Paint gets more expensive as you go from flat to gloss. The difference is usually around $1 per gallon per sheen upgrade. Flat is the cheapest, then matte flat or eggshell, satin, semigloss then gloss. Paint also gets much more expensive the darker it gets. A white or neutral paint color can be as much as $20 less expensive than a deep base red or blue.
With that said, here's the reality of that particular scenario. Painters do put water in the paint, but not for reasons you would think. Some materials need to have their viscosity manipulated in order to slow drying time, allowing gravity to 'smooth' out the product for a better finish. It also prevents 'drags' and 'sausages'. I personally try not to do it too often, but from time to time I have to. I want my client to have a proper finish.
There are numerous factors to consider prior to pricing that can add additional costs to the painting of your home. It was previously stated that the surface material, condition of existing surface, home features, special materials that may need to be utilized, and any additional prep work that might be required can effect the final cost. The location also effect the overall condition of the home or business moving from the Northwoods , lake areas to urban homes.
Third: The contractor buys the materials. We get them at a better rate and customers really don't know what they are getting into by being a material racer. Once again, I'm not referring to the guys that paint a bedroom or 2 a week. Tell the homeowner to go grab 50 gallons of paint, $300.00 worth of sundries and related job cost items and I'd be interested to see how it works for them....IT WILL NOT. And if were talking about people getting taken advantage of here, the paint suppliers with no relationship to a homeowner will 100% GOUGE the customer and completely take advantage of them with pricing. Contractors will pay nearly half the price and will still save the customers money marking up paint 10-15%.

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.
Painting contractors must also carry out administrative and marketing duties. They prepare final accounts for customers based on the original estimates and any additional work. They analyze the cost of the job compared with the estimate to calculate their profit. They market their business through activities such as setting up websites, asking customers for references or contacting property maintenance companies with details of their services.
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.
You will want to use the highest quality exterior home paint your budget will allow for your project -- not only because it will look the nicest, but also because it will save you money in the long term by offering better coverage and durability. Better coverage means fewer coats and fewer work hours for your painter; better durability means that you won't have to spend money to paint the exterior of your home again in just a few years. How do you know how much paint you're paying for? Here's some helpful math:
When calculating total cost of your project, one of the most important factors to consider is the paint itself. Paint costs will be determined by the quantity of paint and primer required to complete your project, as well as the quality of the paint you choose. You can use this paint calculator to estimate how much paint you will need.. Once you have an idea what you're working with, go to your local home improvement store and compare the costs of a gallon in person. Painting professionals can also quote average prices from their years of experience working with different paint qualities.
Painting contractors must also carry out administrative and marketing duties. They prepare final accounts for customers based on the original estimates and any additional work. They analyze the cost of the job compared with the estimate to calculate their profit. They market their business through activities such as setting up websites, asking customers for references or contacting property maintenance companies with details of their services. 

In England, little is known of the trade and its structures before the late 13th century, at which paint guilds began to form, amongst them the Painters Company and the Stainers Company. These two guilds eventually merged with the consent of the Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1502, forming the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers. The guild standardised the craft and acted as a protector of the trade secrets. In 1599, the guild asked Parliament for protection, which was eventually granted in a bill of 1606, which granted the trade protection from outside competition such as plasterers.[2] 

In Mark Twain's classic "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," Tom tricks his friends into painting his aunt's fence. You probably won't get that lucky, but there are good reasons many homeowners keep their painting in-house. No building codes apply to interior decoration; if you do something dumb, you don't risk life and property as you would if you were, say, tackling a rewiring job; and because labor typically accounts for 80 to 85 percent of the price of a paint job, you'll save a ton by doing the work yourself. 

To win work, contractors generally have to bid against other suppliers. To make an accurate bid, they estimate the time and materials required to complete the job. They measure the area to be painted and discuss the type of finish the customer requires. They assess the quality of the surfaces to work out how much remedial work they must carry out before painting. They might have to remove old paint or wall coverings, or repair cracks and other damage. They also calculate the cost of any essential equipment, such as scaffolding for exterior walls.

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