Make preliminary decisions up front. The process will go more smoothly if you go into it with ideas about your preferred colors and finishes and know exactly which surfaces you want painted. Be aware that paint colors almost always look slightly different in print or on a computer screen, so use these only as guides.
Paint chips, while not 100 percent true to life, provide a closer approximation, but the only reliable method of choosing colors is to test them on the walls (more on that in a minute). The painter you eventually hire should be able to offer advice on how lighting and other concerns will affect the hues you're considering.
Take care of necessary repairs. Do you have cracked moldings, dented drywall or other structural dings that need to be fixed? Make plans to repair them before the painter begins work. A flawed surface can ruin even a perfect paint job.