Connecticut Contractor License Search

What You Should Know about Hiring a Contractor in Connecticut

About 60,000 contractors are licensed by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection to ply their trade in the state. By hiring a licensed contractor, you can rest knowing that this professional has the necessary training and credentials to complete your project adequately. Professional contractors are also typically insured and bonded to shield you from any financial responsibility resulting from property damage or injury to personnel on the construction site. By verifying your contractor's license and other qualifications, you can prevent engaging the following types of contractors:

  • Untrustworthy contractors who might steal your money
  • Unreliable contractors who put your family's safety at risk
  • Unlicensed contractors who cannot complete your project under relevant industry norms.

In Connecticut, most trades are licensed at the state level. So, considering everything mentioned so far, we recommend you check the following points before hiring a contractor in Connecticut:

Who Is a Contractor in Connecticut?

Contractors are businesses and individuals that offer services based on a written or oral agreement. Licensing in Connecticut is handled by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. Be aware that some general contracting work does not require a license, so general contractors must determine if they need a license or just a registration. Contractors in Connecticut are categorized into two major groups:

  • General Contractor: construction and house or property renovation projects are managed by general contractors. These contractors are also in charge of coordinating the efforts of specialty contractors engaged in these projects and are typically the project owner's main point of contact. General contractors are further divided into three classes by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection:
    • Major Contractor: work performed by a major contractor may include masonry, roofing, and structural support. To receive a license in this category, a registration application is necessary. A major contractor is capable of working on both residential and commercial properties.
    • New Home Construction Contractor: any individual or company building a new home falls under the category of new home construction contractor.
    • Home Improvement Construction Contractor: any person or organization that permanently alters residential property, such as driveways, swimming pools, garages, roofs, and more, must register as a home improvement construction contractor.
  • Specialty Contractors: these contractors are authorized to carry out specific tasks related to building and home improvements, such as plumbing, electrical, HVAC (heating, cooling, ventilation, and air conditioning) work, painting, masonry, and roofing. A general contractor frequently selects specialty contractors (often referred to as "subcontractors") for a particular task or to provide a specific service related to a construction project. Nevertheless, you may directly collaborate with a specialized contractor on projects involving a single task.

How to Search for a Contractor's License in Connecticut

Four classifications of contractors, including Major Contractor, Mechanical Contractor, and Home Improvement Contractor, are licensed and regulated by the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP). Using the Uhire professional licensing search tool or the Connecticut's eLicense Website (which allows you to conduct searches using the contractor's name, business name, or license number), you can determine if your potential contractor has a current DCP-issued license.

Penalty for Hiring a Contractor Without a License in Connecticut

In Connecticut, sanctions for contracting without the necessary license may be enforced by the Department of Consumer Protection. The first offense carries a $1,000 fine; the second and subsequent offenses carry fines of up to $1,500 and $3,000, respectively. In addition to these penalties for the contractor, hiring an unlicensed contractor for your project could have the following negative implications:

  • You risk getting low-quality services from unqualified and inexperienced contractors.
  • Unlicensed contractors are probably not bonded or insured. This means that you will be liable for any mishaps and property losses that may occur during your project.
  • Contractors without licenses cannot get the required permits from local building authorities. If projects are completed without obtaining all the necessary permits, subsequent building code violations can incur financial penalties and reduce the value of your property.

How Much Does a Contractor Charge in Connecticut?

Specialty contractors often charge between $60 and $200 per hour. The complexity and labor demands of the projects they are hired for determine their final fees.

The most prevalent specialty contractors in Connecticut are listed in the table below, along with their standard hourly rates; however, actual costs may differ based on your location and the contractor's standing in the community:

$84 - $102
$89 - $101
HVACR Technicians
$70 - $120
$65 - $85
$60 - $85
$65 - $120
Flooring Contractors
$60 - $90
$70 - $130
$60 - $105
$85 - $210
Interior Designers
$80 - $195
Excavation Contractors
$110 - $260
Concrete Contractors
$70 - $130
$60 - $85
Appliance Repair Technicians
$60 - $110
$60 - $115
Cleaning Services
$60 - $110
$65 - $160

More than one specialty contractor is typically required for residential or commercial projects. To save yourself the time, money, and tension of coordinating numerous professionals, it makes sense to hire a general contractor to manage an entire project. General contractor fees are frequently based on the project's overall cost. These expenses, which make up between 10% and 20% of the project's total cost, are frequently calculated using one of the following methods:

  • Fixed Price Method: in this instance, the contractor agrees to finish the project in return for a predetermined sum. This approach is ideal for assignments with a clear scope and set due dates.
  • Cost Plus Fee Method: in this instance, in addition to fees for actual work, the contractor adds a markup to all services provided. This strategy is preferable for large projects with uncertain deadlines. However, it is wise to agree on a set maximum price to avoid costs from soaring.

