How to Hire a Good Carpenter in Indianapolis
Carrying out home improvement-related carpentry projects in the City of Indianapolis is a good way to improve your home's aesthetics and general outlook, while also increasing its monetary value at the same time. However, undertaking these types of projects without the proper training or tools can be a dangerous exercise. In 2019 alone, 99 fatal and 11,670 nonfatal carpentry-related on-the-job injuries were reported in locations across the United States, including Indianapolis. Considering the hazardous nature of carpentry, it is essential to always hire skilled carpenters so that you do not incur any financial liabilities associated with these work-related injuries. Working with skilled also professionals also ensures that you enjoy the benefits associated with the satisfactory completion of home improvement projects.
When you want to hire a carpenter in Indianapolis, it is good practice to get recommendations and references from trusted sources such as neighbors, friends, family, and even contractors you have previously worked with. However, before you decide on the particular carpenter you want to hire, it is important that you carry out your own personal due diligence. You can do this by getting answers to the following questions:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Carpenter in the City of Indianapolis?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Carpenters in the City of Indianapolis?
- Do You Comply with the City of Indianapolis Building Code for Carpentry Work?
- Will You Get the Home Improvement Permits as Required by the City of Indianapolis Code?
- What Kind of Carpentry Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Carpenters in the City of Indianapolis?
Are You Licensed to Practice as a Carpenter in the City of Indianapolis?
Anyone intending to carry out carpentry work in Indianapolis must obtain a license from the Indianapolis Department of Business and Neighborhood Services (IDBNS), in compliance with Section 875-101 of the Indianapolis and Marion County Code of Ordinances. Carpenters in Indianapolis are issued a general contractor's license by the IDBNS to carry out alteration, construction, or enlargement activities on residences that are on a permanent foundation. Any person that carries out carpentry work without a license in Indianapolis violates the provisions of the Indianapolis Building Standards and Procedures and could be subject to a fine of up to $2500 in addition to other civil actions that may be initiated by the city.
To obtain a general contractor's license, the intending carpenter will need to complete a license application, pay a license fee, and also provide certain documents to the IDBNS. These typically include a valid certificate of general liability insurance, a surety bond, and worker's compensation cover if the applicant has employees. Applications can be sent by email to the IDBNS or the completed application form can be mailed to the department at
- Department of Business and Neighborhood Services
- Contractor Licensing
- 1200 Madison Avenue
- Suite 100
- Indianapolis, IN 46225
Issued licenses are typically valid for two years, and you can verify that the carpenter you intend to hire has been duly licensed by accessing the List of License General Contractors provided by the IDBNS for this purpose. If you have any inquiries regarding licenses or the licensing process, you can contact the IDBNS at (317) 327- 8700.
How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Carpenters in the City of Indianapolis?
Carpenters in Indianapolis charge different amounts for carpentry services based on a variety of factors. Some of these factors include the nature and scope of the work to be done, the cost of obtaining materials and pulling permits, and the amount of labor that will be required to execute the job. Before you decide on hiring a carpenter, you should make sure that you obtain multiple estimates for the same project from different carpenters so that you can find the best price and make sure that you do not overpay for your project.
A carpenter in the City of Indianapolis earns an annual average wage of $50,140. The table below provides a comparison of the mean hourly wage for carpenters in the City of Indianapolis against those of carpenters in the rest of the State of Indiana as well as across several other major American cities:Indianapolis Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$24.11Indiana Carpenters Mean Hourly Wage$23.43New 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
All carpentry work in Indianapolis must be done in accordance with the provisions of the Indianapolis Building Standards and Procedures. The Building Standards and Procedures stipulate the accepted minimum standards to be used by carpenters when carrying out carpentry work within Indianapolis with the aim of ensuring that the public health, welfare, and safety of the city's residents are assured. Some of the areas covered by the code include the measurements and specifications for materials, removals, alterations, and permit requirements. Hiring a carpenter that does not adhere to the Indianapolis Building Standards and Procedures could result in subpar work being done on your property and fines and penalties for code violations. The standards and procedures are also enacted to ensure your safety so failing to adopt the code's specifications could be detrimental to your safety.
Hiring a licensed carpenter is often a good way to ensure that you're hiring an individual that is aware of the city's Building Standards and Procedure and applies it. It is also advisable that you familiarize yourself with the provisions of these standards and procedures before embarking on your project. You can do this by contacting the Indianapolis Department of Business and Neighborhood Services at (317) 327- 8700 to get any necessary information that you need.
Will You Get the Home Improvement Permits as Required by the City of Indianapolis Code?
Carpenters in Indianapolis typically require permits for most work to be done in the city, with the exemption of a few types of work provided in Sections 740-801 and 536-201 of the Indianapolis-Marion County Code of Ordinances. Some situations where a permit may not be required include
- Alterations or repairs that do not change the size, bulk, or height of the structure to be worked on.
- Replacement of exterior prime windows and doors
- Ordinary maintenance and repair of a structure that does not change or alter the composition of the structure or create additional health hazards.
