well established professional painter. The issue regarding the deposit was put in question by a responder. I have read your response in full as you suggested, and companies as large as yours are just as likely to use the tricks of the trade as the small guy as you suggest, if not more so. A large company has less oversight and workers get lazy with the boss not looking over their shoulder. I have had experience in this area, and thought that i was dealing with a very reputable company that had been recommended by a couple friends, my insurance company, and my adjuster who had dealt with the company. I had terrible problems with the company, who do full restorations and like your company paint in all areas. To finalize your statement that Established businesses do not cheat customers is completly false and is a very misleading statement. I am suprised that Angies list allowed you to post such an outragious comment. All you have to do is look in the Civil lawsuits section of the Established businesses that are being sued or are under investigation for fraud and cheating their customers!
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
Thorough preparation is essential to ensure a good finish. Contractors might have to fill cracks or holes and remove old paint if it is badly worn, peeling or flaking. They remove all paint and apply a suitable primer to the bare surface. If the existing paint is in reasonable condition, they clean it and rub it with abrasive material to provide a key for the new paint. On new surfaces, such as bare wood or fresh plaster, they apply a suitable seal, followed by a primer coat.
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!

Here is where this affects you as a consumer. You select a painter with a contract that says 2 coats, $500 down. You give the company the deposit and pick your colors a couple of days before the project starts. The painter goes to the store with your colors and figures out they are deep base. He (or she) not only needs to charge you more for the paint, but he also needs to charge you for a dark gray primer coat. Ninety nine percent of the time that primer coat is going to be really, really expensive since you already gave a deposit.
Over the past year I have had several jobs given to 2 Angie's list recommendations and 1 not from a recommendation. They all have one thing in common, lack of sufficient and correct preparation to save time, labor, and the fact that they put a person in charge that was a cut corners type of worker. The two from Angie's list sent worker/s back to try touch up problems, but once the job is not prepared correctly in the first place any extra work is like putting a band-aid on a dirty wound.
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