What Are Arizona Contractors?
There are currently over 44,300 active licensed contractors in Arizona, and this figure includes plumbing contractors, landscape contractors, floor covering contractors, painting and wallcovering contractors, and consultants that manage or supervise construction projects. An Arizona contractor is any individual or business that builds, repairs, alters, improves, moves, or demolishes any building, highway, excavation, road, railroad, or other development, structure, or improvement for compensation. These contractors are statutorily required to obtain a license before undertaking any construction projects that cost more than $1,000, and the Arizona Registrar of Contractors is responsible for enforcing this law. This agency typically grants three major classifications of contractor licenses, which are the commercial contractors’ license, residential contractors’ license, and the dual contractors’ license. The commercial contractors’ license enables a person to take on construction jobs of any size, from small home remodeling jobs to large commercial projects. On the other hand, the residential contractors’ license authorizes a person to work only on residential jobs, whether building, repairing, or remodeling. This type of contractor’s license also encompasses specialized licenses like residential engineering, general remodeling/repair, and general swimming pool construction. Finally, a person with a dual contractors’ license can carry out jobs covered by both the commercial and residential contractors’ licenses.
Other than contractors, the state also mandates certain professionals like real estate agents, nurses, and attorneys to be licensed before they can practice. Realtors obtain their license from the Arizona Department Of Real Estate, while nurses get theirs from the Arizona State Board of Nursing. Likewise, the approximately 18,500 active attorneys in the state receive their mandatory license from the Arizona Supreme Court.
Tips for Hiring a Contractor
Undertaking a home improvement or remodeling project does not only require a lot of money, it also requires knowledge, skill, and proper planning. As such, it is important to take careful consideration when hiring a contractor. You want to make sure that your project is in good hands. So before hiring a contractor in Arizona, you should take the following steps:
- Find out what kind of contractor your project requires
- Get referrals from friends, relatives, and neighbors on contractors. Ask them what contractors they have had a negative or positive experience with
- Get written estimates from a minimum of three different contractors
- Make sure that the estimates contain a detailed description or list of the project, including the price, the duty to obtain building permits, and any other applicable terms
- Find out if the contractor is licensed by using the Arizona Registrar of Contractors’ online contractor search tool
- Find out if the contractor is bonded and insured
- Make sure that the class of the contractor’s license permits this contractor to carry out the work listed in the construction contract
- Review the written contract and reconcile it with the estimate to make sure that details like the cost of the project match
- Ensure that the contract contains a detailed description of every part of the project
- Make certain that the contract spells out the responsibilities and duties of all parties involved
- Get an attorney to review the contract before signing it
- Avoid making payments in cash
- Do not make full payment at the start of the project
The Arizona Registrar of Contractors provides a list of licensed contractors within the state on its posting lists page, including the contractors’ names and addresses, as well as the type of licenses they have. This information comes in handy when trying to find licensed contractors within your area.
How to Search A Contractor's License in Arizona?
Property owners in Arizona who hire unlicensed contractors will not get recourse through the state's Registrar of Contractors (ROC) in the event of an uncompleted or poorly completed work. To confirm if your contractor's license is still active in the state, you can perform a Contractor Search on the ROC website using the contractor's license number or name. Information on the search result includes the contractor's license status, contact details, license specialty, and clients' complaints against the contractor. You are also permitted to call the ROC Phoenix or Tucson office at (602) 542-1525 or (877) 692-9762 to verify a contractor's license.
Arizona Registrar of Contractors mandates professionals working on residential building repairs with labor and material cost above $1,000 to hold the General Residential Contractor License or General Dual License Contracting (for contractors handling both residential and commercial works). Contracting in Arizona without a license is in violation of A.R.S. § 32-1151, a class 1 misdemeanor. The penalty is a fine of $1,000 in addition to a 83% surcharge for a first offense, and jail time for a repeat offender.
How Much Does a Contractor Charge in
When undertaking a renovation or building project in Arizona, finding a reliable and competent contractor is the first step to getting successful and satisfying work. Before going on to hire one, you should always find out how much the contractor charges and if it is well within your budget. A contractor’s charges are usually dependent on the type of project, as well as the amount of time and labor that needs to go into the project. Most contractors in Arizona charge at an hourly rate which is generally between $50 - $150. Some of the common hourly rates of different types of contractors in Arizona include:
After deciding on a contractor to hire, it is advisable to retain the services of an attorney before signing a contract with the contractor. When hiring an attorney in Arizona, you can expect to pay an hourly rate of between $200 and $350.
What Are Home Improvement
Scams in Arizona?
Your home is one of your most valuable financial assets, and over time, you will have to spend money to maintain it and ensure that it stays in the best state possible. Unfortunately, scammers know this too. As such, they prey on unsuspecting homeowners, promising to carry out some repairs or remodeling usually at a much cheaper price. In some cases, the scammers do not carry out any part of the job and simply do away with the money. Other times, these fraudsters do such a shoddy job that it may cost even more money to fix this down the line. These types of circumstances are commonly referred to as home improvement scams.
