As a Virginia construction attorney, I often get calls for assistance in dealing with payment disputes. Frequently, these calls come from out of state contractors and subcontractors that have performed work in Virginia.
One of the first questions that I ask is whether these contractors and subcontractors hold a contractor license from the Commonwealth of Virginia. While most do, some do not, likley because they are unaware of the requirement in Virginia that all contractors be licensed when performing work in the Commonwealth. While I haven’t done an exhausive survey of the statutes and regulations of every state of the union on this point, the confused silence leads me to believe that such is not a requirement in every state. The most common reaction after “I had no idea I needed one” is that the general contractor holds a license so they did not think they needed to hold one. As I stated above, this is incorrect.
Sometimes this is not a problem because the project is commercial, payments flow regularly, and, frankly, noone gets caught. However, the risk is great for the unlicensed subcontractor or contractor even where they hold a license from another state. These risks run from non-payment due to a lack of license to the inability to record a mechanic’s lien. In short, working without a Virginia contractor license is asking for trouble in the Murphy’s Law goverened world of construction. If you don’t get paid and don’t have a license, you don’t have many options.
To conclude, be sure to have your Virginia contractors license with the proper designations before beginning work in Virginia. Check out the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation website for how to obtain one.
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