How to Hire a Good Painter in Chicago
Nearly 90% of homeowners who performed painting-related home improvement projects feel a sense of achievement, with about over 85% having a greater desire to stay home. Also note that a good paint job can also increase your home's curb appeal significantly, leading to a 7% increase in salability. Nevertheless, to get the best painting results, it is crucial to engage the services of a qualified painter with the requisite skillset and experience.
You can typically rely on friends, family, neighbors, or online directories like Better Business Bureau when looking to hire a qualified painter in Chicago. Nonetheless, it is always a good idea to verify your intended painter is qualified by asking the following questions:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Painter in the City of Chicago?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Painters in the City of Chicago?
- What Kind of Painting Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Painters in the City of Chicago?
Individuals aspiring to offer home improvement, renovation, and painting activities on pre-1978 homes and child-occupied facilities in the City of Chicago are generally required to receive training and certifications from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). At the local level, they are also required to obtain a general contractor license from the Chicago Department of Building. Painters who fail to obtain this license will be violating the Chicago Municipal Code and be liable to pay fines up to $5,000.
Individuals applying for a general contractor license must be at least 18 years of age to be eligible for any of the five classes of a contractor license. It is important to note that the classes of licenses represent the dollar limit per contract a painter can handle. For instance, a Class A contractor licensee has no limitation on the value of work they can handle. However, a Class B contractor licensee can only engage in a project valued at not more than $10,000,000. To apply for the relevant license, interested individuals will need to complete and submit a license application form, accompanied by the relevant application fees, to the Chicago Department of Building via mail to:
- City of Chicago
- Trade License
- P.O. Box 388249
- Chicago, Illinois 60638-8249
When hiring painters in the city, you must ensure they possess the required licenses and certifications. As such, you must request a copy of the painter's EPA certifications if your project involves a pre-1978 building, and you must take steps to verify such certificates are valid by contacting the Chicago EPA regional office at (312) 353-3808. You can also confirm the licensing status of your intended painter as a general contractor by utilizing the List of Licensed General Contractors directory maintained by the Chicago Department of Building. For more information regarding the licensing process for painters who want to become contractors in Chicago, interested individuals can contact the Chicago Department of Building by dialing 311 if within Chicago or (312) 744-5000 if outside the city.
Several factors influence how much painters charge per hour in Chicago for their services. These include but are not limited to the scope and nature of the projects, the labor required to undertake the project, the cost of materials and paints, and the painter's experience. To make sure you get a fair estimate, it is advisable to get bids from at least three different painters near you for comparison. This enables you to determine the average cost charged by painters near you and also helps you choose the painter most suitable for your budget.
A Painter in the City of Chicago earns $60,620 annually.The table below provides the average hourly wage of painters in Chicago and compares this with the wages of painters in other parts of Illinois and several other major cities in the United States:Chicago Painters Average Hourly Wage$29.15Illinois Painters Average Hourly Wage$28.73Los Angeles Painters Average Hourly Wage$26.36New York City Painters Average Hourly Wage$28.06Dallas Painters Average Hourly Wage$18.75Washington D.C. Painters Average Hourly Wage$22.66Detroit Painters Average Hourly Wage$22.48
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Kind of Painting Services Do You Offer?
Painters in Chicago offer a wide range of services, including interior and exterior wall painting, wallpaper hanging and removal, surface preparation and power washing, and staining. As such, when you plan to hire a painter in the City of Chicago, you must ensure your intended painter has the expertise and qualifications to handle such projects. For example, if you want to remove lead-based paint on your building, you need to hire a painter who has received certification from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So before hiring your intended painter for your proposed project, make sure you confirm they possess the proper certifications, licenses, experience and are well equipped to make your projects a success. You can do this by requesting for copies of their relevant certificates, previous work portfolios, and work references from past clients.
Also, listed below are cost estimates of some common Chicago painting services:Interior house painting or staining$1.60 - $3.33 per square footExterior house painting or staining$1.67 - $3.12 per square footPaint removal$1.50 - $2.00 per square footFaux painting$2.59 - $4.98 per square foot (basic textures)Faux painting$8.00 - $11.00 per square foot (for marbelizing)Faux painting$8.00 - $12.00 per square foot ( for metallic)Faux painting$4.00 - $8.00 per square foot (for paper and stencils)Faux painting$12.00 - $18.00) per square foot (for plaster)Faux painting$7.00 - $11.00 per square foot (for wood grain and stria)Texture painting$3.00 - $6.00 per hourPaint color consultants$42 - $44
The importance of hiring a painter who possesses an active general liability insurance policy cannot be overstated. Even though painters in the City of Chicago are not statutorily required to carry general liability insurance, it is advisable to only hire a painter who has been insured against work-related perils. This is because painters face many on-the-job hazards, like exposure to chemical compounds, which can cause skin irritation and breathing problems. They are also exposed to hazards like slips, trips, and falls. As such, it is important that you hire painters with active general liability insurance to protect you from incurring financial liabilities when there is bodily injury or property damage during your project. Before hiring your intended painter, you can request for a copy of their insurance certificate and make sure you verify this certificate by contacting the relevant insurance provider.
However, note that painters in Chicago with at least one employee are required by state law to carry workers' compensation insurance policies for their employees. You can direct your queries regarding the City of Chicago worker's compensation insurance requirement for painters to the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission by contacting (312) 814-6500.
When planning a home improvement project involving painting, you need to be cautious of scammers posing as qualified painters to defraud you. In January 2019, law enforcement officials in Chicago arrested a 39-year-old contractor and charged this contractor with 12 felonies, including home repair fraud and theft. Particularly, this contractor scammed a resident out of $59,400 in a home repair scam that was carried out between March 2017 and August 2018. In being cautious, you can take the following steps:
- Only hire painters who possess the proper certification and have been duly licensed. You can check the licensing status of your intended painter by utilizing the List of Licensed General Contractors directory provided by the Chicago Department of Building
- Request for previous work references from the painter. Make sure you contact these references to inquire about their work review
- Avoid door-to-door solicitation. Instead, you can rely on referrals from friends, family, home improvement contractors, and online platforms like the Better Business Bureau. You can also utilize the Find a Painter website maintained by the Painting Contractors Association to find a painter near you.
- Get multiple estimates to give you an idea of how much the painter charges averagely in Chicago.
- Execute a contract that will include the description of work, estimated the completion time for the project, agreed pay, amongst other considerations. However, before signing any contract or other documents involving you and the painter, ensure you understand all the terms.
- Avoid paying the total amount for your project upfront.
- Keep a record of documents relevant to your project, such as receipts, contracts, and warranties.
If you fall victim to a home improvement or painter scam, you can file a complaint against such a painter with the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection via the city's 311 system. Also, you can consult an attorney and fancy the option of commencing legal action against the deceptive home improvement contractor or painter at the Circuit Court of Cook County. You can utilize the Chicago Bar Association's lawyer referral services to find active lawyers near you.