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What Are Idaho Contractors?

Professional licensing in Idaho is handled by the Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses (DOPL), and this agency regulates over 204,000 licensees in the state through several boards and commissions, including professionals like architects, real estate appraisers, contractors, and water and wastewater engineers. The DOPL also serves as the complaints center for inappropriate and deceptive conduct across professions including construction trades.

An Idaho contractor is any individual or business that performs or offers to perform home and property improvement service. Except for plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, public work contractors, and construction managers, Idaho contractors are typically not required to obtain state-issued licenses. These aforementioned contractors are licensed by the state's Division of Building Safety. However, although most contractors are not issued state-level licenses, these contractors are required to register with the Idaho Contractors Board, which is one of the regulatory boards under the DOPL. Note that plumbers, electricians, public workers, and construction managers can only register with this board when they intend to work outside their license.

On the other hand, professionals like attorneys and teachers are licensed by the Idaho State Bar and State Department of Education respectively. There are currently 6,841 licensed attorneys in Idaho.

Tips for Hiring a Contractor
in Idaho

Home and property improvement can result in disputes, loss of money, and potential court cases, so it is essential to take appropriate steps when hiring contractors. Below are some useful tips to consider when hiring a new contractor:

  • Do not be in a haste to carry out a home improvement. Take your time to have a clear idea of what your intended project entails
  • Hire only registered contractors. In Idaho, anyone performing home improvement valued at $2,000 and above must be registered with the State Contractor Board
  • Verify if the contractor is licensed or registered. The Division of Building Safety allows you to find contractors through a license search portal, while the Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses online information portal lets you know if a contractor is registered or not.
  • Request current insurance coverage from contractors and verify the information by contacting the insurance company.
  • Check records at nearby courts or use the icourt online search portal to see if any claims have been filed against the contractor
  • Confirm if the contractor is a member of a professional or trade association registered in the state
  • Always specify the terms of the contract including the work to be done, the material to be used, the total cost, payment schedule, and the start and completion date
  • Do not hesitate to seek the legal advice of an attorney when in doubt
  • Request for disclosures where necessary. Contractors in Idaho are required to provide disclosures to property owners and customers if the construction price is valued at $2,000 or above. A disclosure will specify consumers right to ask general contractors to obtain lien waivers from subcontractors working on their projects, request proof of general liability insurance and workers compensation insurance, and require a surety bond equivalent to the value of the construction project

At the end of the project, general contractors are also required to provide the names of subcontractors, material men, and retail equipment providers who have done work or supplied materials in excess of $500. Note that homeowners in the State of Idaho have the right to cancel home improvement contracts made in their homes within three days of signing the agreement.

How to Search A Contractor's License in Idaho?

There are no state licensing requirements for general contractors in the State of Idaho, but certain trade subcontractors must obtain a specialty license to work in the state. However, general contractors bidding for any project worth $2,000 in material and labor cost are mandated to register their business with the Idaho Contractors Board. Also, specialty contractors handling mechanical, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, or public works are required to be licensed through the Division of Building Safety. Some cities in the state like Pocatello also require certain contractors to carry a local license to work in the jurisdiction.

To verify a contractor's license or registration in Idaho, visit the Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses Online Information webpage. You can search for a contractor's license by various criteria including profession, license type, license number, contractor's name, business name, city, or postal code. The search result shows the license expiration date, if there is a civil action against the contractor, and the licensed specialties of the contractor. The Idaho Division of Building Safety also has a search engine on its website for the public to verify the license status of any specialty contractor they hire.

How Much Does a Contractor Charge in
Idaho?

The cost of hiring a contractor in Idaho varies across trades. Factors like the type of project, cost of materials, and the amount of labor required to complete the project may affect the contracting rate. In Idaho, the average estimated cost of hiring a contractor for an hour is between $20 - $70. Listed below are the hourly cost estimate for various types of contractors in Idaho:

Drywall installation/repair contractors
$22 - $70
Electricians
$24 - $69
Painters
$13 - $35
Carpenters
$15 - $59
Plumbing contractors
$21 - $60
Concrete contractors
$20 - $50
Landscaping contractor
$15 - $50

In addition to the services of home improvement workers, homeowners may require the help of attorneys for services that may or may not be related to home improvement work. The average cost for hiring an attorney in the State of Idaho is $55 - $250 per hour.

What Are Home Improvement
Scams in Idaho?

When contracting for home improvement work in Idaho, there is always the risk of the contractor being a dishonest individual that seeks to steal your money through deceptive methods which include:

  • Not showing up to do the job after collecting payment
  • Failure to complete the job once payment is received
  • Deliberately using inferior materials or doing shoddy work that will require you to retain their services soon
  • Failure to pay subcontractors and others that worked on the project
  • Diversion of materials you paid for

Home improvement scams involve the use of any of such means to obtain money from citizens of Idaho. While you may not eliminate the risks associated with home improvement scams, you can reduce your chances of falling victim to one through some proactive measures. First, you must find out the exact type of contractor you need and the state regulation that applies to them. In Idaho, plumbers, electricians, public works, and construction managers must be licensed under the Division of Building Safety, while other general contractors must be registered under the State Contractor Board to be eligible for business. You should also ensure that your contractor is insured and bonded. This protects you from unforeseen circumstances such as injuries or accidents that may occur during work. Finally, you may hire an attorney to help you with the home improvement contract.

