The last big decision is how to apply the paint. Most pros use paint sprayers because they're fast, but in inexperienced hands a high-powered sprayer can leave drips, thin coats, and a mist that may land on many things other than your siding. If you do hire a painter who uses a sprayer, make sure he is meticulous about removing, covering, or masking off everything in the area that might get hit with overspray: gutters, roofs, windows, shrubbery, walkways, cars—you name it.

If a company has a formal training program, it’s a safe bet that they have their act together. They can do training in-house through regular meetings of their employees.  They can have field training systems in place, usually coordinated with classroom training sessions.  They can also use trade associations, such as PDCA (Painting and Decorating Contractors of America) or paint manufacturer’s representatives to stay up to date with the latest materials and techniques. 

This article with comments was terrific - it was so informative. I found the advice useful. It addressed specifics like the condition of the dry wall surfaces, any additional repairs such. pin holes, chalking, smoothing of wall surfaces, absorption of paint and number of coats that may be needed. It should also include insurance coverage, and reflect the clean-up afterwards. Having a written contract with the company's letterhead is a must.
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.
The obvious trick here is for unaffiliated contractors to use the BBB, PDCA, Chamber or other organizations’ logos without being a member. Other tricks include claiming membership when that membership has expired or even make up fake organizations that sound good.  The BBB continuously goes after unscrupulous companies that attempt to trick customers into thinking they are members.  Nearly every organization has a web page these days; if you suspect something, do a little searching to find out the truth.
A painter's rod, or pole, can help you paint ceilings more quickly — no climbing up and down ladders required. And there's no need to stand directly underneath the area you are painting, so you won't catch every wayward splatter. A pole is also great for walls and floors. The pros were split over whether the 4- or 8-foot pole is best for everyday use, but they all agreed that a telescoping rod is the best bet.
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.
Painters with bad reputations can avoid the problem of reference checks by giving their customers lists of relatives and friends.  The people will say great things, and the customer won’t be the wiser.  The best way to avoid this smoke and mirror trick is to ask specific questions about the project. If the reference seems hesitant, doesn’t know the details, or gives sketchy responses, be skeptical. 
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 45 percent of all painters are self-employed, though that number may be slightly higher if companies hire freelancers or self-employed painters as part of their team. The price that painters charge for their services is largely dependent on their association and whether the job is completed in the warmer or colder months (painters often charge more in the summer and less in the winter, given demand and other factors). More information regarding painter rates and associated factors is included below.
Paint Life offers our Bid Package downloads that are an important part of the success of my painting company B&K Painting.  The bid package is a compilation of over 20 pages that sells our business without ever meeting the customer. Its yours for $300. My bid package is a document that I have created and edited over a period of 13 years to its now almost perfect form.  Don’t look like every other painter with a one page scratched out bid.  Look like the best by giving your customers the best bid in your region.  Click Here the read more and purchase.

A fresh coat of paint makes everything it touches seem brand new. But such new beginnings cost real money. Professional painters charge around $4,000 for labor and materials to paint the exterior of a 2,500-square-foot, two-story home and roughly $5,500 for the interior. Painters’ rates may range from $20 to $60 an hour, but around $40 is typical in urban areas.

