Required Massachusetts licenses for painters.

Chapter 7

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Chapter 7: What licenses, certifications, insurance, and safety protocols does an exterior painter need to work in Massachusetts?


license verificationBecause you want your family and the painters who paint your home’s exterior to be safe, you’ll need to make sure your South Shore exterior painter has the correct licenses and insurance to work in Massachusetts.

It is surprising how many companies and individual painters are not insured or licensed, so it is important for you, the homeowner, to thoroughly vet the company.

Look for your painting company to have the following certifications and processes in place:

An RRP or EPA lead certification:

If your home was built before 1978 or is known to contain lead a painter needs certification to work at your home. It is not legal to paint a home that contains without being certified to renovate it because lead paint is a hazard to your family. Lead paint was phased out in the late 1970s, but you should assume all homes built before 1978 contain lead until you’ve confirmed it otherwise, with a lead paint test kit, you can get on Amazon or at Curry Ace Hardware in Hanover and Quincy.

A General Liability insurance policy that is in force:

Some smaller painting companies don’t have or pay their insurance bill. If a painter hands you a certificate of insurance, you can call the insurance company to ensure the policy is paid up and in full force. You can also ask to be added to the policy as “additional insured,” which further protects you.

Worker’s Compensation insurance should be separately listed on the insurance certificate.

Worker’s compensation is quite expensive in Massachusetts, and some painting companies skip it, leaving their workers unprotected and the homeowner possibly liable if a worker gets hurt. Since painting is a physical job that involves ladders and power tools, accidents can happen, and you want to be sure the injured painter can be treated and doesn’t make a claim against your homeowner’s policy.

An umbrella insurance policy

If the painter has an umbrella policy, it’s a good sign that the company protects their customers and painters.  Use an umbrella policy as a “signal” that the painting company is competent and fully insured.  Again, you can call the insurance company to ensure it’s paid up and in full force.

Home Improvement Contractor’s License

This is a simple license to get, and it only requires applying and paying for one.

painting a homeGeneral Contractor’s license

A general contractor’s license is necessary if they do work other than painting, like building decks, sheds, or other construction.

You can check if the painter has any safety violations, by searching OSHA’s database here.

Ask to see a written and consistently used safety program.

Many painters say they have them, but few actually use them, so make sure there is a safety inspector that will visit your project.

The South Shore Exterior Painting Contractor’s license and insurance information should be on the quote and/or on their website and easily confirmable.