Operating a painting business in Utah requires obtaining a contractor license from the state’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL). This comprehensive guide will walk through the licensing process, insurance obligations, and other compliance requirements for painters and painting contractors in Utah.

An Introduction to Licensed Painters and Painting Contractors in Utah

Unlike some states, Utah requires painters and painting contractors to hold an active contractor license issued by the DOPL in order to provide commercial or residential painting services legally. This applies to sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, and LLCs.

The relevant license classification is the S340 Painting and Wall Covering Contractor license. This allows the holder to provide the following painting related services:

  • Preparing surfaces for painting and coverings
  • Applying paints, varnishes, shellacs, stains, waxes and other coatings or pigments
  • Installation of vinyl, fabric, wood or other decorative wall coverings
  • Painting, texturing, and wallpapering
  • Surface treatments for protection and appearance
  • Cleaning and restoring surfaces

Painting contractors must know how to review paint specifications, identify and prepare various surfaces, safely erect scaffolding and rigging, operate painting equipment, apply finishes and coverings, match colors, and follow required standards.

Becoming a licensed painting contractor requires meeting experience thresholds, passing state exams, carrying adequate insurance, and complying with renewal rules. This guide covers all the steps, fees, and requirements for new and renewing painting contractor licensees in Utah.

Requirements for Becoming a Licensed Painter or Painting Contractor in Utah

Utah has set minimum eligibility criteria that must be satisfied to obtain an S340 painting contractor license. Key requirements include:

Work Experience

Applicants must document at least 2 years or 4,000 hours of paid work experience in the painting and coatings industry. This hands-on experience can be obtained through employment with a licensed painting contractor or unlicensed painting company. It demonstrates familiarity with real-world painting projects and equipment.

The experience can be accumulated at any time in the applicant’s life. Working under the supervision and instruction of an approved trade school program instructor also counts as qualifying experience.

To confirm experience, applicants must provide a sworn statement certifying they meet the 4,000 hour minimum. Supporting documentation like W-2s, pay stubs, or letters from employers is not mandatory but can help provide proof if requested.

Insurance Requirements

Active general liability insurance must be carried by all licensed painting contractors in Utah. At minimum, policies must provide:

  • $100,000 coverage per incident
  • $300,000 aggregate coverage

Applicants must submit a certificate of liability insurance listing the DOPL as the certificate holder. Policies can be obtained from any standard insurance provider.

Maintaining continuous insurance coverage is an ongoing requirement. Licensees must notify the DOPL of any policy changes, renewals, or cancellations using an Insurance Certificate Change Request form within 30 calendar days.

Contractor Exams

Utah law mandates that painting contractor applicants pass two licensing exams administered by Prov, an independent test provider. The required exams are:

  • Utah Contractor Business and Law Exam
  • S340 Painting and Wall Covering Contractor Trade Exam

The business exam covers core concepts like business organizations, contract law, lien laws, safety, taxes, and more. It is available in both English and Spanish.

The 2-hour long trade exam has 80 multiple choice questions specific to painting work such as surface preparation, coatings, application methods, tools, equipment, safety protocols, and standards.

Applicants must pass each required exam before applying for licensure. Exams are offered at Prov testing centers or online through remote proctoring. The exam fee is $114 for the trade exam and $100 for the business exam.

Business Registration

Applicants operating under a business entity like an LLC or corporation must register with the Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code:

  • Corporations register at the state level
  • LLCs can register with the state or at the county level

Sole proprietors using only their full legal name do not need an entity registration. Business registration demonstrates legal formation and authority to transact business in Utah.

Active status must be maintained to renew a painting contractor license. Applicants should have their entity registered before or simultaneously with their DOPL license application.

Tax Obligations

Painting contractors in Utah must obtain tax registrations including:

  • An Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS
  • State withholding tax registration
  • Unemployment insurance registration

Sole proprietors without employees who will operate under their Social Security Number can skip an EIN and withholding registration. But unemployment insurance registration is still required.

