“How to Find Out If a Contractor is Licensed” is locked How to Find Out If a Contractor is Licensed

Finding a Licensed Contractor

Knowing how to find out if a contractor is licensed is an important skill. It helps you become a smarter consumer and find quality service in the skilled-trades. 

It’s the middle of summer and your HVAC unit goes out! Who can help? A contractor! Your toilet is flooding! Who can help? A contractor! If you’ve ever been in a situation similar to these you know time is of the essence to repair the issue. During your search for a contractor you might be looking for who can get you help the fastest or who has the lowest rate. What you really should be checking for is if the contractor you are hiring holds a license.

A contractor provides a wide-variety of jobs that are needed for a household. These services include plumbing, HVAC servicing/installation and electrical services. Make sure your contractor is licensed to ensure your household and appliances are receiving quality work and repair. Whether you are building a home or looking to repair a leaking faucet, hire a licensed contractor.

Why Hire a Licensed Contractor?

Hiring a licensed contractor guarantees that the person you are hiring has the proper education to complete the job. They have put hours into practicing their trade in order to pass tests and obtain the required permits to perform their job. Most contractor licenses require apprenticeship programs. These programs have apprentices complete up to 10,000 hours of on-the-job training. Contractors learn valuable information during this time. This training helps contractors experience day-to-day operations as well as unique situations that may happen on the job. Licensing requirements and tests vary from state to state. A licensed contractor will perform the job systematically and correctly. 

Licensed contractors meet your state and local codes. You can rest assured that your property and any work preformed on it is up to state code if a licensed contractor is taking on the job. Routine inspections are performed throughout the work on your property. Meeting state and local codes can ease the process of selling your home when the time comes. Contractors who are licensed will continually learn about advancements in their trade. This learning helps them stay updated with state and local codes.

Licensed contractors hold the proper insurance to cover any mishaps that might happen on the job. They are responsible for holding liability insurance as well as worker’s compensation. Insurance can cover both your property and any injury that may occur on your property during the time of the contractor’s job. If someone were to enter your property and be injured on a worksite, insurance would cover claims made against you. A contractor who is not licensed puts you at risk of not being able to make an insurance claim. This would subject you to an even bigger financial burden.

Along with insurance, licensed contractors also hold bonds to protect you from an uncompleted project. Bonds protect customers from contractors who do not finish the agreed upon job, permit payments and any other financial issue. A surety agreement is created between the contractor and the customer to guarantee financial safety. Bonds also protect you from a job that does not meet the expectations that you and the contractor set while planning the project.

A licensed contractor will complete the job they start. There is no need to worry about if a job will be completed. If a job performed by a licensed contractor is left uncompleted, they have the potential of losing their license. Licensed contractors take pride in the fact that they are licensed and want to withhold that standard of excellence. When you hire an unlicensed contractor, there is no promise that the job will be completed. Certain requirements and regulation do not need to be met that could lead to a lack of commitment. Licensed contractors are committed to the work that they promise their customers.

How to Find Out If a Contractor is Licensed

The first step on how to find out if a contractor is licensed is by visiting the contractor’s website. Their website should list their qualifications, certifications, training, credentials, and licensure status. The website can also provide information about your contractor’s services, past projects, and reviews.

Even if a perusal of your contractor’s website looks promising, you should still check their licensure status. Begin by requesting evidence of licensure from your contractor. Qualified contractors will happily provide you with evidence of their licensure and insurance. You can then use the information provided by your contractor to verify the status of their license.

There are three types of information you can use when learning how to find out if a contractor is licensed.

  • The contractor’s full name
  • The contractor company’s name
  • The number that appears on the license

Each state has different requirements and licensing organizations. Your local licensing department can verify if a contractor is licensed to work in your community. Your state’s Department of Labor can also provide this information. You can also request proof of liability insurance from your contractor. Then verify the contractor’s license with their insurance company.

Licenses can be granted to both contractors and individuals. A licensed contractor must verify that work performed by employees meets all code requirements. If your contractor is licensed, but employees perform the work, you might want to check the licensure of the employees performing the work as well. When viewing a license, verify that the name on the license matches the name of the person presenting it to you.

Other resources for inquiring into the licensure, qualifications, and competency of your contractor include the Better Business BureauAngie’s List, local review sites, and personal referrals. Don’t be afraid to request information from your contractor on people who can vouch for the quality of their work.

How to Spot an Unlicensed Contractor

A skill that will help you learn how to find out if a contractor is licensed is how to spot an unlicensed contractor. Listen to your gut! If you have a feeling that this contractor is not reputable, do not hire them. Look for customer reviews to get a better understanding of who your are hiring and what their past work looks like. Customers give the most honest take on what a company and its employees are like. Make sure to look for consistency within the reviews. Do your research and trust your judgment. Here are some potential red flags to look for when hiring a contractor.

  • They ask you to purchase the supplies
  • They do not provide you with a receipt
  • They only accept cash payments
  • You cannot find proof of their license on the above links
  • Vagueness when discussing price of job
  • Vagueness when discussing the finish date of the project
  • Service vehicles that do not match the company that you hired

If you find yourself dealing with an unlicensed contractor, report the contractor. In doing this, you are saving another customer from the financial and safety hazards that come with a faulty job. The organization you should report an unlicensed contractor to vary from state to state. Use your knowledge of how to find out if a contractor is licensed to benefit others!

Licensed contractors work hard to perform their trade well. It takes years of schooling and dedication to become a contractor. Do not put your property at risk by hiring an unlicensed contractor. Unlicensed contractors are the reason consumers must learn how to find out if a contractor is licensed. While they may offer substantial discounts or other incentives, the risk is much greater than the reward. Licensed contractors are working to protect the integrity of the skilled trades and perform quality jobs.

Additional Certifications

Having a license means that a contractor has met the minimum requirements to operate deemed by each state. Learning how to find out if a contractor is licensed may lead you to find that certain contractors have certifications on top of their license. These certifications mean that the company has gone above and beyond the minimum requirement. They have continued their commitment to their craft and strive to find revolutionary ways to best fix problems you may have.

Certifications can cover anywhere from stored electrical safety to microwaves. When a contractor has a certificate in a certain field they have put in the time to gain even more knowledge about that subject. While they are not required, certificates can give you further assurance that your contractor is the right and best hire.

Certified contractors grow as technology grows. They have shown a commitment to keep learning about their craft and advancing in the job market. Certifications confirm that the business is learning as technology is growing.

Contractors are very proud of their certifications and usually have them listed on their websites. Ask your contractor if they hold any certifications for specific jobs. As technology gets more and more advanced by the day, certifications serve as a clear indicator that your contractor is prepared to service your specific and changing needs.

Plumber, HVAC Contractors and Electricians

If you are looking to get more specific with your search, check out the following links that detail how to find a professional in a specific field. 
 

Advocate for Licensing

PHCEid.org is an advocate for the Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical contractor to properly identify their licensed status for public awareness. Professional Contractors have the license or certification to work in homes and businesses. Without the proper certification and licensing to become a skilled trades professional, it compromises the integrity the trade industry. The contractors listed on the PHCEid.org website are licensed or certified according to the codes and laws set forth by each governing state and/or entity. Licensed Contractors work in compliance with local and state codes set forth by their governing trade industry board.  Get more information at PHCEid.org or call 844-954-2367 today!

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