How to Hire a Good Painter in Philadelphia
About 92% of the City of Philadelphia's housing units were built before the 1978 federal ban on lead-based paint across the country. When compared to other cities in the country, it is no surprise that several neighborhoods in Philadelphia have had a history of lead paint contamination. Considering the hazards painting works may pose to your health if not done properly or without due consideration, it is essential you hire only a professional and well-equipped painter to carry out your proposed painting-related projects.
When looking for a qualified painter in Philadelphia, you should ask the following questions to verify the competence of the professional:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Painter in the City of Philadelphia?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Painters in the City of Philadelphia?
- What Kind of Painting Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Painters in the City of Philadelphia?
Any painter planning to carry out services like addition, alteration, repairs, or removal of paint on buildings will need to apply for a contractor license. The City of Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections (DLI), via its Permits and Licenses Center, is responsible for reviewing license applications and issuing contractor licenses to intended painters. Failure to obtain a license before offering services in the city is a class II offense, and offenders are liable to up to $1,000 in fines or 90 days of imprisonment.
To be eligible for a contractor license, an applicant must meet all applicable contractor requirements like completion of a safety training by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and providing proof of insurance. If the applicant meets all requirements, they can complete an application online through the DLI eCLIPSE portal. Applicants who need help with utilizing this portal can schedule a virtual appointment with the DLI for assistance. Alternatively, they can schedule an in-person appointment with the Permit and License Center and complete their license application at:
- Permit and License Center
- 1401 John F. Kennedy Boulevard
- MSB, Public Service Concourse
- Philadelphia, PA 19102
- Office hours: 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday
Applicants should note that they must pay the required license application fees before their license applications can be processed. Interested individuals can direct queries regarding the licensing and certification process for painters to the DLI by dialing 311 if within Philadelphia and dialing (215) 686-8686 if outside the city.
You can verify if your intended painter has obtained the required license by utilizing the city's DLI's find a licensed contractor platform. You can also find out if there are any subsisting or closed disciplinary actions against the painter via the DLI suspended contractor's directory.
In addition to obtaining licenses, painters in Philadelphia are required to undergo a mandatory EPA certification per the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule. Also, all home improvement contractors, including painters, must register with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General as required by the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act (HICPA). Contractors can register online or complete and submit an application form to the mail address indicated on the form. For further inquiries regarding the registration process, interested individuals can contact the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General at (888) 520-6680.
Painters in Philadelphia charge an average rate of $25.31 per hour. These charges are influenced by several factors, including the scope and nature of the painting projects, and the cost of painting materials. As such, it is advisable to get bids and estimates from different painters near you to enable you to compare prices before settling for the painter most suitable for your budget.
A painter in the City of Philadelphia earns an annual average wage of $52,650. The table below provides the mean hourly wage of painters in Philadelphia and compares this with the wages of painters in other parts of Pennsylvania and several other major cities in the United States:Philadelphia Painters Mean Hourly Wage$25.31Pennsylvania Painters Mean Hourly Wage$23.22New York City Painters Mean Hourly Wage$28.06Chicago Painters Mean Hourly Wage$29.15Dallas Painters Mean Hourly Wage$18.75Seattle Painters Mean Hourly Wage$24.24Detroit Painters Mean Hourly Wage$22.48
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Kind of Painting Services Do You Offer?
When you are planning a painting project, it is crucial that you hire a qualified painter for the job to ensure your job will be up to standard. Painters in Philadelphia offer several services like interior and exterior painting, faux painting, paint removal, texture painting, paint color consultancy, power washing, and wallpaper removal. In addition, some of these painters specialize in different areas, which can be the removal of paint from residential or commercial buildings or painting of newly built structures. As such, you must ensure you verify the area of specialty of your intended painter before signing off on that work contract. You can do this by requesting for their work portfolio and references from past clients. In addition to confirming that your painter is qualified, you need to inquire how much the painter's services cost.
The cost estimates of some common painting services in Philadelphia are listed below:Interior house painting or staining$1.25 - $2.50 per square footExterior house painting or staining$1.83 - $2.70 per square footFaux painting$2.71 - $4.56 per square foot (basic textures)Faux painting$10 - $13 per square foot (for marbelizing)Faux painting$10 - $12 per square foot ( for metallic)Faux painting$13 - $14 per square foot (for paper and stencils)Faux painting$10 - $14 per square foot (for plaster)Faux painting$12 - $16 per square foot (for wood grain and stria)
In 2020, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded over 1,500 work-related injuries amongst painters across the country. When you hire an insured painter, it protects you from paying out-of-pocket for bodily injury or property damage caused by this painter while working on your project. In the City of Philadelphia, painters are mandated to carry a certificate of insurance. This certificate of insurance must reflect the following insurance coverage in the following amount:
- General Liability: $500,000 per occurrence
- Auto liability insurance: $300,000
You have to make sure you hire only painters with active insurance certificates for your projects. As such, before you finalize the work contract, ensure you request for a copy of the painter's valid certificate of insurance and make sure you authenticate the validity of the certificate with the issuing insurance provider.
When you hire a painter to remove paints, carry out a new painting job, or perform any painting-related services, you should always ask for their proof of license, certifications, and insurance first. This is because when you hire individuals without proper qualifications, you may be falling victim to deceptive individuals posing as qualified painters. For example, in January 2020, a Philadelphia contractor was ordered to make restitution or face a jail term, having been found guilty of defrauding the city's residents of at least $70,000 and failing to register with the Attorney General as a home improvement contractor. Scammers like this utilize different methods, like insisting on cash upfront payments, selling leftover materials from a previous project at a cheap rate, and refusing to present their license and insurance certificate.
To avoid falling victim to home improvement scams generally, you can consider the following the following precautions:
- Always authenticate the licenses and certifications of any painter you want to hire using the find a licensed contractor tool provided by the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections. You can also cross-check the painter's reputation by confirming if they are the subject of any disciplinary actions. You can do this by exploring the DLI suspended contractor's directory.
- Get bids and estimates for your project from different painters.
- Execute a written contract with the painter.
- Request references from any painter you intend to hire.
- Avoid paying upfront payments. If you have to pay upfront, you can pay a quarter of the overall cost.
You can file a report against a fraudulent painter with the Department of Licenses and Inspections by calling 311 or (215) 686-8686 if calling within or outside Philadelphia, respectively. You can also file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Bureau of the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General by completing an online complaint form. Lastly, you can file a civil action at the Philadelphia District Court. To find a lawyer near you to represent you in court or give legal advice, you can utilize the lawyer referral services provided by the Philadelphia Bar Association.