Anyone, no matter how smart, can fall victim to home improvement scams. However, there are certain measures that you can take that help to reduce the risk of you falling prey to one. The first and perhaps most important step to take is to find out the licensing status of the contractor you intend to hire. All contractors in Arizona must be licensed to undertake any project that costs more than $1,000. This license serves as proof of a contractor’s skill, expertise, and experience in carrying out projects like yours.
Note, contractors can claim to be licensed even when they are not. You should always verify such claims by either contacting the Registrar of Contractors or by using the contractor search portal on the Registrar's website. This is important because hiring a licensed contractor as a homeowner provides you with certain protections. For instance, if you experience any problems with a licensed contractor, you can file a complaint against the contractor's license with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors within two years from the date the last work was performed or the date of occupancy. If the Registrar finds that the contractor’s work was below standard or in violation of its existing codes, you may be eligible to apply to the Registrar's Residential Contractors' Recovery Fund and receive up to $30,000 to have the work completed or corrected depending on the cost of damages.
The Arizona Registrar of Contractors also publishes a most-wanted list of contractors that are involved in unlicensed contracting and various other types of home improvement scams as part of its efforts to protect the public from these scams.
What are Common Home Improvement Scams in Arizona?
Home improvement scammers use various methods to trick unsuspecting homeowners into parting with their money. Unfortunately, elderly citizens are one of the most targeted groups for these scams, as many consider them naive and trusting. Some of the most commonly used home improvement scams in Arizona include:
- Leftover Supplies: Some home improvement scammers go to homeowners and claim that they just completed some home renovation work in the neighborhood and have some extra materials left over. They offer to carry out a new project for the homeowner utilizing these leftover supplies at a much lower price. It is important to note, however, that reputable home improvement companies in Arizona do not conduct business in this manner. Any contractor that does this is most likely hoping you will hire them without checking their credentials. When you do, they will either do a bad job or take your money without doing any job at all.
- Free Mold Testing: In this tactic, scammers offer free mold testing services to homeowners. After they are let in, the scammers tell the homeowners that they have dangerous mold growth in several areas of their homes. The fraudsters then offer to remove the mold right there and then. In most cases, the house does not have any mold, and the contractor is not a mold removal specialist. Instead, the contractor may either be trying to obtain money from the homeowner or may even be scouting the house for a burglary.
- High-pressure sales: Scammers try to convince homeowners to sign a home improvement contract on the spot by telling them that they get a time-limited discount if they do so. Note that although established contractors can offer special pricing, they only do this after giving you a legitimate quote on your home improvement project. They would also give you time to verify their licenses, contact references, and review the contract.
When you want to hire a contractor in Arizona, it is important to note that the state has no down payment law restricting how much a contractor can receive as the initial payment. However, it is not advisable to pay a contractor more than 20% of the project’s total cost upfront.
In May 2021, the Arizona Registrar of Contractors announced the summary suspension of a home improvement contractor's license for several offenses which included doing shoddy jobs and refusing to carry out a job without giving a proper reason for doing so. In 2016, the Arizona Registrar of Contractors cautioned businesses and homeowners to beware of home improvement scams involving jobs like asphalt paving and repair, painting, and roofing. According to the agency, several travelers and unlicensed contractors had come into the state and defrauded customers of thousands of dollars.
Arizonians that have been a victim of any home improvement scam may report these scams to the state's Registrar of Contractors via (602) 542-1525. Reports can also be made to any local enforcement agency.
What are Disaster Scams in Arizona?
Disaster scams in Arizona are scams that target homeowners whose houses have sustained some damage due to a natural disaster. Scammers usually go door to door in affected areas, offering to do quick repairs and requesting payment upfront. If your home has been damaged by a natural disaster, you should be careful when hiring a contractor to repair the damages so you do not fall prey to scammers. To err on the side of caution, you should take the following steps:
- Do not make a hurried decision when hiring a contractor
- Ask friends and neighbors for recommendations on home repair contractors
- Get a minimum of three estimates from three different contractors
- Verify that the contractor is licensed
- Insist that the contractor provide references and call those references
- Avoid cash-only deals
- Make checks payable only to the name of the contractor or company listed in your contract.
- Always get a written contract detailing the price, materials, and timeline
Note that under § 32-1158.02 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, contractors cannot request a down payment of more than 50% of the total cost when carrying out construction work after a natural disaster.
What are Common Legal
Legal work scams are attorney-related fraudulent schemes designed to get money from unsuspecting citizens. The perpetrators of this type of scams may be actual attorneys or people impersonating attorneys. The most common legal work scams in Arizona include:
- Legal impersonation scams: This scam involves people pretending to be attorneys and advertising legal services that they are not qualified to provide. After signing the agreement, the client pays the fee the posing attorney demands to keep the legal process going. But later on, the client realizes that nothing happened with the case. At this point, the “attorney” is long gone, and it is impossible to get the money back. Scammers generally target Arizonians that are in trouble with the IRS, having immigration issues, or involved in personal injury cases.
- Fake lawsuit scams: This scam involves scammers calling or emailing targets and telling them that they are attorneys representing an opposing party in a suit against them. They may provide a fake case number to make the matter seem more believable. These scammers then go on to tell their targets that the court has passed judgment against them and ordered them to pay a settlement amount. This scam aims to get money or sensitive personal information from the target.
