I disagree with your criteria to hire a painter. A prompt returned call is nice but does not indicate the quality or fairness of the painter. As far as a written estimate, that should be more of a qualifier for the bid versus an evaluation criterion. I'm not sure one would have favorable results by hiring a painter on this basis. As far as the bidding process, change orders should ONLY be used if the customer requests additional scope (PMP 101). Angie's list should consider asking reviewers if/how much they were told to pay compared with the estimate. Unfortunately, there are a lot of contractors that are unethical and need to be accountable.

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If less than half the old paint is left, however, it may be worth stripping it all off. Guertin gets rid of stubborn remnants using shrouded grinders (like the PaintShaver), infrared paint strippers (such as the Speedheater), or chemical strippers (like Multi-Strip), then smooths the wood with a course or two of sanding. When siding (or bank accounts) can't take the shock of a total strip job, Rich O'Neil, of Masterwork Painting in Bedford, Massachusetts, has successfully hidden rough, well-adhered paint under Peel Bond, a thick primer.

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This job is usually done by a professional house painter. The painter will assess the walls, clean, and make any necessary repairs or removal of old wall coverings. They will also tape off any adjacent surfaces and cover nearby furniture and floors with drop cloths. Typically, they will apply a layer of primer, then one to three coats of paint, depending on the color and coverage. Once the paint is dry, they take a final walkthrough to inspect and make any necessary touch ups.
Calculate your costs.Having an idea of the cost of paint you need to purchase will help obtain quotes from a contractor. “Paint coverage is based on how many square feet of surface one gallon will cover,” says Bunting. “Most paints will cover approximately 400 square feet. Tally this by multiplying in feet the wall’s height by its width, minus windows and doors.” Determine how much paint is needed to complete the project. “To calculate the cost of a project, factor in the day rates, the size of the property, any architectural features, and the paint finish needed,” says Rance.

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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.  
If you are going to hire a contractor (professional painter) give a room by room punch list of the fixing of holes small or big, have it identified for the painter to tell you if you need a drywall finisher or if he does this type of work good. Wall repairs can be 3-5 steps to do repairs ( one per day for good drying of patching material and a good sanding) this is what gives you a good paint job only using high quality paint.

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Whether you decide to do the preparation work yourself or have a professional do it as part of your project, proper preparation makes all the difference in creating a smooth and lasting finish. Sure, it adds to your the total time and money spent on your project, but it's certainly worth doing the job right the first time. Otherwise, you'll spend additional time and money down the line on maintenance and repairs. To ensure proper preparation, follow this process before painting your home's exterior (keeping in mind that the process may vary based on exterior materials):
Another factor to consider is the height and features of your home. An example would be a house completely trimmed in Cement Fiber, which does chalk if you do not purchase the correct paint and apply enough of it. Some houses in Coastal Areas are already on 15+ft Stilts (off ground) and then another 20ft high at times. This requires rental equipment and careful cost estimation based on the difficulty of the overall project, The best advice that I can give is to get several estimates in your area and make a decision a couple of weeks afterwards. You will "weed out" per se the individuals that do not have the patience to finish a project that was started-as well as those who haggle you for payment (sometimes daily) before project is completed. I have heard some wild stories from a lot of Homeowners. Common sense and your intuition will make you aware of anyone that you should not hire.

"It has truly been a pleasure to work with the Paint and Designs team. They've work so hard to finish up our 7400sqft painting project. Although we're on a very short time frame to finish the project, they've never given any excuses. They just show up, and get it done. I will definitely be hiring their service again. BEST PRICES, GREAT QUALITY, AND VERY PROFESSIONAL!!" House Painting Westminster Colorado
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