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.
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Sanding not only feathers out chipped paint but also provides "tooth" for the next coat of paint. For glossy trim, use a sanding sponge rather than sandpaper. Sponges mold to the shape of the trim and last longer than paper. When applying latex over alkyd paint or when he is not sure of the original finish, Brian Doherty, a painter in Richmond, Virginia, follows the hand-sanding with liquid sandpaper to make sure the surface is completely deglossed to prevent incompatibility problems. "I've seen homes where latex was used on oil-painted trim, and the paint started to peel in less than a year," says Doherty.
The pros were split on this tip. "Masking tape is problematic," says Mark Dixon, a painter in Missoula, Montana, and author of "House Painting Inside and Out" (Taunton Press, 1997). "Paint can bleed behind the tape, or remove the paint it's stuck to." Another problem is bridging. "Latex paints form a skin," says Dixon. "Removing painted tape can tear the skin, resulting in a ragged rather than a sharp line." Lastly, taping takes time. "Learning how to cut in with a brush takes practice, but if you can do it, you'll leave most tapers in the dust," Dixon says. (Cutting in is painting just the surface you want, not the surface adjacent to it — for example, where a wall meets the ceiling.) On the other hand, "If you can't cut in, you can't beat tape," says Span. The pros we spoke with all recommend painter's (blue) tape because it's easier to remove than masking tape. To prevent bleeding, Span uses a putty knife to bed the tape. After letting the paint dry, he scores the edge of the tape line with a utility knife to avoid tearing the paint.
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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Consider purchasing supplies personally to save money. Ask the painter for a bid that separates labor and materials. Then explain that you'll purchase the materials and ask for a list of exactly what will be needed to complete the job. Caulking, for example, is an extra supply commonly used to fill any cracks or damaged areas in your walls -- and one that might be overlooked in an incomplete list.
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I’ll bring up Erick Gatcomb again, because he’s been a sounding board helping me deal with whatever the future holds: “Don’t see this as a failure; see it as 27 years of success. So many businesses don’t make it that far,” he consoled. If we’ve helped you out in some way, made a difference in your life, helped you place an article, sell a product, get more work, figure out what’s the right brush or roller, or put a smile on your face with some bad joke or other, then our mission was accomplished. If there’s anything I’ve learned over these 27, it’s that success doesn’t equal happiness so much as happiness equals success.
to be the devils advocate i have been a building contractor 20 of the last 30 yrs. i do know that if you go to a higher sheen of paint and or darker colors then any imperfections in the walls will show up much more dramatically…therefore the painter or a good drywall finisher is needed to prepare the walls extensively. this could cause more expenses…for it takes a lot of time to prep walls (smooth walls..not textured walls) and this cost has to be absorbed.

Painting your home, both inside and out, improves its curb appeal, character and resale value. Painting is one of the quickest and easiest ways to give your home a face-lift -- and it yields some of the most dramatic results as well. If you have ever visited the painting section of your local hardware store, you know how overwhelming the multitude of paint choices can be. In addition to colors, there are finishes, stains, maintenance and other options to consider. And, if you're interested in adding a mural or trompe l'oeil, you're looking at a whole different set of choices and associated costs.
We had a bad experience with an interior painter years ago, with the crux of the problem being him overcharging us at the end for "extra work" he didn't anticipate. One thing I'd strongly recommend is making sure it's in the contract that any additional work or growth work is estimated and communicated to the owner as soon as it is identified, otherwise the owner is not liable to pay it at the end. 

Contracting is not conducted very often. Or, is it? What about your internet or television provider? How about a restaurant? Are we not contracting a service? Other than hunger, the attraction of the food or the ambiance – ask yourself, what inspired enough interest for you to check that particular restaurant out? Maybe it was word of mouth, good reviews, a good sanitation score, a clean atmosphere, the professional service, the quality of the food, maybe being close by or locally sourced food also helped? While you were considering all these factors – little did you know – you were qualifying and researching before you chose to give that particular restaurant your business. Most dinners cost under $50 per person. Why wouldn’t we take the additional steps needed to qualify our potential contractors for projects that typically cost much more??

I agree with Jeff below, these prices are far below what I see on the market in the Portland Or. area. When one uses the term "paint the house" what exactly does one mean? Any fool can buy an airless paint sprayer and put paint on a house. New homes built with fiber cement siding paint clean and easily but older homes built with wood require much prep work.
Keep in mind that color can impact the way a room appears in many ways. Light colors may help brighten a darker space. Cool colors will recede visually from the eye, and make a small space appear bigger. Warm colors contract visually, which can make larger spaces appear smaller or more cozy. Combining cool and warm tones in one room - like with accent walls - can visually change the shape of a room, making rectangles look more like squares.
Ask companies to include all details in writing. Although that sounds simple enough, too many contractors submit offers such as "paint house for $5,000." A friendly contractor may offer a reassuring handshake and promise that the crew will take care of all the details — starting on time, working every day, cleaning up, etc. That's great, but why not include each point in the proposal? If it's a challenge to get a written description of labor, materials and other details, things will probably get worse when the work starts.
As an owners rep and former estimator for a gc i do expect to pay a reasonable deposit say 10 percent and then weekly progress payments. I am asking the painter to book his time and to do the work on my schedule. Most painting companies are not huge operations they will pay their staff weekly. For most repaints i ask for one tinted primer coat and one finish coat for 100 percent coverage. New work gets one tinted primer and two finish coats for 100 percent coverage. The cost of the paint is not really that different for colors or finish. Brands like european fine paint and C2 are more expensive than Ben Moore and sometimes more difficult to roll based on their consistency. Some home depot brands are as expensive as the Ben Moore and of equal quality others aren't. Red paints are notorious for number of coats required and special priming requirements.
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Thorough preparation is essential to ensure a good finish. Contractors might have to fill cracks or holes and remove old paint if it is badly worn, peeling or flaking. They remove all paint and apply a suitable primer to the bare surface. If the existing paint is in reasonable condition, they clean it and rub it with abrasive material to provide a key for the new paint. On new surfaces, such as bare wood or fresh plaster, they apply a suitable seal, followed by a primer coat.

to be the devils advocate i have been a building contractor 20 of the last 30 yrs. i do know that if you go to a higher sheen of paint and or darker colors then any imperfections in the walls will show up much more dramatically…therefore the painter or a good drywall finisher is needed to prepare the walls extensively. this could cause more expenses…for it takes a lot of time to prep walls (smooth walls..not textured walls) and this cost has to be absorbed.

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You are right on with this - why do people leave switch plates on when it's just so easy to take them off? Another thing that happened to us - we had the popcorn ceiling taken off and the ceiling painted white. When the job was done and I later went to change out all the fixtures/fans, they had left every fixture in place, so there was a large patch of popcorn and unpainted ceiling left behind - it just didn't dawn on me to specify that they take those down before scraping and painting. It was kind of a mess.
This was very helpful. I wonder if i would really follow through and check to see if my painter was cheating me. I used a painter I found on Angie's List. This was 5 years ago. He did a great job. I know he did patching only for about a day and a half. We decided on the kind of paint before he started. that is what he used. I don't know if I could stay on top of him and watch him open every can of paint. 

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.[2]
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]
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These are some fantastic questions to ask and I particularly like the one that is concerned about safety for the painters. After all, if you have a large home and you’re hiring them to paint the exterior of that home then they’ll likely be on scaffolding. Because of that, you need to make sure that the contractor not only provides appropriate safety training, but has the correct liability insurance as well.
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