- Document preparation assistance scams: In this scam, the scammers offer to assist targets in preparing legal documents at a cheaper price. They may not claim to be attorneys, however, they assert that they are knowledgeable and skilled in drafting legal papers. This may seem harmless, but in Arizona, any person or business preparing legal documents without the supervision of a licensed attorney in good standing with the State Bar must be certified according to the Arizona Code of Judicial Administration § 7-208. As such, anyone who prepares legal documents without proper certification is engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. Hiring such persons can be dangerous as they can prepare incorrect papers, which can have devastating consequences on your case. These scammers may also not prepare any document and simply take your money and run.
To avoid falling victim to legal work scams in Arizona, you should take the following precautions when hiring a legal professional:
- Get recommendations on attorneys from friends, family members, or colleagues
- Use the State Bar’s find-a-lawyer platform to find an attorney by name, location, or area of practice. This platform may also be used to verify the licensing status of an attorney in Arizona. Some counties like Maricopa and Pima also offer lawyer referral services for a fee.
- Ask the attorney for references and make sure to contact those references
- Check third-party review websites like Yelp and Better Business Bureau for unbiased opinions of the attorney
- Find out from the Arizona Attorney Discipline Unit if the attorney is in good standing with the State Bar
- Avoid paying your attorney in cash
- Check the LDP directory for certified legal document preparers.
How Long Does it Take to Get a License in
Getting a contractor’s license in Arizona can take anywhere from one day to as much as 60 days. This length of time usually depends on how complete and correctly submitted a person’s application is, and the workload of the Registrar of Contractors. After a person applies for a contractor’s license, the Arizona Registrar of Contractors conducts an administrative completeness review within the first 20 days. If the application is complete, the Registrar either mails the applicant a written notice of completeness or issues the license. However, if the application has any inadequacy, the Registrar sends a written notice of deficiencies detailing the specific defects found in the application. If the applicant does not provide the requested information within 30 days of receiving the notice, the Registrar will return the application. Note that the return of the application does not result in a refund of the application fee but would lead to the Registrar returning all other license fees. Also, applicants that have to re-submit returned license applications must pay all the necessary fees each time.
After this administrative completeness review, the Registrar does a substantive review of the applicant’s qualifications within 40 days, after which it either grants or denies the application, or mails a final comprehensive notice of deficiencies to the applicant. Applicants that meet all the requirements and have paid all the necessary licensing fees are then issued an Arizona contractor’s license.
How to Maintain your License in Arizona
Contractor’s licenses in Arizona are valid for two years. Within this period, contractors must be of good character and reputation. They must also ensure that their insurance and bonds remain active throughout this period by paying premiums to the insurance companies as at when due. Failure to do this may result in the Registrar suspending the license.
Contractors are also allowed to change their contact information on their licenses by completing the change of address form and submitting it to
- The Arizona Registrar of Contractors
- 1700 W. Washington Street
- Suite 105
- P.O. Box 6688,
- Phoenix, AZ 85005-6688
The Registrar also permits other actions like changing license classifications, adding owners or changing personnel on existing licenses, changing the company name listed on a license, and replacing the qualified party of any license.
Attorneys in Arizona are also required to keep their contact details current with the Arizona State Bar and report any such changes to the Bar within 30 days of its effective date. They can do this by emailing a request to the State Bar or by mailing a completed contact information update form to
- State Bar of Arizona
- Attn: Resource Center
- 4201 N. 24th Street
- Suite 100
- Phoenix, AZ 85016
Alternatively, attorneys in Arizona may also update their contact information online by logging into their State Bar member account and editing their profile. Attorneys in Arizona must also complete at least 15 hours of Continuing Legal Education every year, and this must include a minimum of 3 hours in professional responsibility or ethics.
How to Renew Contractor License in
Licensed contractors in Arizona have to renew their active licenses every two years. However, if the license is inactive, it only has to be renewed every five years. Contractors can renew their license online on or before the end of the license’s renewal month. Failure to renew a license by the renewal date attracts a late fee of $50 if the renewal application is submitted within a year of the due date. Any contractor that does not renew the license within one year after the expiration date will have to submit a new application.
Contractors may also reactivate an inactive license within five years of making the license inactive. To do this, they must submit an application to reactivate the license at least 30 days before the expiration of the five-year inactive period and pay the license renewal fee. The holder of an inactive contractor’s license does not have to retake the exams when reinstating the license. This application must be submitted to
- The Arizona Registrar of Contractors
- 1700 W. Washington Street
- Suite 105
- P.O. Box 6688
- Phoenix, AZ 85005-6688
Alternatively, attorneys in Arizona are required to pay an annual membership fee to the State Bar of Arizona before the 1st of February each year. This applies to judicial members, active members, inactive members, retired members, and affiliate members of the Bar. Failure to pay the required fee within a two-month period after February 1 would lead to the suspension of an attorney’s license. These annual membership fees are paid online by logging into the State Bar Member account on the State Bar of Arizona’s website.