When renovating my home, I contracted Paul Carey to paint my entire house. He was very responsive, punctual, had a positive attitude, and was priced near other professional painter's prices.
Paul showed up on time for the job, and "completed" the job in the timeframe he estimated, and for the price he estimated. I use the term "completed" in quotes - because his and my definitions of "completed" apparently do not (and may never) align.
I should give a little backstory to begin. My house had all the exterior walls' drywall removed and replaced. When Paul arrived for the estimate, those walls had all been removed, but drywall had not yet been re-hung. Wallpaper had been removed from the kitchen, a bathroom, and most of the dining room and hall. The other walls were previously painted. All the walls in the house (with the exception of two rooms) would be repainted.
We discussed that the walls with wallpaper would require significant touchup before being repainted, and the drywall crew (not the painting crew) would do repairs to those walls before the painter arrived. For other walls, Paul had commented that he would fill in nail holes and correct any blemishes, such as dents or cracks. The ceiling would have the 'dimples' filled in and sanded, and would also be painted.
When it came time to paint, Paul and two assistants were in the house from roughly 7a to 3p each day. Throughout the painting phase, I stopped in the house almost daily to answer any questions, offer feedback, and verify progress was being made. The crew was very polite. Several times I pointed out areas that needed attention, and was reassured that they would be taken care of in due time.
On the last day that the crew worked, I arrived at lunch as they were wrapping up. I did a quick glance and found a few obvious areas that I had previously pointed out. Since they had supposedly already done their inspection, I soon lost faith that they had inspected any of their work and I begin inspecting every surface. There were many places that didn't get a top-coat, several large drips and runs, and areas that had debris within the top-coat. I would estimate that I placed near 100 pieces of painter's tape on the walls that afternoon, marking areas that didn't meet my standards.
I should note - my standards are as follows: From 1 meter, inspect the wall for variations in (1) Sheen, (2) Texture, and (3) Color. I would say that 75% of the areas that I pointed out were visible with no closer inspection. Some were difficult to see without a light-source at an angle, which is why I carried a flashlight around during my inspection.
About half of the marked areas were "addressed" that day before they departed. But many were poorly addressed (debris was scratched off with sandpaper, burnishing the wall, bare areas were hit with a brush instead of a roller, leaving obvious texture variation.) I was left with a house that, in my opinion, was not finished.
That evening, I went around again, and touched up what areas I could with some of the paint that was leftover. When I was done, I remarked the remaining areas that needed reworked. There were about 30 areas left. At this point, I contacted Paul, and he agreed to meet me at the house to review these areas.
The problems that remained included:
1) The kitchen and master bathroom, where flat paint was used as a base, but eggshell was used as a topcoat. The topcoat was not applied thouroughly, leaving many areas that had an obvious difference in sheen.
2) Areas that the topcoat did not fully cover the primer, leaving white spots.
3) Areas with large drips or runs
4) Areas with debris in the topcoat. Mostly fibers from rollers or particles of (presumably) dried paint.
Upon reviewing every area with Paul, I was told that what I was seeking was 'perfection'; if I wanted 'perfection' I should have asked for that up-front. Some defects were blamed on defects present before painting, but I pointed out that all those defects were present DURING the estimate, and if he believed that these would show after he had completed, it was his responsibility to show me the potential problem-areas so either 1) they could be addressed before painting or 2) he could factor that into his pricing.
He spent a few more hours reworking the areas that I pointed out. Some were resolved satisfactorily, but upon his departure, I still was left with 20 areas that weren't touched or were still not resolved. I have photos of such areas. Most are poor coverage of the topcoat and large runs. Cut-ins are terribly streaky, and much of the job looks unprofessional.
My primary concern is that during the painting process, the painters weren't inspecting their work. If they had, they would have easily found 75% of the problems that I did. It's the big problems that I found as they were cleaning up that led me to look closer at the details and find even more small blemishes in their work.
I can't in good faith recommend Paul's team to anyone with an eye for detail.