I've seen this article sent out 4 times now. It's out dated in terms of today's "Scams." Paint stores haven't charged more money for deeper paint colors in over 15 years. Also Water downed paint? Seriously? That would never happen in the real world. And Wall repair? what painter would ever not assume wall repair as included? This article is a waste of time and should be taken down or edited to reflect actual scams of todays times.

Lap marks are those ugly stripes caused by uneven layers of paint buildup. They occur when you roll over paint that’s already partly dry. (In warm, dry conditions, latex paint can begin to stiffen in less than a minute!) The key to avoiding lap marks  when doing DIY wall painting is to maintain a “wet edge,” so each stroke of your roller overlaps the previous stroke before the paint can begin to dry.
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.
I have a Home Improvement/Painting business, and Angie's List always advertises that that everyone is out to get them. Of course there are people who try to take advantage of homeowners My reputation and repeat business is based on word of mouth. Shoddy work is always a way to get put out of business quick. As far as strictly painting, preparation is a big factor in getting a quality paint job. If you don't prepare the surfaces you are painting you are spinning your wheels, and wasting money, no matter what paint you use. Getting a deposit from a customer is beneficial, but not always necessary. Sometimes it is a godsend, when you get stuck by the customer, which has happened to me more than once
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.
The only time it's acceptable to mix water in the paint is when you're using a deep or ultra deep base paint to reduce its stickiness, which is rare with new paint technology. Dark primary colors are composed almost entirely of tint that makes it very hard to work with without adding water. (You never use a sprayer and need to thin paint.?) If i was still in the industry I'd take the time to make a better article than this. Take this for a grain of slat. Use a reputable painter or someone you know you can trust or has been referred to you by someone you trust. I wouldn't hire anyone I had to watch like a hawk to make sure they're not screwing me.
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When the primer is dry, caulk all small joints (less than ¼-inch-wide) in the siding and trim. Most pros use siliconized acrylics—paint won't stick to straight silicones—but Guertin and O'Neil like the new, more expensive urethane acrylics for their greater flexibility and longevity. O'Neil stresses that it's shortsighted to skimp on caulk. "If the joint fails, you're back to square one." Guertin uses the lifetime rating as his quality guide. "I don't expect 35-year caulk will last 35 years, but it should last longer than a 15-year caulk."
I managed commercial construction projects for many years, have built and remodeled several properties, and never once have I encountered any of these scams. The tone of this article is deeply troubling. The author seems to be saying that ALL painting contractors are inherently dishonest, and that has not been my experience. The underlying advice here is sound: get it all in writing and cover as many contingencies as possible--so pointing out potential pitfalls like coat coverage is helpful. But do that in the spirit of clear communication of expectations, not with the expectation that the person you are hiring will try to cheat you at every turn. Not every contractor takes outrageous advantage of change orders; not every contractor will sneak past necessary preparation and/or repairs. Contractors of all sorts get a bad rap as it is; reinforcing a stereotype with articles written from this point of view just seems unproductive.
The quickest way to up the curb appeal of your home? A fresh coat of stain or paint. At Five Star Painting, we specialize in exterior home services that make an impact. Contacting one of our local residential painting experts means there will be no hassle and no mess for you and your family. Our teams come highly recommended and can help with everything from pressure washing to paint selection.
"We used Next Door Painting for the exterior and one room on the interior of our house. Scott Finkelstein and his crew did an excellent job. They were reasonably priced, very professional, helpful with ideas and accommodating to our wishes and needs. I was contacted within an hour after my Thumbtack request, made an appointment for an estimate and was impressed with the knowledge and quality of the presentation. I definitely recommend them for the job and will use them again. Christy Todd Flower Mound, TX"

