How to Hire a Good Carpenter in Denver
A survey by the National Association of Realtors suggests that over 70% of homeowners in the City of Denver and across the United States feel a major sense of accomplishment and a greater desire to stay indoors after the completion of a home improvement project. This feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction can be achieved by retaining the services of a professional carpenter to perform any woodworking-related aspect of the home improvement project. In addition to this feeling of accomplishment, hiring a good carpenter near you to work on your home improvement project can also increase the total market value of your property.
You can find good carpenters in the City of Denver by asking for referrals from family, neighbors, and home improvement professionals. However, there are several questions you must ask to ensure you're getting the best carpenter for the job:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Carpenter in the City of Denver?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Carpenters in the City of Denver?
- Do You Comply with the City of Denver Building Code for Carpentry Work?
- Will You Get the Home Improvement Permits as Required by the City of Denver Code?
- What Kind of Carpentry Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Carpenters in the City of Denver?
Are You Licensed to Practice as a Carpenter in the City of Denver?
Unlicensed contracting in the City of Denver is illegal and the penalties for this act include city-imposed administrative fines, jail time, or a combination of both. Carpenters in the City of Denver have to obtain a general contractor license before they can carry out carpentry activities. General contractor licensing in the City of Denver occurs at the local level, and there are three license classifications for general contractors. The different types of licenses are as follows:
- Class A license - permits the contractor to remodel, build and repair residential and commercial structures
- Class B license - allows the contractor to work on multi-unit residences and commercial buildings under three stories in height.
- Class C license - permits the contractor to work on residential buildings that are two stories and below.
The Denver Community Planning and Development Department is responsible for the issuing of contractor licenses in the City of Denver. However, the applicant must first apply for a construction supervisor certificate or hire someone who holds the certificate to supervise the project, before a license can be applied for. Depending on the class of certificate that is being applied for, interested parties must also have attained anywhere between at least two to seven years of experience in building construction and provide proof of this work experience. In some cases, a degree in architecture or structural engineering from an accredited college may count towards this work experience requirement. In addition, certificate applicants must also take and pass a written exam administered by the International Code Council (ICC). Contractors are not permitted to apply for a contractor license until their Construction Supervisor Certificate has been approved and obtained. Once this has happened, the applicant can go on to fill a contractor license application form and submit this form online using the e-permit portal provided by the Denver Permitting and Licensing Centre. Alternatively, the application form for the license can be submitted via mail to the Community Planning and Development Division located at:
- Community Planning and Development
- Attention: Contractor Licensing
- 201 W. Colfax Avenue
- Department 205
- Denver, CO 80202
Finally, this form can also be submitted in person at
- Wellington Webb Municipal Office
- Second Floor
- 201 W. Colfax Avenue
- Denver, CO 80202
Note that certain steps are typically required before the submission of the application form. These include, but are not limited to, reading chapter one of the Denver Building and Fire Code, to ensure you understand your responsibilities as a license holder and filling a Supervisor Statement of Responsibility Form. For further inquiries concerning obtaining a license, you can contact the Denver Community Planning and Development Department at (720) 865-2915. You can also verify the authenticity of your intended carpenter's contractor license by utilizing the license search webpage provided by the City of Denver.
How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Carpenters in the City of Denver?
Before you hire a carpenter in the City of Denver, it is important to ask for a quote for the intended project. It is also important to ask for a quote from about three to four carpenters before deciding on one, as this will allow you to compare the cost of labor and materials effectively, making it easier for you to select a carpenter whose rates suit your budget. Note that not every carpenter will charge at an hourly rate, some might charge flat fees, and it is up to you to reach a mutual agreement before signing any contract.
A carpenter in the City of Denver earns an annual average wage of $54,200. The table below provides a comparison of the mean hourly wage for carpenters in the City of Denver against those of carpenters in the rest of the State of Colorado as well as across several other cities in the country:Denver Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$26.06Colorado Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$26.06New York City Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$34.16Chicago Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$34.74Houston Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$21.53Phoenix Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$23.50Boston Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$31.31
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Do You Comply with the City of Denver Building Code for Carpentry Work?
The Denver Building and Fire Code is a set of rules that were put in place to safeguard life and property by regulating all construction-related activities that go on in the city and ensuring that the highest standard of materials is used for every construction. These rules regulate the alteration, addition, enlargement, demolition, removal, and repair of buildings, structures, or utilities in the city. Hiring a carpenter that is familiar with the city's building and fire code will save you from administrative penalties that come with code violations and it will also give you a sense of relief knowing the project is done according to the right standards.
Licensed carpenters in the City of Denver are typically familiar with the building and fire code and its provisions, but you should also be conversant with the code as this will help you spot any foul play. The Denver Community Planning and Development Department enforces the code and you can contact this department via phone number (720) 865-2915 for more information on the city's building and fire code.
Will You Get the Home Improvement Permits as Required by the City of Denver Code?
A building permit is generally required for carpentry activities like alteration, demolition, and enlargement of buildings, structures, or utilities in the City of Denver. However, exemptions may be made for certain carpentry activities and these exemptions are mainly limited to aesthetic activities like tiling and floor covering. You can contact the Denver Community Planning and Development Department at (720) 856-2915 to find out which carpentry activities are permit exempted.