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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.
Recently I had the outside of my home painted. The contractor wrote a good contract, but I failed to realize that some things were not in it. It reminds me of the car dealer who offered a good price on a new car but failed to mention that it did not include tires. My contractor failed to specify that lattice under a porch was included. So the painters did not paint it. To his credit, he did instruct them to paint it when I brought it to his attention. If I had the job to do over again I would look for an individual who came with referrals from happy customers rather than a franchise owner..
Referred by a neighbor, I got an estimate from Excel along with two other companies to paint the exterior of our home; their estimate was the cheapest by at least a grand compared to the other companies. They contacted me a couple of weeks earlier than expected and offered to do the power washing a week or so earlier due to an opening in their schedule, another opening got them to our house 2 weeks earlier than planned to paint!!! Hernan and his crew showed up promptly Monday morning and knocked out the job in just 2 days! Hernan was very professional and thorough. The house looks amazing and the care and detail-orientation of the crew is evident. I also felt very comfortable with them in and around the house whether or not we were home. We also got support from our contact person via email about paint selection. The only negative, and not worthy of losing a star, is that they don't take credit or debit cards. I was bummed to miss out on my cc points and it was annoying to have to mail in a check rather than just pay over the phone or online. For such a large purchase, I couldn't be happier with how it all went down and came out.
I would not recommend this company for the following reasons:1. Original appointment was very specific to them on what was needed and to take photos for 3 apartment unit plumbing fixture repairs. One unit had a bathroom tub/shower backup.2. No photos taken, 3 trips later and only 1 unit completed to satisfaction. (Backup) 3. Other faucets unable to find on line with their suppliers and repair 4. Had to find another plumbing company to complete the jobs. 5. Invoicing had to be redone as not in detail of job address for tax purposes 6. Bad communication throughout the project process with their internal customer service. Their technician and project manager ordering parts. 7. For the back up. Did not bring out correct snake on both trips and had to replace lines as too small to break through backup. Costing over $800 for 3 trips just to complete that situation out. 8. Ordered the wrong parts when 2nd trip out since no photos taken to confirm what was needed. Very dissatisfied and will never ask them to work in any of our rental properties again.
The best time to tackle windows is in the beginning of the day, when you're fresh," says Doherty. "But it still takes me an hour to do a standard window." For double-hungs, begin by raising the inner sash and lowering the outer sash until their positions are almost reversed. Paint the lower half of the outer sash first, then the entire inner sash. Once the lower sash is dry, return both to their normal position, but leave them slightly open. Finish painting the outer sash. "Windows take too long to tape," says Doherty. When painting, overlap the glass by 1/16 inch to seal the wood.
Wow, James Lee's painters are amazing- David and his team were professional, worked incredibly fast, did not make mistakes, and even did some extra work for us free of charge. This is one of the best businesses I have ever found through yelp over the last 10+ years. We got three different bids to paint our home and James Lee's was significantly lower than our highest but also quite a bit more than our lowest (although I do believe the lowest bid painters were planning on painting much less & cutting some corners). James gave us the most professional & comprehensive bid we received, just as others have mentioned. He had a wonderful portfolio of work and I am so glad we chose his painters for our home. Apparently James Lee gets a price cut from Dunn Edwards Paint because they purchase A LOT of paint and it 100% felt like this discount was passed on to my family.
Paint Life is here to educate, empower and equip painters worldwide.  Think you cannot paint? You can! The Idaho Painter serves YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest viewers worldwide with free self help painting videos. Paint Life and The Idaho Painter were created as an alternative to the big box DIY video shows that have actors who only act like they can paint but really can barely act.  I believe painting is for everybody. The Idaho Painter and Paint Life is the most popular DIY painting channel on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. My mission is to shatter the barriers of entry into painting and convince people that it can be a lot of fun painting on your own without hiring a professional painter. Paint Life is here to teach you to LOVE painting and expose that painters have skills and can be respected.  No experience is necessary. 
When we checked out their work the next day we found multiple, I mean MULTIPLE, paint splatters all over the place.  On the hardwood floors (had to be at least 10 paint splatters on the ground), paint on the fireplace, clumps of paint on the wall.  There were several areas that needed a paint touch up that weren't.  It seemed like the whole job was done by a kid. We called them and asked if they could come back and basically finish their job.  We told them we will mark all the paint splatters and areas missed with blue paint tape, so when they came back they would know exactly where to look.  We marked probably about 20 areas that needed attention.  Sounds flawless right?
Deciding which paint to use has gotten much easier now that acrylic latexes have pushed oil-based paints almost to extinction. The acrylics offer superior performance (they don't harden with age, the way oils do, so they move and breathe without blistering), they don't mildew as readily, and they emit fewer VOCs, so they comply with new air-quality regulations. They also work over both oil- and water-based primers.
Painting is a skilled job with plenty of room for error, from knowing how to prepare the appropriate surface to understanding the best interior paint for the situation. When you book through Handy, we match your job’s requirements with experienced house painters who will leave you completely satisfied. They'll arrive with the right equipment in hand, ready to roll.
