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What Are Missouri Contractors?

Professionals that are involved in construction-related activities are known as contractors. These activities may include the building and demolition of structures or home alteration and improvement jobs such as painting, roofing, flooring, tiling, insulation work, and electrical work. The Missouri Division of Professional Registration is tasked with the licensing and regulation of the occupational and professional activities of more than 460,000 Missourians, including electrical contractors, landscape architects, architects, and surveyors. However, except for electrical contractors, contractors in Missouri are issued contractor licenses at the municipal level. On the other hand, legal professionals in Missouri are licensed and regulated at a state level by the state’s judicial branch through the Missouri Bar. It is estimated that there are over 24,000 licensed attorneys currently practicing law in Missouri.

Tips for Hiring a Contractor
in Missouri

Improving a home or property requires the expertise of qualified contractors. To make the best decision in hiring a contractor in Missouri, below are a few tips:

  • Take your time to understand the requirements of your project and find out what kind of contractor your property improvement requires.
  • Get and compare quotes from different contractors.
  • Get recommendations from neighbors, family, and friends.
  • Verify contractor addresses to ensure they are local.
  • Check if a contractor has a valid license by visiting your local building department. You can also search for registered businesses in Missouri through a portal provided by the office of the Missouri Secretary of state. This would enable you to ascertain if your contractor has a registered business in the state.
  • Make sure that your contractor is properly insured.
  • Ask your local building agency about the necessary permits for your project and be sure that the contractor you hire acquires them.
  • Get an attorney to draw up a contract, clearly stating the responsibilities of all the parties involved in the project.
  • Always remember that you have the right to cancel a contract within three business days if the seller presents the contract to you in your home
  • Come up with a payment schedule that ensures that the contractor is paid based on the progress of the project.
  • Avoid paying cash.
  • Keep all receipts and record everything about the project.
  • Never make final payment unless you have done a complete inspection and you are satisfied with the work.

How to Search A Contractor's License in Missouri?

To verify the license of a contractor in Missouri, you will need to contact the city or county authority where the contractor is practicing. For example, residents of the City of Kansas can verify a local contractor's license on the website of the City Planning and Development office. While Springfield City residents can do the same on the website of the Department of Building Development Services or by calling (417) 864-1617.

Electricians are the only residential contractors required to obtain a state-issued license in Missouri. The public can verify their electrician's license online by visiting the Missouri Division of Professional Registration website. Note, some municipalities like the City of St. Louis also have additional local licensing requirements for electricians practicing in the city.

Professional License Search

How to Search a Contractor’s License in Missouri?

City and county governments in Missouri are primarily responsible for regulating the activities of contractors within their respective jurisdictions, with electrical contractors being the only contractors issued licenses at the state level. Consequently, you will be required to contact your local licensing authority to find out the licensing requirements for contractors in your city or county and also to confirm that your preferred contractor has complied with these requirements. The Missouri State Government maintains a webpage that you can access to get contact information on the various cities and counties in the state. On the other hand, you can confirm state-issued electrical contractor licenses in Missouri via the Active Licensee Search portal provided by the Missouri Division of Professional Registration. Search criteria include licensee name, licensee number, and practitioner DBA name, and you will be required to choose one of these options to carry out your search. Search results can also be narrowed by county name.

It is important to note that state-level electrical contractor licensing is not mandatory in the State of Missouri. As such, any penalties for contracting without an appropriate license or hiring unlicensed contractors are determined by individual local government authorities. You should consider contacting your local consumer protection agency to find out the applicable penalties for unlicensed contracting in your area of residence.

How Much Does a Contractor Charge in
Missouri?

