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I am desperately trying to start my own cabinet painting business in Pinellas County Florida but I need to be licensed to do so and a requirement for licensing approval is that you work under a licensed painter or contractor for 4 years!!! Has anyone run into this problem? Help!!!
 

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Same as California. It's so desperate people can't create legitimate contracts with people when no one knows if said person can do the job they claim they can do. Standardized tests for business and trade through the state weed people out at the onset. I'm not saying you are not a good cabinet painter or business person, but the states that have licensing exams do it for a reason, lots of shady tradesmen!! In CA, you can have someone who is licensed basically co-sign for you, this means they are putting their name on the line for you. After a time, you can then have the license on your own. Not sure about FL.
 

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Same as California. It's so desperate people can't create legitimate contracts with people when no one knows if said person can do the job they claim they can do. Standardized tests for business and trade through the state weed people out at the onset. I'm not saying you are not a good cabinet painter or business person, but the states that have licensing exams do it for a reason, lots of shady tradesmen!! In CA, you can have someone who is licensed basically co-sign for you, this means they are putting their name on the line for you. After a time, you can then have the license on your own. Not sure about FL.
I’m all good with having to take exams, but I haven’t worked under anyone for 4 years so and that’s a deal breaker for sitting for the licensing exam and I think that’s ridiculous and frustrating.
 

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I just went through the licensing process in Martin County, Palm Beach County and the City of Port St. Lucie. They do vet prospective contractors extensively in most counties in Florida. Among the requirements: notarized experience affidavits from the licensed contractors you’ve worked under, financial statement, background check/credit check (Palm Beach County required live scan fingerprints be taken), and proof of general liability insurance and Worker’s Comp Insurance or exemption. Then you’re required to test through one of the private statewide testing agencies. A trade specific exam and a business procedures exam. Each scheduled for two hours. Obviously doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily take two hours to complete them, but they are substantial exams. You don’t have to repeat the exams for each county as you can request a letter of reciprocity/test scores be sent from the county you were initially licensed in. However, each county does require you to complete/satisfy the rest of the application process/requirements. It takes a good bit of effort but it gives you something to be proud of once you attain it. As with most professions; the higher the barrier of entry, the more potential value there is to be realized by clearing that barrier. I don’t think you should view Florida’s strict licensing requirements as a bad thing for contractors.
 

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Love hearing this^^^!

I don’t understand why all 50 states don’t qualify similar to this. Being from CA and going thru somewhat similar scenario, although not as stringent as above, it definitely felt good passing the test and having the insurance.


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Love hearing this^^^!

I don’t understand why all 50 states don’t qualify similar to this. Being from CA and going thru somewhat similar scenario, although not as stringent as above, it definitely felt good passing the test and having the insurance.


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Because we live in the United States. Each state is a part of the whole and can make laws and govern themselves unless Federal law or jurisdiction mandates the state to adhere. A state can make no law that is less then a federal law standard but can be more strict. I don't think there are any federal laws for contractors, hence why the state controls the process or licensing. Some states have no license requirements, Texas for example.
 

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I’m all good with having to take exams, but I haven’t worked under anyone for 4 years so and that’s a deal breaker for sitting for the licensing exam and I think that’s ridiculous and frustrating.
I hear you, but its not ridiculous!! Florida does not want people going around doing contracting work without the proper know how. I will bet because Florida gets hit with lots of hurricanes and has paid out massive amounts of insurance claims over the years, that having work done by a licensed contractor satisfies the state with a 98% piece of mind that the work is sound. Not saying that a licensed contractor can't suck at their job, there are a lot of bozos in CA who are licensed and do crappy work, but its small and gives the good guys a bad name being lumped in with the jerks.
 

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Love hearing this^^^!

I don’t understand why all 50 states don’t qualify similar to this. Being from CA and going thru somewhat similar scenario, although not as stringent as above, it definitely felt good passing the test and having the insurance.


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I checked into this several years back in Texas and was surprised that the National Home Builders Assoc. was the one's fighting against this the hardest. Guess all those track home builders didn't want to have to pay more than $1.25 a square foot getting those cheap homes painted.
 

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The problem with painting is that the cost of entry is low.

In the early 1980s, a friend of mine declared that he was starting a house painting business. I asked him why, as he never expressed an interest in that business in the past.

He said, "What other business can I go into for $200.00?" (About $650.00 in 2021).

He bought a small ladder, some paint rollers and brushes, and 1,000 business cards and he was in business. I can guarantee he had no professional experience and no insurance.

It is to protect the public from people like him that licensing is required. I know many painters have expensive spray equipment, but it is possible to start without it. And my friend simply folded down the seat in his Mustang to deal with the ladder and no truck was required.
 

