Do You Really Need a Licensed, Insured & Bonded Painter?

Every homeowner hiring a contractor has encountered it. Seems like a simple question: do I need a licensed, insured and bonded painter? Simply put: yes! Here are some other requirements you should discuss with your contractor before signing the dotted line.

You should only hire professionals that:

Show good business practices
Have risk management in place
Can show you their insurance information
Will talk willingly about their credentials and background
Can be easily located on the internet

Should you decide to move forward with a contractor who fails to provide any of this information, it’s at your risk. Here are some of the issues you could face.

Financial Risks

Contractors without proper coverage can run into issues if a problem occurs on your property. There is no shortage of horror stories of property damage, lost deposit, poor workmanship and just irresponsible contractors.

Contractors who underbid jobs and have no reputation online to uphold are much more likely to disappear mid job. They will take your deposits and leave your work half completed without a second thought.

Contractors that are unlicensed and uninsured, or underinsured, can bring their financial hardships to you. Here are some of the items we have heard of happening to a homeowner with shady contractors working on their property. You could be held financially for:

Medical bills if someone gets injured on your property
Lawsuits of the contractor for any reason
Increases to your insurance policy due to claims
Homeowners policy cancellation
Out of pocket expenses to replace or repair shoddy work
Costs for potential thefts or other crimes on your property.


Licensing is relatively inexpensive and somewhat easy to obtain. Be very wary of any contractor not willing to go through the process. When dealing with unlicensed contractors there could be other issues to deal with. Here are some of the most common:

Unlicensed typically means uninsured. If a contractor won’t go through the simple licensing process, he really won’t go through the insurance hoops. This means any accidents on your property become your problem and your financial responsibility.

It is not a blanket rule that unlicensed contractors produce poor quality work, it just seems more often than not, the two go hand in hand. Licensed and trained contractors will be aware of best practices and quality standards that are expected with a professional job. Work that is less than ideal typically comes from sloppy practices within an unlicensed business.

Many a homeowner has been left in a lurch by less-than-honest unlicensed, uninsured contractors. Scams are rampant within home improvement providers. You must be vigilant to protect yourself and your property. Here are some of the signs of a scammer.

Non-existent contracts. There should be contractual recourse for you should you have a dispute with your contractor. At a minimum, a licensing agency will be able to suspend or revoke a license for a contractor that creates an issue in your home.

Sub-contractors. Many painting companies hire in sub-contractors to complete the actual painting in your home. Reputable contractors will only bring in their own licensed and insured workers. This provides even more protection for you. Make sure your contractor’s insurance covers the sub-contractors they choose to bring in.

Crimes Bonds

Bringing strangers into your home or business can be uncomfortable. You don’t know these people and they are in your personal property. Set your mind at ease and check if your painter is covered for this risk. If something comes up missing from your home, and the painter is bonded, it’s easy! If not, you are looking at a long battle where there is a very small chance for success for you.

Be smart

When bringing someone into your home or business to work, be smart. Look at the way they handle their business affairs and how they field your questions. There will be warning signs for questionable providers. Be aware of issues if you experience any of these:

Phone calls or door knocks that are unsolicited
Pressure to sign contracts now
Undetailed application methods and materials
Limited presence on the internet
No business address or phone number
No final price with the estimate
Missing written contract
Unable to produce or prove insurance or licensing

When hiring a painter, their licensing, insurance and bonding will give you piece of mind. It will not guarantee a great paint job, but it will set the tone for it. Always take your time and talk to as many painters as you need. As always, our estimators at CertaPro Painters are happy to discuss any questions you may have or provide a free in home estimate.