Applicants should apply for an EIN online at IRS.gov and consult the Utah State Tax Commission to meet state-level tax obligations.

Workers’ Compensation

If the applicant has employees, they must carry active workers’ compensation insurance listing the DOPL as the certificate holder. This provides coverage in case of job-related injuries.

If the applicant is a sole proprietor without employees, they can file for a Workers’ Compensation Coverage Waiver through the Utah Labor Commission. This exemption renews annually.

Proof of active insurance or an approved waiver is required for licensure. Applicants must immediately notify the DOPL of any lapse in their workers’ comp policy if active.

How to Apply for a New Painters and Painting Contractors License in Utah

Once all S340 license requirements are met, applicants can submit their new painting contractor license application to the DOPL. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Complete Prelicensing Education

A state-approved 25-hour prelicensure course must be completed before applying. Courses are offered by:

  • Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)
  • Associated General Contractors (AGC)
  • Utah Home Builders Association (UHBA)

Many are available online for convenience. Confirm the course is approved by the DOPL for S340 license education. Certificate of completion will be required.

Step 2: Pass Required Exams

Schedule and pass both the trade exam and business/law exam administered by Prov. Results are uploaded directly to the DOPL. If testing out-of-state, submit score reports with application.

Step 3: Submit License Application

The painting contractor license application can be downloaded from the DOPL website or submitted electronically through the state licensing portal. The application fee is $325.

Attach the following with your application:

  • Prelicensing education certificate
  • Liability insurance certificate
  • Workers’ compensation certificate or waiver
  • Entity registration verification
  • Any other required supplementary forms

Answer all questions completely and provide the S340 classification code. Sign and date the application.

Step 4: Fulfill Tax and Registration Requirements

Submit proof you obtained the required EIN from the IRS and any applicable state tax registrations. Also confirm your business entity is active and authorized.

Step 5: License Approval

If approved, the DOPL will issue your S340 painting contractor license. Print your license certificate and allow 4-6 weeks for processing. Licenses expire after 2 years.

New License Fees

The total new license fees for painters and painting contractors are:

  • License application fee: $325
  • Business and law exam fee: $100
  • Trade exam fee: $114
  • Initial license fee: $150
  • Total new license cost: $689

The initial license fee renews as $325 every 2 years. Exam fees are one-time only. All payments are non-refundable.

How to Renew a Painters and Painting Contractors License in Utah

Utah painting contractor licenses expire on November 30 of odd-numbered years. To maintain an active license status, renewal is mandatory prior to expiration.

Follow these steps for on-time painting contractor license renewal:

Step 1: Complete 8 Hours of Continuing Education

Active S340 licensees must take 8 hours of DOPL-approved continuing education (CE) during each 2-year renewal cycle. Renewing contractors should:

  • Earn at least 6 CE hours directly related to the S340 scope of practice
  • Complete 1 hour focused on state contractor law
  • Obtain 1 hour of general construction industry education

CE can be earned through in-person seminars and workshops or online courses. Check the DOPL website for qualified providers.

Step 2: Maintain General Liability Insurance

An active certificate of liability insurance meeting Utah minimums must remain on file. Update insurance information with the DOPL per notification requirements.

Step 3: Submit Renewal Application and Fee

The painting contractor license renewal application is available on the DOPL website approximately 90 days before expiration. Pay the $325 renewal fee.

Step 4: Comply With Other Renewal Requirements

Confirm your business entity registration, EIN, workers’ compensation coverage (or waiver), state tax compliance, etc. are all active for the renewal term.

Step 5: License Renewal Approval

After renewing, your S340 license will remain valid for the next 2-year period. You can check your renewal status on the DOPL license lookup. Print the renewed certificate.

Renewal Fees

Typical painting contractor license renewal fees are:

  • Renewal application fee: $325
  • Late renewal fee (after deadline): $50
  • Inactive license fee: $225

Renewing on time by November 30 avoids additional late fees.

