Getting multiple bids is even more important in the state of Georgia, since contractors of any sort are not required to obtain licensing in order to operate. That makes hiring a painter in the Peach State a bit of a crapshoot, since anybody with a ladder and a paint brush can claim to be professional-grade painter, whether they've got the experience not. This is also why it's not just important to collect multiple bids, but to ask for references and follow up on them. Talking to former customers about their experiences is the best way to go if you want to be absolutely sure you're going to get a quality paint job and with a great price.
Whether you are painting the exterior of your home to boost its curb appeal, change a color you don't like or refresh a dilapidated paint job, one thing is certain: Painting your home's exterior is a large job that requires proper planning, preparation and tools. In most cases, painting your home's exterior is a job best left to a pro. But before you call one in, you'll want to consider a few factors that will affect your project's cost.
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.

basic formula? single color exterior labor only ranges from $0.85 to $0.95 per sq foot as a BASE starting point. Prices go up depending on multiple colors, slope of surrounding areas, multiple stories..etc.Some painters charge per window to mask off. Ive seen $25 a window to $50.  Interiors without flooring can be factored the same way. When you start having to do multiple colors, cut ins, masking, room isolation...etc. the price jumps considerably. I always start with a base of $0.85 a sq foot and figure it out from there. the season plays a major role too. paint and materials are charged separatly and are typically marked up at a minimum of 15%. I always tell clients this. that way they pick the paint out they want and what quality they want as well. Anyways...thats your base. 1250 sq foot home @ .0.95 a ft = $1,187.50 (one color). Pressure washing, Add another $45-$55 per hour. a 1250 sq ft home is not going to take longer than 2-3 hours if its a single story. 
I was a painting contractor for many years and never asked for a deposit upfront. A good contractor should have great credit with his suppliers and an even better contract if the deal should go south before the job is done. Get to know your customer and explain how each paint covers so they understand fully before you have to apply 3 or 4 coats. If you didn't bid your job right and the client has already signed the contract then that is on you not the client. Yes I haven had to eat the difference but the client was happy and a return customer for years so I made up for it.
I was taught to paint by a professional and when estimating the amount of paint needed, I always allow for a second coat just to make sure of coverage. We interviewed a painter who tried to tell me I bought poor quality paint without knowing where I purchased it, and stated he would have to buy all new paint. He had not seen the cans and was just guessing so I asked him where I should buy paint from now on. It was the same place I had purchased my paint and he wanted to charge me an extra 20 a gallon more than what I paid for. Needless to say, I have interviewed numerous painters and they are not all honest.
Prep. For new work the painter accepts the finish done by the drywall or plaster and once he accepts the work and starts painting he owns any wall repairs. Existing work is a different thing. I take a high intensity light and circle the kinds of defects with chalk so we are all in agreement before they start. Sometimes this results in a higher price and we have to compromise on how much to do...
"Cutting in is an acquired skill, but it's something you can't do at all with a ratty brush," says Doherty. When cutting in on a wall, he loads his brush and spreads out the excess paint, then works the brush up to the line between wall and ceiling. A brush stroke that's too wide creates a hatband, or smooth brushed band, on the very top of the wall where it meets the ceiling. To avoid this, Dixon recommends rolling first and then cutting in with a brush. "A good roller can get within 1/2 inch of the ceiling," he says. "You'll save time by not brushing more then you have to." When painting baseboards, "a wide taping knife makes a good paint guard," says Span. "Just keep the blade clean to prevent drips from working around the edge of the knife." 

Steve, not only did you come off with an edge regarding the article written for Angie's list but you came awfully close to being slanderous. The article was written if you will have read his bio by a very well established professional painter. The issue regarding the deposit was put in question by a responder. I have read your response in full as you suggested, and companies as large as yours are just as likely to use the tricks of the trade as the small guy as you suggest, if not more so. A large company has less oversight and workers get lazy with the boss not looking over their shoulder. I have had experience in this area, and thought that i was dealing with a very reputable company that had been recommended by a couple friends, my insurance company, and my adjuster who had dealt with the company. I had terrible problems with the company, who do full restorations and like your company paint in all areas. To finalize your statement that Established businesses do not cheat customers is completly false and is a very misleading statement. I am suprised that Angies list allowed you to post such an outragious comment. All you have to do is look in the Civil lawsuits section of the Established businesses that are being sued or are under investigation for fraud and cheating their customers!
A fresh coat of paint makes everything it touches seem brand new. But such new beginnings cost real money. Professional painters charge around $4,000 for labor and materials to paint the exterior of a 2,500-square-foot, two-story home and roughly $5,500 for the interior. Painters’ rates may range from $20 to $60 an hour, but around $40 is typical in urban areas.
"There's wisdom in a multitude of counsel" {Bible Book of Wisdom/Proverbs} I thank you all I learned so much here not only painting but contracting in general. After all this I realize how blessed my ignorance not taken advantage of by Greater Philadelphia area motivated young skilled pride-in-work honest hardworking + seasoned older employee of Scott Gribling Painting of Lansdale PA. I'm proud I had the idea that Tom Parkinson here taught me the phrase & affirmed paying daily "progress draws" & purchase receipts instead of advance deposit in case something happens to contractor, and as Tom teaches the natural effectiveness of receiving from the day's work :)

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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