Idaho Contractor License Search
What You Should Know about Hiring a Contractor in Idaho
There are over 48,000 licensed contractors in Idaho. However, you cannot hire anyone who claims he is a contractor in the state. To avoid being a victim of fraudulent contractors, you should verify the contractor's license with the relevant state or local authority before finalizing on hiring. A licensed contractor carries insurance and bonds, covering any liability arising from work-related injuries, damages, and uncompleted work. Also, a licensed contractor is qualified to ensure your project is completed according to the correct local code and industry standards.
Besides verifying your contractor's license , you should also consider the following issues when hiring a contractor in Idaho:
- Who Is a Contractor in Idaho?
- How to Search for a Contractor's License in Idaho
- Penalty for Hiring a Contractor Without a License in Idaho
- How Much Does a Contractor Charge in Idaho?
- Tips for Hiring a Contractor in Idaho
- Is Your Contractor Insured and Bonded as Required by Idaho Statutes?
- Top Home Improvement Scams in Idaho
- How to Report Fraudulent Idaho Contractors
Who Is a Contractor in Idaho?
An Idaho contractor is a licensed person or company undertaking a project to provide materials or labor to perform a service or do a job. The Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses (IDOPL) handles the registration and regulation of contractors through the state's Contractors Board. However, professionals, such as plumbers, electricians, and HVACR technicians, need to hold licenses issued by IDOPL through the state's Division of Building Safety to operate anywhere in the state. Typically, there are two categories of contractors you can hire in the state:
- General Contractors: These professionals usually manage and supervise home improvement or construction projects. As general contractors, they are responsible for hiring subcontractors, getting permits, and ensuring that all the tasks are completed on schedule. General contractors handle various construction-related tasks, excluding those that require special licenses. In Idaho, general contractors aren't required to carry a license from the state. However, they must register with the state when handling projects worth at least $2,000, including labor and materials. Although the registration of contractors by the IDOPL is required in every state, cities can still issue licenses to contractors before they perform work in their jurisdiction. For instance, in Idaho Falls, general contractors must obtain the appropriate trade license from the Idaho Falls Building Department to work on construction projects.
- Specialty Contractors: These professionals focus on construction-related trades, such as plumbing, electrical, carpentry, roofing, painting, and masonry. They can bid and offer their services to clients for small projects and work as a subcontractor on larger projects. To operate legally, specialty contractors in Idaho must first obtain a state-issued license.
How to Search for a Contractor's License in Idaho
The Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses (IDOPL) regulates the activities of contractors and specialty contractors in the state. IDOPL requires contractors to be registered and specialty contractors to be licensed before offering services to residents.
The Uhire Professional License Search platform will allow you to check if your preferred contractor has been correctly registered. You can also confirm if the specialty contractor working on your project is holding a valid license and following the proper regulations.
You can also check the registration and licensing status of your potential contractor and specialty contractors, respectively, with the Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses (IDOPL) via
- The License & Registration Search platform of the Idaho Contractors Board
- The Lookup is a professional license platform of the Idaho Division of Building Safety.
These platforms allow users to conduct searches using a variety of factors, such as the license type, address, and contractor's name.
Penalty for Hiring a Contractor Without a License in Idaho
Regardless of the construction project's scope, it is essential to hire licensed contractors. Doing so will ensure that you are getting the best possible service. Unfortunately, hiring an unlicensed contractor may be a threat to your safety, finances, and health because
- Unregistered and unlicensed contractors are typically not insured. They can pose a legal liability to you due to potential accidents or disputes during the project.
- Unlicensed individuals can provide you with inferior services because they are unskilled and could pose a safety hazard.
- Unlicensed and unregistered contractors can also face penalties and fines when they fail to follow proper regulations. For instance, if they carry out a project without obtaining the necessary permits, they might be fined and even reduce their property value.
Contractors who offer their services without appropriate state registration are committing a misdemeanor. This is punishable by a fine of $1,000 or six months in county jail or both at the court's discretion.
How Much Does a Contractor Charge in Idaho?
In Idaho, you can expect to pay around $50 to $90 an hour for the services of specialty contractors. The exact cost of doing business depends on various factors, such as the type of contractor you're hiring, their experience, and the intensity of the task.
The table below shows the average hourly rates for different kinds of contractors in Idaho. The rates may vary depending on your locality and the contractor's reputation:
Hiring a general contractor to oversee a building or major home improvement project can minimize the stress and time involved in dealing with multiple laborers, suppliers, and subcontractors. General contractors typically charge around 10 to 20% of the project's total cost in Idaho. Their actual fees are typically calculated using the following pricing models:
- Lump Sum Pricing: This type of pricing structure allows the contractor to set a fixed price for their services, and they can markup when necessary to cover unforeseen events. It's ideal for projects that have a definite timeline and clear scope.
- Cost Plus Pricing: This method is typically used for projects with a vague scope and schedule. The contractor charges a pre-defined sum for their services, which is ideal for these projects. However, you should set a maximum amount to prevent inflation of the overall expenses.
A home remodeling project typically costs between $90 and $145 per square foot in Idaho. Nevertheless, the overall cost of construction and building projects depends on various factors, like
- Your location.
