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Published on March 30th, 2015 | by Grant Barnard


Do Painting Contractors Need To Be Licensed In My State?

Painting ContractorNot all painting contractors are required to be licensed or even registered in your state. This isn’t because your state either cares or does not care about the quality of your painting contractor. The decision to have painting contractors be licensed or not comes down mostly to regulations formed by politics. However, knowing that your painting contractor is following the regulations of your state is a good sign that they are a “rule follower”. Also, your painting contractor may not be licensed because they are not eligible due to a felony or other disqualifying circumstance.

What Are The Licensing Requirements For Painting Contractors In My State!!!

If your state has no licensing requirements for painting contractors don’t worry. Our company Grants Painting is in Indianapolis IN, Painting Contractors have absolutely no licensing requirements in Indiana. So if a painting contractor in Indianapolis says they are licensed with the state they are surly lying.

If The Painting Contractor Claims To Be Licensed In A State That Has No License

I have seen or heard of painting contractors do this many times before. Customers will call to compare our companies quote to another. They will explain that the other painter is licensed and want to know if Grants Painting is too. While we wont name any names… You should know that you are being lied to. That is why we are writing this article.

Even Some Cities And Counties Require Licensing

Some counties and cities require licensing for different contractors. We simply cannot cover every single county and city in the United States so you will have to check that out yourself. Usually you will not find painting contractors being targeted by local regulations but sometimes home renovation is and sometimes painters may be included in the bigger categories such as home remodeling or residential contractors. Sometimes painting contractors are required to hold a general contractor license.