Contractors charge between $10 - $70 per hour in Missouri. The type and scope of a project typically determine the cost of hiring a contractor in the state. Some contractor fees cover labor and material cost, others separate the cost of materials from labor. Some common contractor hourly labor rate estimates in Missouri include:

Brick, block, and stonemasons
$17 - $41
Carpenters
$15 - $46
Electricians
$16 - $44
Plumbers
$17 - $48
Roofing contractors
$14 - $41
Tile and stone setters
&14 - $ 39
Construction laborers
$13 - $39
Flooring contractors
$10 - $35
Painters
$15 - $39
Fence erectors
$11 - $37
Paving contractors
$12 - $36
Landscaping contractors
$18 - $43
Architects
$22 - $63
Drywall installation contractors
$17 - $44
Glaziers
$16 - $46
Insulation contractors
$10 - $41
Plasterers and Stucco Masons
$17 - $37
Welders
$14 - $30
Security and Fire Alarm System Installers
$16 - $38
Interior designers
$16 - $44
Surveyors
$15 - $48
Cost estimators
$20 - $56

You might require the services of an attorney to draft project contracts and other legal documents. In Missouri, it costs between $23 and $95 per hour to retain the services of an attorney.

What Are Home Improvement
Scams in Missouri?

Home improvement scams in Missouri are fraudulent schemes targeted at property owners in the state. When a homeowner hires a contractor, there is always a risk that the contractor might be a scammer seeking to get money via dishonest means. This could be by absconding after collecting down payments, overcharging the client, or doing substandard work to attract repeat business.

One way to mitigate home improvement scams is by ensuring that your contractor is duly licensed to execute a project in your locality. Contractors in Missouri must obtain a license to work on any project in the state. The various cities and counties in the state issue local licenses to contractors operating in the area. You can verify the license of an electrical contractor online via the DOPR’s licensee search portal, while you can verify other contractor licenses by contacting the local licensing authority that is responsible for your area of residence

You should also ensure that contractors are properly bonded and insured. This protects you financially in the event of an injury or other unforeseen circumstances occurring during your home improvement project. It is also advisable to consider retaining the services of an attorney to prepare or vet any contracts and documents related to your project. Doing this ensures that your interests are protected and that the contractor does not try to insert any malicious terms and clauses into your contract.

If you suspect a possible home improvement scam, you can file a consumer complaint online with the state’s Attorney General’s Office. Alternatively, interested persons can also send complaints against licensed electrical contractors to :

  • Missouri Division of Professional Registration
  • 3605 Missouri Boulevard
  • P.O. Box 1335
  • Jefferson City, MO 65102-1335
  • Phone: (573) 751-0293

What are Common Home Improvement Scams in Missouri?

In 2020, The Office of the Missouri Attorney General received over 1,200 consumer complaints about home improvement, real estate, and construction-related scams. From uninvited solicitations, high-pressure sales to scare tactics, home improvement scammers in Missouri employ various strategies to scam victims. These scammers often target elderly residents of the state who are deemed as vulnerable and some common tactics that they utilize include:

  • High-pressure Sell Scam: Scammers pressurize homeowners to decide on the spot without taking time to analyze and make well-informed decisions. You should always resist this pressure and verify contractor licenses, find out about permits, get recommendations, and compare estimates before hiring contractors for any home improvement project that you have.
  • Down Payment Scam: Home improvement scammers typically ask for a large amount of payment upfront, collect this money, and then never return to execute the job as agreed. Although Missouri does not have a law limiting how much contractors can receive as initial deposits for home improvement projects, it is advisable to keep these types of payments initial deposits to a maximum of 25% of the total cost of the project.
  • Door-to-Door-Solicitations: Here, home improvement scammers typically go door to door and offer services such as roofing, painting, paving, and landscaping at low prices. These scammers are generally unqualified and unskilled and they end up doing a shoddy job or abandon the project altogether. To avoid this scam, homeowners should insist on seeing the contractor’s business identification and carry out a license check with their local licensing authority before hiring.
  • Upsell Scams: Home improvement scammers try to get property owners to do more repairs than they initially intended. Scammers sometimes offer to inspect a property for free. They then make bogus discoveries of problems that need immediate attention, such as leaking roofs, material degradation, damaged plumbing, and defective wiring. The aim is to trick the property owner into increasing their work scope and possibly extort more funds. To avoid this scam, homeowners should get a second opinion before allowing contractors to do additional work.
  • Extra Materials Scam: Here, scammers offer to use leftover materials from a nearby site at a reduced cost to the homeowner. Home improvement scammers typically try to lure the property owner with cheaply available material, which in most cases are of poor quality or even expired. Individuals can avoid this scam by verifying a contractor’s identity and possibly the quality of materials before going ahead with a job.
  • Home Improvement Loan Scam: Home improvement scammers offer to finance the project or help the homeowner to get a loan from a lender they know. In such cases, the homeowners often end up paying high-interest rates and fees. As a general rule of thumb, you should always be wary of any contractor that offers to help you get financing for a project. Do not take unverified loan offers to avoid this loan scam.

