License, Insurance, Bond: Hiring Painters Who Have All of Them


When it’s time to repaint a home or business in San Ramon, CA, or possibly paint a new home or business after construction, there is so much to consider. Which painting company do you choose with the many available in your area? Is it important for painters to be licensed? Should they be insured? What about being bonded. You may be surprised to know that the most reliable, best painters in the state of California have all of the above and are required by law to do so. This article will explain why these three items are so important for anyone needing to hire painters for a project.

Licensing: More Than Just a Formality

Licensing for professions like painting is much more than a mere formality; it serves as a crucial mechanism to uphold standards, ensure safety, and protect consumers. For painters, especially in regulated states like California, obtaining a license is a comprehensive process that involves verifying their experience, skill level, and knowledge through exams and background checks. This process ensures that only qualified individuals are permitted to undertake significant painting projects, thereby maintaining a high standard of workmanship. Additionally, licensing obliges painters to stay current with the latest building codes, environmental regulations, and safety practices, which is essential not just for the quality of their work but also for the safety of the residents and the environment. For consumers, hiring a licensed painter provides a level of assurance regarding the quality and reliability of the work, along with legal protections. It also offers recourse in case of disputes or substandard work. Thus, licensing acts as a cornerstone of professional integrity and consumer protection in industries like painting.

light color

Painting contractors and painting companies in California, like Custom Painting, Inc., are required to obtain a C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor license through the California State Licensing Board (CSLB). It is required for any painting project that costs the client $500 or more including materials and labor. In order to acquire the license, the painters must demonstrate a minimum of four years of journey-level experience and pass two exams covering trade knowledge and business and law. Additionally, they undergo a criminal background check and provide proof of a contractor’s bond. This licensing process ensures that painters adhere to state-regulated standards of quality and professionalism. It also mandates that they stay informed about and comply with updates to relevant building codes, safety regulations, and environmental guidelines, thus maintaining high standards in the painting industry.

Working with a licensed painter offers numerous benefits to consumers, ensuring a combination of professionalism, quality, and security for your painting project. First, a licensed painter brings verified expertise and skills, having met the rigorous standards and qualifications set by regulatory bodies. This translates to high-quality workmanship and a greater likelihood of a superior finish. Second, licensed painters are knowledgeable about the latest safety standards and environmental regulations, which means they are more likely to use safe, compliant practices and materials, reducing potential health risks. Third, they usually carry liability insurance and workers’ compensation, providing financial protection to home and business owners against accidents or damages during the project. Fourth, having a license often means that the painter is up-to-date with the latest techniques and trends in the industry, ensuring a modern and efficient approach to your project. Finally, should any issues arise, working with a licensed painter gives you legal recourse and a formal avenue for resolution, offering peace of mind and a layer of consumer protection. These benefits collectively make choosing a licensed painter a wise decision for both the quality and security of your painting job. 

Insurance: A Critical Safety Net

Insurance Your Safety Net

All businesses have to obtain insurance to run their business, and this is also true for painters. Painting contractors are required to have liability and workers’ compensation insurances in order to maintain their license.

Liability insurance is a common type of insurance. It covers any damage that may occur while painters are in the process of painting a home or a business. It also covers any injuries that may be sustained by a third party (i.e., non-employees, residents of a home, apartment, or senior facility, employees of the business being painted) if tools or equipment are left in the way. Liability insurance would cover the costs incurred rather than the home or business owner having to cover them.

Workers’ compensation insurance covers painting company employees if they are injured while they are working at a property. The insurance covers not only medical expenses, but also lost wages, for the injured employee. This insurance protects the property owner from incurring expenses if a painter is injured.

One other type of insurance some painting companies choose to obtain is umbrella insurance. Painting companies that work on large or complicated projects are more likely to have this type of insurance. It provides additional coverage over their standard policy limits. It is important to note, however, that not all painters have this type of insurance.

As a home or business owner, you may wonder why it is important for painters to have insurance. The primary reason is to diminish potential financial risks for the client as well as to protect their employees. Insured painters are also seen as being more professional because they want to be prepared for unplanned events. 

The Significance of Bonding

Many people are aware of bonding, but don’t really understand it. For a painter to be bonded, it means they have secured a surety bond, a form of financial guarantee that offers protection to their clients. This surety bond serves as a safeguard, ensuring that the painter will adhere to contractual obligations and standards of workmanship. If the painter fails to complete the project as agreed, or if the work is substandard or unethical, clients can file a claim against the bond for compensation. The bonding company, after evaluating the claim, may reimburse the client for any financial losses up to the bond’s value. The painter is then typically required to reimburse the bonding company. This arrangement not only provides a level of financial security to clients but also underscores the painter’s credibility and commitment to fulfilling their professional obligations. Essentially, a bonded painter is seen as more trustworthy and reliable, as they have taken an extra step to ensure client satisfaction and protection.

