Hiring uninsured painter

I'm going to hire someone to paint my house and I've received a quote from a contractor who is licensed, but not currently insured. He says that he was out of the business for a few years and the state licensing board's website says that his co. is exempt from needing w/c insurance since it "has no employees". He mentioned that his crew will consist of two other assistants (who may or may not be insured).
I realize that there is a risk in hiring an uninsured contractor, but I was wondering if my liability can be limited through other means, such as having him sign an indemnification letter that I can prepare. Or maybe there's some other type of document I can ask him sign to document that he's an independent contractor, which would limit my liability?
He seems like he would do a good job and seems very interested (even a little desperate) to get the job (maybe he's fallen on hard times). I kind of feel a little sorry for him, but I know this is no reason to hire him if the risk is too high. He said no payment required until the job is completed.
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This is the wrong thing to worry about. Does the guy have a good reputation as a painter? If he's exempt as you say, then your only worry should be the quality of his work. You can cite the website that says he's exempt when you write up a contract.

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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Try asking the broker or company rep for your homeowner's insurance....
I think you probably already know what they'll tell you.
I wouldn't chance it myself....
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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Thoughts in line:
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Red flag. Two kinds of insurance to think about.
First is his lability insurance. He puts a ladder through your triple pane 5 high x 8 foot wide window. Given what you report you suspect below about his financial situation, he's in no posiion to pay to fix it. You are stuck. He puts a ladder through your neighbor's triple pane 5 high x 8 foot wide window. Again, you are stuck.
In my state (Oregon) if he doesn't have both liability insurance and a bond, his license is void. Fifty states and the District of Columbia have different sets of rules. I don't know what state you are in or the rules there, but just as a persoal protection matter, I would not do business with a company or individual who could not have their insure or broker (not the contractor, but the insurance compan or broker) send me direcly both proof of current valid paid up insurance and a rider / binder naming my premises as an additional insured site.
He says

Again, fifty one sets of rules. Here, a company owner cannot buy Workers Comp for himself, he gets hurt, its his problem.
He mentioned that his crew will

HUGE RED FLAG. He has assistants and crew? Not on my property, again until and unless I get directly from the insurer or the broker proof f paid up and inforce comp insurance.
I realize that there is a risk in hiring an uninsured contractor,
I don't thgink you do reaize just how big a risk there is.
but

And the indemnification agreement has just what practical effect if he's broke? If he hasn't got the money al the indemnification agreements in the world won't protect you, because he has no money. And you have to sue him to enforce the indemnification agreement. If he had the money he'd be paying insurance premiums.

Like far too many people, you think the phrase "independent contractor" is a magic "Colgate wth Gardol" (my age is showing) shield to protect yourself. It ain't. Its useless.

Stick with that feeling.
He said no payment required until

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Call your insurance agent and see what happens if he hurts himself and sues you or burns your house down. In my state, your homeowner's policy will cover the the unlicensed painter. If you end up with a claim, your rates will go up--but that is a much smaller risk, then say losing your retirement account. If it were me, I'd hire a uninsured painter, assuming he has good references etc. Not an excavator, plumber, or general contractor, for example, but for a painter? How big is the risk seriously?
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The risk with a uninsured 'painter' comes when one of [his] helpers falls off the ladder and can't work as a result of the injury. Now, he is hurt on [your] property! He will ultimately sue YOU since the painter he was working for doesn't have a dime or insurance.
Also, if the painter decides not to pay his [helpers], they can turn around and sue you for payment. [Although in California the painter is required to have a $12,500 bond to be licensed, which you [the homeowner] can lean on for his failure to perform [or his employee's can also lean on the bond].
--
Zyp

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I didnt' do it, but that might be a good reason to take pictures of the land around the house every morning. The homeowner still has to do something negligent to be liable. I guess one needs a newspaper in the picture to prove the date it was taken, although it could still be taken later than that.
If there really is a special risk and you know aobut it, you should tell them, or you really are negligent. For the same teling them, I guess you coudl tell them in writing and make all three sign it. What, though, could be a special risk that isn't obvious?

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I wouldn't be so sure of that. That is true if someone comes on your property as a visitor and trips and falls. However, this is a case where the guy has an uninsured contractor with two "assistants". I would not be surprised to find that the homeowner could be held responsible for workmans comp injuries, where no negligence is required.
I guess one needs a newspaper in

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[snip happened]

Anything at all when a lawyer is involved...
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Just as most others are telling you, don't chance it. He might be a great guy and talented pro, but it's not worth the risk to your finances should the worst happen.
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Call your broker and ask him if you can add them to your policy on a temporary basis. Years ago I was able to do this in NY when I had several uninsured workers around the house.
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What's the worst that could happen ........ one of his "assistants" (employees) falls off a ladder, breaks a neck and sues guess who?
Steve
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Thanks for the advice, everyone.
I think most of you are right. It's not worth the risk. Most of the quotes I've received in this (reasonable) price range are from uninsured/unlicensed painters or guys who will take shortcuts. Quotes from more professional contractors are about 50% higher, which is a decent chunk of change for me.
I thinking about painting the house myself. I'm just trying to get a good idea of how much time I'll have to put into it. It's an average size, single story house with stucco siding and wood trim. I'm thinking 3 to 5 solid days with a couple of friends helping me on the weekend (assuming I rent a good sprayer). 2 coats on everything. Does that sound about right?
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On Sat, 28 Jul 2007 11:05:16 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

A day to prepare, a day to paint and a day to clean up is just about right.
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Plin,
Overly optimistic estimate. The bulk of the work is scraping, cleaning, repairing, caulking. This will take some time. And of course then it will start raining. Consider renting some staging for about a month if you plan to do this after work and on weekends. A coat of tinted primer and two coats of paint sounds good to me.
Dave M.
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