Utah Contractor License Search

What You Should Know about Hiring a Contractor in Utah

Over 301,000 licensed contractors across 206 professions in Utah are ready for hire whenever you need their services. By hiring a licensed contractor, you can have peace of mind knowing you are engaging someone who has the necessary education and skills to execute your project correctly. Furthermore, professional contractors often carry insurance and bonding to protect you from any financial liability in the event of property damage or employee injuries at the project site. You can avoid the following risks by verifying your contractor's license and other credentials:

  • Falling victim to untrustworthy contractors who may take your money without delivering satisfactory results.
  • Endangering your family's safety due to a contractor's negligence or incompetence.
  • Dealing with contractors who cannot complete the job according to the required industry standards.

In Utah, most trades require a state license. Considering everything mentioned so far, when choosing a contractor in Utah you should take the following aspects into account:

Who Is a Contractor in Utah?

Contractors are individuals or businesses that offer services based on a written or oral agreement. Licensing in Utah is handled by the Utah Department of Commerce Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL). Contractor licenses are divided into two main categories:

  • General Contractor: Building, housing, and property construction and remodeling projects are planned and managed by general contractors. They possess the know-how to efficiently manage the tasks of different specialty contractors working on these projects. General contractors serve as intermediaries between project owners and subcontractors to ensure smooth communication and efficient project execution. In Utah, general contractors are classified in the following manner:
    • B100 General Contractor
    • R100 Residential/Small Commercial Contractor
    • E100 General Engineering Contractor
    • P200 General Plumbing Contractor
    • P201 Residential Plumbing Contractor
    • E200 General Electrical Contractor
    • E201 Residential Electrical Contractor
  • Specialty Contractors: These contractors have polished their skills in various trades, including plumbing, electrical work, masonry, painting, roofing, and HVAC (heating, cooling, ventilation, and air conditioning) work. A general contractor will often hand-pick specialized contractors with the expertise to do particular tasks or offer specialized services for projects. You can also deal directly with a specialty contractor when a project is reasonably small and narrowly focused.

How to Search for a Contractor's License in Utah

You may check the profiles of different types of contractors by using the Uhire professional licensing search option, which gives you access to a thorough search tool. This service allows you to check whether a contractor in Utah has a current license, which is very helpful when assessing potential contractors. The Utah DOPL Licensee Lookup and Verification System is also a valuable tool for finding state-licensed contractors. Both platforms provide vital information to help you make an informed decision when choosing contractors for your projects.

Penalty for Hiring a Contractor Without a License in Utah

Utah law forbids contracting without a license. First violations can result in a penalty of up to $1,000, and second violations can rise up to $2,000.

Although hiring an unlicensed contractor is not strictly unlawful, doing so has several disadvantages like the following:

  • Unlicensed contractors cannot get the necessary approval from relevant building authorities. Undertaking projects without authorization could have an adverse financial impact and reduce the value of your home. Be aware that renovations and general contracting work are exempt from this approval.
  • It is very likely that unlicensed contractors do not carry insurance or bonding. This means that any accidents or property damage that may happen during your project will be your responsibility.
  • Hiring these types of contractors increases the possibility of receiving subpar work that will need to be redone.

How Much Does a Contractor Charge in Utah?

The intricacy level and labor demands of the projects that specialty contractors take on frequently impact their pricing. These professionals often earn between $55 and $118 per hour due to the special nature of their work. When comparing project estimates provided by specialty contractors, bear in mind that they consider these aspects when defining a quote.

Typical hourly fees charged by specialty contractors in Utah are listed below. Nevertheless, be aware that actual costs may vary based on your region and the reputation of the contractor:

$58 - $70
$61 - $70
HVACR Technicians
$70 - $120
$40 - $70
$40 - $75
$55 - $90
Flooring Contractors
$40 - $80
$65 - $115
$50 - $95
$65 - $240
Interior Designers
$60 - $190
Excavation Contractors
$100 - $230
Concrete Contractors
$50 - $120
$50 - $65
Appliance Repair Technicians
$50 - $110
$40 - $105
Cleaning Services
$40 - $120
$55 - $160

It is common to require more than one specialized contractor for a residential or commercial project. Hence, it makes sense to engage a general contractor to oversee the entire undertaking to save time and money and free yourself of the burden of coordinating several subcontractors.

Keep in mind that the project's overall cost frequently determines a general contractor's rates. This amount, which accounts for 10% to 20% of all project costs, is normally determined using one of the following techniques:

  • Fixed Price Method: In this case, the contractor consents to complete the work in exchange for a specific sum. This method works best for tasks with a defined scope and end date.
  • Cost Plus Fee Method: In this case, the contractor adds a markup to all services provided in addition to the actual work completed on the project. When working on significant projects with unclear deadlines, this approach works best. However, it is advisable to agree on a predetermined maximum price with your contractor to avoid prices from sharply increasing.

