When you need work done in your home, the process of finding a trustworthy company can be time consuming and stressful. You want to find someone who will do the work correctly, and that you feel comfortable inviting into your home. So how do you decide which company fits the bill? Do you read reviews online? Ask friends for recommendations? Meet with different people until you find the right fit?
While all of those are good tactics, there are some other things you can look for when hiring contractors for home remodeling work. For example, many people hire out the laborious task of painting their home, inside or out. Painters spend many hours in your home, and you want to feel comfortable if you need to leave for a little while—maybe to run a few errands, pick up your kids from school, or just to get some fresh air! So how do you know if it’s safe to do so?
You’ve probably heard the phrase “licensed, bonded, and insured.” That’s the phrase you want to see when hiring any type of contractor, including painting contractors. Why is it so important? What does it mean? Let’s break it down.
Most industries require various licenses before they allow individuals to conduct business. Painting contractors are not required to obtain a license in every state, but may be required to register with the appropriate state department. Sometimes painters are licensed the same way as regular contractors, and sometimes they need a different license. And occasionally, the city or county you live in will have its own regulations for painting contractors. Verify whether or not your painter needs a license with your local and state contractor licensing departments.
“Bonded” means that the painter has purchased a surety bond, a measure that protects the consumer. Surety bonds are an agreement between three parties:
- Principal – the person purchasing the bond
- Obligee – the entity that requires the bond purchase, usually government
- Surety – the company backing the bond and providing the line of credit if the principal does not uphold their obligations
To put it simply, the surety bond can provide you reimbursement if the painting contractor violates any of the conditions of their bond. Purchasing a bond is the principal’s agreement to adhere to all laws—local, state, and federal—that govern their industry. If they don’t, you, the client, can file a claim against the painting contractor’s surety bond. If the claim is proven, the bond can reimburse you for the amount of the claim up to the full bond amount. For example, if you file a $6,000 claim on a $50,000 surety bond, the surety will pay the full amount if the claim is proven.
The purchase of a surety bond is an indication that the painter has your best interests in mind and is willing to take additional steps to ensure you are protected. A bonded, licensed, and insured contractor is one you can trust.
Business insurance is different from surety bonds because it offers protection for the business, while bonds protect the consumer. Painting contractors usually purchase liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and commercial vehicle insurance. A well-insured contractor demonstrates trustworthiness and ensures that you won’t be responsible if an accident occurs.
When you’re looking for a painting contractor, keep in mind that you can ask to see copies of their proof of insurance, license, and surety bond. Make a note of the surety company in case you need to file a claim later. However, the fact that the painter has gone out of his way to purchase a surety bond is proof that you’re in good hands.