A qualified exterior house painter can walk you through the process of getting your house ready for a new coat of paint, from scraping and sanding to patching and priming. A pro can also recommend the best exterior paint for the job, whether your siding is wood, fiber cement, stucco, vinyl, or even metal. When it comes to getting the work done, your painter will arrive with all the tools and equipment needed to get the job done quickly, correctly and safely.
I contacted six highly-rated contractors to receive bids for painting the exterior of my Eagle Rock house. Two never responded, one was too busy to schedule the work before spring, and three responded promptly with inspections and cost estimates. Mr. Lee of House Painting, Inc. also provided a printed list of references and copies of his business license, insurance and BBB rating. He was low bidder by a small margin, and I contracted with him for the work. His crew was outstanding - excellent preparation (sanding, priming, stucco patching), fast and efficient paint coverage, and excellent clean-up at the end of each work day. I will certainly call them in the future for interior painting.
You are right on with this - why do people leave switch plates on when it's just so easy to take them off? Another thing that happened to us - we had the popcorn ceiling taken off and the ceiling painted white. When the job was done and I later went to change out all the fixtures/fans, they had left every fixture in place, so there was a large patch of popcorn and unpainted ceiling left behind - it just didn't dawn on me to specify that they take those down before scraping and painting. It was kind of a mess.