In Utah, you should pay about $61.41 to $94.13 per square foot for construction and home renovation projects. Notice that the following elements may have an impact on your final costs:

  • The cost of employing contractors to provide required tasks
  • The role and credentials of employed contractors
  • The location of the project, its cost, and the accessibility of required materials
  • The project's nature and scope
  • Labor, approval, and additional costs

Tips for Hiring a Contractor in Utah

The contractors you select must be qualified for their tasks given the amount of money that is normally involved in the design, remodeling, installation, maintenance, and repair of a home and its fixtures. Understanding the project's scope and identifying the kinds of contractors required to execute it are the initial steps in ensuring this. Thus, consider the following recommendations before hiring any contractor in Utah:

  • You should always hire state-licensed contractors. Your contractor's license status is available online.
  • Never pay the total cost of a project upfront. Never pay more than $1,000 (or 10% of the total project cost) in advance for home remodeling jobs.
  • Verify the contractor's (and subcontractors', if applicable) insurance and bonding.
  • Compare up to three contractor bids for your project.
  • Request and check the references of each bidder.
  • Before making the final payment, ensure the work has been done satisfactorily.
  • Before starting any task, insist on getting a signed contract stating all project obligations and requirements. Before agreeing, make sure you have read and understood the deal.
  • Avoid using cash as payment.
  • Keep copies of any documents concerning the project, including contracts, warranties, and invoices.

Is Your Contractor Insured and Bonded as Required by Utah Statutes?

In Utah, a general liability insurance certificate with a minimum coverage of $100,000 per occurrence and $300,000 overall is required for contractors. Notice that the DOPL must be included in the certificate holder list. Additionally, Utah contractors with employees must keep workers' compensation insurance, with very few exceptions.

To protect yourself financially and legally if unanticipated events like bodily harm, unexpected property damage, and contractor errors arise during your project, you should determine whether your contractors are appropriately insured and bonded. Never underestimate the multiple safeguards that insurance and bonds provide. Insurance protects both the project owner and the contractor from having to pay out-of-pocket costs associated with accidents and injuries. Bonds, on the other hand, primarily shield project owners from liability for any damage brought on by the contractor's failure to complete the work as agreed.

Therefore, always request proof of a contractor's bonding and insurance coverage before hiring them. In addition, ensure that the scope of your project is covered by their general liability insurance. You can verify your contractor's insurance (and bond) certificates by contacting the issuing agency.

Top Contractor Scams in Utah

Contractor-related scams are prevalent in Utah. Every year, about 3.2 out of every 10,000 homeowners become victims of these frauds. Hence, you should take certain precautions to avoid becoming another victim. Knowing how these dishonest contractors operate is one of the best ways to avoid falling into their trap.

The following are some of the methods regularly used by shady contractors to scam Utah homeowners:

  • Employing a door-to-door marketing strategy that provides incentives for hiring them
  • Offering free home inspections resulting in the "discovery" of urgent and necessary repairs
  • Minimizing the significance of formal contracts
  • Delivering contracts with unclear language or blank spaces that could be filled later
  • Expanding the project's needs and expenses
  • Demanding full or sizable payments in advance, forcing families to sign up for services, or demanding excessive sums of money

To prevent these frauds, take the following steps before hiring contractors in the state:

  • Conduct thorough background checks on every prospective contractor. Check references, thoroughly study contracts before signing them, and inquire about the contractors' insurance and bonding status. You might also look up their reputation online.
  • Hire only licensed contractors.
  • Never accept quotations from unsolicited contractors.
  • Avoid paying in cash.
  • Don't spend over $1,000 (or 10% of the overall project cost) as a down payment.
  • Only consent to contracts that you fully comprehend.
  • Get quotations for your project from various contractors and evaluate them.
  • Ask your main contractor and any associated subcontractors to sign lien releases.

How to Report Fraudulent Utah Contractors

Depending on the circumstances, there are various offices in Utah where you can report contractor fraud and pursue legal action against dishonest contractors.

Utah Division of Professional Licensing

You can file a complaint with the Utah Division of Professional Licensing if you deal with contractors who aren't licensed, don't have proper worker's compensation insurance, use misleading marketing strategies, or underpay their staff. Complaints against authorized contractors may also be submitted to this office.

Office of the Attorney General of Utah

Any instances of unfinished work, high costs, or dishonest business practices resulting in financial loss or theft should be reported to the Office of the Attorney General of Utah. You can also consider contacting the local District Attorney's Office.

Small Claims Court

You may decide to bring a small claims lawsuit against a contractor if they disobey the conditions of a written agreement. It is imperative to inform your area's district attorney's office before doing this. Notably, a small claims court lawsuit can be worth a maximum of $11,000. Your filing fee will depend on how much money you are claiming. For instance, if the claim is less than $2,000, the filing charge is $60; if it is between $7,500 and $11,000, it is $185.

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

You can file a complaint about a dishonest contractor with your local Better Business Bureau office. The BBB encourages locals to report fraud, voice complaints about service providers, share their experiences working with businesses and warn others against deceptive advertising.

The Police Department

If a contractor has physically threatened or taken something from you, you should phone the nearest police station first.