How Do I Find the Right Licensed Contractor?
Here are things you can do to help find the right licensed contractor.
Make Sure the Contractor is Licensed
- Business License – License to do business in the different sections of Las Vegas. (Clark County, City of Las Vegas, Henderson and City of North Las Vegas)
- Contractor’s License – Licensed by the Nevada State Contractors Board to do the work you need done. (i.e. replace a water heater)
All contractor advertisements, whether an ad in the phone book or newspaper, a flyer that shows up at your front door, or the company’s name on the side of a truck, must have the contractor’s state license number. You can check license status on-line or call (702) 486-1100.
REMEMBER: Most licensed contractors are competent, honest, hardworking and financially responsible. However, most of the problems the NSCB sees could be prevented if homeowners did their homework and took responsibility for their project. A responsible and informed consumer can work more effectively with reputable contractors, and can avoid being victimized by unscrupulous or unlicensed operators.
Shop Around Before Hiring a Contractor
Get at least three written bids on your project, and make sure you’re comparing bids based on identical plans, specifications and scope of work. Do not automatically accept the lowest bid. In fact, you should beware of any bid that is substantially lower than the others. It probably indicates that the contractor made a mistake or is not including all the work quoted by his or her competitors. You may be headed for a dispute with your contractor if you accept an abnormally low bid. It is also possible that this contractor will cut corners or do substandard work in order to make a profit on the job.
REMEMBER: Contractors are required to have their license number on their business card and on all bids and contracts. Seeing the number there doesn’t necessarily mean the license is valid. Check the license status on this Website. Although an unlicensed operator may give you a low bid, the risks of possible financial and legal consequences you may face outweigh any benefits a lower bid may seem to offer.
Ask for Personal Recommendations
Friends and family may have recently had similar projects completed. If they are satisfied with the results, chances are you will be too. Other good reference sources include local customers, material suppliers, subcontractors, and financial institutions to check whether the contractor is financially responsible. If you are still unsure, you may also wish to check the contractor out with your local building department, trade association or union, consumer protection agency, consumer fraud unit, and the Better Business Bureau.
Verify the Contractor’s Business Location and Phone Number
A contractor who operates a business out of the back of a pickup truck with a cellular telephone may be difficult to find to complete a job or fix something that has gone wrong after the last bill is paid. You can find a licensed contractor’s “address of record” on this website when you look up their license status.
Verify the Contractor’s Insurance Coverage
Ask to see a copy of the certificate of insurance, or ask for the name of the contractor’s insurance carrier and agency to verify that the contractor has the insurance.
In Nevada, if a contractor has employees, they’re required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The importance of this cannot be overstated. If a worker is injured working on your property and the contractor doesn’t have insurance, you could be liable to pay for injuries and rehabilitation. Your homeowner’s insurance may or may not cover those costs. You should check with your insurance carrier to make sure the workers’ compensation insurance coverage being provided by the contractor is adequate. Learn more from the Nevada Division of Insurance.
Learn about the Contractor’s Bonds
Nevada licensed contractors are required to have a contractor’s license bond. It’s important to know what bonds do and do not cover. Some bonds are designed to protect you against substandard work that does not meet with local building codes. Bonds do not assure the financial or professional integrity or competency of a contractor.
The Residential Recovery Fund
The Residential Recovery Fund was established by law during the 1999 session of the Nevada Legislature to offer protection for Nevada homeowners who contract with licensed contractors and, under certain conditions, are harmed by failure of that contractor to properly perform qualified services. Learn more about the Recovery Fund.