Reciprocity for Painting Contractors Licensed in Other States

The DOPL offers license reciprocity as an alternative pathway to certification for out-of-state applicants. This allows painting contractors holding an active license in certain states to obtain a Utah S340 license without having to take Utah’s exams.

Reciprocity Eligibility

To qualify for reciprocity, applicants must:

  • Hold a substantially equivalent active painting contractor license in a reciprocity state
  • Document at least 1 year of licensed practice in their home state
  • Meet all Utah license requirements except for testing

Once approved, the license will be subject to Utah laws and renewal rules.

How to Apply Through Reciprocity

Follow these steps to obtain a Utah painting contractor license by reciprocity:

  1. Confirm your home state eligibility – Utah has reciprocity with Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The license types must align with Utah’s S340 scope.
  2. Submit paper license application – The downloadable application form includes sections for verifying your out-of-state license. Provide the license number, classification, original issue date, and current status.
  3. Pay $325 application fee – All reciprocity applicants incur the standard $325 application fee, due at time of submission. Testing fees are waived.
  4. Comply with Utah requirements – Provide general liability insurance, workers’ compensation coverage or waiver, business registration, and tax documents as outlined for Utah licensees.
  5. Review and approval – After reviewing your application, the DOPL will contact you regarding approval or if any information is deficient.

Reciprocity Fees

Reciprocity licensing fees for painting contractors are:

  • License application fee: $325
  • Initial license fee: $150
  • Total reciprocity license cost: $475

The license renews just as a regularly issued Utah painting contractor license, including meeting CE requirements.

License Bond Requirements

The state of Utah does not currently require licensed painting contractors or other specialty trade contractors to obtain license bonds.

Utah previously mandated license bonds for active contractors prior to 2013. However, legislation was introduced through HB333 to eliminate bonding requirements due to their disproportionate impact on small contractors.

As a result, completing an application with a surety or filing a bond with the DOPL is no longer necessary for compliance as an S340 painting contractor licensee. Regulatory changes reversed this obligation to encourage broader participation in Utah’s construction trades licensing program.

Insurance Requirements

While license bonds are not mandated, active insurance coverage is an ironclad requirement to hold a compliant painting contractor license in Utah.

General Liability Insurance

Painting contractors must carry comprehensive general liability insurance tailored to their trade with policy limits meeting Utah minimums:

  • $100,000 per incident
  • $300,000 general aggregate

This protects the licensee in case of third-party bodily injury, property damage, completed work damage, and personal injury claims that arise from professional activity. It can cover both legal defense and settlement costs subject to the stated limits.

Applicants must submit a valid certificate of liability insurance listing the DOPL as the certificate holder when applying for licensure. Active Utah painting contractors must notify the DOPL of any cancellations or alterations to their general liability policy within 30 calendar days using the proper notification form. Coverage must then be replaced with a new policy.

Workers’ Compensation

Painting contractors with employees must also maintain active workers’ compensation insurance with the state minimum coverage amounts. Utah requires:

  • $1,000,000 policy limit
  • $1,000,000 each accident limit

Sole proprietor painting contractors can waive this obligation by filing an approved exemption through the Utah Labor Commission. Otherwise, applicants must submit a workers’ compensation certificate listing the DOPL as holder like the liability certificate.

Lapsed workers’ compensation insurance must be reported immediately if active licensees previously carried coverage. Proof of replacement coverage will be required by the DOPL to maintain licensing compliance.


For painters and painting contractors, understanding the nuances of Utah’s contractor licensing process is crucial for legal compliance. Key steps include documenting enough hands-on experience, passing two exams, establishing the appropriate business registrations and tax accounts, securing general liability and workers’ compensation insurance, and renewing the license every two years on schedule.

Neglecting to obtain an S340 license from the DOPL before promoting painting services or allowing a license to expire once held can lead to financial penalties. But following best practices for qualification, application, insurance, renewal, and ongoing adherence to Utah regulations enables painting contractors to operate safely, ethically, and successfully.