I disagree with your criteria to hire a painter. A prompt returned call is nice but does not indicate the quality or fairness of the painter. As far as a written estimate, that should be more of a qualifier for the bid versus an evaluation criterion. I'm not sure one would have favorable results by hiring a painter on this basis. As far as the bidding process, change orders should ONLY be used if the customer requests additional scope (PMP 101). Angie's list should consider asking reviewers if/how much they were told to pay compared with the estimate. Unfortunately, there are a lot of contractors that are unethical and need to be accountable.

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Whether you are painting the exterior of your home to boost its curb appeal, change a color you don't like or refresh a dilapidated paint job, one thing is certain: Painting your home's exterior is a large job that requires proper planning, preparation and tools. In most cases, painting your home's exterior is a job best left to a pro. But before you call one in, you'll want to consider a few factors that will affect your project's cost.
Freshly painted walls often look blotchy. The color is uniform, but the sheen isn’t consistent. This usually occurs over the holes and cracks you patched with a filler or drywall compound. The porous fillers absorb the paint, dulling the surface (a problem called “flashing”). When light hits these dull spots, they stick out like a sore thumb. The smooth patch also stands out in contrast to the slightly bumpy texture of the rest of the wall. A quick coat of primer is all it takes to eliminate flashing and texture differences. House Painting Broomfield CO

The quality of materials used on your project will impact how it looks and how long it lasts. There is a huge difference in quality among coatings like paints and stains. There are also many specialized coatings that should be used for specific applications. Differences in the costs of a $9 gallon of paint versus a $50 gallon of paint represent real differences in the ingredients, with higher-priced paint having more expensive ingredients that look better and last longer, such as resins, binders and even titanium.

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My painter franchisee, who I got from Angie's List, must have found some shmucks on the corner to paint my house. I specifically said I wanted stain. First my house was painted the wrong color, Then it was painted with LATEX paint- not stain. Estimates to 'undo' the damage is around $10,000 and its not a guarantee that it will work. The work is at best amateurish. Many underpainted or not painted spots, drips, etc. They did the entire outside (scraping?, priming? caulking?, painting), cleaned up and left within the time I left for work and came home. There were thee of them (my neighbor told me) This was two years ago and I am still upset. Can't be fixed.

We are committed to bringing you a beautiful Color World quality paint job or other service that is clean, on time, and on budget. Our experienced professionals often complete gutter installation at the same time as exterior painting, repainting the area behind the old gutters before installing the new ones. We provide the services you need to maintain several areas of your exterior and interior, going above and beyond what other companies in our industry have to offer.
Oh, where to begin? Let me start with 'watered down paint'. 25-50% before the material gets to the site? Impossible. You would basically be painting with water at that point. It would be less of a hassle, and cost, to simply use proper material. You would be forced to apply three coats instead of two, as the coverage would be horrible. Whatever cost you think might be saved in materials would be lost in labor.

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"There's wisdom in a multitude of counsel" {Bible Book of Wisdom/Proverbs} I thank you all I learned so much here not only painting but contracting in general. After all this I realize how blessed my ignorance not taken advantage of by Greater Philadelphia area motivated young skilled pride-in-work honest hardworking + seasoned older employee of Scott Gribling Painting of Lansdale PA. I'm proud I had the idea that Tom Parkinson here taught me the phrase & affirmed paying daily "progress draws" & purchase receipts instead of advance deposit in case something happens to contractor, and as Tom teaches the natural effectiveness of receiving from the day's work :)
This feared question gets to the heart of who will be performing work in your home and whether your home and belongings will be safe. Sadly, there have been numerous documented cases around the country where employees of a hired contractor have burglarized, injured, or even killed the homeowner.  What’s worse, in most cases it was later found that the bad employee had a criminal background that was unknown to the employer.  In learning about who will be performing the work in your home, you should ask additional questions about their hiring policy and whether they conduct criminal background checks. House Painting Broomfield Colorado
As a former professional painter, something that drives me crazy is when I see painters cut in around wall plates. First of all, the amount of time that it takes to cut in is usually much longer than the amount of time that it takes to simply remove the wall plate. Secondly it does not look nearly as clean as it does when the wall plate is removed and thirdly it can invariably leave paint on the wall plate itself which also looks sloppy. Make sure the painter takes them off and then reinstalls them. It's less time.
Use spray paint to refinish your old bicycle or give any surface a new finish - glitter, mirror or just a new solid color. A fresh coat of concrete paint on a basement walls can make a huge difference. Protect your garage floors from dirt and stains with an epoxy paint. Don’t forget your bookshelves — douse them with some furniture paint to make them look new, again.

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Create a shortlist, then get three or more references — contact information for previous customers — from each contender. Ask these references how long ago they hired the contractor in question; if it’s been several years, they can evaluate how well the paint job has held up. If you go so far as to inspect the work in person, pay attention to the windows, doors, and trim. These are areas where careful technique goes a long way, and where carelessness is especially evident.

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As a former professional painter, something that drives me crazy is when I see painters cut in around wall plates. First of all, the amount of time that it takes to cut in is usually much longer than the amount of time that it takes to simply remove the wall plate. Secondly it does not look nearly as clean as it does when the wall plate is removed and thirdly it can invariably leave paint on the wall plate itself which also looks sloppy. Make sure the painter takes them off and then reinstalls them. It's less time.

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When you move from room to room, consider your color story, or how the colors will interact. Using complementary colors - colors that sit opposite one another on the color wheel, will create a very dramatic look in your home. Choosing analogous colors, which sit beside one another on the color wheel, creates a more subtle appearance. Monochromatic looks can also be very effective in small spaces, when you choose varying shades of one color to give variety, but without definition. 

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