- Material costs.
- Contractor fees.
- The urgency of the project.
- The nature and scope of the project.
- Permit costs, labor fees, and other related expenses.
- Accessibility to the project site and site conditions.
- The experience, expertise, and local reputation of involved contractors.
Tips for Hiring a Contractor in Idaho
When you hire a licensed contractor for a home improvement, remodeling, or building project, you can rest assured that the work will be performed successfully and efficiently. Hence, whether you are planning on minor repairs or a large project, you can find the right contractors by following the tips provided below:
- Avoid cash payments
- Confirm that your contractors are licensed, insured, and bonded via the License & Registration Search platform of the Idaho Contractors Board.
- The Lookup is a professional license platform of the Idaho Division of Building Safety.
- Ask potential contractors for references from past clients in Idaho. Ensure you contact those references and inquire about their professionalism.
- Get detailed cost estimates from several contractors in Idaho for comparison.
- Verify that the contractor carries liability insurance and bond.
- Make sure you get a written contract before any work commences. Review all written contracts thoroughly to ensure they include project details like timelines, payment terms, and warranties.
- Keep all project-related documentation, including contracts, receipts, and other necessary correspondence.
- Ensure down payments do not exceed 30 percent of the project's total cost. You should also avoid making payments ahead of the scheduled work.
- Understand the scope of the work. This includes identifying the type of contractors that will perform the work.
Is Your Contractor Insured and Bonded as Required by Idaho Statutes?
Contractors registered to carry on business in Idaho must carry general liability insurance of not less than $300,000. They must also carry employee workers' compensation insurance, if any. When hiring contractors, you must ensure that they are bonded and insured. This can help protect you from various legal and financial liabilities arising from unexpected incidents during your project.
However, bonding and insurance provide similar coverage but differ in their primary functions. If the contractor fails to complete the job, you can protect yourself with bonds, providing financial protection against losses. On the other hand, insurance can help you avoid liabilities if something goes wrong during the project.
Therefore, before committing to a project, ensure the contractor has proof of their bond and insurance coverage. Also, they should approach their bond and insurance provider to see if their coverage is adequate. Contact the Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses (IDOPL) (208) 334-3233 for more information about contractor requirements.
Top Home Improvement Scams in Idaho
When planning a home remodeling project in Idaho, it's essential to be aware of the potential risks of working with an unethical and unlicensed contractor. It is estimated that 2.8 out of 10,000 homeowners in Idaho fall victim to home improvement scams every year. Therefore, before you hire a contractor, you must be able to identify red flags like
- Lack of proper licensing proof
- Unable to provide proof of insurance or downplay its importance
- Poor reviews and ratings on reputable platforms like the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Employ high-pressure sales tactics to rush you into making quick decisions.
- Demand large upfront payment.
- Insistence on upfront payment
- Avoid providing written contracts.
- Unwillingness or inability to provide references from past clients
- Discourage obtaining necessary permits.
Before you hire a contractor in Idaho, make sure that you follow these precautions to avoid falling victim to home improvement scams:
- Avoid cash payments
- Be cautious of contractors who show up uninvited to your home.
- Verify the contractor's credentials by verifying if they are correctly licensed to operate in Idaho. Also, contact the Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses (IDOPL) at (208) 334-3233 to check for any complaints or disciplinary actions against them.
- Request references from the contractor and contact their clients to ask about their overall experience with the contractor's services.
- Get and compare written cost estimates from multiple contractors for your project.
- Insist on a written contract and carefully review the contract before signing. Ensure it includes detailed information about the materials used, the work scope, and the project schedule.
- Request proof of liability insurance and bond
- Avoid paying large upfront payments, and you should limit down payments to a maximum of 30 percent of the total cost.
- Make sure that all the work is finished according to the contract terms before making the final payment.
How to Report Fraudulent Idaho Contractors
You can report cases of shoddy services and fraud committed by contractors operating in Idaho to various agencies, including
Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses (IDOPL).
You can report cases of fraud, unethical business practices, and fraudulent contractors to the state's Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses (IDOPL) by completing an online complaint. You should thoroughly read IDOPL's Notice to Complainants to guide you through the complaint process.
The Idaho Attorney General's Office
The Idaho Attorney General's Office handles consumer complaints, including home improvement scams and deceptive business practices of contractors in the state. You can file a complaint by completing an online complaint form or by filling out a complaint form and mailing it to:Office of the Attorney General
State of Idaho
700 W. Jefferson Street, Suite 210
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0010
The Better Business Bureau (BBB)
The Better Business Bureau of Idaho's local chapter can also assist in resolving complaints if you have been a victim of contractor fraud. Also, reporting such cases to the organization helps alert other consumers of the fraudulent activities of these individuals and can avoid getting scammed.
Local Police Departments
You should report any incident involving a contractor to the local police department if they threaten or steal from you.
Small Claims Court
If you believe that a contractor in Idaho did not deliver on their promise or did not perform their duties according to the agreed-upon standards, then you can seek monetary compensation at a Small Claims Court. You can file small claims cases if the dispute does not exceed $5,000, and you will be required to pay a $69 filing fee.