timmmay: Good tradesmen do charge a lot. Wait until you get a bad one, then you'll see good ones are worth what they cost. The painter I use paints three times faster than me, and does a better job, plus then I'm not painting all night and weekend. You can get painters for $25/hr, but they're often cowboys.
I had a whole lot of work done in November built 3 new rooms, new ceiling, carpet, stopping, painting, electrics - the works. I chose to spend more money to pay for the professionals a) to get it done within a 4 weeks period and move in and b) get a top quality finish which I could never match by doing it on my own. The extra money spent was well worth it so I could continue to enjoy what little free time I already have!