First off all clients want a "deal" As a painting contractor for 38 years I can tell you that residential-commercial-industrial clients (and their needs are all diffrent. It seems this discussion mostly concerns residential repaints,so here goes--first off ALWAYS get a personal referance from a friend or co-worker. Always get an itemized contract that specifies the prep,color, number of coats, and specifics on payment. Remember you want to set up a relationship with the painting contractor of your choice. Bond, license and insurance are required to get a contractors license and are readily available online at your state Labor and Industries website. Second-- find someone you trust. He or his crew will probably be left alone in your home for most of the time. I always tell my clients that I wont bring someone to their home I wouldnt have in mine. Third--$$ Dont ever pay up front always insist on progress draws if the project is 2 or 3 phases remember If a contractor wants $3000 to do the job and you give him half up front he will be working for $1500. It WILL affect the quality of the product. In 38 years of business I have never taken a deposit and have never not been paid in full remember do what you said you would do for exactly what you said it would cost and there will be no problems with getting paid. one last reminder to clients you are also being evaluated when you interview a contractor. He is sizing you up as well. If he thinks you are a bit sketchy the the price will go up or he wont take the job at all. I have turned down some jobs that looked very profitable on the surface that turned out not to be so.(word gets around fast in the small painting community) Good Luck to clients and contractors
When hiring a contractor it is always best to hire one who is personally referred to you by someone you trust. Hiring through ads or phone book is hit and miss. Check with your local paints stores, they know the good guys from the bottom feeders. Go to the stores that sell the high quality paints like Benjamin Moore(nonpareil), Pittsburg, Sherwin Williams or Glidden. Don't go the the big box stores for referrals, the people there don't know squat!
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.
For interior paint I prefer the semi-gloss, provides a very subtle sheen and is super easy to clean -no flaking, chipping, etc. I've painted a lot, and found that Sherwin Williams Ovation paint has been the easiest to use, and provides the best coverage. I even painted my ceilings with it and WOW! I was done it no time at all, with perfect coverage.
If you decide to hire help, have several contractors inspect the job and provide proposals. You'll probably find huge price differences for the same job. A Checkbook undercover shopper got quotes from nine Washington-area contractors to repaint the walls, ceiling and trim for a living room, dining room, family room, bathroom and kitchen. Including paint and supplies, prices ranged from $2,650 or less to more than $6,500.

The other difficult part is getting a painting contractor to show up. While this generalization does not apply to every painter, personally I am extremely grateful if I can get a paint contractor to show up to look at the house and to later produce a written estimate. I hardly fault the painting contractors, because I think it is a combination of the contractors being smaller operations along with a high demand for their work.
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!

After painting the ceiling, work from the top down: Start with the crown molding, then do the walls and then paint the casement molding around the windows and doors. Do baseboard molding last. "Painting the baseboards last keeps dust and grit from traveling off the floor, onto the brush and then up onto the freshly painted casements," explains Weeks.


In 1894, a national association formed, recreating itself in 1918 as the National Federation of Master Painters and Decorators of England and Wales, then changing its name once again to the British Decorators Association before merging, in 2002, with the Painting & Decorating Federation to form the Painting & Decorating Association. The Construction Industry Joint Council, a body formed of both unions and business organizations, today has responsibility for the setting of pay levels.[2]
Most painters have no problem painting doors in place, but they recommend you lay the door on sawhorses and work horizontally. If you have a paneled door, start with the panels and work from the outside edges in toward the center. "Watch the corners — paint loves to puddle," warns Dixon. While the paint is still wet, lightly "tip off" the panel with an almost dry brush. (Tipping off is pulling the brush over the surface to level out the finish.) When painting the stiles (vertical) and rails (horizontal) just follow the grain of the wood. When the grain changes abruptly, for instance, where the rail meets the stile, don't stop your brush stroke — you'll only leave a lump of paint. Apply paint across the joint with a full stroke, and then tip off the overlapping section by pulling the brush in the direction of the grain. "Make sure the door is dry before painting the opposite side or rehanging it," says Maceyunas.
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.

