It’s the law. Any person performing, contracting, managing, or selling construction services > $1000 to real property in Virginia must be a licensed contractor by law. Remember, you as the property owner are ultimately responsible for any liability caused on your property. Hiring a licensed and insured contractor provides protection to the property owner in the form of the contractor carrying liability insurance and by working with the DPOR to receive monetary compensation from the Contractor Transaction Recovery Fund.
Virginia code at section 54.1-1100 provides:
“Contractor” means any person, that for a fixed price, commission, fee, or percentage undertakes to bid upon, or accepts, or offers to accept, orders or contracts for performing, managing, or superintending in whole or in part, the construction, removal, repair or improvement of any building or structure permanently annexed to real property owned, controlled, or leased by him or another person or any other improvements to such real property.
The general definition of “construction” and “improvement” suggests that practically anyone involved in the trade needs a license. This may surprise quite a few painters, folks laying some limited tile work, or flooring installers.
The code states further in section 54.1-1103 that no person shall engage in, or offer to engage in, contracting work without a license. That means that not only can you not perform the work without a license, but you cannot even market and offer your services without a license.
If the work you are considering is valued at $1,000 or more, a valid Virginia Contractor’s License is required for the license category in which the contractor is to work. Licensed contractors are subject to laws designed to protect the consumer.
By hiring a licensed contractor, you become eligible to receive monetary compensation from the Contractor Transaction Recovery Fund in case of improper or dishonest conduct.
Licensed contractors possess the necessary education and experience to perform competently. Unlicensed contracting is against the law. If you contract with someone who does not hold a license, the Board for Contractors may not be able to help you resolve a complaint, leaving you with little recourse against the unlicensed contractor.