Get Quotes from Top Painters in San Francisco, CA

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Painter in San Francisco

Due to the many chemical and physical hazards attached to painting commercial and residential buildings, you should consider hiring a qualified painter in San Francisco to complete your painting. Note that expertly completed painting can increase your house's market value by $6,000. When in search of a painter in San Francisco, it will be wise to ask the following questions to determine the proficiency of the contractor to complete the job well:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Painter in San Francisco?

Before undertaking any painting job in San Francisco costing $500 or more, a painter must have obtained a C-33 - Painting and Decorating Contractor License from the California Contractors' State Licensing Board (CSLB). Undertaking such jobs without the appropriate license is a misdemeanor punishable by six months in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both. In addition to these penalties, such individuals may also be subject to administrative fines ranging from $200 to $15,000.

Individuals looking to obtain a painting license must complete and submit an Application for Original Contractor License Form and provide verifiable evidence indicating they have at least 4 years' worth of experience as a Journeyman painter. Applicants should be aware that to be eligible for a painting license, they must be at least 18 years old and have worked for at least 10 years before submitting their application.

Applicants are also mandated to pay licensing fees, furnish any documents the Board may require, and pass a licensing examination before they can be eligible to obtain the painting license. However, flowing from the State of California's reciprocity program, persons who possess a valid painting license from the State of Nevada may be exempted from satisfying certain requirements. Note that such exemption is subject to the discretion of the CSLB. For further inquiries and assistance in regard to license requirements, interested persons can contact the CSLB at (800) 321-2752.

In accordance with the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, all painters undertaking renovation projects on homes, child care facilities, and pre-schools built before 1978 are mandated to undertake EPA certification. To confirm if the contractor you wish to hire has the appropriate license, ensure to utilize the Check A License search portal.


How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Painters in San Francisco?

The hourly wages of painters in San Francisco depend on several factors, such as the surface area of what is to be painted, the type of paint to be used, and the required labor force. Advisably, before hiring the painter of your choice, it is essential you obtain estimates from other painters near you. This will help you determine the appropriate budget for your project.

A painter in San Francisco earns an annual mean wage of $69,360. The table below provides the hourly average wage of painters in San Francisco and compares this with the wages of painters in other parts of California and several other major cities in the United States:

San Francisco Painters Mean Hourly Wage
California Painters Mean Hourly Wage
New York City Painters Mean Hourly Wage
Chicago Painters Mean Hourly Wage
Dallas Painters Mean Hourly Wage
Seattle Painters Mean Hourly Wage
Detroit Painters Mean Hourly Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Painting Services Do You Offer?

When starting a painting project, it is essential to make sure you hire the appropriate person for the task. Interior painting, exterior painting, wallpaper removal, metal door painting, staining, and power washing are just a few of the expert services offered by San Francisco painters. Similarly, some painters may choose to specialize in offering specific painting services.

Painting specialties typically include residential painting, commercial painting, painting freshly constructed structures, and house repainting. Therefore, hiring a painter who specializes in and is equipped to carry out the job you need done is important. For instance, if you wish to do a painting job on a home built before 1978, you need a painter licensed under the CSLB and a painter certified by the Environmental Protection Agency to carry out lead-safe paintwork.

You should note it is important to do your research so you can have a good understanding of how much certain painting services cost. This way, you avoid being overcharged for usually inexpensive services and save more money. Below is a list of painting services offered by painters in San Francisco and their cost estimates.

Interior painting cost
$1,198.00 - $5,328.00
Exterior painting cost
$4,462.00 - $8,103.00
Paint stripping cost
$5,805.00 - $10,717.00
Siding painting cost
$1,465.00 -$6,660.00

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Painters in San Francisco?

Although home improvement contractors, such as painters, are not required to have commercial general liability insurance, it is strongly suggested that they do so. It is also critical that you pick a painter who is covered by insurance. When you consider that the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded over 1,600 work-related injuries among painters in 2020 alone, it becomes impossible to overlook the importance of finding a painter with insurance coverage. Hiring a painter with insurance coverage gives you the necessary financial protection in case any accident occurs during your project.

Although painters are not required to hold commercial general liability insurance, they are mandated to hold workers' compensation insurance and meet specific state-level bonding requirements. As such, it is a good idea to check with your painter's insurance company to confirm that the policy is still valid. Also, you can contact the CSLB at (800) 321-2752 if you require more information regarding insurance requirements for painters in San Francisco.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Painter in San Francisco

The most prevalent consumer complaints in the United States are home improvement-related complaints, so be alert for shady contractors while looking for a painter in your area. Note that the Contractor State Licensing Board helped homeowners recover more than $49 million from fraudulent contractors during the fiscal year of 2018-2019. In June 2021, during a series of statewide sting operations and sweeps orchestrated by the CSLB, 74 individuals were cited for contracting without a license.

In addition to contracting without a license, some other methods used by these dubious contractors include:

  • Unsolicited Offers: Some contractors will appear at your homes uninvited and will offer to do the painting work on your home at a low rate
  • Unclear or Complicated Agreements: Other contractors keep contract details as vague as possible and sometimes insert terms into the contract that will attract hidden charges. Some contractors will attempt to make the contract as bare as possible in an attempt to avoid giving out necessary details. This way, they can include the cost of fictitious expenses without you knowing.
  • Substandard Service: Dubious contractors will sometimes buy cheap and substandard products and charge you as though they have obtained expensive and first-rate products

Fortunately, you can take the following steps to avoid falling victim to these home improvement contractor scams:

  • Ensure to always get bids from at least three painters before embarking on a painting project
  • To find good painters in your area, contact trustworthy friends and relatives or use the services of respected web directories. The Better Business Bureau website, the Painting Contractors Association's Find a Painter portal, and the CSLB's Find my Licensed Contractor portal are examples of directories you can utilize.
  • Make sure to verify the license of the painter you wish to hire.
  • Ask the painter you wish to hire for references from clients who have previously solicited their services. Reconsider hiring any painter who cannot provide at least three verifiable local references.
  • Minimize cash payments; if possible, use your card to make all payments.
  • Also, down payments should be limited to 10% of the project's worth, or $1,000

If you have been a victim of a home improvement contractor scam, you should file a construction complaint with the CSLB. Alternatively, you can file a complaint with the San Francisco District Attorney's Office by completing a consumer complaint form or contacting the Office's Consumer Fraud Hotline at (415) 553-9535.

If the aforementioned agencies do not satisfactorily address your complaint or you seek compensation, you can institute a small claims lawsuit at the Small Claims Division of the County of San Francisco Superior Court of California. You should note that monetary claims in small claims cases filed in this court cannot exceed $5,000. Finally, it is recommended you seek the assistance of an attorney before proceeding with your case.