Painting Contractor (Residential)

License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing

License to Work: A National Study of Burdens from Occupational Licensing


License required in 10 states
56th most burdensome licensing requirements
67th most heavily regulated occupation

(Last updated April 24, 2012)


Painting contractors contract with clients to paint walls, equipment, buildings, bridges and other structural surfaces, using brushes, rollers and spray guns. They may remove old paint to prepare a surface prior to painting and may also mix colors or oils to obtain desired color or consistency.

Typically, only contractors require licenses, not painters who work for them. Licensing requirements differ based on the scope of the work. Those with a residential license may work only on residential properties, while those with a commercial license may work on commercial properties. In some states, work on commercial properties requires a general contractor's license that is not specific to painting; the requirements are generally the same as a commercial license, and they are treated the same here.


Ten states license residential painting contractors, and again most of these demand only fees or other minimal requirements. Three states impose substantial experience requirements, however: two years in Arizona and Maryland and one year in South Carolina. Five states require exams.

(Last updated May 2, 2012)

State Licensing Requirements

Burden RankStateFeesEducation/Experience (Days)ExamsMinimum GradeMinimum Age

Sign up to receive IJ's biweekly digital magazine, Liberty & Law along with breaking updates about our fight to protect the rights of all Americans.