If you’re looking for a local home builder you can trust, then it makes sense to only consider Virginia licensed contractors. A state-issued license is the best assurance possible that the firm you’re considering is ethical in its business practices, financially sound, and will do a good job for you. Here are answers to commonly asked questions about how contractor licensing works:

Q: Which contractors are required to have a license in Virginia?

A: Other than a few narrowly defined exceptions, all of them are. For example, engineers and architects who are already licensed in their professions need not acquire a separate license to do contracting work. Also, any persons who are performing work on a property they directly own do not have to be licensed. Unless your situation falls into one of these two categories, then you should only work with contractors that hold a state license.

Q: Are there different types of contractor licenses?

A: Yes – specifically, there are three. A Class C license allows a contractor to perform or manage a construction project with a dollar value of between $1,001.00 and $7499.00, OR the contractor can perform a project worth any dollar amount, provided that the total value of the work performed within a 12-month period is no more than $150,000.00. A Class B license allows a contractor to perform or manage projects with a dollar value between $7500.00 and $119,000.00, with a 12-month limit of no more than $749,999. The highest level of licensure, Class A, permits performing or managing projects worth more than $120,000.00. A Class A contractor can also do jobs with a smaller dollar value, so long as a minimum of $750,000.00 is performed within 12 months.

Simply put, a contractor with a Class A license has more freedom to perform jobs than those with B or C Class licenses. Consumers generally benefit from using Class A contractors whenever possible. Criner Remodeling holds a Class A license.

Q: How will I benefit from using Virginia licensed Contractors?

A: You will benefit in several ways: First, in order to qualify for a license, a contractor has to disclose the details of its business affairs for the past five years prior to applying for a license. This includes information about unpaid debts, judgments decreed against the contractor, past due taxes, and current or pending bankruptcies. These financial transparency requirements help to weed out firms with a history of illegal or unethical financial practices.

Second, a license applicant must reveal whether any of his/her managers or owners have had any criminal convictions in the previous three years, including misdemeanors. This requirement discourages those with a history of breaking laws from seeking licensure.

Third, in order to receive a state license, contractors must have a specific person of adult age in their employment that is a full-time employee and is a manager and/or supervisor. This ensures that, in cases of a legal dispute, there is a named individual who acts as the construction firm’s spokesperson.

Fourth, in order for a contracting firm to retain its license, it must give a physical address for its center of operations. Should this address change, the contractor must report this to the state licensing board. Similar notification is required if the company changes its business name and if the owner passes away. All of these requirements are additional assurance for the consumer that he or she is dealing with an established, reputable firm.

Q: Can a Contractor’s License Be Revoked?

A: Yes. Failure to meet any of the requirements for obtaining and holding a license is grounds for revocation. In addition, any contractor that has a “substantial identity of interest” with a company that has had its license revoked can have his/her own license taken away. This means that not only must licensed contractors be personally honest, the firms they work with must be ethical as well.

Q: Are contractors that work without a license breaking the law?

A: Yes. Operating without the appropriate license is a crime in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and is punishable by fines of up to $500.00 a day. Those who do so are also guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Q: I spoke with a contractor who said that he “inherited” his license from a firm that a relative owned. Is he telling me the truth?

A: No. A contractor’s license cannot be bought, sold, transferred, or inherited. Anyone who says otherwise is not speaking the truth.

Q: What kinds of risks do I face if I use an unlicensed contractor?

A: You face substantial risks if you use a contractor without a state license. If the work that’s performed is substandard, then you can be sued for consequences to third parties. For example, if you have work performed that’s unsafe and then later sell the home, you can be brought to court if the person who purchased the home is injured, suffers loss of property value, or is harmed in any other way as a result of the substandard work. The financial penalties you face can be quite steep, reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is aside from any dangers you face to your own wellbeing or to that of your family or visitors to your home. For example, improperly performed wiring can cause house fires, and your insurance company may not be liable to pay on any claims you file if the damage was caused by substandard work.

Unlicensed contractors have a history of taking a homeowner’s money and disappearing, leaving the job only partially finished; in fact, in some cases, the contractor does no work at all. In short, using unlicensed construction firms makes homeowners vulnerable to significant risks that far outweigh any perceived savings.

Q: How can I know if a contractor is licensed? 

A: By visiting www.dpor.virginia.gov/LicenseLookup/, you can search by company name, zip code, or license number.

Q: What is the license number for Criner Remodeling?

A: 2701024130. You can visit the above site to find out details about our business, including the fact that we have been licensed contractors in Virginia since 1983 and have no record of complaints against us.

If we can assist you with your home remodeling plans now or in the future, then we invite you to contact us. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have, give you references from previous customers, and show you how we can help you achieve your home improvement dreams, because we are competent Virginia licensed contractors that you can trust.