Painting contractor and painter, they’re one in the same, right? Wrong! Although people may use the terms interchangeably, there is a noticeable difference between the two.

When you’re getting the exterior of your house painted or the interior, you want to make sure you are getting the service you need. That not only means knowing the difference between a painting contractor and a painter but also choosing the right one.

As we explore the differences, you’ll see why exterior painting contractors are often the better choice compared to painters.

What is a painter?

Anyone can call themselves a painter if they have some paint and a brush. But, painters don’t have to have licenses to be considered professional painters.

What is a painting contractor?

To be considered a painting contractor, a person needs to have a painter’s license. The other major difference between a painter and a painting contractor is that a painting contractor carries both liability and workers’ compensation policies. This removes any risks and responsibilities from the client.

Painting contractors also provide their own materials and equipment. That means that they take the fault if there are any faulty materials. Painting contractors can be self-employed or can work for a painting business. One simple way to remember the difference between painters and painting contractors is that not all painters are professionals, but all painting contractors are.

Should I Hire a Painter or Painting Contractor?

Generally speaking, if you want a more professional job done, hiring a painting contractor is often the better decision. This way, you know that you are working with someone:

  • Who is licensed
  • Has the right tools 
  • Carries insurance policies 

All of these work to your advantage. Plus, you can feel confident that you are working with someone who has the experience to leave your home looking fresh.

Benefits of Hiring a Painting Contractor 


Painting contractors have the experience needed to get the job done and often have a solid relationship with suppliers to get you the best prices. When you work with a painting contractor, they will likely offer you a full consultation so that you can choose the right paint colors that take the style of your building into account.


Any reputable painting contractor will stand by their work. This means hiring someone who is licensed and will provide a professional job.

Modern Equipment

When you hire a painting contractor, they should be using modern equipment to get the job done efficiently. Painting contractors should have access to the latest equipment. This will ensure your job gets done on time and correctly.

Saves You Time and Money

Who has time to take on a DIY painting job these days? Hiring a painting contractor will free you up to do the things you enjoy. Plus, when you are getting a professional job, you’re actually saving money because the products they’re using and their techniques should be better than yours.

Questions to Ask a Painting Contractor Before Hiring

Before you make any decisions, you want to ask your painting contractor a few important questions. These include:

  • Do you have a license and insurance?
  • What guarantees do you offer?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have a portfolio or references I can contact?

After asking these questions, be sure you are satisfied and confident with the answers. If you’re not, keep looking around. Also, if the painting contractor you’re considering is hesitant or refuses to show you previous work, this is a red flag that he may not be as professional as he claims. Any painting professional who has done exceptional work will be more than happy to show you their portfolio or provide references who can vouch for the work.

Home Painting in Raleigh

Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Painting Contractor

We all make mistakes, but when it comes to painting the exterior or interior of your home, you want to avoid mistakes at all costs. When you’re hiring a painting contractor, avoid these pitfalls:

Overlooking insurance

You always want to make sure the painting contractor you’re hiring is insured. This is for your benefit and theirs.

Not communicating

Don’t assume that your painting contractor simply knows what you want to be done. Communicate with them and express your vision. This will help everyone to be on the same page and stay there until your project is complete.

Not Getting a Contract

Verbal agreements are not enough when you’re having work done at your home. You want to get a written contract that clearly explains what work will be done and the cost. When there is no written contract, the painting contractor can always go back on his word. At the worst, they may even walk off the job without completing it. Having everything in writing protects you as the customer.

Not Doing Your Research

Choosing a painting contractor blindly will end up costing you in the end. Read reviews, ask around, and check references. After compiling all of your information, you can make an educated decision about who you are going to hire.

Not Requiring a Clean-Up

All reputable painting contractors should clean up their mess once the project is complete. You shouldn’t take on that role. Make sure that the clean-up is included in the contract price.

Are you looking to hire a painting contractor?

If you’re looking to hire a painting contractor, look no further than Osborne Painting. We have been providing high-quality interior and exterior paint jobs to clients in Raleigh, Cary, and Durham for more than two decades. 

Our level of professionalism and experience is evident in every job we do. For more information on our services, call us at 919-878-6611 or reach out to us online to request a free estimate.