The best way to locate a painter is to ask neighbors, friends and acquaintances who they recommend, to get estimates from at least three of them, and to personally interview them. Interviewed painters should also provide references that help the hiring person locate the best painter for the job.
The reason to ask local friends and acquaintances for painter recommendations is because they can make area-specific recommendations, which can be used in conjunction with recommendations from local stores that sell painting supplies. Once a list of at least three is collected, get estimates for the painting project from each of them, and pay attention to whether there are any major variations in cost. This may indicate that the painter is charging too much if the cost is too high or cutting corners if the cost is too low.
Interviewing the chosen painters helps determine their experience, licensing, whether they are insured and any guarantees they provide. The interview is also a good time to walk the prospective contractor personally through the painting project to determine a more specific price and whether the behavior of the painter is compatible with the project. Good behaviors include acting professional, courteous, prompt, and being busy, as this can indicate a good painter who is in high demand.