Look for a licensed painter who has worked on similar projects before and can give you a written estimate. The estimate should ideally include cost of labor, cost of materials and supplies, cost of prep work with details, brand of paints and primers 3 (if the painter is responsible for the supplies), payment schedule, final inspection, and cost of cleanup and debris removal after project completion.
If you're going to do any part of the painting or prep work on your own, you must know that the first step in preparing a surface is washing it. Since dirt can affect the smoothness of a surface area -- and therefore paint's adhesion to it -- use soap to remove any dirt or stains. Make sure there's no soap left on the walls when you're finished; also make sure to remove any gloss with sandpaper and vacuum up the leftover dust.
Jason and Robin Ward are the owners/operators of the Fort Worth Northwest and Southwest territories. Their professionalism and customer-focused enthusiasm are two of the traits you will quickly notice as you speak with them about the painting experience you would like to have.  Jason’s knowledge and experience with all                                                       things ‘interior’ such as glazing, wallpaper removal, decorating trends and colors, popcorn ceilings, and protecting your flooring, furniture and valuables, will make the decision to work with them an easy one. House Painting Broomfield CO
When painting the trim, you don’t have to be neat. Just concentrate on getting a smooth finish on the wood. Don’t worry if the trim paint gets onto the walls. You’ll cover it later when painting the walls. Once the trim is completely painted and dry (at least 24 hours), tape it off (using an “easy release” painter’s tape), then paint the ceiling, then the walls.
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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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.

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