What licenses should I look for in a contractor?

Your construction project can quickly lead to legal problems if your contractor fails to complete the work correctly. There are options you can take to address these issues, but you can avoid them by taking preventative measures.

Fortunately, you can filter contractors by inquiring whether they have the appropriate licenses to carry out tasks for your project, including the following:

  • Contractor’s license: This license is a requirement for projects valued at $25,000 or more. It is necessary for projects that include electrical, mechanical, HVAC, plumbing and roofing work. Additionally, this license requirement also includes subcontractors and construction managers. Other work types have a higher dollar-amount limit to conduct their part of the project, such as masonry subcontractors, who usually need licenses for projects worth at least $100,000.
  • A home improvement contractor’s license: This license type is for smaller projects worth around $3,000 to $24,999 in specific counties, including Bradley, Davidson, Hamilton, Haywood and Knox. It typically applies to home remodeling, renovations, conversions and repairs.
  • Electrical or plumbing licenses: Local municipalities usually have licensing for anyone doing work involving electrical or plumbing systems worth less than $25,000. The local government regulates these work types heavily, requiring reviews by a local inspector or a Division of Fire Prevention representative.

These licenses might not guarantee seamless completion of your project, but they can prove the contractor’s legitimacy. The state has a registry that allows easy verification of contractor licenses.

Hiring a contractor responsibly

Finding the right contractor is like doing due diligence before buying property. Aside from verifying licenses, checking if they have insurance coverage for potential defects after completing the project and if their records are in order is crucial. Ideally, they can finish the job without a hitch. If not, there are ways to report these incidents and take legal action if necessary.

FindLaw Network
FindLaw Network