Being licensed means that you met certain criteria and have been tested with an exam to prove you can do a trade. A license is different than a registration or a certificate these are not the same! A registration just says you are performing the work without any guarantee of expertise or accuracy. A certification is voluntary although some states require them. In some states, a certificate can be used in place of a license or in correspondence with one.
Whether you are a contractor or a homeowner you need to know the contractor license requirements in your state. Theses licenses are put in place for a good reason! In some states, if you do work without a license you can be fined, have the removal of your project with no compensation, or even face a dangerous situation in your home. Contractors are even subject to jail time if they practice without a license.
Generally, contractors need a license to cover many different areas including HVAC, construction, and electrical work. Licensing varies by state and some states leave it completely up to cities or counties to form their own guidelines. In many states, there are certain licenses needed for the amount of a product. For example: If a project will cost $50,000 but you only have a license for projects $25,000 and under you cannot bid on that job unless you get a license for that amount. It’s easy to think of it like tiers of a cake where the bottom is lower priced jobs. If you want the top tier you have to get a license to get it.
It is important that you get a licensed contractor to get the job done right. Sure you can take to social media to try and hire someone, but your neighbor from down the street who is unlicensed will find loopholes that won’t pass inspection. There is way things have to be done with home renovations for safety reasons and a licensed contractor has been properly trained for that.
As a homeowner always ask for the license number as they can be looked up online to verify the license of your contractor. If they do not provide one or it is not listed in an easily accessed area like their website that is considered a red flag.
It is always important to work with a contractor that is licensed especially in a state that is required. Not only is this protecting you but it protects the contractor as well. Having renovations without proper licensing can cause you to be neck-deep in fines and the contractor could potentially serve jail time. A simple internet search is a quick and easy way to look up your state’s contractor’s license. After renovations, you will have a home inspection and you can always breathe easily when you have a licensed professional.