Choose a Painter Having a License, Insurance, and Bond to Paint Your Home or Business

Painting your home or business often takes a fair amount of time, depending on the size of the painting your project. If you’re a homeowner, you may consider doing the work yourself to save money. This may also be an option for a business owner, but is it the right choice? 

Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Do you have the time needed to move furniture out of the way and cover the things that can’t be moved? 
  2. Do you have the energy left to prepare the surfaces to be painted properly?
  3. Do you have the time and energy needed to complete the painting work?
  4. After doing all of the above, will you still have the energy to clean up after yourself so the area painted looks better than it did before you started painting? 

Most homeowners and business owners either don’t have the time or energy to complete a do-it-yourself painting job. This is why many property owners decide to hire professional painting contractors in Pleasant Hill, CA, to do the work for them. There are many painters in the area, so which are the best painters in Pleasant Hill? Also, must you hire a licensed painter, or can an unlicensed painter do it? This article will explain why a licensed painter, who is also insured and bonded, is the best choice for any painting work you need to have done.

indoor the building site of a house

Understanding Licensing in the Painting Industry

A C-33 Painting and Decorating License is a specific type of contractor’s license issued in some regions, notably in the state of California. This license, required for undertaking painting projects exceeding $500 in value for materials and labor, authorizes individuals or businesses to engage professionally in painting and decorating services. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what this license entails:

The C-33 license specifically covers the preparation and application of paints, varnishes, and other coatings, along with surface treatments and textures on various types of surfaces. It also includes wallpapering, decorative and artistic finishes and other similar finishes and textures applied to surfaces. The painter applies for the C-33 license through the California State License Board (CSLB) and must complete all of the requirements of the license before it is granted.

To obtain a C-33 license, applicants typically must prove a certain level of skill and experience in painting or decorating if that is a service they offer. This usually involves documenting a minimum of four years of work experience in the field and also requires the applicant to pass a trade examination to prove their technical knowledge and proficiency.

An applicant must also be tested and pass tests for state, city, or municipal business and environmental regulations. Holding a C-33 license means the holder is legally permitted to undertake painting and decorating contracts. It ensures compliance with state and local regulations governing construction and building maintenance. This is important for adherence to safety standards, environmental regulations, and labor laws.

Most people see licensed contractors as being more credible and professional. The license serves as a testament to their skill and commitment to following industry standards and regulations. This can be a significant factor in winning contracts and building trust with clients.

Licensed contractors, including those with a C-33 license, are also required to carry liability insurance and be bonded. This provides financial protection to both the contractor and their clients in the event of accidents, damage to the property being painted, or unfinished work.

Licensed professionals may also be required to engage in continuous education to stay updated with the latest techniques, safety standards, and regulations in their field. This ensures that they will remain competent and competitive in the industry.

Overall, a C-33 Painting and Decorating License is a mark of professional qualification that enables individuals or companies to legally perform painting and decorating services, ensuring compliance with industry standards and offering protection and assurance to their clients.

The Importance of Insurance for Painters


Painters in California, like all contractors, must adhere to specific insurance requirements to legally operate and protect their businesses and clients. The foundational requirement is the possession of a contractor’s license bond. Painters must maintain a contractor license bond of $15,000 with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). This bond is not insurance but a financial guarantee that the painter will adhere to the laws and regulations pertaining to their trade. It serves as a form of protection for consumers, ensuring they have recourse if the contractor violates state regulations or fails to fulfill contractual obligations.

If the painting business employs others, it is legally mandated to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance is vital because it covers medical costs and lost wages for any employee who gets injured while on the job. In California, failure to have and maintain workers’ compensation insurance can result in severe penalties, which may include hefty fines and potential business closure. 

While it is not legally required, many painters also opt for general liability insurance. This insurance provides broader coverage, protecting against third-party claims of property damage, bodily injury, and personal and advertising injury. For example, if a painter accidentally damages a client’s property or if a non-employee gets injured at the job site, general liability insurance can cover the associated costs.

Additionally, if the painting company uses vehicles for business purposes, commercial auto insurance is necessary. This type of insurance covers damages and injuries resulting from vehicle accidents involving business-owned vehicles. Some painters might also consider professional liability insurance (errors and omissions insurance), especially if they provide consultations or advisory services as part of their business. While these additional insurances—general liability, commercial auto, and professional liability—are not mandated by law, they are highly recommended. They provide an extra layer of protection, ensuring the long-term viability of the painting business and offering peace of mind to both the business owner and their clients.

renovating house

Bonding: An Additional Layer of Security

Being bonded is a crucial requirement for painters in California, primarily serving as a form of consumer protection. A contractor’s license bond, which painters must obtain as part of their licensing process, acts as a financial guarantee to the state and to clients. It ensures that the painter adheres to the laws and regulations governing their trade. 

This bond is particularly important to safeguard the interests of consumers. In instances where a painter does not comply with contractual obligations or violates state regulations, the bond provides a means for financial compensation to any affected parties. This aspect of being bonded builds consumer trust and credibility in the painting industry, as clients are more assured that they have some level of protection against potential misconduct or contractual disputes.

