How to protect yourself and your property
To better understand some of the risks associated with hiring a painting contractor, please review the following:
What does licensed, bonded and insured mean?
To operate legally in the state of California, every painting company needs to have a contractor’s license from the California State License Board better known as the CSLB. This license is specific to painting contractors and is different than a general business license issued by the CSLB.
When a Painting company is bonded, it means they have a surety bond. This bond is a promise to pay one party (you, the customer) a certain amount if a second party (the painting company) fails to meet some obligation, such as fulfilling the terms of a contract. If the painter does not have a license he can’t obtain a bond. The CSLB did this to protect you the consumer.
What happens if the unlicensed painter walks away from the job with your deposit? You may have no recourse to get your money back. If the company is licensed and bonded then you would simply contact the CSLB and they will investigate the painting contractor and eventually pull his bond. This means the insurance company that sold the bond to the painting contractor would send you a check for what is due; the paint company’s license will be suspended until they repay the insurance company and finish the investigation with the CSLB potentially paying significant fines. In the mean time you have your money, peace of mind and can pursue a more reputable painting company.
An insured painting company is a company that has Liability Insurance. Liability Insurance is purchased by the painting company from a privet insurance company. The purpose is to protect the painting company and the customer from major accidents that could occur on a job site such as property damage or personal injury.
How do you know if a company is licensed, bonded and insured?
In California, the CSLB establishes the bond requirements for contractors. However contractors are not required to have General Liability insurance. So it is important to request this information and call the insurance company to make sure the policy is current.
What if someone gets hurt on my property?
If you hire a licensed contractor, you still need to do your homework to protect yourself and your lively hood. One injured uninsured worker could cost you thousands of dollars maybe even your home, if you couldn't pay or settle the claim. You can check on a contractor’s status by clicking on this link: www.cslb.ca.gov . A legitimate painting company should present to you a workers compensation policy it is your responsibility to contact the insurance company to make sure the policy is current.
How do I make sure that no one puts a lien on my home?
First of all let’s discuss what a lien is. As it pertains to a painting project, a lien could be placed on your home by a painting contractor or by the painting contractor’s material supplier let’s say Sherwin-Williams. A painting company might place a lien on your home if it is trying to collect money from you for services rendered. The painter’s material supplier might place a lien on your home if it isn’t paid by the painting company for the materials delivered to your property.
You might ask why you could be responsible for paying you’re contractor’s material bills. The reason is, in the State of California, the homeowner is considered to be ultimately responsible for the work that is performed on his/her property.
After your house is completed, you can request that your painting company provide you with a lien release from its material supplier before you pay the final bill. In this case, a “conditional release” would be given you from your painting company on behalf of the material supplier. The conditional release basically says that once you pay your painting contractor, the material supplier will automatically release any lien rights to your property.
After you have paid your painting contractor in full, you can request a “full release” from your painting contractor, on behalf of its material supplier. If that seems like a lot of trouble to you, all this is avoided by simply hiring a reputable painting company that pays its bills. I would suggest checking with your painting company’s materials supplier to make sure your painting company pays its bills on time before worrying about lien releases.
*The information provided above is not legal advice and Paint Masters Co. does not guarantee its accuracy.