In February 2021, the state’s Attorney General’s Office announced that it had obtained approximately $60,000 in restitution from a fraudulent contractor in Lees Summit that had defrauded homeowners by receiving payment for jobs and then abandoning the work. Two months later, this office also announced the arrest of a different contractor for allegedly exploiting residents of the state in Jackson County, particularly elderly residents of the county, by charging large advance payments and not providing the promised services. Victims of home improvement scams can file complaints with the Office of the Missouri Attorney General online or in person at:

  • Missouri Attorney General's Office
  • Supreme Court Building
  • 207 West High Street
  • P.O. Box 899
  • Jefferson City, MO 65102
  • Phone: (573) 751-3321

What are Disaster Scams in Missouri?

Disaster scams in Missouri are scams that target residents of the state who have property damages from a recent disaster. Missouri frequently experiences natural disasters and has recorded over 40 major federal disasters since 1990. If any disaster leaves your home or property damaged, then you need to be on the lookout for potential scammers. Disaster scammers take advantage of floods, storms, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes, or any disaster to defraud victims through price gouging and other schemes. Below are a few tips to avoid becoming a victim of disaster scams:

  • Carefully evaluate damages before hiring a contractor for repairs.
  • Get repair bids from at least three different contractors before securing the services of a contractor.
  • Avoid giving out personal information such as bank information to persons soliciting contributions on behalf of charity organizations.
  • Get contractor recommendations from neighbors, friends, and family.
  • Verify the identity, license, and insurance of a contractor before hiring.
  • Do not pay cash.
  • Make sure you have everything about the contract documented in writing.
  • Do not make full payment unless you have done a thorough inspection of the job. Only make final payments after you are satisfied and the contractor has fully fulfilled the terms of the contract.
  • Beware of rental listing scams. As a result of a disaster, some individuals get displaced from their homes. Scammers use the opportunity to offer fake property listings to victims.

Victims of disaster scams can submit a consumer complaint online with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office or call the Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 392 8222. Alternatively, victims can also file a report at the local sheriff’s office or police department. Note that disaster victims in the state can get assistance from the government through the Missouri Recovery Portal.

What are Common Legal
Work Scams?

Legal work scams are attorney-related scams carried out to defraud unsuspecting persons. These scams are either carried out by lawyers or by scammers impersonating lawyers. Some common legal work scams in Missouri include:

  • Legal impersonation scams: scammers pretend to be attorneys of reputable law firms in Missouri and offer legal services for a fee. They sometimes go as far as creating fake websites and stealing the identity of respected lawyers in the state to carry out these scams. In some cases, the scammers provide victims with fabricated information of alleged claims that have been filed against them, all in a bid to extort funds or personal information such as bank information from unsuspecting individuals.
  • Attorney Trust Account Scam: This scam targets attorneys and law firms who hold client trust accounts and the aim of this scam is to get the attorney to part with the funds in these accounts. Typically, the scammer pretends to be an overseas client seeking the attorney’s assistance to recover funds owed. The attorney then receives a check from the alleged owing party and is pressured to deduct any attorney fees and send the balance using funds in the trust account while waiting for the check to clear. Attorneys that do this usually end up finding out that the check is fake, and that they can no longer contact the overseas client.