For construction and home remodeling projects, you can anticipate paying between $100 and $400 per square foot in Connecticut. The following factors can affect total costs:

  • Permit, labor, and other supplemental charges
  • Contractors' payment
  • The cost of required supplies
  • Accessibility and conditions at the project location
  • The nature and scope of the project
  • The standing and credentials of hired contractors
  • Your location

Tips for Hiring a Contractor in Connecticut

Given the amount of money typically involved in the design, improvement, installation, maintenance, and repair of real estate and its fixtures, it is crucial to confirm that the contractors you select are capable of handling the job. The first step is to understand the project's scope and determine the types of contractors needed to execute it. Next, you should consider the following guidelines before hiring any contractor in Connecticut:

  • Always hire state-licensed contractors. You can verify your contractor's license online.
  • Request and compare estimates from up to three contractors.
  • Ask each bidder for references and check them.
  • Insist on having a written contract outlining all project expectations and commitments before any work begins. Make sure to read and understand the contract before signing.
  • Ensure the contractor (and all related subcontractors) are insured and bonded.
  • Never pay for a project in full in advance; for home renovation projects, never pay more than $1,000 (or 10% of the total project cost, whichever is less) up-front.
  • Verify the project has been completed satisfactorily before making the final payment.
  • Don't pay with cash.
  • Keep copies of any documents related to the project, including contracts, warranties, and invoices.

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

Contractors in Connecticut are required to carry workers' compensation insurance if they have one or more employees, regardless of whether they are contract workers, part-time employees, or full-time employees, and regardless of the average weekly income of those employees. Note that contractors applying for a major contractor license must have general liability coverage.

Verifying if your potential contractors are properly insured and bonded helps protect you financially and legally if unforeseen events like bodily harm, unintended property damage, and contractor errors arise during your project. Insurance and bonds offer distinct types of protection. Both the project owner and the contractor are frequently covered by insurance, protecting the former from accident and injury-related out-of-pocket expenses. The main purpose of bonds, on the other hand, is to protect project owners and ensure they are not held liable for any damages caused by the contractor's failure to finish the work as agreed.

Hence, always request proof of a contractor's bonding and insurance before hiring them. Also, ensure that their general liability insurance covers the scope of your project. You can do this by asking for a copy of their insurance (and bond) certificate and verifying it by contacting the issuing agency. Contact the Connecticut Department of Insurance at (860) 297-3800 for more details on the required insurance and bonds for Connecticut contractors.

Top Contractor Scams in Connecticut

There have been some instances of contractor fraud in Connecticut. 0.8 out of every 10,000 homeowners in the state fall prey to these scams each year.

Some techniques regularly used by unscrupulous contractors to deceive residents in Connecticut are as follows:

  • Offering unsolicited work for a discount
  • Giving free house inspections and "discovering" problems that need immediate assistance
  • Downplaying the importance of written agreements
  • Offering agreements with dubious terms or that feature blank spaces that could be filled in later
  • Dramatically inflating the cost of the materials required for the project
  • Requiring full or considerable advance payments, insisting on cash to persuade homeowners to sign up for services, and making them pay too much for these services by not letting them do their research

To stop these scams, take the following steps before employing contractors:

  • Be wary of contractors and home improvement proposals that you didn't request.
  • Always hire properly licensed contractors.
  • Get quotes for your project from several contractors and compare them.
  • Always do your due diligence on prospective contractors. Request formal agreements, carefully study them before signing, and ask for references to confirm that they are appropriately insured and bonded. You may also verify their online reputation.
  • Never sign anything you don't completely understand.
  • Request the release of any liens from your general contractor and all related subcontractors.
  • Limit your down payment to $1,000 (or 10% of the total project cost, whichever is less).
  • Don't pay with cash.

How to Report Fraudulent Connecticut Contractors

There are various agencies in Connecticut through which you can report contractor fraud and take legal action against dishonest contractors, depending on the situation.

Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection

If you are dealing with contractors working without a license, who lack adequate workers' compensation insurance, engage in deceptive advertising, or fail to pay the going wage, you can submit a complaint with the Department of Consumer Protection. Complaints about licensed contractors may also be submitted to this organization.

Small Claims Court

If a contractor has violated the terms of the written contract, you might consider filing a small claims case against them (suits in small claims courts cannot exceed $5,000). Before taking this action, it is best to inform the Department of Consumer Protection and the district attorney's office in your area of the problem. Filing a small claims lawsuit In Connecticut costs $95.00.

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Alternatively, you might file a complaint about a dishonest contractor with the local BBB chapter. The BBB urges locals to report scams, voice complaints about contractors, discuss interactions with companies, and forewarn others about misleading ads.

The Police Department

If a contractor physically threatens you or steals from you, you should first report the incident to your local police station.