I must mildly disagree with the previous posts. I've been doing ALL my own C-41 and color printing (EP-2, and now RA-4) since the early 1980's and can state the following without reservation.

(1) C-41 development is not very hard if you have some means of temperature control, e.g., a Jobo unit or a water bath such as a PhotoTherm. Consistency is more important than absolute temperature control. The stated requirement of 0.25degF temperature control is misunderstood. What this really means is that, if you vary identically exposed film by more than this amount in the C-41 process and *microscopically examine the negatives*, you *might* discern a difference. If you can stay within 0.5 degF of 100degF, you will not find any really noticeable differences in the color curves of the negatives, at least none you cannot correct at print time. I have developed rolls as low as 98.5 and as high as 102 and *ALL* we printable without color crossover. (FYI, color crossover occurs when the 3 color curves in the film emulsion don't stay relatively parallel throughout the exposure scale, i.e., the shadows have one color cast and the highlights have the complementary color cast. This is uncorrectable at print time.) With a modicum of practice and a good water bath (e.g., Jobo or ColorTherm), consistency within 0.5deg is easily attainable. The previsous posters are correct to the point that C-41 processing is "uninteresting". You cannot do N+1 or N-1 development with any degree of repeatable success. C-41 is strictly "cookbook". Push processing usually works within 1 stop and maybe more with certain films that are designed for this. But you cannot do with negative films what you can do with B&W films, period. The primary reason I do my own C-41 is to avoid "scratches" on the negatives which come from the lab processing machines. Even "pro" labs will occasionally get an operator that doesn't keep everything clean and this results in scratches on the negs. Mine have been scratch-free since I started doing my own.

(2) Printing color negatives is not too much harder than printing in black and white. A small amount of "contrast adjustment" even is now possible using the various color papers that are now available. For example, Kodak Portra, Supra, and Ultra all approximately one "grade" apart in contrast, although their color pallets are also a little different. Fuji Crystal Archive (type C) is a good medium-high contrast negative paper and I use it for 70% of my prints. However, you won't have the tremendous variability in contrast that you have with B&W VC papers. You must still choose your scenes and light carefully to avoid exceeding the capabilities of both the film and the paper.

(3) The biggest challenge with color printing of negatives is "color balance". This requires a bit of practice and is the bane of most newbie color printers. A good color analyzer coupled with the strategic shooting of gray cards makes arriving at the proper color balance nearly "automatic". (I shoot a gray card on each roll of 35mm and on each emulsion batch of 4x5 sheet film that I use to facilitate the use of the analyzer.) I would recommend you not use an analyzer at first, though. You need to get a "feel" for what it takes to zero-in on the proper color balance before you can fully appreciate just what it is a color analyzer does. (They really should be called color-comparators, as they are really just giving you the "delta" or difference of color filtration between and ideal print on a given paper vs. the target negative or gray card negative on the same paper.)

(4) Doing your own color printing allows you unlimited cropping choices. This, plus the ability to experiment with different papers, is the best reason for doing your own color printing, IMO.

Don't be afraid to try this. Trust me. It ain't no "black art" as some people imply. I've not tried the "room temperature" color printing chemistries but a friend of mine has and produces good prints with them, although hist unit costs are substantially higher. If the color-printing water then feels warm to you, you can then think about investing in the temp-control equipment and analyzer and all the other accoutrements that make the job easier. I belive the difficulties of doing your own color work have always been vastly overrated. Yes, it's not the same as B&W but it is not rocket science either.