The Priority of Working with Licensed, Insured, and Bonded Painters for Your House and Business


If you plan on painting around your home or business, you may not feel you have the time or skills to do the job yourself. So, consider hiring a painting contractor in the Bay Area. There are so many choices available the options may seem endless. Whoever you decide to hire to do the painting for you, it is crucial that you choose a painting company that is licensed, insured, and bonded. This article will explain how hiring licensed painters protects you and your property.

Understanding Licensing, Insurance, and Bonding

Insurance Your Safety Net

You may only be aware of the licensing, insurance, and bonding requirements if you have previously worked with licensed painters. The information below explains what each is so you’re aware of why they are attained and how the painters having them benefits you.

Licensing: Professional painting companies in California must obtain a license from the California State Licensing Board (CSLB) to operate legally. This process involves several steps, including providing a minimum of four years of journey-level experience in painting, passing a trade examination, and a law and business exam. Applicants also must undergo a background check and provide a contractor’s bond. The license, classified under the C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor category, is necessary for any painting project that costs $500 or more in labor and materials. This licensing ensures that painters meet the state’s skill, knowledge, and professionalism standards, providing quality assurance and legal protection for consumers.

Insurance: Professional painters are generally required to carry insurance for their business operations. This insurance typically includes general liability insurance, which covers bodily injury and possible property damage that might occur during painting jobs. Additionally, if the painting business employs others, California law mandates workers’ compensation insurance, protecting employees in case of work-related injuries or illnesses. These insurance policies safeguard the painting business and its clients, ensuring financial protection against accidents, damage, or injuries. Moreover, carrying adequate insurance is often a prerequisite for obtaining and maintaining a professional painting license in California, reinforcing trust and credibility with clients.

Bonding: Bonding is an essential requirement for professional painters, serving as a financial guarantee and form of protection for their clients. A contractor’s bond, typically required by the CSLB for licensure, ensures that the painter adheres to all state standards and regulations. This bond provides a level of security for customers, as it is available to compensate them in cases of incomplete work, substandard job execution, or non-compliance with contract terms. Essentially, a bond functions as a safety net, offering clients recourse in case of a dispute or issue with the painting services provided, thereby enhancing the painter’s credibility and trustworthiness in the industry.

The Benefits of Hiring Licensed Painters

Quality and Compliance

You may wonder, “What are the benefits of hiring a licensed painter? Can’t anyone who has painted before provide the same service?” If you care about your home or business, the answer is a resounding “No.” The information below explains the benefits of hiring licensed painters.

Having a license as a painter ensures skill and professionalism through several vital procedures:

One of the main ways the CSLB confirms a potential painter should be licensed is by skill verification. This often involves passing practical and theoretical examinations covering various painting aspects, such as surface preparation, application techniques, understanding of different materials, and safety protocols. Since they are tested on specific painting techniques, the licensing board knows that the licensed painters know the latest techniques, technologies, and trends in the industry.

Licensed painters are expected to adhere to professional standards and codes of conduct. These standards typically cover things like quality of work, ethical business practices, and compliance with local regulations and building codes. This adherence promotes a higher level of professionalism in the industry and often gives those hiring them peace of mind and confidence the job will be performed as contracted.

Licensed painters are accountable to the licensing authority, usually a state or regional regulatory body like the CLSB. This accountability means that they must maintain specific standards to keep their license. In the event of malpractice or substandard work, they risk disciplinary actions, including the potential loss of their license.

A license serves as a mark of credibility and trustworthiness to consumers. It signals that the painter has met the required standards of skill and professionalism set by a recognized authority.

Painters often need to participate in ongoing professional development to maintain their licenses. This requirement ensures they stay current with the latest industry practices, techniques, and regulatory changes.

In summary, licensing acts as a gatekeeping mechanism, ensuring that only those painters who have met specific criteria of skill and professionalism are legally allowed to practice. This process helps to maintain high standards within the painting industry, offering reassurance to clients and contributing to the overall quality of painting services.


The Importance of Insurance in Painting Projects

Painters having insurance provides significant protection for home and business owners in several ways depending on their insurance.

Liability coverage provides accidental property protection and bodily injury protection. Suppose a painter accidentally damages your property while working (e.g., breaking a window, spilling paint on a valuable carpet, or damaging a wall). Their general liability insurance can cover the cost of repairs or replacement, sparing the property owner from bearing these expenses. Suppose anyone (other than the painter’s employees) gets injured due to the painter’s work (like tripping over painting supplies). In that case, the bodily injury portion of the painter’s insurance can cover medical bills and legal fees if there are claims against the painter.

Hiring an insured painter assures property owners that they will deal with a professional who takes their business responsibilities seriously. Insurance may also be required for some contracts, especially in commercial projects. The contract requires contractors, including painters, to be insured as a condition of the agreement.

Workers’ compensation insurance is required to protect a painting company’s employees. If the painter has employees and one gets injured while working on the property, worker’s compensation insurance will cover their medical expenses and lost wages. This protects the property owner from being held liable for these costs.

Knowing that a painting company has insurance means the customer can expect their painters to adhere to safety and quality standards to avoid insurance claims. Having insurance also benefits the property owner by reducing the likelihood of accidents or subpar work. It also helps provide peace of mind for clients because they know they can focus on the project’s outcome instead of any potential risks.