The Combined Importance of These Credentials

Quality and Compliance

The combined importance of licensing, insurance, and bonding for painters cannot be overstated. Licensing ensures that the painter has the necessary skills, knowledge, and adheres to industry standards, ensuring quality and professionalism in their work. Insurance, particularly liability and workers’ compensation, provides financial protection against accidents and damage, safeguarding both the painter and the client. Bonding further enhances this protection by offering financial recourse in cases of contractual breaches or substandard work. Together, these credentials form a comprehensive framework of trust, safety, and reliability, offering peace of mind to clients and elevating the credibility and legitimacy of the painter as a professional. This trio of credentials is essential in ensuring that painting projects are executed with expertise, responsibility, and minimal risk.

When you plan to have your home or business painted, knowing the painter has all of these credentials can help you relax and have peace of mind that the project will be done to your satisfaction.

Risks of Hiring Uncredentialed Painters

If you are trying to save money on your painting project, you might consider hiring a painter without the above credentials. Depending on the size of the project, it may be okay. However, doing so may be illegal if the project total is more than $500. Hiring uncredentialed painters also poses several potential risks that can impact the quality, safety, and financial aspects of a painting project.

  1. Substandard Quality of Work: Uncredentialed painters may lack the necessary skills, training, and knowledge of current techniques and materials, leading to poor workmanship, improper surface preparation, and use of inferior quality paints.
  2. Lack of Accountability and Recourse: Without proper licensing, there is often no formal oversight or regulatory body to hold the painter accountable for the quality of their work. This means limited recourse for the homeowner in case of unsatisfactory or incomplete work.
  3. Legal and Regulatory Non-Compliance: Unlicensed painters may not adhere to local building codes and environmental regulations, potentially leading to legal issues and fines for the homeowner.
  4. Increased Liability Risks: If uncredentialed painters lack proper insurance, homeowners could be held financially responsible for any accident or injury that occurs on their property during the painting project.
  5. Financial Risks and Scams: There is a higher risk of encountering fraudulent practices or financial scams with uncredentialed painters. This includes taking deposits without completing work, inflating prices mid-project, or engaging in deceptive contract terms.
  6. Voided Warranties: Some product warranties, especially for paint and materials, may be voided if applied by unlicensed individuals, leading to additional costs in the future.
  7. Lack of Professionalism: Uncredentialed painters might not adhere to professional standards of conduct, potentially leading to issues like unreliable scheduling, poor communication, and lack of respect for property.

In summary, while hiring uncredentialed painters might seem cost-effective initially, it carries significant risks that can result in unsatisfactory work, additional expenses, and legal complications. It’s generally safer and more prudent to hire licensed, insured, and bonded professionals for painting projects.

painting a wall, with a paint roller

How to Verify a Painter’s Credentials

Confirming if the painters you want to hire has the necessary credentials is not difficult. Most painters will have their CSLB license number on their company vehicles and their website. There are also other ways to determine if they are present.

Verifying a painter’s credentials in California is a critical step in ensuring you hire a qualified professional, and it involves several key actions. You can start by checking their licensing status with the CSLB. Professional painters in this state must possess a C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor license which allows them to complete projects exceeding $500, with labor and materials. Go to the CSLB website and use their “Check a License” tool. You can find out comprehensive information about their license’s validity, if they have had any disciplinary actions, and also about the contractor’s bond status. During your interview with the painter, ask them for their license number and use it to do a direct search on the CSLB website. 

Beyond licensing, you also want to verify the painter’s insurance and bonding status. Request proof of general liability insurance and, if they have employees, workers’ compensation insurance during the interview. These documents are crucial to protect you from potential liabilities in case of accidents or injuries during the project. You can ensure that the painter has a contractor’s bond by going directly to the insurance and bonding companies listed on the provided documents. You may also decide to check with the Better Business Bureau to check for reviews or complaints against the painter. Using this comprehensive approach will give you a clear picture of the painter’s professional standing and reliability.

Making an Informed Decision

It truly does help to take the time and effort of due diligence in selecting a painter and not just relying on cost considerations. Even though one painter may not cost as much, if they are not licensed, bonded, or insured, you cannot feel confident the job they do will be long-lasting. When you choose a credentialed painter, though, you can feel confident that the job will be done well, according to contract, and within your budget. You also will know you won’t have to have the work completed again because the painting company has used good quality paint and tools. 

After reading the above information you can contact Custom Painting, Inc. by calling 925-866-9610. You may also complete the Contact form on our website. One of our office staff will contact you shortly to find out more about your painting needs.