What Homeowners Need to Know about Protecting Themselves Against Unscrupulous Contractors, Part I: Licensing

contractor-contractIf 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:

  1. Virginia State Business License. Provided by the Virginia State Corporation Commission, this sets the contractor up in a legal business entity.
  2. 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:
    1. Class C – Single contract or project more than $1,000 but less than $10,000 (2 exceptions)
    2. Class B – Single contract or project $10,000 or more, but less than $120,000
    3. Class A – Single contract or project $120,000 or more
  3. Local Business License (by county or city)
  4. Local Contractor License (by county or city)
  5. Building Permit (by county or city)
  6. 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.


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