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.
Stucco is a specialized material that requires extensive preparation work (cleaning, caulking, filling in cracks, etc.). Additionally, paint suitable for rolling or brushing over stucco varies greatly depending on location and climate conditions. Some stucco paint varieties will chip and peel away in certain climate conditions, so painting professionals won't recommend them. These factors make stucco one of the more expensive siding materials to cover. You can expect to pay anywhere from $900 (~500 sq. ft.) to $3,000 (~1,500 sq. ft.) to have stucco revitalized with paint, depending on how much is needed to cover the home exterior.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of cases where a painter has stolen items from a home or caused damage to the house or injury to the homeowner. Subcontractors may not be as skilled as employees, and the contractor you're hiring may not have much experience working with them, making them more of a risk. Additionally, ask if the painters are employees or subcontractors, and what the screening or hiring process is like.
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.
Using an airless sprayer to place paint on the wall (using low pressure) will speed up the process because your not having to dip your brush or roller. spray about 3 or 4 sq. ft. and then back brush or roll spreading and evening the paint. Because your using low pressure, mask and cover is at a minimum once you are accustomed to handling the spray gun and the type of surface being painted. Overspray will be larger droplets they tend to fall, than float around.
This all comes down to the rules.....1. references....does the contractor have them??? I ALWAYS furnish all my prospective customers them....no excuses...2. insurance....again, I always furnish proof....3. Read the proposal carefully...I ALWAYS list materials down to tape used, the brand, the grit of sandpaper, the manufacturer, etc....its INEXCUSABLE to not list all of these items....I am a member of the PDCA, the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America, the foremost authority in the coatings industry and they also approve of what I listed....if you do not follow these guidelines, you will NOT get a job reflective of "professional". Look for the PDCA where any painting contractors are, if they are not a member, RUN!
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.