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. 

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.
Not only did they paint our home- they also helped reattach a drain pipe that had partially come off the home, removed a small bee or wasps nest hanging off a side of the roof (this was SO nice of them and totally unexpected), and painted over some railings that were in serious need of TLC but were not included in our quote (we didn't ask for them to be painted when James came to meet with us). David asked my husband first about the railings and only painted them when he gave them the okay- it looks so much better and we appreciated this so much! While the painters were working we also had a termite inspection and contractor come over to look at something in the kitchen- David's team had no problem with this and were very accommodating.
There are cases where apartment complexes allow you to choose from a color wheel of neutral hues before you move in. Some charge a fee for calling in a painter to do the walls, while others offer new paint as a benefit of moving in. If you're not a fan of neutral colors, consider looking for an apartment that allows you to paint the walls a more expressive tone. Otherwise you can invest in boldly colored furniture and posters.
As a painting contractor I find that most contractors charge between $20 an hour and $45 an hour plus paint and materials pending overhead here in Pennsylvania i figure $30 an hour is a safe bet. figure a good painter should be able to prep a 12 x 12 to a 12 x 15 room, caulk, apply 1 or 2 coats to the ceiling 2 coats on the walls and 1 coat on all baseboards, trim, doors and crown moulding in an 8 to 9 hour day. This is with minimal or minor spackling repairs like nail holes and nail pops, not cracks and peeling tape. Thats extra paint is usually  $30 to $70 a gallon pending quality. A room this size will need 1 gallon for the ceiling 2 for the walls and maybe 1 gallon for the trim, doors ext... the square foot price is $1.50 - $3.00 as far as asking for money up front I never ask. If the home owner buys the paint there is no need for money and if your buying the paint and your an established contractor you have an account with your supplier's.  any ways that's my input and guidelines 
Generally speaking, based on either personal experience or simply what you have heard, do painters have an outstanding reputation? Rightfully so – answering honestly and without elaborating, most homeowners, builders and property managers would likely say no. As a consumer that is familiar with some painter’s reputation – if you overlooked the importance of conducting extensive research by not asking qualifying questions and getting the proof – what would you say your chances are of having a bad experience? Obviously, pretty likely! Right?
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!

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