Working without a contractor’s license in the State of Tennessee is both risky and ill-advised. You might not get caught the first time, but eventually, something will transpire on your project site that requires you to present your license. When you are unable to do so, the floodgates of the law will open for Class A misdemeanors, fines, and suspensions to spill forward. As a roofing attorney serving contractors from Memphis to Knoxville, we take a strong advisory stance against working without the proper licensing; however, we also fight for the roofing industry and provide an array of services catering to contractors, including license defense.
In part one of this two-part series, we explained the licensing requirements for contractors working on projects exceeding $25,000 in value as well as those working on home improvement projects valued between $3,000 and $24,999. Now, we will continue to discuss some important facts about licensing and provide tips for contractors who want to attract more business.
Avoid Unscrupulous Activity
Owners, especially homeowners, are wary of the contracting scams that threaten to clean out their pockets. It’s all over the headlines, so you’ll want to avoid any behaviors that resemble the prototypical “door-to-door” contractor. This person is eager to get their foot in the door following a severe storm. They will typically look for damaged homes and appeal to the homeowner’s sense of urgency to get the deal done quickly, oftentimes without a legitimate contract. They might ask for half up front and leave to get their materials. Suddenly, a week has passed and they are nowhere to be found. The homeowner has been duped and the unlicensed contractor is in transit to their next unsuspecting victim.
Always play it straight, even with minor repair work. The Tennessee Regulatory Authority is keeping a close eye on unscrupulous activity. You don’t want to be caught up in a lawsuit because of an honest mistake or an attempt to cut corners. That said, if you find yourself in a situation like this, consult a roofing lawyer immediately. Some other shady contractor behavior to avoid includes:
- Requesting that the homeowner signs over the insurance check
- Requesting for an all-cash payment (either in increments or upfront)
- Insisting that the homeowner obtains the relevant permits
- Failing to show proof of insurance
- Trying to file a lien without a license
- Avoiding inspections
What Clients Look For
Even if your business has a stellar reputation, a potential client will want to do their homework to ensure that you are trustworthy. By calling the Tennessee Board of Licensing Contractors, an owner can see past complaints issued against your business. There are also resources available that allow owners to see your revoked or suspended licenses, disciplinary actions, open complaints, Better Business Bureau rating, and information regarding your license, insurance, and bonds. Keep in mind that the best way to be successful is to maintain your license, follow the rules, and back up your claims with professional, long-lasting work.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.