We are a commercial paint contractor that can perform any painting service for our customers throughout Miami, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. We specialize in painting the exterior of many different buildings as well as the structures and surfaces on the interior. We can provide our customers with waterproofing services that will prevent water damage to any structure in or around your building so you can avoid potentially expensive repairs. We also have the experience and resources to provide you with our texture and drywall finishing services and carpentry in your commercial building.
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.
When you go to the home improvement store, find out how much 12 gallons of the paint you want would cost, and that will help you determine your cost. Maybe it's a low-quality paint that costs $30, in which case you're looking at about $360 for paint. If you choose high-quality paint that costs around $70, your total paint cost could be closer to $840. Professionals also recommend that you add an extra 10 or 20 percent to your total square footage, depending on the type of siding you have. Some textures require extra paint because they're rough. This is especially true with wood and stucco siding.
When I had my interior painting done, after clearing out all of the furniture, myself, I also removed all of the wall plates in all the rooms to be painted. They were a beige color and probably yellowed. The wall was originally an off white and I had it painted a light-mid grey, so those wall plates would look terrible. After pricing replacement plates, switches and outlets (Would have been way too expensive to replace all of them), I decided to just paint all of the wall plates, switches and outlets (Used just a black gloss spray paint). I sprayed the plates outside and used a small brush on the switches and outlets. It worked out just fine and the blacks plates, etc compliment the wall color. It has been 7 years and the plates, switches, outlets are holding up well.
At Five Star Painting, we deliver five-star quality without the five-star price! Our teams are comprised of estimators, painters and production managers dedicated to completing each job within your budget and timeframe. Our company is locally owned and operated by members of your community. What’s more, we know paint and we know how to help you achieve the look you’re striving for.
I would not recommend this company for the following reasons:1. Original appointment was very specific to them on what was needed and to take photos for 3 apartment unit plumbing fixture repairs. One unit had a bathroom tub/shower backup.2. No photos taken, 3 trips later and only 1 unit completed to satisfaction. (Backup) 3. Other faucets unable to find on line with their suppliers and repair 4. Had to find another plumbing company to complete the jobs. 5. Invoicing had to be redone as not in detail of job address for tax purposes 6. Bad communication throughout the project process with their internal customer service. Their technician and project manager ordering parts. 7. For the back up. Did not bring out correct snake on both trips and had to replace lines as too small to break through backup. Costing over $800 for 3 trips just to complete that situation out. 8. Ordered the wrong parts when 2nd trip out since no photos taken to confirm what was needed. Very dissatisfied and will never ask them to work in any of our rental properties again.

When their bids are successful, contractors meet customers to finalize their requirements and plan the order and timing of work. Contractors estimate the time required for surface preparation, painting several coats and drying time between coats. For interior painting jobs, they might have to allow time for clearing rooms. Exterior painting schedules might be dependent on the weather in different parts of the country. Exterior painting is not practical in very wet or very cold conditions.

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. 

Home and business owners alike know that the professionals of Southern Painting are the best painters in Fort Worth to trust. Not only are our painters bonded and insured – we also back our work with a transferrable Three-Year Limited Labor Warranty. Combine that with over 28 years of experience, and there’s simply no reason to go anywhere else. We provide services above and beyond what you can do yourself, and we go further for our customers than any of the other painters Fort Worth has to offer.

If there is any peeling — and there usually is somewhere — it's essential to scrape off any loose paint. This doesn't just mean the parts that are already separated from the wood and ready to fall off on their own. Each spot where paint has peeled loose needs to be scraped thoroughly until you can no longer get the sharp corner of a putty knife under any of the surrounding edges of paint. Then, the bare spot needs to be sanded until the paint edges are smooth.
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.
Unless you like textured walls, don't paint over dust. Wash the walls with trisodium phosphate (TSP) or a mild cleaner, like Jasco's TSP No-Rinse Substitute. For smoke-stained walls, Toto uses a 50/50 solution of bleach and water. To clean a wall, use two buckets. Load up your rag or sponge from your cleaning-solution bucket, and scrub. Before redipping, rinse the sponge in a second bucket filled with clean water.

When the primer is dry, caulk all small joints (less than ¼-inch-wide) in the siding and trim. Most pros use siliconized acrylics—paint won't stick to straight silicones—but Guertin and O'Neil like the new, more expensive urethane acrylics for their greater flexibility and longevity. O'Neil stresses that it's shortsighted to skimp on caulk. "If the joint fails, you're back to square one." Guertin uses the lifetime rating as his quality guide. "I don't expect 35-year caulk will last 35 years, but it should last longer than a 15-year caulk."


