Why You Should Hire A Licensed Contractor
**Each state has their own rules on licensing requirements. Be sure to check with your state on finding a licensed contractor! This blog mentions some regulations that may be specific to Arizona. However, in any state it is important to hire a licensed contractor.
I have a confession to make. I am a member of A LOT of local groups on Facebook. Nearly everyday someone asks the question: "Needing (construction project) done! Please help!" And the feed is filled with local handymen selling themselves. I can see why it would be tempting to choose one of them. They are eager to do the work, and a bid from them may be much lower than those from a licensed contractor. The unlicensed entity may be a company or individual. Remember! Just because they have "Construction" or "Builder" in their name, does not mean they have a license! Always ask to see it! And remember, the AZ Registry of Contractors has an online look-up which gives you up to date information on the license! Also! Just because they have an advertisement in the paper, phone book, etc does not mean they also have a license. In fact, they are required, although they sometimes don't, to make sure they label themselves "Not A Licensed Contractor" on everything!
In order to be a contractor in Arizona, you must be licensed. Period. End of story. To be licensed, you must possess a bond, among other requirements. (Like classes, tests, monetary investment, proof of work locally and in other states, letters of recommendation, letter from the state you had a license in previously--if you were, etc..etc...) If you hire an unlicensed entity, you have no recourse through the AZ ROC.
In Arizona, we do have what is called the "Handyman Exemption." This was enacted because the legislature understood the importance of being able to hire unlicensed people to do minor repairs.
That exemption reads like this:
"Any person other than a licensed contractor engaging in any work or operation on one undertaking or project by one or more contracts, for which the aggregate contract price, including labor, materials and all other items… is less than one thousand dollars."
So yes, the contract price must be under $1,000, but the statue also requires that the work performed must be "of casual and minor nature."
This means even if the job is LESS than $1000, if exceeds "casual or minor nature" it still must be performed by a licensed contractor. Also, if it requires a building permit--it must also require a licensed contractor.
>>>>If you are a homeowner, and the work is intended just for your occupancy--and you aren't going to sell or rent for a period of at least one year from completion of the work---you are able to make improvements on your own property--either by doing the work yourself or with your own employees. But! You still must be in compliance with state and local building permits and codes.<<<<
Let me break it down:
1. Protection of your property value: unlicensed entities can't obtain proper licensing. And this can be very detrimental to your property value. Also, if the work needs to be re-done because they weren't licensed--that cost falls on you.
2. Injury protection and protection from damage to third parties. Protect yourself and your assets.
3. Peace of Mind! Your licensed contractor went through a lot to prove their competence in that field. This shows that the person working your home gained more experience than that of watching HGTV. Should you experience problems with a licensed contractor, you have significant protections available to you that aren't available to people utilizing unlicensed entities.
---Would you hire an unlicensed Doctor?---