When Hiring the Best Painters, What Is in the Contract?

When you’re ready to hire a house painter, having a well-drafted contract is essential. A detailed contract sets clear expectations and helps avoid misunderstandings. It outlines the project scope, costs, timeline, and additional services, ensuring a smooth and successful painting experience. In this article, we’ll walk you through the essential components that should be included in your painting contract so you can proceed confidently with the project. 

Here’s what a contract should contain:

Contact Information

Your painting contract should include all the contractor’s essential contact details. List the company name, office address, telephone number, website, and email address. This information ensures you can easily reach your contractor throughout the project. It’s a simple step, but it helps build trust and keeps communication clear and straightforward.

Business Information

It is important to verify that your painting contractor is fully licensed and insured. Specify that the contractor must be licensed and adhere to all local codes and regulations. This protects you in case of injuries or if anything goes wrong during the project. Make sure your contract includes details about their license, liability insurance, and worker’s compensation insurance. Including this information in your contract ensures you work with a trustworthy contractor.

Custom Painting Inc. is a licensed company with a liability insurance of $4,000,000. 

Scope of the Project

This section should outline what areas will be painted, including rooms or exterior parts. It should also detail the prep work required, like sanding or priming, and specify how many coats of paint will be applied. 

Having these details ensures everyone is on the same page and helps prevent misunderstandings about the work. This way, you know exactly what to expect from start to finish.

Cost Breakdown

The cost of the project is the nitty-gritty of every painting contract. It should include: 

  • Labor Costs: Labor typically makes up the most significant part of the cost, around 85% of the total. Professional painters usually charge between $48 and $71 per hour. If you encounter rates significantly lower or higher, it’s a red flag for potential quality issues or overcharging.
  • Paints and Supplies: Paint and supplies generally account for 15-25% of the total cost. The price varies based on the brand and quality of paint, with premium options costing between $50 and $100 per gallon. Ensure your contract specifies the types of paint and supplies used to ensure quality.

Having a specific cost breakdown in your contract helps you understand where your money is going and ensures transparency.

Woman choosing color using swatch catalog standing near wall.

Materials and Tools

Including detailed information about materials and tools in your contract is essential. Specify the type, brand, and quality of paints, primers, and other supplies to be used. This ensures that high-quality products are applied and match the client’s expectations. Also, outline any special tools required, such as sprayers or specialty brushes. 

Project Timeline

This section should include the start date, estimated completion date, and key milestones. For example, painting an average two-story house might take about five working days, including prep and cleanup. Ensure the timeline accounts for potential delays and specifies what happens if the project finishes early or takes longer than expected. Having a detailed timeline helps keep the project on track and sets clear expectations for both you and the contractor.

Industry Standards

When you hire a professional painter, you expect top-notch results that last. An industry standards clause in your contract ensures this by setting minimum quality benchmarks. For instance, the painter should:

  • Prime surfaces before painting
  • Cover and tape off non-paint areas
  • Use appropriate paint for each surface and location
  • Apply an agreed-upon color and brand of paint stored correctly
  • Apply two coats using the proper techniques
  • Finish edges and corners professionally

This clause guarantees you receive the quality you’re paying for.


Most painting companies provide a two to three-year warranty, covering issues like flaking, peeling, and fading due to normal wear and tear. This typically excludes damage from extreme weather, floods, or fires. Some companies offer separate warranties: a shorter one for labor-related defects and a longer one for materials, as high-quality paint brands might have warranties lasting up to 25 years.

In some cases, warranties aren’t necessary, such as:

  • When rust reappears, typically within six to twelve months.
  • When paint starts to age, dark-colored paints naturally age faster and may blister sooner.

This ensures clients know when they’re covered and when certain conditions are outside the warranty’s scope.

Exit Clause

An exit clause is crucial in any contract. It details the steps if either party needs to back out. This could include refunding your deposit if the contractor fails to complete the job.

Exclusion of Liability

In the painting contract, the contractor will specify that they will not be liable for any loss, damage, delay, injury, slight variations in color or design, negligence, or breach of contract. They will have you sign a liability waiver for added protection. 

The contract should also indicate the maximum amount the contractor can pay if found liable. This amount is often kept below the contract price, the value of claimed goods and services, or the actual loss incurred. This clause protects the contractor and sets clear limits on liability.

Additional Services

Young worker painting wall in room.

Your painting contract should also cover any additional services beyond the painting itself. This includes prep work, sanding and priming, and post-painting cleanup. Specify who is responsible for these tasks to avoid any confusion. If the painters will handle prep and cleanup, ensure the contract details how these will be done and the tools they’ll use. Outline these clearly to help set expectations and provide a smooth, hassle-free project from start to finish.


A detailed painting contract is critical to a successful project. It ensures clear communication and sets expectations for both you and the contractor. You can avoid misunderstandings and ensure a smooth process by including all necessary details—contact and business information, project scope, cost breakdown, timeline, and additional services.

Before you sign, it is essential that you clearly understand everything in the contract. Do not hesitate to ask any questions regarding the contract. For a hassle-free experience and beautiful results, schedule an appointment with Custom Painting, Inc. today! Call us at 925-294-8062 to get started on your next painting project.