Color is always the first consideration when painting a home. Most paint manufacturers offer samples to try that can allow you to make a more informed decision. Because light within a room may vary from wall to wall as well as from day to night, try painting a large piece of poster board in the color or colors you are considering. Move the board from wall to wall and look at it for a minimum of 24 hours at a time in each space to make sure you like the color before committing.
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.
Specify whether the contractor or you will supply the paint. Check Consumer Reports' paint ratings: In its tests, some relatively inexpensive paints performed better than more expensive paints and cost $10 to $20 less per gallon. But keep in mind that most paints will resist cracking, peeling, mold and mildew. Who does the painting — and how well they do it — is more important than what's in the bucket.
This article is outdated. Deep based colors were an increase in price back in the 90's. Most stores have a standard price for all colors now. The problems the author are citing are outdated and rarely happen. This is the 2nd time I've seen this article being emailed out, it's irresponsible of angies list to keep sending out this poorly written and inaccurate article.
Picking exterior house paint colors is a lot different than picking a color for a shirt or a car.  It may help to drive around to observe colors that other homeowners have combined on homes that are of similar size and design as yours.  There are also online resources that provide homeowners with the ability to create virtual makeovers of their home by combining colors together through their software programs as well.

A qualified exterior house painter can walk you through the process of getting your house ready for a new coat of paint, from scraping and sanding to patching and priming. A pro can also recommend the best exterior paint for the job, whether your siding is wood, fiber cement, stucco, vinyl, or even metal. When it comes to getting the work done, your painter will arrive with all the tools and equipment needed to get the job done quickly, correctly and safely.
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.
Painting the exterior of your home is an essential maintenance task that can be challenging, time-consuming and extremely messy. The fastest and safest way to get the job done right is to hire a professional exterior painting contractor. A pro will have the right tools, equipment, and experience for the job, will be able to recommend the most effective paints for your particular project, and can handle the necessary prep work to ensure a lasting finish. They will also select the best time to paint your home to keep the project within your timeline and budget.
At Supreme Painting, you can feel good about hiring professional painters. An Exceptional Customer Experience is our #1 Priority and we get the job done right and as scheduled. Your painting project will be done quickly with as little impact on your daily routine as possible. We respect your time. Other than the beautiful new look of your space, you won’t even know that we’ve been there. 

Tru Colors Contracting is an experienced residential paint contractor that has been serving Miami, Broward and Palm Beach Counties for many years. We are completely dedicated to providing our residential customers with high-quality interior and exterior painting services that yield beautiful and long-lasting results. Painting is one of the easiest ways you can enhance the look of your home and that's what we will do for you with our services. We can paint the inside and outside of your home, including any structure or surface that is looking dull or worn and needs a new look.
The Evolution System uses a 100% solids polyurea with unique technology that offers extreme adhesion, rapid cure, and maximum broadcast times. The vinyl flakes come in a variety of blends to mix and match with your choice of basecoat colors. This is one of the most popular systems for because of its wide variety of applications. Walk on in 4 hours & drive on in 24 hours. 