You can report unscrupulous contracting activities to the Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses' Investigative Unit through the State Contractors Board. Note that this agency is not legally authorized to impose either civil or criminal punishments, such as monetary damages, restitution, or jail sentences on fraudulent contractors. If you seek any of these, please consult an attorney for appropriate legal advice.

Professional License Search

What are Common Home Improvement Scams in Idaho?

Home Improvement scammers in Idaho are always evolving new tricks to obtain money from their victims. In many cases, these home improvement scams are generally targeted at single women and elderly residents of the state who are considered easy to convince. Common tactics used by home improvement scammers include:

  • Door-to-door solicitations: home improvement scammers often show up in front of residential buildings offering to perform services like landscaping, painting, and home installations at discounted rates. Scammers may speak like professionals or use deceptive measures such as wearing name tags and safety vests to appear legitimate. They trick you into paying money and never return to get the work done.
  • Scare tactics: home improvement scammers generally employ scare tactics to make you fall for their fraudulent schemes. Scammers may offer a free inspection of your home and after the inspection, they try to exaggerate why you need a repair or installation by making false predictions that are not likely to happen
  • Cheap rates: home improvement scammers offer unbelievable rates. However, once payment is made, these scammers do not show up to get the work done
  • Unconditional guarantees: home improvement scammers generally make bogus promises which include unconditional guarantees. Note that legitimate companies have warranty policies that outline the conditions for fulfilling contracts.
  • Bargain rates: home improvement scammers may claim they have leftover materials from a project that was just completed. The plan is to make you believe the materials will be used to do your project, thereby reducing the cost of buying new materials.
  • Special introductory offers: home improvement scammers may claim they are new in the neighborhood and being one of their first customers make you eligible for low rate

Idaho allows down payments for construction projects. However, per state law, consumers are allowed to withhold or retain up to 5% of any payment to be made to contractors for home improvement work. The total amount of retention proceeds for a project should not exceed 5% of the total price of completing the project, and these proceeds should be paid within 35 days of the completion of the project, except in the event of a dispute.

Citizens of Idaho should understand that they have the right to consult an attorney or have an attorney represent them at any stage of the home improvement contract. You can report fraudulent construction activity to the State Contractor Board. The Board through the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing will investigate and oversee that the contractor serves appropriate punishment. There are approximately 882 registered cases available on the State Contractor Board website. These include a February 2021 complaint that was filed against a contractor for failing to complete a project and using false means to obtain money from a customer. The investigation of this matter led to the DOPL revoking this contractor’s license.

What are Disaster Scams in Idaho?

Idaho disaster scams are scams that target residents of Idaho whose homes and properties were affected by a disaster. Even if your home or property has been hit by fire, earthquake, flood, storm, or any other type of disaster, you must exercise caution in contracting anyone for repairs. This is because many fraudulent individuals are always waiting to prey on victims of disasters. Contractor-related Idaho disaster scams generally include price gouging, false declarations, and deception. You can avoid disaster scams by doing the following:

  • Taking your time to see if you need home repair immediately or not
  • Getting recommendations from family and friends
  • Ensuring that you receive bids from three to four contractors before hiring anyone
  • Being wary of door to door solicitors you have never seen before
  • Requesting for and verifying the license or registration details of the contractor
  • Insisting on a written contract containing a payment schedule
  • Avoiding cash payments for home improvements

Members of the public can report disaster scams to the Idaho Consumer Protection by calling (208) 334-2424.

What are Common Legal
Work Scams in Idaho?

Legal work scams are deceptive attorney-related services that aim at stealing money and confidential information from unsuspecting citizens. These scams may be done by legitimate attorneys or imposters pretending to be attorneys. The most prevalent types of legal work scams in Idaho are:

  • Living trust mills: where scammers promise to protect your estate from probate only to leave you with inadequate direction on how to plan the estate or help in funding the trust. The sales of living trusts are not regulated in Idaho and most people selling living trusts are not properly informed to advise you on estate planning. Senior citizens are often targets of fraudulent attorneys selling living trust packages.
  • Living will scam: in this scam, an attorney or imposter promises to help you secure medical treatment in case you become unable to communicate your wish due to an accident or sickness. A living will is generally sold as part of a living trust. Citizens should be cautious of attorneys who point to living wills as justification for the high costs of a living trust package.
  • Inheritance scams: where unscrupulous individuals pose as attorneys of a deceased client. Scammers call and say you are the only beneficiary the deceased left, making you the legitimate owner of all they had. The plan is to collect money as an upfront fee or personal information from you.

