Arizona Contractor License Search

What You Should Know about Hiring a Contractor in Arizona

There are over 44,000 licensed contractors in Arizona available for hiring. Employing a licensed contractor guarantees that your project will be completed satisfactorily. When deciding on which contractor to work with, ensure you select a bonded and insured professional to protect you from any financial liabilities that may arise from property damages and injuries occurred during the project. It is also advisable to verify the licensing status of your prospective contractor to avoid potential issues like the following:

  • The contractor abandoning the project midway
  • Fraudulent contractor scams and shoddy service delivery
  • Violating relevant building regulations because the unlicensed contractor is unable to pull permits

Thus, consider the following key points when looking for a contractor to hire in Arizona to help you make an informed decision:

Who Is a Contractor in Arizona?

A contractor can be an individual or a business that provides certain services or undertakes specific projects for a particular client. Any business or individual offering to construct, alter, enhance, or demolish a building or other structure or to perform any other construction activity must be licensed by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC).

The Arizona Registrar of Contractors offers different license classifications for residential and commercial trade work like general contracting, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, painting, carpentry, and roofing. The state also issues dual licenses covering both commercial and residential work for these trades. Below is a list of contractor license classifications offered by the ROC:

  • General Contractors: A general contractor oversees home improvement and construction projects. They are usually the contact person for the project owner and are responsible for coordinating the work of specialty contractors. The ROC has several licensing options for this type of contractor, including the following:
    • Residential Contracting: This type of license allows work to be done within the confines of a residential area and appurtenance. However, any individual holding this license must subcontract any work related to electrical, plumbing, and air conditioning systems to an appropriately licensed contractor.
    • General Commercial Contracting: This classification allows a licensee to carry out construction on a commercial structure. It also covers the construction of shelters, fences, and other structures for the protection and enjoyment of animals and persons. Its scope includes supervision of all aspects of the project. Licensees must subcontract specialty trades like electrical, plumbing, and HVAC (heating, cooling, ventilation, and air conditioning) to licensed contractors.
    • General Dual License Contracting: This license allows a general contractor to work on commercial and residential property. A dual license is a type of license that covers all of the potential work that a contractor can do except work outside the scope of their trade.
    • Engineering Contracting (Commercial): These contractors are responsible for constructing, installing, repairing, and altering projects that require intricate engineering skills and knowledge. These include large-scale projects such as airports, tunnels, bridges, hydroelectric plants, and sewage and waste disposal plants.
    • General Dual Engineering Contracting: This type of license allows the licensee to carry out residential and commercial work that involves the use of specialized engineering skills and knowledge
  • Specialty Contractors: Although a specialty license is similar to a general license, it allows contractors to perform various tasks besides those related to building and modifying commercial buildings, like electrical, plumbing, carpentry, and painting work. Specialty commercial and residential licenses allow holders to install and repair commercial and residential systems. While the licensee is allowed to handle installations, they must subcontract any work that requires modification to a specialty licensed contractor. Finally, contractors holding a specialty dual license can perform various specialized tasks allowed under commercial and residential specialty license contracting.

How to Search for a Contractor's License in Arizona

Many reputable, licensed, and qualified contractors in Arizona have the skills and experience to handle a variety of home improvement and construction jobs. Nevertheless, confirming whether your prospective contractor holds a valid state-issued license is advisable. You can verify via the Uhire professional license search tool or the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC) Contractor Search platform. You can use license numbers, contractor's names, or business names when using these platforms or take advantage of the advanced search function to search by city, classification, and status.

Penalty for Hiring a Contractor Without a License in Arizona

Although there are no specific penalties in Arizona for hiring an unlicensed contractor, there are several drawbacks to doing this you need to be aware of, for example:

  • You could end up receiving substandard services for hiring an incompetent and unqualified individual.
  • Unlicensed contractors usually have inadequate or no insurance policies and no work bonds. This can make you liable for any damages that occurred during the project.
  • Unlicensed individuals cannot pull permits required for your construction projects from any of the local building departments in Arizona. If you carry out projects without the proper permits, your property's value could be negatively affected. Moreover, you could face financial penalties for violating building codes.

On the other side of the coin, be aware that it is a class 1 misdemeanor to offer contractor services without a license in Arizona. Violators could face a fine of up to $2,500 plus an 83% surcharge and up to six months in jail.

How Much Does a Contractor Charge in Arizona?

Typically, specialty contractors charge around $50 to $150 an hour for their services. Their fees are based on the labor intensity and complexity of the tasks they are hired for.

The table below shows the average hourly rates that specialty contractors charge in Arizona. It takes into account various factors, such as the contractor's reputation and location, which influence the actual cost of their services:

$70 - $120
$70 - $120
HVACR Technicians
$55 - $120
$40 - $80
$50 - $70
$50 - $110
Flooring Contractors
$40 - $80
$50 - $110
$50 - $90
$75 - $180
Interior Designers
$65 - $180
Excavation Contractors
$100 - $230
Concrete Contractors
$50 - $110
$50 - $70
Appliance Repair Technicians
$50 - $100
$50 - $100
Cleaning Services
$50 - $100
$50 - $150

Usually, a commercial or residential project requires several specialty contractors. However, hiring a general contractor is recommended to minimize the time and expense of handling multiple contractors. The fees charged by this type of contractor are typically based on the project's overall budget, but they can vary. They generally range from 10 to 20% of the project's total value and can be calculated using the following methods:

  • Fixed Price Method: This arrangement involves the contractor agreeing to work on the project at a predetermined fee. It's ideal for projects with a definite timeline and scope.
  • Cost Plus Fee Method: This arrangement allows the contractor to charge a set amount for the completed work, including a markup for the services provided. It's ideal for large projects. However, it is advisable to set a price limit to avoid overcharging on the contractor's part.