YP - The Real Yellow PagesSM - helps you find the right local businesses to meet your specific needs. Search results are sorted by a combination of factors to give you a set of choices in response to your search criteria. These factors are similar to those you might use to determine which business to select from a local Yellow Pages directory, including proximity to where you are searching, expertise in the specific services or products you need, and comprehensive business information to help evaluate a business's suitability for you. “Preferred” listings, or those with featured website buttons, indicate YP advertisers who directly provide information about their businesses to help consumers make more informed buying decisions. YP advertisers receive higher placement in the default ordering of search results and may appear in sponsored listings on the top, side, or bottom of the search results page.
I am getting quotes to paint the exterior of a 2,500 sq ft split levei home that just had all new windows and pre-primed Hardiplank installed 3 months ago. the quotes are up to $2,500 different ranging from power wash,prime again 3 coats of paint to no powerwash needed so soon and one coat of paint.. All quotes include trim. One includes complete replacement of 80 feet facia boards another just 40 feet.
Pros prefer 5-gallon buckets with a roller grid to roller pans. They hold more paint than pans and, says Doherty, "It's tougher to tip over a bucket." A bucket also lets you box, or mix, two or three cans of paint to avoid color discrepancies. To use a bucket and grid, dip the roller a quarter of the way into the paint and run it over the ramp to work the paint into the nap.
The last big decision is how to apply the paint. Most pros use paint sprayers because they're fast, but in inexperienced hands a high-powered sprayer can leave drips, thin coats, and a mist that may land on many things other than your siding. If you do hire a painter who uses a sprayer, make sure he is meticulous about removing, covering, or masking off everything in the area that might get hit with overspray: gutters, roofs, windows, shrubbery, walkways, cars—you name it.
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.
This article with comments was terrific - it was so informative. I found the advice useful. It addressed specifics like the condition of the dry wall surfaces, any additional repairs such. pin holes, chalking, smoothing of wall surfaces, absorption of paint and number of coats that may be needed. It should also include insurance coverage, and reflect the clean-up afterwards. Having a written contract with the company's letterhead is a must.
I am in northern Nevada and you have not yet gotten sufficient responses to provide a painting cost chart showing the averages.  I do have a quote from an outside (Not Homeadvisor referral) painter who is local for $2,750 for soffits, patio cover and posts, Garage facia (redwood clapboard above (~300 ? Sq. Ft.) on a 2046 Sq. Ft. home where the walls are 9 ft tall and it is fully stuccoed with plastic stucco surfaces, so not being painted.  
Most pros don't bother cleaning brushes and rollers if they are going to use them the next day on the same job. "Latex paint dries slowly in cold temperatures," says Maceyunas. For two-day jobs, he wraps the rollers and brushes in plastic grocery bags and sticks them in the refrigerator. "Just allow the roller to return to room temperature before reusing it," he says. Roller covers are almost impossible to clean thoroughly. Most pros buy new covers for each job.
I agree with JHs. If there is no new color on it at all, just talk to the painter about it, if it was an honest mistake (which can happen very easily while painting) your painter should have no problem fixing it. However, in my years of experience, it is not unusual for 2 coats of door paint (good quality) not to cover very well at all. I once painted a red door 7 times, plus a tinted prime coat before I found the door to be a solid color.
You can count on Tru Colors Contracting to be a commercial paint contractor that gets the job done. We can paint the exterior of any building, including your hotel, shopping center, hospital, high-rise, mid-rise, and industrial building. You can trust that the paint job we provide for you will be of the highest quality you can find. Whether we're painting the outside or inside of your commercial building, we will use quality paint that looks beautiful and lasts a long time in any condition. We will be sure to come up with a detailed plan from start to finish to ensure the job is completed on time and within your budget.
The BBB isn't a painter-specific group but rather an organization that is dedicated to ensuring that consumers can access information about anyone they do business with. The BBB also rates companies based on a Standards of Trust scale, which goes from A+ to F. A company doesn't have to be a member to get a grade, and it's a good idea to check to see how your contractor is scored as well as its membership status.
To get basic measurements, measure the length and width of each wall you want to paint in inches. Multiply the length and height together, and divide by 144. This will give you the square footage for each wall. A gallon of paint typically covers around 400 square feet. In some cases, you may need a primer 2 first, then a single coat of paint, meaning that you may need one gallon of primer and one gallon of paint to cover 400 square feet. However, if the wall requires multiple coats, this will increase the total amount of square footage required, and therefore the amount of 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.
Painters with bad reputations can avoid the problem of reference checks by giving their customers lists of relatives and friends.  The people will say great things, and the customer won’t be the wiser.  The best way to avoid this smoke and mirror trick is to ask specific questions about the project. If the reference seems hesitant, doesn’t know the details, or gives sketchy responses, be skeptical. 
Ideally, you want a variety of older and newer projects, and you especially want to check on a very recent project, such as something completed last month. When you do get the references list, don’t take the information for granted. Take a few minutes to check these references. Ask these homeowners about the experience while services were provided and also how well the job has held up over time.
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