If you want to start a painting business in Nevada, you’ll need to get licensed by the Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB). This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about getting licensed, from eligibility requirements to the application process. We’ll also cover license renewal, reciprocity with other states, bonding and insurance requirements in detail.


In Nevada, anyone who constructs, alters, repairs, improves, moves, wrecks or demolishes any building, highway, road, parking facility, railroad, excavation, or other structure is considered a contractor and must be licensed by the NSCB. This includes painters and painting contractors.

Being properly licensed ensures painters work up to code and helps homeowners feel confident hiring them. It also allows painters to legally bid on and contract for jobs. Painting without a license can result in misdemeanor or felony charges in Nevada.

To become a licensed painting contractor in Nevada, applicants must:

  • Meet experience requirements
  • Pass two exams
  • Have a Nevada business license or entity registration
  • Prove financial responsibility
  • File bonds
  • Have workers’ compensation insurance (if applicable)

We’ll now go over each of these requirements in detail so you understand everything that’s involved in getting your painting contractor license.

Nevada Painting Contractor License Requirements

Experience Requirements

The first step to getting your painting contractor license in Nevada is demonstrating that you or a worker has the necessary experience.

To qualify, applicants must have at least 4 years of hands-on experience within the last 15 years as one of the following:

  • Journeyman painter
  • Painting foreman
  • Painting supervisor
  • Painting contractor

This experience must be specific to the painting and decorating contractor classification you’re applying for. Some examples of qualifying experience are:

  • Preparing surfaces for painting using sanders, scrapers, sandblasting equipment and chemical solutions
  • Applying primers, sealers and paints with brushes, spray guns and rollers
  • Matching colors and textures for decorative finishes
  • Installing wallcoverings like vinyl fabrics and murals
  • Applying finishes like stains, varnishes, shellacs, polishes and lacquers
  • Hanging wallpaper
  • Cleaning and maintaining painting equipment

The NSCB wants to see you have comprehensive hands-on experience across the range of activities painting contractors engage in regularly. This ensures you’ll be able to properly manage a painting crew and projects.

Up to 3 years of education from an accredited program accepted by the NSCB can substitute for on-the-job experience. For example, completing a formal apprenticeship program or construction management courses at a college may qualify.

To receive credit, you’ll need to submit transcripts, certificates or other official documentation showing completion of an accredited program.

Applicants with military service can also substitute training and experience gained during their service for the 4 year experience requirement, as long as it relates directly to the painting trade.

Lastly, current master painters with certification from a governmental agency like the EPA’s Lead Abatement Program may qualify for a waiver of the experience requirement. You’ll need to provide documentation of the master certification from the issuing agency.


In addition to demonstrating your experience, Nevada requires prospective painting contractors pass two exams to get licensed:

  • Business and Law Exam
  • Painting and Decorating Trade Exam

The Nevada State Contractors Board will send you an Examination Eligibility letter allowing you to schedule the required exams after approving your documented experience.

Business and Law Exam

The Business and Law exam covers core concepts painting contractors need to legally run their businesses in Nevada. It tests your knowledge on:

  • Licensing laws and regulations
  • Estimating and bidding
  • Financial management
  • Tax laws
  • Labor laws
  • Contracts
  • Risk management
  • Safety

The Business and Law exam consists of 60 multiple choice questions. You’ll have 120 minutes to complete it and need to answer 45 questions correctly (75%) to pass.

Painting and Decorating Trade Exam

The Painting and Decorating trade exam covers regulations and standards specific to painting in Nevada. Some examples of subject areas include:

  • Painting materials like coatings, stains, wallcoverings
  • Surface preparation methods
  • Paint application techniques
  • Tools used
  • Common problems and how to prevent them
  • Safety protocols

This test consists of 30 multiple choice questions. You’ll get 1 hour to complete it and need to answer 21 questions correctly (70%) to pass.

Taking the Exams

PSI Services administers the contractor license exams on behalf of the Nevada State Contractors Board.

You can take the Business and Law plus trade exams at PSI testing centers located in:

  • Las Vegas
  • Reno
  • Elko

The exams cost $95 each or $140 total. You’ll schedule your specific exam date after getting approved by the NSCB.

The Business and Law exam takes 2 hours to complete while the Painting and Decorating exam takes 1 hour.