The Denver Community Planning and Development Department is responsible for issuing building permits, and these permits can only be obtained online by a licensed contractor via the city's Online Permitting and Licensing System. The contractor will need to register on the online system before a permit can be requested. If all the requirements for the permit are met, a permit will be issued for the specific project. A carpentry project cannot be termed finished until it has been inspected. You need to schedule an inspection after the commencement of your project, this is to ensure the project is done according to the standards and provision of the city's building and fire code. You can schedule an inspection by utilizing the e-permit portal, but you would need to open an e-permit account before you can schedule the inspection. For more information on obtaining a permit and scheduling an inspection, you can contact the inspector's office at:
- 201 W. Colfax Avenue
- 3rd Floor
- Denver, CO
- Phone: (720) 865-3200
- Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., Monday through Friday
What Kind of Carpentry Services Do You Offer?
Carpenters in Denver offer a variety of carpentry and woodworking services which include, but are not limited, to Joister carpentry, Trim carpentry, and Rough carpentry. Joister carpentry involves the fixing of floor surfaces and the construction of floor joists. Trim carpenters install and repair moldings, while rough carpentry involves planning, building, and maintaining structures of buildings. Therefore, it is important to find out the area of specialization and level of experience of your preferred carpenter before hiring them. Listed below are the average costs of various carpentry services in the City of Denver:Home renovation$10,000 - $50,000Furniture repairs and assembly$500 - $2,000Wood polish$1,000 - $3,000Modular kitchen work$100,000 - $500,000Windows and locks fitting$1,000 - $3,000Chair and table repair$1,000 - $2,500Hardwood floor installation$3,000 - $4,600Crown moulding$800 - $1,150Built-in bookshelf or cabinets$2,000 - $2,550House framing$3,000 - $3,500Door installation$124 - $1,194Decking$200 - $560Handrails installation$30 - $900
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Carpenters in the City of Denver?
Denver carpenters are generally required to show proof of liability insurance coverage before they can receive a license. According to the research published by the Center for Construction Research and Training, between 2008 to 2010, 210 carpenters were involved in fatal work-related injuries. Therefore, you must ensure the carpenter has a general liability plan to cover any accident that may occur on your project site. Hiring an insured carpenter will absolve you of any financial burden or lawsuits that may arise in the event of an accident on your project site. You can find out your carpenter's insurance coverage by asking for proof in the form of an insurance certificate, and then verifying its validity by contacting the issuing insurance company. Note that workers' compensation insurance is mandatory for employers in the city's construction sector with one or more employees. This insurance is issued by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (DLE), and you can direct inquiries concerning workers' compensation insurance or verify your carpenter's coverage by contacting this department via phone at (303) 318-9000 or in person at:
- Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
- 633, 17th Street
- Suite 201
- Denver, CO 80202-3660
According to Forbes, the home improvement sector brings in a revenue of nothing less than $400 billion annually. Therefore, with that much money spent on home improvement projects alone, it is not uncommon to find unethical carpenters trying to swindle unsuspecting residents of the City of Denver. They are several signs to look out for to help you detect a scammer:
- The contractor offers incredibly low rates for the job
- The contractor cannot provide proof of proper licensing
- The contractors offer only an oral contract
- The contractor offers a time-limited service and tries to pressure you into hiring them immediately to enjoy a discount
- The contractor requests a huge down payment
- The contractor makes unsolicited visits and calls offering discounted services.
In 2020, it was reported that an unlicensed home improvement contractor had swindled many Denver residents by receiving funds from various clients without completing the job. According to this report, the swindled homeowners had contacted the contractor via a third-party contractor matching website, which made them lower their guard and not carry out due diligence on this individual. In view of this, it is important to always take certain steps before hiring any contractor in the city, regardless of who or how this individual is referred to you. You can avoid falling for an unethical carpenter or home improvement scam by utilizing the following steps:
- Ensure your Carpenter is duly licensed by utilizing the license search portal provided by the Denver Community Planning and Development Department
- Always request written estimates from two to three carpenters before settling for one
- Request a written contract and ensure you understand the terms and conditions before signing
- Avoid making a large up-front payment
- Ensure you engage the services of an inspector from the start to finish of your project, to make sure that the project is done according to the standards of the city
- Request proof of insurance in the form of a certificate and verify its validity by contacting the issuing insurance body
- Ask the carpenter to provide references from past clients and verify these references by calling the referees to ask about the carpenter's work ethics. It is also a good idea to request photos of past carpentry jobs from your intended carpenter
- Never agree to make full payment until is the job is completed to your satisfaction
- Look up the carpenter on Better Business Bureau for possible complaints and negative reviews
You can report any home improvement-related scams to the Denver Community Planning and Development Department via phone at (720) 865-2770. Similarly, you can report an unethical carpenter to the Denver Attorney General Office by utilizing its complaint form. You can also make a report in person at the Attorney General's Office which is located at:
- Office of the Attorney General
- Consumer Protection Section
- Colorado Department of Law
- Ralph L. Carr Judicial Building
- 1300 Broadway
- 7th Floor
- Denver, CO 80203
While the Denver Community Planning and Development Department and the Attorney General's Office may help in the resolution of the problem, it is unguaranteed that you'll receive your desired outcome. However, you may file a lawsuit at the Colorado Judicial Branch, in the small claims section if you wish to receive financial compensations for damages. The court is located at:
- 1437 Bannock Street
- Denver, CO 80202
Note that you may only file in the small claims section if the damages you seek do not exceed $7,500. Also, while it is not necessary to hire an attorney to represent you in these types of matters, it is always in your best interest to seek legal advice before filing any type of lawsuit.
Finally, if you suspect that you've been contacted by a fraudulent carpenter, you can contact the Denver Police Department at:
- 1331 Cherokee Street
- Denver, CO 80204
- Phone: (720) 713-2000