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Whenever a project has a value of more than $25,000, contractors in Tennessee are required to obtain a license. Read on for more information on the different situations and why it's important that you stick to those rules, and why it's important for homeowners to also only hire contractors that work within the rules. Are you a homeowner needing to engage in home improvement -- our network of contractors in Tennessee are ready to help by providing you with free, no obligation quotes for your project. All you have to do is take 2 minutes to fill out the form below.
Tennessee Contractor’s LicenseThe tornadoes that wreaked havoc on the state of Tennessee last 2012 brought upon a major issue that needs to be resolved – the unlicensed contractors that take advantage of the vulnerable. That year saw a lot of homeowners falling victim to these dodgy contractors. They pay these contractors good money, only to be left hanging with substandard or worse, no work at all. Fast forward to today and it’s still a major problem. Fortunately, you can now check if the contractors that you’re considering are licensed by the state.
Importance of Hiring a Contractor with a LicenseA contractor’s license will tell you a lot of things. It shows that they’re a legitimate business. It also shows that they will try their best to do good work because their name is on the line. It can also help weed out the fly-by-night companies. This is why it’s a good idea to ask for a license. Here are the more specific benefits:
- You know that they have the competent skillsets.
- They’re insured and bonded.
- They can apply for building permits for you.
- You can file a proper dispute.
Contractor License Search and Lookup in the State of TennesseeYou can use the TN contractor license search feature of the database of the Tennessee State Government. It makes it very easy to lookup contractor licenses. All you need to do is to go to http://verify.tn.gov/. You’ll land on the License Search and Verification page. After a short process to verify that you’re human, you’ll gain access to a form that will ask for the following information:
- Firm or Last Name
- First Name
- Middle Name
- City, State and Zip Code
- License #
General ContractorsAlso known as a prime contractor, a general contractor bids or contracts directly with the project owner. This professional is responsible for overseeing the construction project, dealing with subcontractors and tradesmen, and serving as a bridge of communication across all involved parties. In the state of TN, licensing requirements are handled by the TN Board for Licensing Contractors.
About the Tennessee Board for Licensing ContractorsThe board was established last 1931. Through the years, it continues to provide a steadying link between contractors and clients. They aim to ensure quality and fairness in the construction field, thereby protecting the consumers. You can contact them via the following contact details:
- 500 James Robertson Pkwy, Nashville, TN 37243, USA
- 615-741-8307 or 800-544-7693
- [email protected]
Tennessee Contractor License RequirementAlthough technically speaking in the state as per the Board for Licensing Contractors, a Tennessee contractor license is only required for projects that amount to $25,000 and more. This license is required before a company can even bid on a project. Contractors are classified into several classifications and have different exam requirements as per the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors Classification Outline with Trade Exam Requirements:
- Building construction
- Heavy construction
- Construction of airports, railroads and highways
- Construction of utility lines at the municipal level
- Mechanical contracting
- Electrical contracting
- Medical gas piping
- A home improvement license for projects $3,000 up to $24,999 in these counties – Haywood, Bradley, Knox, Davidson, Rutherford, Shelby, Hamilton and Robertson.
- A limited licensed electrician is required for electricians.
- A limited licensed plumber is required for plumbers.
Should You Get a License?Some contractors feel that getting one is unnecessary. Needless to say, it requires a lot of time, effort and money. But if you really want to succeed as one and you’re in this for the long term, you really need to go through the process and get licensed. Of course, you need to consider where you are right now. If you’re just starting, then there’s a good chance that you won’t be able to bid on projects over $25,000. This means that you don’t really need one. You also have to consider what services you’d like to offer. A license may get in the way of you offering a wide variety of services, so that’s definitely something that you’d want to consider when you’re getting started. It’s a good idea that you get started as an all-around handyman first. Use this chance to gain experience and business acumen. You should also take this chance to gain bidding experience so you’ll know how to bid correctly. The last thing that you’d want to happen is to bid too low on a job. Once you have the experience and you feel that you’re ready for the big jobs, these benefits should entice you to get a contractor’s license in Tennessee:
- You gain credibility.
- It gives you confidence.
- You open yourself up to more potential for earning.
How to Get a Contractor’s License in TNThere are 8 steps to getting a contractor’s license in Tennessee:
- Take the exams.
- Fire Sprinkler
- Full Mechanical
- Licensed Masonry Contractor if the project amount reaches $100,000
- Residential/Small Commercial
- Prepare a financial statement.
- Get a reference letter and proof of insurance.
- Register with the TN Secretary of State.
- Complete the application.
- Submit the application and the non-refundable fee.
- January, March, July and November for Nashville
- May for West Tennessee
- September for East Tennessee
- Review of the board
- Issuance of your license.
Contractor’s License ReciprocityYou need to pass a trade exam in order to get licensed. However, some states have a reciprocal or trade exam waiver agreement with Tennessee. You can get a TN trade exam waiver if you have a valid license in one of the following states:
- Alabama (Electrical, General, HVAC and Residential)
- Arkansas (Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board)
- Georgia (Commercial Building and Electrical)
- Louisiana (Commercial, Electrical, Mechanical and Residential)
- Mississippi (Commercial, Electrical, Mechanical - Unlimited and Residential)
- North Carolina (Commercial and Residential)
- Ohio (Electrical, HVAC and Plumbing)
- South Carolina (Commercial Contractors Licensing Board)
Electrical LicenseA TN state LLE license is needed if the total project cost (inclusive of materials and labor) is below $25,000. The cost of materials won’t be included if supplied by the client. The cost of materials will be included if supplied by a contractor. It will also depend on the project’s location. You can check with your local government to see if the LLE license is sufficient or if you need to get a master license. You can check this list for the issue agent information of your specific county. While you’re at it, confirm with the local government if you need a business tax license. You need to pass two exams in order to get licensed:
- Business and Law Exam (if also applying for a contractor license)
- Trade Exam
Plumbing LicensesThe requirements are basically the same as the requirements to get a Tennessee electrical license. The same company, PSI Services, will be conducting the exam. This time, the exam is 110 questions long with a time limit of 295 minutes. You need to get at least 73% to pass the exam.
Roofing LicensesRoofers are considered as subcontractors in the state of Tennessee and as such, they are generally not required to get a contractor’s license since they are contracting with the general contractor and not the owner of the project. But if the roofing work exceeds $25,000, they need to get a contractor’s license. Knoxville The Plans Review & Inspections Division handles the licensing, exam and reciprocal procedures in the city of Knoxville. To apply, send an application together with 3 reference letters to: Plans Review & Inspections Division City of Knoxville 400 Main St., Rm 505 Knoxville, TN 37902 There is a $30 non-refundable fee to apply. You also need a bond dependent on the license class. You can get the necessary forms here. You can also contact 865-215-4244 or 865-215-2999. Prometric will also provide an exam verification letter. You can contact them at 800-280-3926. You can also choose to reciprocate if you have an active TN contractor’s license. Submit a copy of the license together with an affidavit.
Shelby CountyFor Shelby County, the Department of Construction Code Enforcement is the one responsible for registering contractors that have a valid license in the state. They also issue local licenses. In order to get one, you need to have an approved application and you need to pass the exam by the Southern Building Code Congress International and Block and Associates. This local license is needed for the following:
- House moving
ChattanoogaTrade licensing applies in the city of Chattanooga. They have different boards of examiners that oversee the trade licensing:
- Electrical examiners
- Gas examiners
- Mechanical examiners
- Plumbing examiners