Some of the ways you can avoid becoming a victim of legal work scams in Missouri include:

  • Verifying an individual’s identity before carrying out any transaction. You can confirm if an individual is a licensed attorney by checking the Official Missouri Directory of Lawyers.
  • Avoiding cash payments for legal services
  • Being wary of individuals who ask for your credit card details, bank account details, or your social security number
  • Being cautious with calls and messages from unknown sources that offer you deals, gifts, or even makes alleged legal claims against you
  • Taking the necessary time to consult your trusted attorney before making any legal decisions
  • Being wary of any unknown person that tries to offer you a deal in exchange for using your trust account
  • Hanging up the phone if you are unsure about the legitimacy of the caller
  • Reporting suspicious calls to the relevant authorities

In addition to the above, senior citizens can avoid legal work scams by taking additional steps, which include:

  • Making sure that their attorneys keep them regularly informed of any legal work and provide them with copies of any documents that are related to their finances.
  • Ensuring that their attorneys are in contact with their relevant caregivers to pass relevant information. This is very important especially in situations where senior citizens have elected these caregivers to act in their stead and make personal or financial decisions for them.

Victims can report legal work scams by filing a complaint online with the office of the Missouri Attorney General or physically reporting at :

  • Missouri Attorney General's Office
  • Supreme Court Building
  • 207 West High Street
  • P.O. Box 899
  • Jefferson City, MO 65102
  • Phone: (573) 751-3321

How Long Does it Take to Get a License in
Missouri?

The amount of time it takes to get a license in Missouri varies from one location to another within the state. The various counties and cities in the state issue local licenses, with each locality having its unique process. This process may include registering a business, getting insurance, paying tax, getting an occupancy permit, passing an exam, providing proof of qualification, and paying the required fees. In Kansas City, for instance, it takes an average of two weeks to get a license once the applying contractor has met the requirements of the application. It is important to note that some cities like Kansas City also have age restrictions for issuing contractor licenses. Other cities like the City of Columbia and St Louis carry out background checks to ascertain crime history and sex offender information before issuing contractor licenses. All these generally impact the processing time for obtaining a contractor license in the state.

How to Maintain your License in Missouri

Contractor license maintenance typically includes updating changes to contact information as well as maintaining any applicable insurance and bonding conditions. The procedure for performing these actions in Missouri is determined by the licensing authority that issued the contractor license in question. For example, electrical contractors can report a change in their address online. This category of contractors can also report and effect name changes by submitting a written request along with appropriate proof of the name change such as a marriage license or divorce decree to:

  • Office of Statewide Electrical Contractors
  • 3605 Missouri Boulevard
  • P.O. Box 1335
  • Jefferson City, MO 65102-1335
  • Phone: (573) 522-3280

As such, contractors are required to contact their respective licensing authorities to find out specific requirements for maintaining their licenses. Note that failure to meet these requirements can result in penalties like a suspension or revocation of the license.

Attorneys in Missouri can update their contact information online via the online attorney portal provided by the Missouri Bar. Note that attorneys must notify the state’s Clerk of the Supreme Court of all name changes by sending a written notification to:

  • Office of the Clerk of the Supreme Court
  • 207 West High Street
  • P.O Box 150
  • Jefferson City, MO 65102
  • Phone: (573) 751-4144

To maintain an attorney license in Missouri, attorneys must complete 15 hours of Minimum Continuing Legal Education(MCLE) annually. This has to be done by the 30th of June and attorneys are required to file their MCLE reports before the 31st of July.

How to Renew Contractor License in
Missouri

In Missouri, state-wide electrical contractor licenses are valid for three years and they expire on the 30th of September every third year. Licensees are mailed a reminder 90 days before the date of license expiration. Renewals can be made by contacting the Office of Statewide Electrical contractors of the state’s Division of Professional Regulation at:

  • Office of Statewide Electrical Contractors
  • 3605 Missouri Boulevard
  • P.O. Box 1335
  • Jefferson City, MO 65102
  • Phone: (573) 522-3280

Likewise, contractors with locally issued licenses should contact their respective licensing agencies to find out the validity periods for their licenses and the procedures for renewing these licenses. Note that having up-to-date insurance and adequately filed tax returns is a prerequisite for contractor license renewal in Missouri.

Alternatively, Missouri attorneys renew their licenses by paying annual enrollment fees, which are due by the 31st of January every year. These payments can be made online through the Missouri Bar Association, and late payment attracts a $50 penalty for the first month and an additional $5 for every extra month. Attorneys are typically mailed an enrollment fee statement in the first week of December and this mail also serves as a reminder for license renewal.