What Homeowners Need to Know about Protecting Themselves Against Unscrupulous Contractors, Part I: Licensing
If you are about to commence on a construction project at your home, you know you cannot do it alone. You have to hire a professional contractor. But like most homeowners, you have no idea of what to look for in a good and scrupulous contractor. That’s where this series of articles can help.
Overall, there are four areas of clarification: Licensing, Contracts, Contractor Verification, and Disputes, that are required by law and enforced by the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR). We’ll cover the first one here:
Part I: Contractor Licensing Laws
By Virginia law, contractors are required to carry the following licenses:
- Virginia State Business License. Provided by the Virginia State Corporation Commission, this sets the contractor up in a legal business entity.
- Virginia Contractor/Trades Licenses. Provided by the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR), this license is divided into 3 Classes, a classification and specialty:
- Class C – Single contract or project more than $1,000 but less than $10,000 (2 exceptions)
- Class B – Single contract or project $10,000 or more, but less than $120,000
- Class A – Single contract or project $120,000 or more
- Local Business License (by county or city)
- Local Contractor License (by county or city)
- Building Permit (by county or city)
- RRP Rule – Requires firms performing Renovation, Repair and Painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and pre-schools built prior to 1978 to be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), use certified renovators trained by EPA-approved training providers, and follow lead-safe work practices.
You should require all contractors you are interviewing to prove that they are in possession of these licenses. Many include them in their presentation; however, do not be afraid to ask. You want to know up front that the contractor you hire is qualified and licensed to do the job.
Want Help Hiring a Contractor? Call Först Consulting Group
This information is for business purposes only and does not constitute legal, accounting or tax advice.
If you have questions about a construction contract, or would like a negotiator on your side, contact Först Consulting Group. We are happy to provide a variety of helpful services including homeowner advocacy.