Top Tips for Ensuring Your General Contractor is Fully Licensed

January 18, 2024
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Hiring an outstanding general contractor is the first step in the success of any construction project. Whether you are renovating your home, building a new office space, or undertaking a significant construction project, selecting the right general contractor is vital to how you feel when using that space.

Something that is often overlooked by many is ensuring that their chosen general contractor is fully licensed. A licensed contractor brings professionalism to the table and provides assurance and legal protection for the client and the contractor involved. This blog post will explore tips for ensuring your general contractor is fully licensed and a great fit for your project.

Research State Licensing Requirements

When verifying a contractor’s license, the first step is to familiarize yourself with your state’s specific licensing requirements. Each state sets its criteria for licensed general contractors, and while some of those requirements may overlap, knowing these unique requirements is key in selecting the right contractor for your project.

For instance, if you need a commercial contractor in Lees Summit, Missouri, you can work with a local contractor whom you can trust and work with comfortably. However,  different considerations come into play if your project spans across state lines. 

It’s important to ensure that your selected contractor adheres to the state reciprocity agreements and completes the necessary paperwork to legally operate in your state if their business is based elsewhere. This compliance validates their professionalism and safeguards your project against any legal complications.

Verify Contractor’s License

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the licensing requirements, the next step is to verify the general contractor’s license. At this stage, you may ask how to check a contractor’s license in the first place.

Instead of searching through the specific requirements, calling government offices, or trying to find an in-person office with the information, check online databases for a contractor’s license status.

For example, if you are in Kansas and need a commercial general contractor near you in Overland Park, you could access the Johnson County database and look up your contractor to verify their information.

If the contractor hesitates to provide their license number or the data doesn’t match the records, it’s a red flag requiring further investigation.

Check For Proper Insurance

Ensuring that your contractor is licensed and insured is crucial in establishing their legitimacy. How to check if a contractor is licensed and insured? Generally, a licensed general contractor should carry adequate insurance to protect both parties in the event of accidents, injuries, or property damage.

On average, coverage often ranges from $500,000 to $1 million; some contractors may opt for higher coverage limits, such as $2 million or more, depending on the nature and scale of their projects.

When starting a project with a new contractor, request proof of insurance and ensure it includes liability insurance and workers’ compensation coverage. This step is crucial as it shields you from potential legal and financial liabilities in case of unforeseen circumstances during the construction process.

Ask For References and Check Review

Determining their trustworthiness is equally essential when learning how to check a contractor’s license and qualifications. A licensed and reputable general contractor will have a portfolio of completed projects and a list of satisfied clients.

Ask for references from previous clients and take the time to contact them about the quality of work, the time it took to get things moving, and how it was dealing with the contractor conversationally. This step will give you insights into the contractor’s work quality, communication, and professionalism.

Experience and Expertise

In addition, looking into the experience and expertise of your contractor is essential. It’s equally important to assess the handling of projects similar to yours.

Specifics to Inquire About:

  • Ask about the years they’ve been in business.
  • Their specific experience with your type of project.
  • Request examples of similar projects they’ve completed.

This is most true in case you need rollout construction services where the project’s attention to detail needs to be accomplished almost perfectly. A seasoned contractor brings valuable insights, problem-solving skills, and a network of reliable subcontractors to your project.

Stay Involved Throughout the Project

After verifying your contractor’s license and finding that they are fit for the job, ensuring that throughout the project timeline, everything is being accomplished to your needs, keeping and maintaining an open method of communication can be vital to ensuring the project stays on track and complies with all legal requirements.

Regularly checking in with the contractor, reviewing the progress, and addressing any concerns promptly will help create a collaborative environment and foster accountability, reducing the likelihood of disputes and ensuring that the work meets your expectations.

Throughout this article, we’ve explored essential strategies for how to check a contractor’s license. Understanding the necessary qualifications and ensuring that your contractor meets these standards is instrumental in making a sound decision. Dedicating time to select a licensed and qualified contractor is the first step in the success of your project.


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