Before the scrubdown, protect nearby plants by misting their leaves and saturating the surrounding soil with water, pulling them away from the house, and shrouding them in fabric drop cloths. (Plants will cook under plastic.) Lay more drop cloths along the base of the walls to collect any falling paint debris. Walls should be wet down before getting scrubbed, then washed with a gallon of water mixed with 1 cup chlorine bleach and 1 cup of either a concentrated, phosphate-free cleaner, such as a trisodium phosphate (TSP) substitute, or Jomax House Cleaner. Working in sections, from the bottom to the top, will avoid streaks. Be sure to rinse walls well before the solution dries. Wood siding and trim should be ready to paint after a day or two of dry weather.
Not all people live where they can hire a painting contractor, like you describe. People who live in small towns can only hire painters who have a very small business, and do two or three paint jobs per week. In this case, you do have to be very careful, when you hire a painter, as we have several, in our area, who are out to make a fast buck anyway they can.
I've used Excel for the exterior paint job on my last two homes, and they've done a great job each time. Working with the team is easy and seamless throughout the entire process. Both homes looked fantastic when their crew was done. When the paint on our cement stairs started chipping the following winter (smooth cement stairs in a high traffic area), Excel was quick to respond and they re-painted the stairs that spring, with a textured grit, for no charge. Almost a year later and no chipping and the stairs are much safer now. They really stand by their work, which is why we continue to use them.
Referred by a neighbor, I got an estimate from Excel along with two other companies to paint the exterior of our home; their estimate was the cheapest by at least a grand compared to the other companies. They contacted me a couple of weeks earlier than expected and offered to do the power washing a week or so earlier due to an opening in their schedule, another opening got them to our house 2 weeks earlier than planned to paint!!!
So why not just paint your own home. I'm not a painter, so my wife and I take our time, buying the paint and supplies, and doing our own painting. Yes, we need to tape, and it's not perfect, but we get the satisfaction of seeing our completed work. Get the supplies, sliders for your furniture, and patience and go for it. That way YOU have control over the entire project.
However, David, who works in Excel's office, really left a bad taste in our mouth for the whole project. We didn't love the color our house ended up being - a color match that Excel performed for us - and expressed as such. David was a nightmare to work with once we mentioned we had a problem. He had terribe customer service skills and repeatedly made us feel like it was our fault and that we were stupid. Painting our house was a big commitment and investment in our eyes, and he was not the least bit helpful in trying to get us to an end product we would be happy with. In fact, he succeeded in making us even more unhappy to the point that we gave up on even having Excel repaint to get us to a color we'd be happy with. A very disappointing experience.
Some proposals simply say to paint the walls and ceiling and never specify the number of coats to be applied. If the colors are similar enough, it's possible to get away with one coat of paint and not discount your pricing. No matter how hard you try, tiny, pin-sized air holes will pop exposing the original walls. This may not bother you if you can't notice it, but principally speaking you should have paid your painter less for the work.
Even if you go it alone, specialize to keep your initial investment low. If you do only interior painting, for example, you might get by with one ladder, a few brushes, rollers, basic hand tools and such, for an investment of less than $300. Again, you can add to your tools as you need to (every job is a bit different), and parlay profits into the equipment necessary for exterior painting or working on large commercial properties.
I turn away any job when the client refuses to pay anything up front. It sends a red flag. I also charge a scheduling fee which is non-refundable. I get 33 percent when I show up and begin work. Another percentage halfway through, and the balance upon completion after client is satisfied. There needs to be skin in the game for both parties as a measure of good faith. If you are dealing with a reputable company (did your due diligence, right?) why wouldn't you want to pay something as work progresses? We do this not only because we love to paint but we require cash flow to stay in business. There is not always 'money in the bank' as you suggest. It's tough these days. The suggestion buy 'Kim' 'Never pay a contractor a deposit' is nonsensical.
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.
My wife and I just painted the interior of our house with about 6-8 gallons, of $30+ per gallon (meaning the good stuff, non-diluted) with absolutely fantastic results. However we just paid an average of $5 per gallon. Reason...all big box stores have paint, set aside, that has been mixed but not picked up by the customer. They need to sell it quick and if you're not in a hurry (you know well in advance that a room or two need painting and it's not like the roof leaking and needs an immediate fix) you can go to each store when you need other supplies or food, like Walmart (when convenient, driving 20 miles to each is not worth it) and over the course of a month or two, pick out some very nice colors of quality paint. We found perfect colors...not saying they were our first choice but when we opened the can, very nice and some even better than our original picks. Cost to paint the entire house was about $100, with all materials included, period. We had it on the market for a few months to sell, didn't sell, painted the rooms, got 2 offers the day after we finished, took the best one and never looked back.
Painters will need several supplies for your home exterior project in addition to paint. Consider personally providing any materials that can be obtained without a license to reduce project costs. Painting supplies are also handy to have around for maintenance and touch-up jobs after the job is complete. The cost to invest in painting supplies will probably run you no more than $200 to $300, unless you buy really high-quality products from specialized paint shops. Consider purchasing the following:
I did go with the highest bidder and it did not matter. They did a shoddy job and threatened to take me to court when I pointed out mistakes that they made based on their work standards stated on the quote. I have not paid them yet, just filed a complaint with the BBB. No money down asked, no contract signed. The boss stated I have to high of expectations just because I live in a 121 year old house!
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.