List Of States Requiring Painting Contractors To Have Some Sort Of Licence

  • Alaska – Alaska requires all contractors to be registered. Application/Information
  • Arizona – Painting contractors doing small house painting jobs under 5k may be free from license restrictions. Pretty much everybody else does. Application/Information
  • Arkansas – Painting Contractors doing jobs over 2k will need a license. Applications/Information
  • California – Oh yes, everybody needs a license and probably a union too. I think the unions even require the pope to use union gas in the pope mobile. Application/Information
  • Colorado – While the state of Colorado does not require a license, they may require a notice of emissions to be filed. Local governments should be checked. Application.
  • Connecticut – Connecticut calls it certified or registered. Online Application/Information
  • Delaware – A license for a painting contractor is only for tax purposes. From their site… ” Licensing of contractors, other than Electrical & Asbestos Abatement, is for revenue purposes only.” Application/Information
  • District of Columbia – If the job is over a mere $300 the painting contractor needs a licence. Application/Information
  • Florida – Painting contractors in Florida don’t need a license at all. Information
  • Georgia – Georgia’s laws have changed recently. It seems to be that painters are exempt at least at some levels.  Even painting contractors working for a GC that has a license will NOT need any further licensing to work on the GC’s jobs.
  • Hawaii – Painting Contractors and Wall Covering both require licenses in Hawaii. Information/VerifyOnline/Application
  • Idaho – Licensing for residential painting contractors is done at the local level only. Information/VerifyOnline
  • Illinois – Illinois has absolutely no licenses for contractors. Dont carry a gun though because the bad electric work in your home might start a fire and make your bullets go off.
  • Indiana – This is our state! Indiana does not have a painting contractors license. However many other contractors are required to be licensed.
  • Iowa – Iowa does licenses at the local level for painting contractors. However, you MUST be registered with the state in the broader term of contractor. Information
  • Kansas – Kansas handles contractors licenses at the local level.
  • Kentucky – Kentucky does not require licenses at the state level for painters. Information
  • Louisiana – Louisiana has a State Licensing Board For Contractors. They require a license and a bunch more. Information/Application/Verify
  • Maine – Maine has no license requirements for painting contractors. They do have some of the best information that we have found about unlicensed contractors. Information
  • Maryland – Maryland requires licensed home improvement contractors. They also require contracts to be used. Information/Application
  • Massachusetts – Massachusetts is slightly convoluted. There seems to be no license for a painter or painting contractor. However there is a home improvement license.  Resource#1 Resource#2
  • Michigan -Michigan require licensing for both the residential painting contractors and the commercial painting contractors. Resource#1 Resource#2
  • Minnesota – Painting contractors contracting directly with homeowners need a licence. Commercial painting contractors only need to be registered. Painters that only subcontract never need to be licensed because they ride on the GC’s license. Painting contractors can choose to be exempt however their gross annual receipts must be less than $15000. Information
  • Mississippi – Mississippi requires a license. Rumor is that there are small jobs that can be done but that is unverified by us.
  • Missouri – Missouri does not license painting contractors. However some local governements do. Kansas City Painting Contractor Application
  • Montana – All painting contractors need to be register if they have employees. There is no licence for a painting contractor in Montana.
  • Nebraska – Nebraska only requires registration for most trades including painting. Information
  • Nevada – Nevada’s laws for painting contractor licensing is interesting because they have a reciprocity agreement California, Arizona, and Utah. There is no reciprocity for the plumbing and electrical trades. Information
  • New Hampshire – New Hampshire does not require licensing for contractors.
  • New Jersey – New Jersey has a home improvement license. Information
  • New Mexico – New Mexico does not specifically require a painter to get a painting contracting licence. However working on several types of jobs requires a contracting license no matter what type of contractor that you are. Information
  • New York – New York does not have a painting contractors license. However many local governments do such as NYC which has a home improvement contractors license.
  • North Carolina – North Carolina requires a general contractors license for any job over 30k. This would apply to a painting contractor should you be working on very large jobs.
  • North Dakota – North Dakota requires a license for all contractors accepting jobs over 2k. Information/Application
  • Ohio – Ohio requires all contractors to have a license. Information/Apply/Veryify
  • Oklahoma – Oklahoma does not require most contractors to licence. However many of the local governments do.
  • Oregon – Oregon has many regulations and don’t plan on doing any painting until you have met all requirements. Information/Apply/Verify
  • Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania requires painting contractors to have a license effective 7/1/2009. Information/application
  • Rhode Island – Rhode Island only requires painting contractors to be registered. Information
  • South Carolina – South Carolina requires licenses for only commercial painting contractors working on jobs over 5k. Information
  • South Dakota – South Dakota does not require painting contractors to be licensed.
  • Tennessee – Tennessee only requires general contractors working on projects over 25k. Their subs need not be licensed except if the total project is over 100k. Painters may be subject to the prime contractors rules if working within the limits. Information
  • Texas – Texas is big on insurance but does not require painting contractors to be licensed.
  • Utah – Utah require painting contractors and pretty much every other contractor needs to be licensed. Information
  • Vermont – Vermont only registers businesses. Licensing should be looked into at the local level. Information
  • Virginia – All contractors need to be licensed. The requirements are very involved and should be fully understood. Information/Apply/Verify
  • Washington – Washington requires a painting contractor to be licensed. Painting companies also need to be registered with the state. Information/Apply
  • West Virginia – West Virginian only requires licenses for commercial painting contractors. Information/Apply/Verify
  • Wisconsin – We found many sites claiming that painting contractors need to be licensed in Wisconsin – However in review we found no evidence of this being true.
  • Wyoming – Wyoming does not have a painting contractor license. Some local governments might though.

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About the Author

Grant Barnard started painting in 2000 and started Grants Painting in 2008. Originally doing business in northern Indiana, the business was moved to Indianapolis and Greenwood shortly after. Today the Grants Painting has blossomed into a reputable painting contracting company with an ever growing extensive website including our How To DIY Articles. Grants Painting covers all aspects of coatings and specialized in epoxy flooring, interior painting, exterior painting and cabinet painting.

  • anebt

    Many Florida counties require licensing of painters: Hillsborough, Pasco, PInellas, and a handful in the south (Miami Dade area). The laws are not really enforced for painting, so about 80% don’t bother.

    • Grant Barnard

      Funny! Here in Indianapolis we have a bunch of contractors claiming to be licensed but we only licences plumbers, electricians and hairstylists. Nothing better than a painter saying he is licence in a state with no license for painters. lol

  • Daniel Kleven

    I’m from Minnesota. According to the site you linked to, I don’t think painters need to be licensed IF that’s all they do:

    “What is a “special skill” area?

    A contractor who provides services in more than one special skill area must be licensed. Specialty contractors who provide only one “special skill” are not required to have a state license (except residential roofers). See the chart below for deails about special skill categories:

    “Special skill” means one of the following eight categories:

    6. Drywall and plaster

    interior plaster

    • Grant Barnard

      Read on please sir. Number 5 lists “exterior finishing” and then list painting under that. Interior painting is covered under drywall where it also lists painting in number 6. So the only real exception is really if you have gross receipts under 15k and a certificate to boot.

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