What specialty license does a commercial painter need?
Most states require commercial painters to obtain a general contractors license with a specialty classification in painting.
A contractor is broadly defined as anyone who undertakes to construct, alter, repair, improve, or demolish any building, road, or makes any other improvement.
Specialty licenses protect the public from incompetence and dishonesty in those who provide construction services. They also provide some assurance that a contractor has the required skill and character, understands local laws and codes, and knows the basics of a contracting business.
What are the requirements for a commercial painter’s license?
Requirements for a painting license vary by state, but a general contractor license typically involves the following:
- Examination by the qualifying party
- Surety bond
- Proof of insurance
- Financial statements
- Letters of reference
- Proof of experience
In Arizona, commercial painters must obtain a general contractor license with the C-34 Painting and Wall Covering specialty. Painters must first pass a general business law exam and a trade exam tailored to this specialty.
In Florida, commercial paint contractors may register with each individual county or obtain a state-wide contractor license (after completion of an exam and demonstrating relevant experience).
Some states don’t require a license but may require you to register with the Secretary of State and/or obtain licenses from a local jurisdiction.
Do commercial painter licenses require renewal?
Typically, a painter’s license must be renewed every few years, and it is critical to stay compliant.
What happens if I don’t have a commercial painter’s license?
Many states have ramped up efforts to prevent unlicensed painting contractors from operating via state-run task forces and campaigns to increase public awareness.
If you are required to have a painter’s license and you don’t follow the proper application process, you may face harsh civil and criminal penalties. For example, in California, an unlicensed contractor may not recover any compensation for their work, and a party may recover all compensation paid to the unlicensed contractor. The contractor may also face a misdemeanor charge, up to six months in jail, and a potential administrative fee of up to $15,000. California requires a C-33 license for all painting contractors that want to bid on residential and commercial painting projects where the cost of labor and materials exceeds $500.