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Costly Insurance

Those who are moonlighting as painters or handymen, are usually not properly insured due to the sheer cost of these policies and the regulations we have to pay for and follow to maintain legality in the eyes of the law. You can save a lot of money by avoiding any of the following:

  • No liability insurance
  • No workers comp ($$$)
  • 1099’ing their employees/paying them cash
  • Dedicated vehicle
  • Improperly insured – For instance your painter (insured for painting) installs a light fixture for you and something goes wrong!

Many charge substantially less due to lack of insight and/or experience as to what it actually costs to run a legal and successful business in New York – the highest taxed state in the country, and rated in the top 5 as the worst for small businesses. 

Working with an established reputable contractor supports local businesses and ensures a safer work environment for everyone involved.

The Hidden Risks

Not all products are the same. Not all Contractors are the same. If a company does shoddy work or plays games with clients, their employees or their taxes they usually don’t stay in business for long.

Part of being a professional is carrying the necessary insurances and licenses to work and adhere to industry standards for their fields. Reputable companies who are properly insured come with the added benefit that if an employee gets hurt working on your home, the homeowner is not liable!

This is how it actually works when an employee gets hurt and is not covered by workers comp:

 If the contractor you hired doesn’t carry workers comp on his employees as required by New York State and they get seriously hurt, the employee will sue you– the client, when they get the bill from the hospital. It will go against your homeowners insurance. When he finds out he can’t work for 3+ months due to his injury, he will have no choice but to bring litigation against you and his former boss.

It goes down hill from here. As the State will go after your Contractor – Yikes!
(Work related injuries are reported)

Accidents Happen

Injection injuries can be thousands in medical bills. These types of injuries are most often associated with paint sprayers and often lead to nasty infections requiring hospitalization.
Imagine taking an extremely toxic substance- paint, and injecting 1/4 cup into your body at 300+ mph – Ouch!

That can occur simply because the person tripped and the trigger was pulled for 1 second. Depending on the location of the injury that can end his painting career. Can also be fatal.

One of the biggest areas for workers to be injured is transitioning from a ladder to a roof, or from a roof to a ladder. If your ever on a ladder and it begins to fall over, do not jump off the ladder!

Or missing a step on a ladder. A 6 foot fall is enough to be fatal or paralyze you for life. On average, there are 14,000 injuries which forces the employee out of work every year. (The top 3 categories combined)

Painters cover the top 3 categories in the chart below:


According to the University of South Florida:

In 2023, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reported that 500,000 people were treated for ladder-related injuries, with 300 of these incidents proving fatal. These numbers are not just statistics; they represent the lives and livelihoods of people affected by preventable accidents. Shockingly, ladder safety violations ranked 3rd among the Top 10 most cited violations by OSHA in FY 2022.

Protect yourself by asking for documentation and references, ensuring a transparent and collaborative partnership with your chosen contractor.

Its not cheap!

Workers Comp is about $6,000 per year per employee and you don’t get a break till you have 5 employees. So $500 a month to protect one highly skilled tradesman on the job. That is just workers comp, that doesn’t include disability, taxes, payroll services, accounting costs, training, uniforms ectara.

At Carrigan Painting we carry all the required insurances to protect our clients and our employees. Hiring an under-insured or improperly insured contractor could cost you a lot. Not just monetary expense but time, aggravation, stress of dealing with a possible unfortunate situation.

The Cost of Free Quotes: Time

If you get 3 bids for a job, and 2 are substantially less than the third, ask why. Often that 3rd bid will be from a well established reputable painting contractor. Why is his bid higher? His experience could be telling him that your job requires XYZ to be done properly and safely. Maybe the other 2 missed a key aspect of the job? Its okay to ask questions.

This also holds true for the opposite. Two high bids and one low bid. Why is he so much lower?

We see this a lot in repair work and exterior painting. The new guys don’t know what they are looking at and bid the job too low causing them to approach the homeowner for more money later or eat the loss. Depending on the job, that loss can be substantial.

Professional Painters are not handymen. While many of us branch off into associated trades, we generally stay pretty close to the painting trade. I mention this as many of us are only insured for painting and our associated skillsets. This is important to remember when asking us to change out a light fixture.

Ideas for Vetting a Contractor in 2024

The fastest and easiest way is to just search google or your search engine of choice, for the business name and see what comes up.

Online reviews are a good resource to use to help judge a particular business however the rise of artificial reviews is becoming a thing. Once you read a couple you being to recognize the similarities.

Do they have photos of their work? Are they actual photos or generic?
side note- none of our photos are generic.

Look through their website if they have one, some companies are only on social media. 30% of small businesses do not even have a website! Read reviews on social media as that is where many of us direct our clients to leave reviews.

Talk to the local paint stores – not big box stores about who to hire. They are typically in the know of who is reputable and who isn’t.

Ask for references.

A little bit of legwork can go a long way to avoid headaches and unexpected expenses later.

Contact Carrigan Painting

The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
Benjamin Franklin

By Dave Carrigan