Why Your Decking Contractor Needs to be Licensed in Virginia
Before hiring a contractor to work on your decking project in Virginia, you’ll need to make sure that they’re licensed in the state. If you hire someone who isn’t properly licensed, you’ll likely hit a road block when attempting to get a permit, since a contractor needs to varify their license as part of the permitting process.
Even worse, an unlicensed contractor may prove to be unscrupulous, causing you to sink much more money than you intended into your decking project when they fail to complete the work you paid them for or do shoddy work that another more qualified builder will have to fix.
Fortunately, it’s easy to determine if the decking contractor is licensed and if their license is up to date. Virginia has strict contractor licensing system that divides licensed contractors into three classes based on how big a project contract they can sell. All contractors, no matter what class they are licensed in, will have to submit an application to the state and complete an 8-hour pre-licensing course. That pre-licensing contractors course in the state of Virginia covers industry and business-related topics as well as state regulations, statutes, and requirements that are relevant to working as a home contractor.
The three classes of Virginia contractors are:
1. Class A Virginia Contractors License
These contractors can work on projects of any monetary value; must pass General, Advanced, and Law exams; must pass any specialty exams required by their trade; and must have at least 5 years of experience and a net worth of at least $45,000.
2. Class B Virginia Contractors License
These contractors can work on projects that have a monetary value of $10,000 to $120,000; must pass General, Law, and any specialty exams required by their trade; and must have 3 years of experience and a net worth of at least $15,000.
3. Class C Virginia Contractors License
These contractors can work on projects that have a minimum monetary value of $1,000 but no more than $10,000; must pass any specialty exams required by their trade; and must have at least 2 years of experience.
Keep in mind that any decking project that costs over $1,000 is going to require your contractor to have the bare minimum of a Class C license. Contractors who do not have the proper licensure face harsh penalties for taking on projects for which they are not qualified.
So how do you know what license—if any—the person you’re considering hiring as a contractor has? The good news is that it’s actually quite easy to confirm your contractor’s license because it’s a public record. You can simply go to the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation website and search for your contractor by name, zip code, or the license number they gave you.
Don’t assume that your contractor is licensed just because they gave you what looks like an official license number, as it’s possible that the license may be expired (contractors must renew their license every two years in Virginia) or a fake. Performing a quick check online can give you peace of mind by proving that your decking contractor really is the professional he or she has claimed to be.
Confirming that your Virginia contractor is licensed should also confirm that your contractor is bonded and insured for a minimum of $2 million, but it’s a good idea to ask your contractor to send you a scanned copy of their insurance policy anyways. You’ll want to know that your contractor is fully qualified and that you’re fully protected during the decking project. Once you’ve determined that your contractor meets all the necessary qualifications, you can begin the project and enjoy your brand new deck.