CHOOSING A LICENSED AND INSURED PAINTER
Often times a friend of family member may tell you to make sure you hire a licensed or insured contractor. In theory, it sounds as simple as asking your painter if they are licensed. In reality, there is much more to it. You are going to want to make sure your painter is properly licensed in the correct county and also make sure that they carry the proper type of insurance. You also want to make sure that both their license and their insurance is current. Asking to see a certificate that has lapsed won’t do you any good when a claim arises.
Let’s first look at licenses. Unless your paint contractor is also a general contractor, highly unlikely, then you will need to make sure that they carry a valid painting license. At Cover In Paint we have what is called a “painting unlimited” license allowing us to do all types of paint work including working from tall roofs and applying waterproofing products. The standard license is much more basic and is designed for simple interior and low height exterior work. Next you want to make sure your contractor is licensed in your county. In South Florida most of our painting work originates in Broward County, Miami Dade County, or Palm Beach County. Each of these has a separate licensing process. Always feel free to ask your paint contractor to provide their applicable license in that county.
Insurance for painting contractors gets to be a little more confusing than the licensing process. You want to make sure that your painter has two primary types of insurance at very minimum. The first is general liability and the second is workers compensation. General liability is going to protect your home against damage. If a ladder slips and goes through your window general liability will protect you. If your painter paints a product not designed for that type of surface and it damages your property general liability is there to make it right. If a painter did the unthinkable and was to steal something of value, general liability is there to protect you. Workers compensation protects the paint contractors employees against injury while on your property. If a painter falls off your roof, and you the contractor does not have workers compensation insurance the employee can, and often will, sue the homeowner or business to pay for their injuries.
One thing to be very careful about with workers compensation is class codes. If you will have anyone on your roof or if your home is more than a single floor make sure the workers compensation policy is for a class code that covers this type of work. Due to the large expense of workers compensation insurance many paint contractors will not have insurance that covers their employees for anything more than very basic painting from the ground. If an injury occurs and they don’t have the right type of coverage you can still be liable.
Often times when you receive a bid from your painting contractor you are also getting another bid or two at the same time. If you see a big variance in price you should always ask why. Often times a paint contractor will not be properly licensed or insured and this means they can cut corners and lower their prices. Naturally many other factors apply to a final price such as experience, quality of material, and the overall scope of what is being done. Be sure to follow these tips and make sure their insurance is current and you should be one step closer to finding the right painter for your needs.