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!
As a painting contractor I find that most contractors charge between $20 an hour and $45 an hour plus paint and materials pending overhead here in Pennsylvania i figure $30 an hour is a safe bet. figure a good painter should be able to prep a 12 x 12 to a 12 x 15 room, caulk, apply 1 or 2 coats to the ceiling 2 coats on the walls and 1 coat on all baseboards, trim, doors and crown moulding in an 8 to 9 hour day. This is with minimal or minor spackling repairs like nail holes and nail pops, not cracks and peeling tape. Thats extra paint is usually  $30 to $70 a gallon pending quality. A room this size will need 1 gallon for the ceiling 2 for the walls and maybe 1 gallon for the trim, doors ext... the square foot price is $1.50 - $3.00 as far as asking for money up front I never ask. If the home owner buys the paint there is no need for money and if your buying the paint and your an established contractor you have an account with your supplier's.  any ways that's my input and guidelines 
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.

Interior painting is by far the most popular do-it-yourself home improvement activity, and it's easy to see why. There's no better, more affordable way to freshen up rooms than with a new coat of paint. Plus, painting isn't terribly difficult and doesn't require specialized training. Any able-bodied homeowner can paint rooms—all you need is a little patience, practice, and some helpful advice.

Homeowners painting their home, whether it's a new coat or a new house, should ask their contractor about low-emitting paints. As the paint is applied and dries, it can release high levels of VOC's, chemicals that may be toxic to the air your family breathes (not to mention, they stink!). On top of that, these off-gassing chemicals can be absorbed by soft materials already in your home (carpet, furniture, pillow, fabric) and act as a new source to continue releasing harmful chemicals (known as "the sink effect"). There are tons of third party certified low-emitting paints on the market now for more competitive pricing and selection. You can find them listed on my organization's website at greenguard.org (those that we certify) or you can find more info from your contractor :) Happy painting!


Recently I had the outside of my home painted. The contractor wrote a good contract, but I failed to realize that some things were not in it. It reminds me of the car dealer who offered a good price on a new car but failed to mention that it did not include tires. My contractor failed to specify that lattice under a porch was included. So the painters did not paint it. To his credit, he did instruct them to paint it when I brought it to his attention. If I had the job to do over again I would look for an individual who came with referrals from happy customers rather than a franchise owner..
Thanks, all, for your time & efforts adding to the article & comments, especially Dave urging requesting both General Liability AND Worker Compensation insurance certificates to protect from real & fraudulent liability--from my experience especially in California, where insurance fraud is a popular income thief, even causing car collisions to collect.
An easy way to calculate the square footage of a room, is to measure and add the total length of the all the walls, then multiplying that total by the height of the room. If there are big areas within that space that are not getting painted, it’s a good idea to deduct their square footage from the total. Examples are: a large window wall, double doors, or a wallpapered wall. If two coats are required, the measured square footage is doubled. In a 10 by 14 room the walls have a linear length of 48 feet. Multiplying 48 times 8 (the height of the walls) will give us 384 square feet of paintable wall.
Did you even read the article? It was specifying UNSCRUPULOUS painters! And, by the way, the photo at the top was not identified at all. How would anyone know whether it was done by a homeowner or not? Also did you ever stop to think that if a consumer has the knowlege to spot a dishonest contractor then by default he also has the knowlege to identify an honest one as well? And, pardon me, but just because you've never seen something has absolutely nothing to do with whether it has actually happened to someone else. Why would any honest business person be so defensive about the publishing of such useful information? If any painters/painting contractors object to a consumer having this kind of information maybe they are the dishonest ones!
Second coats on similar colors are almost never recogicnized as being needed until the coat is applied and has dried. ONLY THEN WILL YOU SEE WHETHER IT NEEDS A SECOND COAT or not. Yes, painters can use a cheaper paint then what you paid for. That is solved by getting your own which, I would charge extra for because I will always have to go get more, or add second coat because home owner tried to skimp on paint, or they got the wrong color etc...
Keep an eye on the new cans as they're being brought in. Make sure they look new and don't have paint in the rim of the can. If it's a five-gallon bucket, check to see whether the lid is still sealed on with the plastic strip. 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.
Emotionally speaking, orange is a very stimulating and happy color. Pastel oranges are irresistible and great for interior spaces where skin is more likely to be exposed, such as bedrooms and bathrooms. Bright orange is the antithesis of gray and can be lively, while darker and burnt orange tones have a similar effect as the brown hues and go along great with southwestern décor.

Brown denotes a personality that is earthy, realistic and trustworthy. This classic earth tone can be applied to living and work areas alike, as it evokes a feeling of being well-rounded and connected with nature. Terracotta and dark mustard brown combinations are perfect for Latin American and Santa Fe-style décor. Brown hues are great for interior spaces that get a lot of sunlight. Lighter shades of brown, such as beige and taupe, are neutral colors that particularly work well in homes that are being shown to potential buyers.
Wow, I learned so much.  Now I know why I got the cost quote I got to do the job right.  Being a cook I get it... because you can't just make a meatloaf... you can't just paint a room.  You better know what you are doing and the cost of a GREAT job is like the right cut of meat.  So, you can look at th finished product and smile & enjoy... great job !!
The size of the room to be painted is the most important factor in determining the cost of professional painting. It will take a painter longer to cover a large room than a small room, and this means higher labor costs in addition to supplies and time. When estimating the paint for such a job, keep in mind that a gallon of paint covers about 400 square feet (though the label claims it will cover 450 square feet). You will be charged for the number of paint cans needed, among other factors.
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