About once a week I get a call from someone looking to get a quick phone quote on a paint job. They simply give me a number of rooms or the square footage and ask for a price. These people typically call a bunch of painters to see if they can get the best deal out there. I can't really blame them - paint job can be a big ticket item.
It is true that, in the age of the internet, shopping has become a lot faster. Just figure out what you want, let us say "Sony XYZ," and simply google for prices from various vendors. Than buy it from whoever has the lowest price.
Shopping for services such as painting, however, does not work in quite the same way as shopping for flat screen TVs. The fact is that one three-bedroom house does not equal another three-bedroom house. There are a lot of variables here. To name a few: quantity and sizes of rooms; types of windows and doors; number and intensity of paint colors; amount of protection needed for plants, furniture, etc.; quality of paint used; and last but not least the extent of needed paint surface preparation.
Any one set of the above variables as compared to a different set of variables can mean a difference of tens and, in some cases, hundreds of hours of work needed.
The truth is that the best price does not necessarily mean the best deal. I am not saying that price is unimportant. I think price is important but only to the extent that it represents the real value of the work done.
Getting the best deal has to do with getting the best value for the price. It is easy to compare the price, but the key to getting the best deal on a paint job lies in being able to evaluate and compare the value offered for it. (See How to Evaluate Painting Proposals.)
In comparing painting proposals, you must be able to compare the proverbial "apples to apples." If you insist on only comparing the price, with no regard to what value that price represents, there is a pretty good chance that you will end up with a proverbial "lemon."