The Real Cost of Hiring an Unlicensed Painting Contractor

Trying to find the right painting contractor to work in your house can be overwhelming. Before going online to search for the hundreds of companies listed or calling the number on the flyer you got in the mail – the first “contractors” you call are those that have been recommended by friends and family. When doing so, you may come across one that is unlicensed. Their bid might be much lower than those licensed contractors doing the same work. Although it might sound tempting to save money, hiring an unlicensed contractor may cost you more in the long run.

The law requires that to do job totaling $500 or more (labor and material combined) you must be “duly licensed’ as a contractor by the California State License Board and have a license bond. An unlicensed contractor will charge less because they don’t pay any licensing fees, have no bond to protect their work, most likely no insurance (workers comp or general liability) and probably pay no taxes. Here is why hiring a licensing is the best thing to do:

  1. Basic Protection & Knowledge: A licensed contractor will be fully insured and bonded. They will have at least the basic knowledge of their specific trade and know the laws and regulation to operate by. All contractors are listed in the CSLB website ( and can be easily reached or located online, it is important to know who you are giving permission to enter your house for your own safety.
  2. Injury Protection: Licensed contractors carry General Liability, are fully bonded and should carry workers compensation for all their employees. If a homeowner hires an unlicensed contractor, then he/she becomes the employer (Labor law 2750.5) and therefore is responsible for any injuries or accidents that occur on their property. A bond protects homeowners if the company performs poor or sloppy work, doesn’t finish the project, or fails to pay suppliers.
  3. Protecting Property Values: Many buildings, home and renovation projects require permits to do the work. An unlicensed contractor may not obtain these permits leaving the homeowner liable for any damages. Unpermitted work could impact the value of the property, if the work must be re-done there is no bond and the burden falls again on the homeowner.
  4. Third Party Damages: If the neighbor’s house or other parties are damaged by the unlicensed contractor – liability falls under the person who hired the contractor.

There is too much of a risk to take when hiring an unlicensed contractor. There is no protection to yourself or your assets, no written warranty, and you are hiring someone who is breaking the law.

At Sunwest Painting we take pride in saying that we follow all the “Do’s and don’ts” from the California State License Board. We are fully licensed, bonded and insured. We offer our employees workers compensation and are highly recommended online by reviews on Google, Yelp, Angies List and Facebook. Next time you think of who to hire for your painting project, think Sunwest Painting. We go by the book, offer competitive prices and will go above and beyond to protect you and your property.





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