The Role of Bonding in Painter Contracts

Knowing a painter has both a license and insurance is helpful when hiring one for a painting project. Bonding is another crucial need in the painting industry. It serves as a means of financial assurance for clients who hire painters. When a painting contractor is bonded, they have secured a surety bond. The bond is a type of insurance policy that protects the client against potential losses due to the contractor’s failure to complete a job as agreed or in case of substandard workmanship or other contract breaches. The bond acts as a safety net for the client, compensating if the painter does not fulfill their contractual obligations. This is particularly important in large or expensive projects with high financial stakes.

Suppose a bonded painter fails to deliver the agreed-upon services, or their work does not meet the set standards and causes financial loss to the client. The client can then file a claim against the painting company’s bond. The issuing surety company will investigate the client’s claim, and if it’s found to be valid, they will compensate the client up to the bond’s total value. Subsequently, the painter usually must reimburse the surety for the claim amount and obtain a new bond. This system not only offers clients a level of financial protection but also encourages painters to uphold high standards of professionalism and reliability. Being bonded is often a sign of being trustworthy and committed, enhancing their market reputation.

Man paints the ceiling 

How to Verify a Painter’s Credentials

Verifying a painter’s credentials in California is crucial in ensuring you hire a qualified professional. Here’s how you can go about it:

Check License Status – The California State License Board (CSLB) is the first place to verify the painter’s license. Professional painters must have a C-33 Painting and Decorating Contractor license for any job over $500, including labor and materials. You can go to the CSLB’s website and use their online “Check a License” tool to verify the license status. This tool provides information on the validity of the license, years of operation, bond information, and any past violations or complaints. It also ensures the license is active and in good standing. A suspended or expired license is a major red flag.

Proof of Insurance – During the interview, ask the painter for proof of insurance, including general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. This is important for your protection in case of injuries or property damage during the project. To be extra sure, you may also contact the insurance company to confirm the policy is current and provides adequate coverage.

Bond Verification – A licensed painter in California must have a contractor’s bond. This bond protects you against substandard work or contractual non-compliance. You can confirm the bond status and the license information through the CSLB website.

References and Reviews – Requesting a list of references from recent and past jobs is wise. Then, take the time necessary to speak to past clients. They can give you insights into the painter’s quality of work, reliability, and professionalism. You can also check online review platforms, social media, and the Better Business Bureau for any reviews or complaints about the painter. Be aware of consistent negative feedback. It is often a warning sign.

Professional Associations –Although it is not required, membership in professional trade associations can signify a committed and up-to-date painter. Associations often have strict ethical and professional standards for their members.

Additional Background Checks – Experienced painters usually have a portfolio of past projects. Reviewing these can help assess their skill and expertise. Consider conducting a legal check to see if there have been any lawsuits or legal actions against the painter.

By thoroughly verifying a painter’s credentials, you ensure hiring a professional, legally compliant contractor who is likely to provide quality service. This due diligence protects you from potential problems and contributes to the overall success of your painting project.

Red Flags to Avoid When Hiring Painters

During the interview process, those hiring painting contractors must confirm a painter is adequately licensed, insured, or bonded. However, here are some warning signs that might indicate they are not the right choice. 

  1. Lack of License and Insurance: If the painter doesn’t have a valid contractor’s license or adequate insurance (including liability and worker’s compensation), it’s a major red flag.
  2. Poor Communication: Difficulty in getting in touch with the painter, unclear explanations, or a lack of responsiveness can indicate potential future communication issues during the project.
  3. Unwilling to Provide References: A reputable painter should be willing and able to provide references from past clients. Reluctance or inability to do so might suggest a lack of experience or unsatisfactory past work.
  4. No Written Contract or Vague Estimates: A professional painter should provide a detailed written contract and clear, itemized estimates. Avoid painters who only offer verbal agreements or provide vague, non-itemized estimates.
  5. Requesting Large Upfront Payments: While some deposit is typical, be wary of painters who demand a large percentage of the total cost upfront, especially if it’s more than a third of the total estimate.
  6. Unusually Low Prices: Extremely low bids can be a warning sign of cutting corners, using subpar materials, or lacking proper licensing and insurance.
  7. Negative Reviews or Complaints: Check online reviews and ratings. A pattern of negative feedback or complaints from consumer protection agencies can be a red flag.
  8. High-Pressure Sales Tactics: Be cautious of painters who try to pressure you into making a quick decision or hiring them on the spot.
  9. Lack of Professionalism: Signs like showing up late to appointments, not providing straightforward answers to your questions, or presenting a disorganized or unprofessional appearance can indicate a lack of professionalism.
  10. No Warranty or Guarantee: A trustworthy painter usually stands behind their work with some form of warranty or guarantee. Avoid painters who refuse to offer any assurance on the quality of their work.
  11. Inconsistent Information: Inconsistencies in information about their experience, services offered, or project details can be a warning sign.
  12. Not Following Safety Protocols: Disregarding safety, such as not following lead-safe practices in older homes, can indicate a lack of professionalism and concern for client wellbeing.

These warning signs can help you make an informed decision and choose a professional, reliable painter who can meet your project’s needs.


Suppose you are planning a painting project, whether as a home or a business owner, you want to hire someone who will do a good job. However, you also want to hire a painting contractor who is licensed, insured, and bonded to protect your property and reduce any financial liability should there be an accident or damage during the project. Custom Painting, Inc. has been in business for more than 40 years and has had many satisfied customers. Call them at 925-294-8062 if you would like to discuss your painting needs. You may also fill out the Contact form on the website. One of our office staff will contact you shortly.