Why Requiring a Painter to Have a License, Insurance, and Bonding Makes Sense

Painting a business or a home is not something one wants to take lightly. It takes money, skill, time, and energy to complete a painting job. Depending upon the size of the painting job that is planned, it is likely property owners feel they don’t have what it takes to get the job done and done well. There are many painting companies in the Dublin, CA, area, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find the right painter for your project. However, you do want to be sure to hire a painter who has the following credentials: 

  1. License – through the California State License Board (CSLB)
  2. Insurance – Liability and Workers’ Compensation
  3. Bond – through a surety bond broker in the state

This article will explain why each of these credentials is important and how you can verify a painter has each before hiring them. 

The Importance of Licensing

Any painting contractor is required by the state of California to obtain a license through the CSLB. The license permits contractors to complete skilled labor on any property other than what they own. Suppose a friend asks you to paint several rooms in their home, or a business would like you to paint the lobby. If the project costs more than $500 (including materials and labor), a C-33 Painting and Decorating license is required. Any contractor who does more than one task (painting, light carpentry, or plumbing) would also need to obtain a general contractor’s license.

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Licensing in California is not a difficult process, but it can take some time to obtain the license. The painter is required to pass the requirements for the state, city, or municipality to legally be able to work in those areas. The painter should have a minimum of four years of experience as a journeyman. They should know about the tools, materials, and equipment they may need to use for diverse building types. They should also know how to properly prepare different surfaces prior to painting and the safety requirements required for each different job. It is also a requirement for painting companies to clearly have their license on all company vehicles and any printed materials they use in their business. You can visit the CSLB website (https://www.cslb.ca.gov/) to confirm if a painter is licensed by using the “License Check” feature near the center on the top of the page.

When you hire a licensed painter, there are many advantages for the property owner. You are assured of higher quality work and professionalism. Licensed painters have been trained and have the necessary experience to do the job right the first time. They also adhere to industry standards, which keep you and your property safe. They exhibit superior workmanship but also complete each painting project efficiently and will also guarantee their work.

The Role of Insurance in Painting Projects


Along with a license, painting contractors in Dublin, CA, are also required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance. Insurance provides financial protection for the property owner if an accident occurs or there is property damage while the painters are working. 

Workers’ compensation insurance is one insurance CSLB requires painting contractors to have if they have more than one employee. Insurance protects the employee and the employer if they are injured on the job. Workers’ compensation also protects the property owner from financial responsibility if there is an injury to a painter while they are working on the client’s property.

The other insurance painters generally have is liability insurance, even though it is not a requirement. Liability insurance covers any damage to the property if a third-party tries to make a personal injury claim against the property owner. Instances of these types of claims might include breaking a window while painting or someone tripping over a ladder during the painting process and being injured. The painter’s general liability insurance would be used to cover these types of claims.

Another type of insurance that is required is commercial automobile insurance for any vehicle used to conduct business. This may be picking up tools or supplies, visiting potential clients to discuss their painting jobs, or transporting workers and materials to and from job sites. If the vehicle is being used during working hours for tasks related to work, it must be covered by commercial auto insurance. This insurance would cover accidents involving company vehicles.

Some painting contractors also decide to purchase umbrella insurance, which would be additional coverage over their expenses not covered by liability and commercial auto insurance. 

If a painting company owns a physical office, storage building, or equipment, they will also choose to purchase property insurance. This type of insurance would cover replacing or repairing damage caused by fire, theft, or vandalism. 

The fact that a painter has adequate insurance should help give any potential client peace of mind that the painter isn’t only thinking about his own bottom line but is also considering how to protect potential clients. You can know that the business is professional, responsible, and committed to safeguarding the client’s interests.

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Bonding: An Extra Layer of Protection

Many people have heard of bonding but don’t understand what it is or how it benefits a painting company’s clients. All licensed painters must obtain a surety bond from a surety bond broker. The bond has three parties in agreement:

  1. The purchaser – the painting company purchasing the bond,
  2. The oblige – the organization requiring the bond, in this case, CSLB, and,
  3. The surety company – the company that issues the bond.

The bond is similar to, but not the same, as insurance. It protects the third-party client hiring the painting contractor to complete a job. Suppose there is a loss resulting from work not being completed within the contracted time. Or if there is damage to the property while the work is being done. Another instance could be that the company fails to complete the work they were hired to do according to the specifications of the contract. If these types of instances occur, the client can file a claim against the bond. The bond issuer will review the claim and provide compensation to the client for the loss. The painting company would then have to reimburse or purchase another bond.

It is important to note that if a painting contractor wants to complete projects for municipal entities or governmental agencies, they must purchase commercial bonds. These protect the entities from losses caused by the painting contractor not completing the contract per the regulations of the local or state government. 

Quality and Accountability


Property owners may wonder if they have to hire only painters who are licensed, insured, and bonded. The short answer is “Yes.” You are taking a financial chance when you hire painters who do not hold all three of these credentials. 

Uncredentialed painters may not know what is needed about the surface types of your building. They may not know or follow the local regulations concerning the environment, such as safely disposing of paint.  They may not know or adhere to the industry standards or laws for the area. 

Uncredentialed painters may choose not to obtain workers’ compensation insurance or liability insurance. If an accident occurs where someone is injured, or damage is done to the property, the property owner will be held financially responsible for the damage and costs associated with the injury. Legal repercussions might also be a possibility.

To avoid the possibility of legal or financial repercussions, be sure to verify the painting contractor you want to hire has the three credentials. Hiring a credentialed painting company will also increase the likelihood of satisfactory work.

How to Verify a Painter’s Credentials

The CSLB website is a great resource to verify a painter’s credentials. Since the painting company will have their license number on their vehicle, you can write the number down so you have it available when you verify their credentials. While you are interviewing the painting company, ask them about their insurance coverage and bond, along with asking for references. 

level Checking

Go to the CSLB website (address above) and click the “License Check” link at the top of the page. There are options to verify the license by choosing the license number, the business’s name, or the painter’s personal name. You will receive a list of potential painters with similar business names or personal names. Look through the list and find the one with the correct license number and city you know the company is based in, then review the information provided.

You will be able to see if the painting company has a current valid license if they have insurance and information about their bond. Calling the insurance and bonding companies directly will also help you verify their credentials. 

If, after reviewing the painter’s credentials, you find they do not have one of them, it would be wise to scratch them from your list. You will be glad you did.


Saving money is important whether you’re running a family or running a business. You want to get the most benefit from the money you spend. However, it is important to hire only credentialed painters – those with a valid license, adequate insurance, and valid bond – to avoid any possible legal or financial obligation if there are any injuries or damage while your property is being painted. You will have peace of mind knowing that the job will be done well, within budget, and according to your contract.

Custom Painting, Inc. has been a valued painting company in the Bay Area for more than 40 years. You may reach them by calling 925-294-8062 to set up an appointment with an estimator or fill out the Contact Us form. Someone from the office will contact you as soon as possible to answer any questions you have, set up an appointment for a free estimate, or discuss your potential painting projects.