It seems like the topic of licensing has been surfacing more and more frequently lately as it pertains to house painting. This is an important topic that all homeowners should understand, since hiring an unlicensed contractor can have some serious downsides. But first, let’s talk about licensed painting contractors.
Licenses are given to home improvement contractors of all specialties by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). A licensed painting contractor will typically have a C-33 classification, which allows a painter or a painting company to operate as a painter in the state of California. To become a licensed painting contractor, a company or individual needs to go through the application process, which includes verifying experience and passing a test that shows their knowledge of the painting industry.
A painter or painting company must also purchase a bond. This is for the customer’s protection. If the job is not completed or if the work is shoddy, the customer can appeal to receive some or all of their money back from the bond.
If the painting contractor has employees, they must get workers’ compensation insurance. This also protects you as a homeowner. If the painting company you hire doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, and someone gets injured on your property while working, you may be liable for their medical bills, including rehabilitation. This could turn into a major expense, and likely a long, drawn out legal process for you. Hiring a company that covers their employees with workers’ comp is a must!
The reason people typically hire unlicensed painting contractors in San Diego is to save money. An unlicensed painter will not have the expenses of paying for a bond or workers’ comp. They may even be accepting money for jobs “under the table” and not paying taxes. Therefore, they are able to charge less for the same job.
We understand that saving money can be tempting, but when you consider the risks of going with an unlicensed, unbonded, and uninsured company or individual, we don’t think it’s worth it. Hiring a painting contractor with a license protects you as the consumer. It gives you recourse if anything goes wrong with the job.
What About Hiring a Handyman to Paint My San Diego House?
There are many individuals out there advertising themselves as handymen, saying they can do any home improvement projects, including painting. Unless they are a licensed handyman, meaning they have a contractor’s license, they aren’t legally allowed to take on jobs for more than $500 (including supplies). So, unless they are only going to paint a small room or two, you shouldn’t hire a handyman for the job.
In addition, handymen are typically “jacks of all trades” and not necessarily specialists. Handymen are great for doing small odd jobs around your house, but for something like painting, you want to hire people who are professional painters—who do that type of work every day. They are more likely to know the tricks of the trade and how to get the best results.
At our San Diego painting company, we make sure that everyone who works for us is highly trained in the best painting techniques, and we use only high-quality paint for every job.
Check the License!
We’ve heard more than a few times about San Diego house painters who claim to be licensed but actually are not. They will even go so far as to give homeowners a license number (either fake or expired), knowing full well that most people will never check if the number is valid.
Do your homework! It only takes a minute to check up on a contractor on the CSLB’s website. You can enter either enter the license number or search by name. If you put in a license number and a name comes up other than the one they gave you, ask questions. If the answers you get sound suspicious, go with another painting contractor. There are plenty of legitimate, licensed painting contractors in San Diego to choose from.
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