Professional painting contractors are in high demand with people who lack the time and talents to undertake these projects themselves. If you have the skills to provide them with efficient and quality work, then starting a painting business might be a wise move.
But before you begin accepting residential or commercial painting contracts, you may need to get licensed first. Getting a painter and decorating contractor license varies from state to state. Many states require you to show proof of insurance as part of the licensing process, and some don’t require painters to have a license at all.
This guide covers painter license requirements in six states to help you kickstart your small business.
California painters who work on projects of $500 or more must get a general contractor license. These licenses are issued by the Contractors State License Board. To apply, you must be at least 18 years old, have a Social Security or taxpayer identification number, and have at least four years of painting experience.
Once you apply, you will need to complete a background check, provide proof of General Liability insurance and Workers’ Compensation insurance (if applicable), and buy a surety bond. All contractors applying for a general contractor license in California also need to pass three exams covering:
- Your trade
- Law and business
- Asbestos safety, handling, and removal
Your general contractor license needs to be renewed every two years.
Painters working on projects totaling $500 or more must have a general contractor license in Florida. There are two licenses to choose from:
- Certified – Allows you to work anywhere in the state
- Registered – Restricts you to working in specific Florida jurisdictions
Licenses are issued by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. To apply, you must be 18 years of age or older, have a Social Security or taxpayer identification number, have at least four years of painting experience or training (or a combination of the two), and be financially stable.
Before you apply for a Florida general contractor license, you must pass a three-part exam covering business and finance, project management, and contract administration.
After you have passed the required test, you must:
- Complete a background check
- Provide your employment history
- Provide FICO credit report and score
- Provide a certificate of insurance
- Submit other financial or legal documents (if applicable)
Florida general contractor licenses need to be renewed every two years. You must complete 14 hours of approved continuing education to renew.
A basic general contractor license is necessary for painters who perform work that costs $2,500 or more. The State Licensing Board issues licenses, and you must be 21 or over to apply. You must also meet the minimum work experience and education requirements set by the board.
To apply for a general contractor license in Georgia, you need to:
- Pass a trade exam (if applicable)
- Submit documents detailing your education and/or work experience
- Provide a certificate of insurance for your General Liability coverage
- Buy a surety bond
Your license must be renewed by June 30th in even-numbered years.
There is no painter license at the state level in Ohio. The Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board only issues general contractor licenses to specific trades, and painters are not part of this requirement.
However, general and home improvement contractors, including painters, may need a local license to work in Ohio counties and cities. Painter and decorating contractor license requirements differ between cities, but you will typically need to:
- Pass a trade exam
- Provide proof of General Liability insurance
- Buy a surety bond
- Submit applicable financial or legal paperwork
Check with your local licensing board for painter license requirements and renewals in your area.
Related: Discover General Liability Insurance in Ohio
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not issue statewide licenses for most contractors. However, you will need to register with the Attorney General’s Office under the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act if you make more than $5,000 per year doing home improvement work.
To register as a painter in Pennsylvania, you need to provide details about your business and proof of your General Liability insurance. Your registration must be renewed every two years.
Painter licenses from the state of Texas are not required. However, you may need a local license or permit to work in some cities. All Texas businesses must have a business license to operate.
Local licensing requirements will vary, but you may need to pass a background check, show proof of insurance, and provide project details.
Protecting Your Painting Business
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