If you fail your first attempt, you must wait 2 weeks before retaking the exam. After 3 failed attempts at either exam, your contractor license application is voided. At that point, you’d have to submit a new application and paperwork to try getting licensed again.

Passing both your Business and Law and trade exams is essential for getting your painting contractor license. Thorough preparation using the authorized references gives you the best shot at success.

Nevada Business License

To apply for a contractor’s license in Nevada, painting businesses must hold a Nevada business license or entity registration.

Sole Proprietors

Sole proprietor painting contractors can obtain a Nevada business license through the Nevada Business Portal. You’ll need to:

  • Create an account
  • Select Sole Proprietor for the business type
  • Provide basic business information
  • Pay the $100 filing fee + $200 first-year licensing fee

After submitting everything through the Portal, you’ll receive a business license certificate within 1-2 business days.

Partnerships, Corporations and LLCs

If your painting business is a partnership, corporation or LLC, you must first register it with the Nevada Secretary of State’s office before getting a license.

Filing for entity registration involves:

  • Choosing a business entity structure
  • Drafting formation documents
  • Submitting the documents along with the $125 filing fee

The formation documents required vary based on your entity type:

  • Partnerships: Partnership Agreement
  • LLCs: Articles of Organization
  • Corporations: Articles of Incorporation

After the Secretary of State approves, you’ll receive a Certificate of Entity Registration with your business entity number.

Submit this certificate along with your contractor license application to the NSCB as proof of your valid Nevada business registration.

Maintaining active status and compliance with all Secretary of State filings and renewals is required to keep your painting contractor’s license.

Financial Responsibility

Proving financial responsibility is another prerequisite for getting licensed in Nevada. All painting contractor applicants must submit a current financial statement that meets the NSCB’s requirements.

The monetary limit requested on your license application determines the type of financial documentation required.

Higher monetary license limits mean you must provide more robust financial statements prepared and reviewed by an independent Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Surety Bond

Nevada mandates all licensed contractors obtain and maintain a contractor license bond. This protects consumers if the contractor fails to satisfactorily complete a project.

The NSCB will determine the specific bond amount painting contractors must carry based on:

  • The license classifications requested
  • Monetary limit
  • Applicant’s financial situation
  • Character of the owners

Bonds for painting contractors generally range from $1,000 – $20,000. The NSCB will advise you of the required bond amount after approving your license application.

You’ll need to file this surety bond before the NSCB will officially issue your painting license.

License bonds must:

  • Be issued by a surety company authorized in Nevada
  • Maintain an “A” rating or better
  • Provide continuous coverage without any lapses

If your bond gets canceled, your painting contractor’s license will be suspended until you get a new one in place.

You’re also responsible for paying any premiums required by the surety company to keep the bond active.

Maintaining your license bond is an ongoing requirement while licensed as a Nevada painting contractor.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Painting contractors in Nevada must carry active workers’ compensation insurance to maintain their license, unless exempt.

This provides coverage for any work-related injuries or illnesses employees may sustain.

You’ll need to submit a workers’ comp certificate of coverage or exemption form along with your license application. Contractors are required to have workers’ compensation insurance in order to be issued a license.

Some examples of compliant certificates are:

  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance Policy Certificate
  • Certificate of Authority to Self-Insure from the state
  • Certificate of Consent to Self-Insure from the U.S. Department of Labor

If you have no employees as a self-employed contractor, you can file a workers’ comp exemption affidavit in place of insurance. This attests you won’t be employing anyone under the license.

Keep in mind that if you do end up hiring employees later on, you’ll need to promptly get an active workers’ comp policy before the work begins.

Failing to maintain the proper workers’ compensation insurance or exemption constitutes grounds for disciplinary action and license suspension or revocation.

How to Get a Nevada Painting Contractor License

Now that we’ve covered the experience, exams, business registration, financial responsibility, bonding and insurance requirements, let’s go over the step-by-step process for applying and obtaining your new painting contractor license in Nevada:

  1. Gain the 4 years of required painting experience as a journeyman, foreman, supervisor or contractor. Get documentation like certificates and transcripts.
  2. Obtain your Nevada business license or entity registration as a sole proprietor, partnership, LLC or corporation based on your structure.
  3. Complete the contractor license application and submit it with the $300 fee. Include all required supplementary docs.
  4. Pass the Business and Law plus the Painting and Decorating trade exams. Schedule with PSI after getting the NSCB’s exam eligibility approval.
  5. Submit your license bond and workers’ comp affidavit or certificate. The NSCB will advise you of the required bond amount after approving your application.
  6. Pay the $600 biennial license fee. New licenses are valid for 2 years.
  7. Wait to receive your license certificate. Turnaround is 1-2 weeks after satisfying all requirements.

