I can honestly say, the best contractor I have used for painting is Steve Smith. He returns phone calls, is neat and arrives on time and his crew does a good job. Steve unlike most contractors is talkative and tells great stories.
About 2 years ago we hired a contractor by a referral. He turned out to be a nightmare. Ironically he had done previous work for other family members. We thought he was trustworthy. WRONG! What most people can’t assume is that your taste and attention to details in what you view to be good work will be the same for everyone. One needs to examine the details of previous work and find out how they bill for jobs. You need to ask if they started a job and finished on time. Many contractors lump in their work and never detail their hours and materials. So you never really know the actual cost. Many never show up when they are suppose to and many do not work a full day. “Never pay for the entire job upfront; they will not come back to do the job. Always pay when the job is complete and to your satisfaction.” If you get a lowball figure, it is too good to be true.
The Laws in Ohio do not protect a homeowner/consumer against a contractor who does poor work. The courts will not award you a penny, unless you keep details and the job is in writing. You will walk away upset and will have to pay the bill in full plus lawyer fees. It will cause you much stress and aggravation.
There are no licensing laws that contractors have to follow or state guidelines. Anyone with a ladder and hammer can say they are contractors. This is horrific for the consumer. I think something needs to regulate deadbeat contractors.
One thing you should not do is withhold money, If you do not pay the contractor and think withholding some cash will make you feel better, think again. (That contractor can put a lien against your property.) Your best protection is a to have any and all contractors sign a lien waiver. This means that he signs-off that you paid him for the job and that he can’t come back to file a lien against you.