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I hear you, but its not ridiculous!! Florida does not want people going around doing contracting work without the proper know how. I will bet because Florida gets hit with lots of hurricanes and has paid out massive amounts of insurance claims over the years, that having work done by a licensed contractor satisfies the state with a 98% piece of mind that the work is sound. Not saying that a licensed contractor can't suck at their job, there are a lot of bozos in CA who are licensed and do crappy work, but its small and gives the good guys a bad name being lumped in with the jerks.
The problem with this is that Florida enforces backwards which works against stopping unscrupulous fly-by-nighters. Joe's Crappy Painting can work unlicensed all they want out of their '87 Yugo, then when they get fined they fold up and reopen unlicensed again as Joe's Extra Crappy Painting and don't miss a beat. Legit contractors have to operate above board which simply costs more money and in turn allows the hacks to undercut us all. The extremely simple solution to this is that Fla counties need to fine the customer who hires an unlicensed contractor, not just the contractor. Doing this would motivate the customers to use licensed contractors instead of hiring the cheapest price they get. You'd hope that Floridians would be smart enough to do that without fear of law, but they're Floridians so that's not the case. Florida is a low price, hack contractor state. It's a terrible place to do business (in contracting/construction/services industries).
 

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The problem with this is that Florida enforces backwards which works against stopping unscrupulous fly-by-nighters. Joe's Crappy Painting can work unlicensed all they want out of their '87 Yugo, then when they get fined they fold up and reopen unlicensed again as Joe's Extra Crappy Painting and don't miss a beat. Legit contractors have to operate above board which simply costs more money and in turn allows the hacks to undercut us all. The extremely simple solution to this is that Fla counties need to fine the customer who hires an unlicensed contractor, not just the contractor. Doing this would motivate the customers to use licensed contractors instead of hiring the cheapest price they get. You'd hope that Floridians would be smart enough to do that without fear of law, but they're Floridians so that's not the case. Florida is a low price, hack contractor state. It's a terrible place to do business (in contracting/construction/services industries).
To continue my ramble.... and to clarify... I LOVE the difficult licensing requirements and wish all 50 states would do the same. I just hate that in standard Florida style the gov't screws it up with poor implementation.
 

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I am desperately trying to start my own cabinet painting business in Pinellas County Florida but I need to be licensed to do so and a requirement for licensing approval is that you work under a licensed painter or contractor for 4 years!!! Has anyone run into this problem? Help!!!
Did you ever figure anything out? I've got a licensed business in Pinellas County... PM me, maybe I can be helpful.
 

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This, like most licensing requirements, is designed not to protect the public. The goal is to protect existing actors from competition.

Even when there is no requirement to work for others, the concept of occupational licensing in general is often anti-competitive. The Hoover Institute has an excellent position paper on why occupational licensing is a bad idea. In reality, it provides little benefit to the consumers of services:

Excellent article that talks about occupational "licensing scams."


The article below explains just how crooked the motivation behind this **** can be. I can't ever recall seeing a consumer group behind pushes for licensing. It's always those who stand to profit from the licensing requirement. Basically, it's the people who hold the hoops you are required to jump through.


Here is a paper on delicensing by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Because we live in the United States. Each state is a part of the whole and can make laws and govern themselves unless Federal law or jurisdiction mandates the state to adhere. A state can make no law that is less then a federal law standard but can be more strict. I don't think there are any federal laws for contractors, hence why the state controls the process or licensing. Some states have no license requirements, Texas for example.
100% correct. But the concept of reciprocity is fully legal in this republic--and it makes sense. Below is a link to a map of contractor licensing reciprocity agreements for electrical and plumbing. The states that generally do not appear are those controlled by unions and other special interest groups


I'm sorry, but someone doesn't need an apprenticeship of the same length as what is required to become a radiologist in order to paint.

Here is how to protect consumers:
  • Require that people be bonded and insured. Lawsuits will take care of the bad actors.
  • Have very strict limits on down payments (California's rule of the lesser of 10% or $1,000 is excellent)
    • Require all payments to be deposited in an escrow account.
  • Require written contracts with required provisions
  • Criminal penalties (read: cuff people up) for repeated or egregious violations.
For example, taking a down payment and not showing up to do the work should be an automatic criminal charge after a set period of time passes:

Here are the CA rules. Although they have licensing, the strict rules for down payments and contracts are likely all that is needed to protect the consumer.

The down payment thing is huge. If you look at most state attorney general's offices, consumer groups, etc, one common bit of advice is to avoid any contractor who requires a down payment of a set percentage.
 

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The problem with this is that Florida enforces backwards which works against stopping unscrupulous fly-by-nighters. Joe's Crappy Painting can work unlicensed all they want out of their '87 Yugo, then when they get fined they fold up and reopen unlicensed again as Joe's Extra Crappy Painting and don't miss a beat. Legit contractors have to operate above board which simply costs more money and in turn allows the hacks to undercut us all.