The Indianapolis Department of Business and Neighborhood Services issues permits for carpentry work to licensed contractors or homeowners depending on the nature of work to be carried out. There are two classes of permits that can be obtained from the department, Class 1 permits for commercial developments and Class 2 permits for residential developments. Before a commercial or residential permit is issued, an infrastructure review process is typically required, as well as an Improvement Location Permit. Contractors or homeowners can apply for an Improvement Location Permit through the Indianapolis Citizen's Access portal while a Class 1 Structural permit application can be made by completing a permit application and sending the completed application to
- Department Of Business And Neighborhood Services
- 1200 Madison Avenue
- Suite 100
- Indianapolis, In 46225
Class 2 residential permit applications can be made using a Residential Permit Application which is to be sent to the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services by post. After the completion of your project, you will be required to schedule the necessary inspections with the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services to ensure that the work done on your property complies with the city's requirements. You can find out more information concerning permits, requirements for permits, and also schedule inspections by contacting the department at (317) 327- 8700.
What Kind of Carpentry Services Do You Offer?
Carpenters in Indianapolis offer a wide variety of woodwork-related services to residents within the city. These services include structural work such as work on roofs, beams, rafters, and other internal components of a building, as well as aesthetic and finishing work such as installations, repairs, or maintenance of wooden fixtures, frames, and furniture. You should bear in mind that some carpenters specialize in specific areas like furniture fittings, or commercial carpentry and so not all problems can be handled by such a carpenter. Therefore, before you decide to hire a carpenter, make sure that you find out the carpenter's area of specialization and confirm that the carpenter is also licensed and properly skilled to handle your particular project. You should also make sure that your chosen carpenter has the requisite tools to handle your project.
The average costs of carpentry services in the City of Indianapolis are provided below:Cost of Interior Trim and Molding Installation$6.37- $7.15 per linear footCost of Carpentry Framing$18.66 - $21.79Cost of Carpentry Framing$18.95 - $22.20 per square foot (for unfinished home addition framing)Cost of Carpentry Repairs$62.00 - $85.00 (plus materials)Cost of Builtin Wardrobe and Furniture Construction - $210 - $315 per hour
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Carpenters in the City of Indianapolis?
In accordance with the provisions of the Indianapolis-Marion County Code of Ordinances, all licensed contractors, including carpenters, must possess a valid general liability insurance cover as well as worker's compensation insurance. The general liability insurance coverage is to include the Consolidated City of Indianapolis as an additionally insured entity and could be specified as either for property, personal injury, or a combination of both. Coverage for property damage must not be less than $100,000 per occurrence while coverage for bodily injuries or death must be a minimum of $500,000 per occurrence. Similarly, a combined coverage must have a minimum of $500,000 per occurrence of either property damage, bodily injury, or death. Carpenters that also have employees must maintain valid and adequate worker's compensation insurance in compliance with city laws. Finally, before a contractor can begin to bid for jobs and secure permits, a bond of $10,000 must also be posted in favor of the city.
When searching for carpenters in Indianapolis, make sure that the individual you decide to hire is properly insured by asking for copies of their insurance certificates and contacting the relevant provider to verify them. Considering that over 30,000 hospital visits annually are caused by something as simple as a nail gun, failing to hire a properly insured carpenter could result in you taking on more expenses for your project than you bargained for. This is because you could be held financially liable for any accidents, injuries, or damage that occurs in the course of the execution of your project if the work in question is done by an uninsured carpenter.
The Federal Trade Commission recorded over two million reported scams in the U.S in 2020, with home improvement scams also featuring on the list of reported incidents. Considering that home improvement scams have become increasingly commonplace, the Indiana Attorney General has warned of the different techniques adopted by some of these scammers and the need for residents to be vigilant as more and more complaints concerning home improvement scams are reported annually.
In September 2019, two home improvement contractors in Indianapolis were charged to court for home improvement-related fraud after failing to complete a job after collecting payment from the client. Typically, these scammers tend to show up at your doorstep uninvited and offer you home repair and improvement services at a discounted rate or try to lure you in by giving a seemingly good quote and demanding payment upfront. Another popular tactic is to provide quotes for materials that are not needed or to execute a job with shoddy materials to secure a return call. Given the rampant nature of these home improvement scams in the city, you need to take precautions when you want to hire a carpenter near you. Here are some things you need to do to ensure that you are not scammed:
- Only hire properly licensed and insured carpenters in Indianapolis. You can verify the license of carpenters in Indianapolis via the List of Licensed General Contractors provided by the Indianapolis Department of Business and Neighborhood Services for this purpose.
- Avoid unsolicited contractors offering their services to you at a discounted price or pressuring you for an immediate agreement.
- Always ask for recommendations from trustworthy sources. Where possible, utilize reputable third-party sites like the Better Business Bureau to find reputable carpenters and check reviews before deciding on the carpenter to hire.
- Obtain multiple estimates on the same job in writing before deciding on the particular carpenter to hire.
- Always put all the details of the agreement you have with your chosen carpenter in writing. Do not sign any contract that you do not understand or one that has blank or unfilled spaces.
- Do not make upfront payments that are above 10% of the value of the contract or more than $1000.
If after taking all these precautions you still fall victim to a home improvement scam or you think you might be dealing with a fraudulent carpenter, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division of the Indiana State Attorney General's Office. To file this complaint, you will need to either complete an Online Consumer Complaint Form or download, complete and submit a Printable Consumer Complaint Form via mail to
- Office of the Indiana Attorney General
- Consumer Protection Division
- Government Center South,
- 5th Floor
- 302 W. Washington Street
- Indianapolis, IN 46204
Additionally, you can call the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department at (317) 327- 3811 to report fraudulent carpenters and allegations of home improvement-related fraud.