All painting contractors, local or national, will always claim a level of expertise and professionalism far above the rest of the pack. They would also compete in terms of pricing and presentation of their range of services. If you have the time to check on all of them, you may find that there are good national contractors and then there are also good local contractors. You cannot assume that just because a painting contractor has a lot of branches they would do a good job. On the other hand just because a local contractor is family-owned and has only one branch does not mean it is any less professional.
Here are a few reasons why for most homeowners, a local painting contractor is a better choice:
Local contractors are more invested in their work. They need to maintain the best reputation within the small community they work with; otherwise they may lose their clients and go out of business. A franchise business relies on advertising to bring in clients and can always move to a different location should they slip-up on a job.
It is easier to check on the claims of professionalism and competence of local contractors. You may know many of the people they have worked for and can get firsthand feedback on the quality of their work.
It is much easier to communicate and coordinate work with a contractor within the same community. Their being a local business enables them to respond faster to your needs and concerns. Local painting contractors would not want to be known in their community as unresponsive.
It is much easier to ask a local contractor to accomplish rework on certain areas you may want redone or re-touched even after you have accepted the paint job; that is something that most franchise businesses do not consider.
Employing a local painting contractor keeps the money within the community and helps provide local employment. The taxes they pay help fund community projects. They would likely source their materials from local business, further boosting the local economy.
Some local businesses, such as painting contractors, give back to the community through involvement in civic activities and charitable events. By supporting local painting contractors, you also support the charitable causes they help.
Of course you also need to be wary of fly-by-night outfits when dealing with local contractors. But it is easy enough to check and a track record of about three years without any major complaints should indicate a reliable contractor