Some ways you can avoid falling victim to a legal work scam in Idaho are:

  • Request proof of licensing from anyone trying to sell a living trust package to you
  • Do not carry out any instruction requiring you to transfer all your money to an institution
  • Do not follow up on unsolicited calls or messages trying to sell investment opportunities to you
  • Avoid making payments in cash
  • If you suspect a legal work scam, report it by downloading, completing, and sending a grievance form packet to the Idaho State Bar's Office of the Bar Counsel.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Contractor License in
Idaho?

The processing time for completing the license application process and obtaining a license in Idaho is dependent on several factors such as, when the application was submitted, the type of application submitted, and the current workload of the Division of Building Safety. Obtaining a license generally takes five-ten days, however, you can get your license processed immediately for an additional fee of $100. Applicants are required to complete courses and examinations appropriate to their professions to be eligible for licensing. Interested persons may complete applications for licenses at:

  • Division of Building Safety
  • 1090 E. Watertower Street
  • Suite 150
  • Meridian, ID 83642

In addition to licenses, contractors who intend to engage in construction activities valued at $2,000 and above must register with the State Contractors Board. There are two types of registration applications and these are individual and business entity applications. To register as an individual contractor, you must download and fill the application for individual registration form, while business entities can register using the business contractor registration form. Note that all application forms must be completed, printed, and notarized before they are sent to the board. A copy of the application form, an application fee of $50 and certificates of insurance should be delivered in person or via mail. You can submit your application in person at:

  • Idaho Contractors Board
  • Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses
  • Building #6
  • 11351 W. Chinden Boulevard
  • Boise, ID 83714

To apply to mail use:

  • Idaho Contractors Board
  • Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses
  • P.O. Box 83720
  • Boise, ID 83714

Contractors that successfully meet all registration requirements are issued a certificate of registration and a wallet-sized card showing their name and number.

How to Maintain Your License in Idaho

Idaho contractors are allowed to maintain or update the information on their licenses. In many cases, contractors may be required to provide any of the following:

  • Liability insurance
  • Workers compensation insurance
  • Proof of continued education
  • Current bond

The Division of Building Safety allows licensed contractors to perform actions like credit card authorization, change of address, permit transfer, and account renewal. To make changes, complete an application and deliver in-person to:

  • Division of Building Safety
  • 1090 E. Watertower Street
  • Suite 150
  • Meridian, ID 83642

Contractors that are registered under the State Contractor Board are required to display their registration numbers and details in their business premises, on contracts, permits, and purchase orders. This should be done within 60 days of receiving a certificate of registration. General contractors may change the names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails on their licenses. This can be done by completing and submitting a name/address affidavit form, along with proper documentation like a marriage license, divorce decree, or court document via mail to:

  • Idaho Contractors Board
  • Idaho Division of Occupational and Professional Licenses
  • P.O. Box 83720
  • Boise, ID 83714

Note that you can also update address records online using the DOPL online changes system.

Finally, attorneys in Idaho are required to report changes in their contact details and other information. Membership information can be updated online by completing an address change form online, while name changes must be reported by sending a written and signed notification to the Idaho State Bar via mail-in to:

  • Idaho State Bar
  • The Law Center
  • 525 W. Jefferson Street
  • Boise, ID 83702

The notification should include the former name, ISB membership number, and current full name.

How to Renew a Contractor License in
Idaho

Idaho contractor licenses are valid for a period of six months to two years, depending on the specific profession. For example, a solar installation contractor license is valid for six months while a plumbing license is valid for two years. The processes, fees, and requirements for contractor license renewal in the state also vary among professions. Electricians are required to provide proof of liability insurance of $300,000 and proof of workers' compensation insurance. HVAC and specialty contractors are required to provide a current $2,000 bond, while plumbers are required to provide proof of continuing education and a current $2,000 bond.

Before a license expires, the holder will be notified by the Division of Building Safety. In Idaho, contractors may submit requests to extend license expiration dates but persons who want to renew their license can download appropriate license forms on the Division of Building Safety website. A complete application form along with all applicable renewal requirements should be delivered in-person to:

  • Division of Building Safety
  • 1090 E. Watertower Street
  • Suite 150
  • Meridian, ID 83642

On the other hand, Idaho attorneys renew their licenses through the payment of scheduled fees. These fees are dependent on when the attorney was admitted, current age, and membership status. The State Bar provides licensing packets every mid-November. The packets contain forms such as license fee notices, trust account certificates, disclosure of professional liability insurance, and mandatory continuing legal education certificate of compliance. Attorney license renewal can be completed online or via mail. Applicants must complete each of the forms provided in the licensing packets as part of the renewal process. Interested persons can complete and submit any applicable forms using the online renewal system. Note that online renewal requires payment by credit card. To submit an application via mail, interested persons must complete all the license renewal forms. Attorneys that need to upload additional forms to complete renewal may use the upload additional page. Completed forms shall be mailed to:

  • Idaho State Bar
  • The Law Center
  • 525 W. Jefferson Street
  • Boise, ID 83702

Cities in Idaho