I hired Excel Home Painting to paint the exterior of our house. I worked with the company to schedule the project from the east coast. It was a smooth process. The crew showed up on time, finished the project quicker than expected (thanks to great weather) and the house looked great. Every encounter I had, whether it was with the office staff, the project manager or the lead painter, was pleasant, straight-forward and professional. I would recommend Excel Home Painting to my friends and family. Cindy
If you decide to hire help, have several contractors inspect the job and provide proposals. You'll probably find huge price differences for the same job. A Checkbook undercover shopper got quotes from nine Washington-area contractors to repaint the walls, ceiling and trim for a living room, dining room, family room, bathroom and kitchen. Including paint and supplies, prices ranged from $2,650 or less to more than $6,500.
However, David, who works in Excel's office, really left a bad taste in our mouth for the whole project. We didn't love the color our house ended up being - a color match that Excel performed for us - and expressed as such. David was a nightmare to work with once we mentioned we had a problem. He had terribe customer service skills and repeatedly made us feel like it was our fault and that we were stupid. Painting our house was a big commitment and investment in our eyes, and he was not the least bit helpful in trying to get us to an end product we would be happy with. In fact, he succeeded in making us even more unhappy to the point that we gave up on even having Excel repaint to get us to a color we'd be happy with. A very disappointing experience.
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They did not come back a 3rd time.  We didn't have time to waste we had carpet installation coming, staging appointments, etc.  They said they will address the situation if a problem came up with selling it.  Well, the staging of the townhouse hid the mess nicely with carpets, so now that the townhouse is sold and has new owners, I guess it's not our problem anymore...I feel bad tho.
My wife and I just painted the interior of our house with about 6-8 gallons, of $30+ per gallon (meaning the good stuff, non-diluted) with absolutely fantastic results. However we just paid an average of $5 per gallon. Reason...all big box stores have paint, set aside, that has been mixed but not picked up by the customer. They need to sell it quick and if you're not in a hurry (you know well in advance that a room or two need painting and it's not like the roof leaking and needs an immediate fix) you can go to each store when you need other supplies or food, like Walmart (when convenient, driving 20 miles to each is not worth it) and over the course of a month or two, pick out some very nice colors of quality paint. We found perfect colors...not saying they were our first choice but when we opened the can, very nice and some even better than our original picks. Cost to paint the entire house was about $100, with all materials included, period. We had it on the market for a few months to sell, didn't sell, painted the rooms, got 2 offers the day after we finished, took the best one and never looked back.
My friend already posted about this, but the incident is so outrageous it deserves two postings. On a lovely Sunday afternoon, we were out on a  walk and waiting, patiently, on 65th and 1st for the east-west traffic to stop and allow us to cross. When the eastbound traffic was clear, a car heading west stopped to let us cross. Behind this law-abiding driver, heading west, was the Excel Home Painting van. The Excel driver immediately started honking at the car in front of him--you know, the one that stopped to allow pedestrians to cross--and then screaming and cursing at us, including calling us "f**king bitches and whores." Why? Because we were crossing the street. Really?
Such a fantastic job.  Thank you, Thank you Alex and his crew.  Wow!!  Our house looks brand new.  I can't believe what a spectacular job Alex and his crew of two extra men were able to accomplish.  They worked so efficiently as a team.  What an incredible attitude they bought to our project.  A few times, one of the team members was even singing on the job.  My home looks absolutely beautiful.  We went from peeling, buckling exterior paint to a gorgeous, pristine and fresh exterior.  House Beautiful photographers, we are ready for you.  Alex's crew were so well prepared and methodical as to how they approached our home.  I had no idea at the onset how much detail work goes into painting the exterior.  They made certain every detail was covered.  If any hiccups arose, I was notified and we discussed how to correct the situation before they proceeded.  Their communication skills are spot on.  They are totally trustworthy and work so very hard every minute they were here.  What a pleasure to have them here.  I completely recommend them without any hesitation.  Tremendous Thank You again.

My husband has been a professional painter over 30 years. He prides himself in his high level of work ethic and customer satisfaction. He stays up to date on techniques and finishes. He gives Very detail and accurate appraisals with contracts. At an alarming rate, as he starts to finish the last day or the day before, the client starts nit picking and being disrespectful towards his work when every day prior to that, they were very pleased, as he request ongoing satisfaction throughout the job. Then they don't to want pay remaining balance, bicker about final cost, or stop payment. He has a crew he has to pay whether the customer does or doesn't honor the contract as well as our own household expenses. Wasted time ,labor, money and effort lost. Now how do we fix this? Remind yourself and clients that a contract is based on honor.

Climate is another factor to consider. Sunlight, wind, rain and salty weather can all wear out exterior paint. Oil-based paint is durable against wind, rain and temperature changes, but sunlight tends to degrade it. Alkyd paint chalks and sheds very thin layers when it begins to wear. Latex paint is the more durable option for very sun-drenched and relatively dry climate areas. Latex paint with high vinyl content should be avoided, however. Acrylic resin is by far the more durable binder for outdoor latex paint.

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