I'm an architect and my firm routinely specifies interior finishes for projects so I thought I'd contribute a professional's perspective on the issue of how many coats of paint are deemed "acceptable". The fact of the matter is the average consumer usually isn't a paint expert and can't be expected to know about all the factors that impact coverage. That knowledge is considered "means and methods" and in a court of law, the responsibility lies with the painter or general contractor, not the consumer. What the consumer should be concerned about is the final result-does it look good and is it what you expected? The simplest way to communicate this to your painter is to stipule in your written agreement that the number of coats will be "as required to cover". That way all the guess work about what kind of primer, how many coats, how color affects the scope of work, etc., is removed from the consumer's responsibility and resides where it belongs-with the professional. In the contract that's why retention is always a good idea-typically 10% is withheld from payment until the job is completed to the satisfaction of the customer. Of course in return you as the customer have to be reasonable about what constitutes a completed job. Just my $.02.

I have a Home Improvement/Painting business, and Angie's List always advertises that that everyone is out to get them. Of course there are people who try to take advantage of homeowners My reputation and repeat business is based on word of mouth. Shoddy work is always a way to get put out of business quick. As far as strictly painting, preparation is a big factor in getting a quality paint job. If you don't prepare the surfaces you are painting you are spinning your wheels, and wasting money, no matter what paint you use. Getting a deposit from a customer is beneficial, but not always necessary. Sometimes it is a godsend, when you get stuck by the customer, which has happened to me more than once
WOW! I think the guy I hired read this first and I have photos that would make your skin crawl. Bottom line: he got me for $1900.00. Every single thing he painted had to be completely redone....that's when I discovered he did NOT use the colors I picked, he actually used leftover exterior paint from his mother's house! Because I have pets he said things needed to be sealed first and I did agree to that. What I did NOT agree to was using some kind of foul smelling gray stuff ON MY HARDWOOD FLOORS! THEN he painted them BLACK, telling me that all they were good for was covering over with laminate or carpet. He also dripped and tracked paint all over my ceramic tile floors. PLUS left a wet used paint roller in my garden window and had stuff piled in front so I didn't find it until it had dried. I have no idea how much that is going to cost to repair. Then he left without finishing (thank God) but left the "leftover" paint, uncovered, in the rain. Again, hid it so I didn't immediately find it. Obviously we will be going to court but I doubt if I see a penny from him. House Painting Denver CO
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With that said, here's the reality of that particular scenario. Painters do put water in the paint, but not for reasons you would think. Some materials need to have their viscosity manipulated in order to slow drying time, allowing gravity to 'smooth' out the product for a better finish. It also prevents 'drags' and 'sausages'. I personally try not to do it too often, but from time to time I have to. I want my client to have a proper finish. 

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When you go to the home improvement store, find out how much 12 gallons of the paint you want would cost, and that will help you determine your cost. Maybe it's a low-quality paint that costs $30, in which case you're looking at about $360 for paint. If you choose high-quality paint that costs around $70, your total paint cost could be closer to $840. Professionals also recommend that you add an extra 10 or 20 percent to your total square footage, depending on the type of siding you have. Some textures require extra paint because they're rough. This is especially true with wood and stucco siding.
I am in northern Nevada and you have not yet gotten sufficient responses to provide a painting cost chart showing the averages.  I do have a quote from an outside (Not Homeadvisor referral) painter who is local for $2,750 for soffits, patio cover and posts, Garage facia (redwood clapboard above (~300 ? Sq. Ft.) on a 2046 Sq. Ft. home where the walls are 9 ft tall and it is fully stuccoed with plastic stucco surfaces, so not being painted.  

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I made the HUGE mistake of hiring Certa Pro to do several interior rooms of my house, and remove popcorn ceiling in a bathroom. What a nightmare! They didn't paint any door jams, they broke a cedar window sill-and didn't bother telling me, they gouged a hardwood floor, they never sealed the room that had the popcorn removed--causing white powder to be in all rooms of a 2 story home. I can go on and on. Horrible company

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If you paint over dirty, oily surfaces, the paint will easily chip or peel off. So before painting, clean grimy areas with a deglosser or heavy-duty cleaner intended for prepaint cleaning. They work well to clean painted, varnished or enameled surfaces to improve the adhesion of the new paint. They’re ideal for cleaning greasy or oily areas like kitchen and bathroom walls and removing hand marks around light switches and doorknobs. House Painting Denver CO
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