Following this process properly ensures your painting contractor license application gets approved. Check the NSCB’s website for current forms, fees and other details.

Some key tips:

  • Thoroughly review the exam content outlines and study recommended materials so you pass the required tests on your first attempt
  • Work with a CPA to prepare any needed financial statements based on your license monetary limit
  • Don’t forget to file your surety bond and workers’ comp paperwork right after getting approved
  • Keep communicating with your NSCB licensing representative throughout the process so your application keeps moving forward

Taking the time upfront to satisfy the NSCB’s licensing requirements will make starting your Nevada painting business smooth and headache-free!

How to Renew a Nevada Painting Contractor License

Nevada painting contractor licenses expire after 2 years from the last day of the month issued.

To renew your license so you can keep operating legally, you’ll need to:

  • Complete 12 hours of continuing education
  • This includes 8 hours of trades education and 4 hours of OSHA safety training
  • Submit a license renewal form
  • Pay the $600 renewal fee
  • Maintain bonding and workers’ compensation insurance

Around 60-90 days before your expiration date, the NSCB will email a renewal notice and form to your address on file. This contains your specific license number to reference.

Don’t lose this email! Missing your renewal deadline can lead to late fees and further suspension if your license ultimately expires.

To complete your continuing education hours, take NSCB-approved courses relevant to the painting trade like:

  • New painting tools, techniques and best practices
  • Changes in codes and regulations
  • Safety standards
  • Business management for painting contractors

You can take classroom courses or online classes to satisfy the hourly requirements. Just be sure to keep your course completion certificates.

Submit the following by the expiration date listed on your renewal notice:

  • Completed license renewal form
  • $600 renewal fee
  • Continuing education certificates
  • Updated bond and workers’ comp documents

The NSCB will review these items and issue your renewed painting contractor license certificate for the next 2 years if everything meets the requirements.

Renewing on time preserves the active status of your Nevada painting contractor license. It also shows clients you stay up to date on the latest industry education.

If your license does expire due to lack of renewal, you may reinstate it within 1 year by paying double the fees. After 1 year, you’ll have to reapply and meet examination requirements again as if new.

Reciprocity for Nevada Painting Contractors

Nevada has license reciprocity agreements with California, Arizona and Utah. This allows painting contractors licensed in those states to obtain a Nevada license without needing to pass the trade exam.

To get a Nevada painting license through reciprocity, you must:

  • Have an active painting contractor license in the reciprocal state for the last 4 years
  • Have no disciplinary actions against your license
  • Submit a request for license verification form completed by the state
  • Apply for Nevada licensure by endorsement
  • Pass Nevada’s Business and Law exam
  • Pay required Nevada licensing fees

As long as you meet these requirements and your home state’s license offerings are substantially equivalent, you’ll only need to take Nevada’s Business and Law exam to get licensed.

However, painters licensed in states without an equivalent painting and decorating trade exam will need to pass Nevada’s version as well before being issued a license.

Either way, you must maintain your base state license in addition to the new Nevada license if granted reciprocity.

The process provides a streamlined way for reputable out-of-state painting professionals to offer their services in Nevada legally.


We covered the complete licensing process for painters in Nevada, including eligibility requirements, documentation, exams, business registration, bonding and insurance.

Some key takeaways:

  • Nevada requires painting contractors be licensed by the NSCB with proof of experience, exams passed, and financial responsibility
  • You must show 4 years of relevant experience as a journeyman, foreman, etc. and pass a business law exam plus a trade exam
  • All applicants need a Nevada business license or entity registration based on their structure
  • Certain monetary license limits require CPA-reviewed financial statements
  • Painting contractors must carry a $1,000-$500,000 license bond and workers’ comp insurance or exemption
  • Licenses expire after 2 years and require continuing education and fees to renew
  • Reciprocity agreements with CA, AZ and UT allow streamlined licensing
  • Following the proper application steps ensures you’ll be licensed compliant to operate in Nevada

Reach out to the NSCB with any questions!