I'm an architect and my firm routinely specifies interior finishes for projects so I thought I'd contribute a professional's perspective on the issue of how many coats of paint are deemed "acceptable". The fact of the matter is the average consumer usually isn't a paint expert and can't be expected to know about all the factors that impact coverage. That knowledge is considered "means and methods" and in a court of law, the responsibility lies with the painter or general contractor, not the consumer. What the consumer should be concerned about is the final result-does it look good and is it what you expected? The simplest way to communicate this to your painter is to stipule in your written agreement that the number of coats will be "as required to cover". That way all the guess work about what kind of primer, how many coats, how color affects the scope of work, etc., is removed from the consumer's responsibility and resides where it belongs-with the professional. In the contract that's why retention is always a good idea-typically 10% is withheld from payment until the job is completed to the satisfaction of the customer. Of course in return you as the customer have to be reasonable about what constitutes a completed job. Just my $.02.
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?
Historically, the painter was responsible for the mixing of the paint; keeping a ready supply of pigments, oils, thinners and driers. The painter would use his experience to determine a suitable mixture depending on the nature of the job. In modern times, the painter is primarily responsible for preparation of the surface to be painted, such as patching holes in drywall, using masking tape and other protection on surfaces not to be painted, applying the paint and then cleaning up.
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.
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I called several other painters to get estimates as well, always checking that the reviews were not fake (Like all 5 star reviews grouped within a month of each other, as if they had all their friends give them great reviews). I also checked with the California Contractors board to verify current Licences and if in fact the painters were working under their own license or working under some random contractor's license that wasn't even a painters license, (Some had no license at all!), I checked to see if the companies I interviewed were listed with the BBB, and if they were, if they had any unresolved claims against them.
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!