The extremely simple solution to this is that Fla counties need to fine the customer who hires an unlicensed contractor, not just the contractor. Doing this would motivate the customers to use licensed contractors instead of hiring the cheapest price they get. You'd hope that Floridians would be smart enough to do that without fear of law, but they're Floridians so that's not the case. Florida is a low price, hack contractor state. It's a terrible place to do business (in contracting/construction/services industries).
Agree with the first part. But the bottom is over the top and has zero chance of ever becoming law. Fine consumers to protect painting contractors? The second the press published an article about some little old lady getting fined for hiring an unlicensed painter, the elected official who sponsored that law would get run out of town on a rail. And so would you for suggesting it.

Fortunately, a solution exists. And it's already law.

Unlicensed contracting is a crime in FL The first offense can result in a first-degree misdemeanor that will include penalties or the person receiving 12 months of probation, up to one year in jail, and a $1,000 fine. Further offenses are deemed third-degree felonies under Florida Statute 775.083. A third-degree felony can incur up to five years in prison or probation and a $5,000 fine


Simply enforce the law as written. Hand out a $5K fine and a warning for the first offense. When he gets caught as Joe's Extra Crappy Painting and he gets a nickel in the cooler, this **** will end quickly.
 

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It costs too much to incarcerate prisoners. Unless there is some violence involved the offenders will get probation and a fine.
 

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This, like most licensing requirements, is designed not to protect the public. The goal is to protect existing actors from competition.

Even when there is no requirement to work for others, the concept of occupational licensing in general is often anti-competitive. The Hoover Institute has an excellent position paper on why occupational licensing is a bad idea. In reality, it provides little benefit to the consumers of services:

Excellent article that talks about occupational "licensing scams."


The article below explains just how crooked the motivation behind this **** can be. I can't ever recall seeing a consumer group behind pushes for licensing. It's always those who stand to profit from the licensing requirement. Basically, it's the people who hold the hoops you are required to jump through.


Here is a paper on delicensing by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.



100% correct. But the concept of reciprocity is fully legal in this republic--and it makes sense. Below is a link to a map of contractor licensing reciprocity agreements for electrical and plumbing. The states that generally do not appear are those controlled by unions and other special interest groups


I'm sorry, but someone doesn't need an apprenticeship of the same length as what is required to become a radiologist in order to paint.

Here is how to protect consumers:
  • Require that people be bonded and insured. Lawsuits will take care of the bad actors.
  • Have very strict limits on down payments (California's rule of the lesser of 10% or $1,000 is excellent)
    • Require all payments to be deposited in an escrow account.
  • Require written contracts with required provisions
  • Criminal penalties (read: cuff people up) for repeated or egregious violations.
For example, taking a down payment and not showing up to do the work should be an automatic criminal charge after a set period of time passes:

Here are the CA rules. Although they have licensing, the strict rules for down payments and contracts are likely all that is needed to protect the consumer.

The down payment thing is huge. If you look at most state attorney general's offices, consumer groups, etc, one common bit of advice is to avoid any contractor who requires a down payment of a set percentage.
I don't agree with you in general on this.... but that was an outstanding frick'n answer. You did some work there. Well done.
 

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Agree with the first part. But the bottom is over the top and has zero chance of ever becoming law. Fine consumers to protect painting contractors? The second the press published an article about some little old lady getting fined for hiring an unlicensed painter, the elected official who sponsored that law would get run out of town on a rail. And so would you for suggesting it.

Fortunately, a solution exists. And it's already law.

Unlicensed contracting is a crime in FL The first offense can result in a first-degree misdemeanor that will include penalties or the person receiving 12 months of probation, up to one year in jail, and a $1,000 fine. Further offenses are deemed third-degree felonies under Florida Statute 775.083. A third-degree felony can incur up to five years in prison or probation and a $5,000 fine


Simply enforce the law as written. Hand out a $5K fine and a warning for the first offense. When he gets caught as Joe's Extra Crappy Painting and he gets a nickel in the cooler, this **** will end quickly.
It would be nice to think the law as written would fix the problem.... yet look at the state of affairs for contractors in FL. The laws don't even put a dent in the problem. I get what you said "enforce" the laws - but realistically, no one is going to jail and the fly-by nighters don't pay taxes, buy licenses, and they certainly won't pay fines. I agree that it will never be a law, I think I even said the same thing -- politicians won't put forth a law that whiny Americans will vote them out of office for. So, agreed.... it won't happen. But it is the fix that would work if it did.
 

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The strict regulations in Florida came about after Hurricane Andrew in 1991. A license from Palm Beach or Pinellas county used to be recognized throughout the state.

Enforcement usually comes from within a county. e.g. there are 31 cities within Fort Lauderdale, I would guesstimate each one has their own code enforcement policiers. Some still require a license to perform work in their city via a permit. I haven't heard a painter complain in over 15 years, I don't know if the enforcement is more relaxed or the Licenses has reached almost 100% participation? What happened to the citizens after Andrew should have been a crime. Selling paint, I'm all for it.
 
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