I have only myself to blame. We needed to get the house painted and I went through the coupons that come in packets in the mail. Dan came to the house, seemed nice enough, whizzed through and gave us a reasonable quote. We agreed, without getting references. Bad, very bad.
Here are just some of the gory details, but the bottom line is that Dan was there for a few hours, the rest of his time was his three Mexican workers (I don't mean that in a racist way, I mean that two of them didn't speak English and the other tried not to, causing big communication problems). These three had only one goal in life, get it all done in two days (not the 3-4 that Dan promised) and get home for the weekend. Well they did that. The house hadn't been painted in all of its 25 years (yes, I know), so you'd think the walls would need rubbing down first. Or that the oil based doors and trim would need to be stripped first before applying the latex paint. Or that the peeling pebbledash bathroom paint would need to be rubbed off and resurfaced. Or that the big hole in the wall exposed when they removed some old trim (at my request) would need patching. But no, these guys went straight to work, no prep, no nothing except for rubbing down the really badly peeled paint in the bathroom (not all of the bathroom, just the badly peeling parts, leaving two different surfaces all over the room). The first day they had cloths down on the carpet, but soon enough they were stepping around that or removing it and walking all over our new carpet with their wet paint soled shoes. When it was all over they had painted over all of the door trim (no, they never removed any of it, nor taped over it), all over the window frames, all over the light fixtures, all over pretty much everything. The solution to the hole in the wall was to move one of our ornaments in front of it so we wouldn't notice. Seriously, if I knew they weren't going to prep (contrary to what it says in dear Dan's ad) or protect anything, I would have done the whole thing myself. A day later paint was peeling off of the trim. One angry call later Dan and one guy came back for a few hours and did some clean up, but it was clear they weren't ever going to put any real effort into it. We paid him just so I'd never have to see him again, and I spent the next few weeks cleaning up their mess.
His ad says he has a license, but when I looked that up later it says it's just him, it doesn't include his no doubt paid under the table 'workers'.
AVOID Dan like the plague, get it in writing (no, I was dumb enough to not even do that) exactly what prep work they are going to do, and how long they will be on the job. I've learned my lesson now, I hope this information helps you to avoid the same mistakes.
Cons: A trained chimp could do much better