Furthermore, being bonded also reflects on the professionalism and reliability of the painter. It signifies that the painter has met the regulatory requirements set by the CSLB, including the financial criteria necessary to obtain and maintain the bond. This requirement can be particularly important in competitive markets, as it distinguishes licensed and bonded professionals from unlicensed operators. 

For the painter, being bonded is not just a legal necessity but also a business asset. It enhances their reputation and can be a deciding factor for clients when choosing a contractor. In a broader sense, the bonding requirement helps to uphold industry standards, ensuring that only contractors who are committed to legal and ethical practices are able to operate, thereby contributing to the overall integrity and quality of the painting industry in California.

Why Choose a Painter with These Credentials


Choosing a painter who is licensed, insured, and bonded is essential for ensuring quality work, legal compliance, and financial protection. A licensed painter has demonstrated a professional level of skill and knowledge, meeting the standards set by regulatory bodies, which is a testament to their competence and commitment to quality. 

Insurance, particularly liability and workers’ compensation, offers protection to both the property owner and the workers; it covers potential damages or injuries that could occur during the painting project, safeguarding the homeowner or business owner from unexpected expenses. 

Moreover, a bonded painter provides an additional layer of financial security. The bond acts as a safeguard against incomplete work or non-compliance with contractual agreements, ensuring that the property owner has some recourse in the event of contract disputes or unsatisfactory work. Together, these credentials offer a comprehensive package of assurance, quality, and security, making it a prudent choice for any property owner seeking painting services.

The Risks of Opting for Uncredentialed Painters

You can choose an uncredentialed painter, but it is not recommended. Choosing an uncredentialed painter poses several significant risks, both in terms of the quality of work they perform and the financial liability the property owner may face. 

Without proper credentials, there is no guarantee that the painter has the necessary skills, training, or knowledge of current industry standards and regulations. This lack of expertise can lead to poor workmanship, including improper surface preparation, inconsistent paint application, and potential long-term issues like premature peeling or mold growth. Furthermore, uncredentialed painters may not be well-versed in safety protocols, increasing the risk of accidents during the project or not considering the ecological effects of improperly disposing of paint. 

In terms of financial and legal risks, hiring an uncredentialed painter means foregoing the protections that come with licensed and insured professionals. For instance, if the painter causes property damage or if a worker gets injured on the job, the homeowner could be held financially liable for costs, as uncredentialed painters typically lack liability and workers’ compensation insurance. Additionally, without a bond, property owners may have limited to no recourse if the work is left incomplete or if it fails to meet agreed-upon standards in the contract. These risks can result in additional costs, legal complications, and a great deal of stress for the property owner, far outweighing any initial savings from hiring a less expensive, uncredentialed painter.

plastering a wall indoor

Verifying a Painter’s Credentials

Verifying a painter’s credentials is a critical step in ensuring you hire a qualified and reliable professional for your painting project. The process involves several key steps to confirm the painter’s licensing, insurance, and bonding status.

Check Licensing – The first step is to verify the painter’s license. In many regions, including states like California, painters are required to have a contractor’s license for painting and decorating (such as the C-33 license in California). You can check the validity of a painter’s license by visiting the website of your state’s contractor licensing board. For instance, in California, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) provides an online tool where you can input the contractor’s license number to verify its status. This check will also inform you if there have been any disciplinary actions against the contractor.

Verify Insurance – Ask the painter for proof of insurance, which should include liability insurance and, if they have employees, workers’ compensation insurance. If they are a reputable contractor, they will provide this information without complaint. Once you have their insurance information, you can contact the insurance company directly to verify that the policy is current and valid. Liability insurance protects your property if damage is caused by the painter, while workers’ compensation insurance covers injuries that may occur to the painter’s employees while on your property.

Confirm Bonding – If the painter claims to be bonded, request the details of the bond and verify it with the issuing bonding company. A bond is a form of financial protection for you in case the contract is not fulfilled as agreed, such as incomplete or substandard work. The bonding company can confirm the bond’s validity and its terms. You would also contact the bonding company should you want to file a claim.

Check References and Reviews – Beyond formal credentials, it’s also wise to check the painter’s references and online reviews. Contacting previous clients often provides insight into the painter’s quality of work and professionalism. Online review platforms and local business directories can also be valuable resources to gauge the painter’s reputation and customer satisfaction.

Look for Professional Affiliations – You may also want to see if the painter is affiliated with any professional organizations, like the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA). Membership in such organizations often indicates a commitment to adhere to industry standards and ongoing professional development.

Remember, taking the time to thoroughly verify a painter’s credentials before hiring them can save you from potential issues and ensure a high standard of work on your painting project.


After having read the above information about why hiring a licensed, insured, and bonded painter is wise and the specific information about each credential, you can better understand the reasons to avoid uncredentialed painters. You deserve the peace of mind hiring a licensed painter brings. 

Give Custom Painting, Inc. a call at 925-686-0903 to discuss your next painting project or ask questions. The office staff can also help you set up an appointment to have an estimator visit your property and discuss the project in person. The company has been completing painting projects in Pleasant Hill and other Bay Area cities. You may also fill out the online contact form, and someone will contact you to get further information from you.