While some professional painters will charge a flat fee for a painting project, most charge an hourly rate—about $25 to $100 per hour on average. Most painters will charge more for last-minute jobs (think 48 hours' notice or less), travel costs (if you live far away, the painter may want extra money for gas), or intensive prep work (e.g., removing mold or stains before painting). Also, depending on the painter, the rate may or may not include the cost of paint materials such as paint, primer, and supplies.
Like the rest of your home’s exterior, you should start from the top down when painting exterior trim. If your window sills look particularly weather-beaten, you might want to give them a second or third coat of paint. When painting doors, paint the panels first, then the rails and stiles, and finally the edges. For more details, read up on trim painting guidelines.
The Cutters. Someone with meticulous attention to detail and a steady hand should be assigned the job of "cutting in," or painting a straight edge where needed, such as along a wall where the ceiling does not get painted. Many products are available to assist, but none work as well as a person who's good at doing it freehand. Ensure this person is skilled (ask them to show you). A poor, jagged, wavy or splotched cutting-in job will jump out at you every time you walk by it. Why more than one cutter? This job is nerve-wracking and painful to hands and arms after a few days. You'll want to give this person a break after a few walls.
Two aesthetic things to consider when selecting a finish are how shiny you'd like the surface to be and whether or not you want to hide any imperfections on the surface to be painted. Generally, higher-gloss paint finishes reflect light better than lower-gloss finishes, like eggshell and matte. That makes them shiny, and also causes them to highlight flaws in walls and ceilings.
Specialty painting, like murals and trompe l’oeil, costs $40 to $50 per hour. Paint might range between $75 to $90. The professional’s skill and experience are also determining factors. While a freelance artist might charge $25 to $30 an hour, a very skilled professional might charge $80 or more. Some might also charge $60 or more for a consultation.