Generally, Arizona home remodeling and construction projects can range from $100 to $450 per square foot. The overall cost of these projects is usually influenced by various factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • The nature and scope of the project
  • The cost of required materials
  • The reputation and experience of the contractors involved
  • The urgency of the required services
  • Your location
  • Accessibility to the project site and site conditions
  • Contractor charges
  • Permit costs, labor fees, and other miscellaneous expenses

Tips for Hiring a Contractor in Arizona

When hiring a contractor for a project, it is critical to confirm they can handle different tasks, like construction, improvement, installation, maintenance, and repair of property. In addition, it is essential that you thoroughly understand the project's requirements to determine the type of contractor you need before you hire a contractor in Arizona. You should also consider the following factors before making a decision:

  • Always confirm the licensing status of your prospective contractor. You can verify your contractor's license status online or contact the ROC at (602) 542-1525.
  • Avoid cash payments.
  • Request references from each bidder and check them.
  • Get and compare bids for your projects from at least three contractors.
  • Execute a written contract that includes the project's terms and conditions and review them before signing.
  • Ensure that the contractor and all their subcontractors are bonded and insured.
  • Never pay the project's total cost upfront; instead, consider limiting down payments for your project to 10 – 30 percent of the total cost, depending on the project's scale.
  • Confirm the work is completed to your satisfaction before settling the final payment.
  • Keep all documents related to the project safe, such as contracts, warranties, and invoices.

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

Contractors in Arizona are responsible for filing a Contractor's Bond in the form of a cash or surety bond with the appropriate amount for their license classification and anticipated yearly gross volume. They must also carry employee workers' compensation insurance, if applicable. While general liability insurance is not required of them, it is recommended that you only hire contractors with adequate liability insurance.

Hiring a bonded and insured contractor will protect you against accidental property damage and unforeseen bodily injuries. Bonding and insurance provide different types of protection. On the one hand, both the contractor and the project owner can benefit from insurance policies, which provide them with financial protection against out-of-pocket expenses resulting from injuries and accidents. On the other hand, bonds are designed to ensure that the project owner doesn't have to pay for costs derived from damages caused by the contractor due to their failure to complete the job.

As such, before hiring a contractor, ensure they are bonded, and that they have adequate general liability coverage for your project. You can verify this by requesting a copy of their bond and insurance certificate and authenticating it with the issuing insurance company. You can contact the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC) at (602) 542-1525 to learn more about the bond and insurance requirements for contractors in the state.

Top Contractor Scams in Arizona

Approximately 3.3 out of every 10,000 homeowners fall victim to contractor scams in Arizona each year. In 2022 alone, the Arizona Attorney General's Office received over 15,000 consumer complaints, including those related to home improvement scams attributed to contractors in the state.

Some common scam tactics that fraudulent contractors use on homeowners in Arizona are as follows:

  • Scammers often demand a substantial upfront payment before starting work or purchasing materials.
  • They insist on cash payments or large deposits and disappear midway through the job or deliver substandard work.
  • They employ high-pressure sales tactics to create a feeling of urgency.
  • They underbid their competitors to lure homeowners.
  • They present false credentials or someone else's license to deceive homeowners.
  • They go door-to-door, offering services at discounted rates.
  • They avoid providing written contracts, which makes it difficult to hold them accountable.
  • They are hesitant or unable to provide references.
  • They grossly inflate the cost of required project materials.

You can avoid these contractor scams by taking the following actions before making a hiring decision:

  • Obtain multiple bids from at least three contractors for your project and compare them.
  • Request references from the contractor and look them up online. Contact their past clients to confirm their experience working with the contractor.
  • Get a written contract clearly outlining all aspects of the project, like the scope of work, materials, and timelines.
  • Request proof of insurance and bonding from the contractor.
  • Avoid making upfront payments or paying in cash.
  • Be wary of unsolicited contractors and home improvement services.
  • Always hire licensed contractors.
  • Never sign any documents you do not clearly understand.
  • Request lien waivers from your contractor and all hired subcontractors.
  • Limit down payments to $1,000 or 10% of the project's total cost, whichever is less.

How to Report Fraudulent Arizona Contractors

You can report contractors in Arizona who have scammed you and seek legal remedies through different agencies:

Arizona Registrar of Contractors (ROC): Whether your contractor is licensed or unlicensed, you can report them to the ROC for dishonest practices or poor service delivery. You can do this by completing an appropriate online complaint form or requesting, completing, and sending a complaint form to:

Registrar of Contractors
P.O. Box 18243
Phoenix, AZ 85005-8243

Arizona Attorney General's Office: You can file a complaint against a contractor for deceptive or unfair practices with the Arizona Attorney General's Office. You can do this by filing an online complaint or sending a completed complaint form via email or mail to any of the following locations:

Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Information and Complaints
2005 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Office of the Attorney General, Consumer Information and Complaints
400 West Congress, South
Building, Suite 315
Tucson, AZ 85701-1367

Small Claims Court: If the contractor failed to follow the terms of their contract, you may be able to file a small claims lawsuit against them. However, you can only take this step if the claim against the contractor for damages is not more than $3,500. When filing a small claims case, you must file it at the justice court precinct where the defendant resides or as permitted under Arizona laws.

Better Business Bureau (BBB): If you sense that a contractor is scamming you, you can report them to Arizona's Better Business Bureau branch. The organization encourages consumers to lodge complaints against such individuals, share their experiences, inform others about misleading ads, or report organizations.

The Police Department: You should approach the local law enforcement agency near you when dealing with contractors who are physically threatening or stealing from you.