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What Are Oklahoma Contractors?

An Oklahoma contractor is any individual that performs a home or property improvement service. The Oklahoma Construction Industry Board (CIB) is charged with the regulation of various categories of professionals in the state’s construction industry. This regulation, which is done via licensing, registration, inspection, and also enforcement of relevant laws, is overseen by seven board members that are appointed by the Governor of Oklahoma. However, except for plumbers, electricians, home inspection contractors, and mechanical contractors, Oklahoma contractors are typically not required to obtain state-issued licenses from the CIB. Note that although roofing contractors are not required to obtain state-issued licenses, they are required to register with this agency. Also, contractors that do not belong to any of the aforementioned categories may be required to obtain locally issued licenses before they can operate in some of the state’s counties, cities, and municipalities.

Alternatively, professionals like doctors and attorneys are regulated at the state level by the Oklahoma Medical Board and the Oklahoma Judicial Branch respectively. There are over 13, 540 licensed attorneys in Oklahoma.

Tips for Hiring a Contractor
in Oklahoma

Home and property improvement can result in loss of money, more home repairs, and potential court cases, so it is essential to take appropriate steps before hiring anyone. Below are some useful tips to consider before hiring a contractor:

  • Do not be in a haste to carry out a home improvement project
  • Be wary of door-to-door solicitations
  • Ask family and friends for referrals
  • Obtain at least three estimates for each home improvement project
  • Request references from the contractor and follow them up with phone calls
  • Ask the contractor for a license and find out if it is current. If the project involves roof repair, request registration information from the roofing contractor. You can verify the contractor's license or registration information online through the CIB's find license tool or by calling (405) 521-6550. You can also verify a locally issued contractor license by contacting your local county office
  • Ask the contractor for proof of insurance coverage and verify the information by calling the insurance company
  • Contact the Oklahoma consumer protection unit by calling 405-521-2029 to find out if complaints have been lodged against the contractor in the past.
  • Ensure that you get all required building permits for your project from your local county office
  • Get a written contract. Do not forget to include details of warranties, guarantees, or promises made by the contractor in the contract
  • Do not make full payment except the job is complete
  • Request a receipt for every payment made
  • Do not sign any document you do not understand
  • Do not hesitate to hire an attorney to handle your construction paperwork if necessary

Note that you can hire an attorney or be represented by an attorney at any stage of the construction project. You can also report unscrupulous contractors to the Oklahoma consumer protection unit by calling (405) 521-2029.

How to Search a Contractor’s License in Oklahoma?

The regulation of contractors in Oklahoma is handled at either the state and local level, depending on the contractor’s occupational category. Plumbing, electrical, home inspection, building, and mechanical contractors are required to obtain state-issued licenses from the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board. You can find out the licensing status of these categories of contractors through the CIB Verify Licensee Search webpage, which allows interested parties to perform name, license number, or trade-based searches. Similarly, roofing contractors are also required to register with this agency and you can find out if your roofing contractor has undergone this registration via the agency’s Roofing Registration Search webpage. Alternatively, contact this agency at (405) 521-6550 to confirm any licensing or registration information of your contractor.

On the other hand, the licensing or registration requirements for all other types of contractors in Oklahoma are determined by local government authorities. As such, you will have to contact the local contractor licensing office in your area of residence to verify the licensing or registration status of these individuals. These local government authorities are also responsible for determining the specific penalties for operating without appropriate licensing or registration within their respective jurisdictions. However, per Oklahoma Statutes Title 59, it is considered a misdemeanor to operate without a requisite professional or occupational license in the State of Oklahoma, and this type of offense is punishable by a fine of up to $500, imprisonment in county jail of up to one year, or both.

How Much Does a Contractor Charge in
Oklahoma?

The cost of hiring a contractor in Oklahoma is dependent on factors such as the type of project, cost of materials, and the amount of work required to complete the job. In Oklahoma, the average cost of hiring a contractor for an hour is between $13 - $80. Listed below are the hourly cost estimates for various types of contractors in Oklahoma:

Drywall installation/repair contractors
$16 - $60
Painters
$16 - $50
Electricians
$23 - $60
Plumbing contractors
$24 - $70
Concrete finishers
$17 - $50
Landscaping contractors
$13 - $ 60
Home inspection contractors
$27 - $70
Carpenters
$17 - $50

In addition to the services of home improvement workers, members of the public may need the services of an attorney for home improvement paperwork, or other legal services that are not construction-related. The average cost of hiring an attorney in the State of Oklahoma is $47 - $200 per hour.

What Are Home Improvement
Scams in Oklahoma?

When contracting for home improvement work in Oklahoma, there is always a possibility that the contractor is an unscrupulous individual that is trying to steal your money through deceptive methods which include:

  • Deliberately slowing down work to drive labor cost
  • Using inferior materials so that you will need their services again
  • Not showing up to complete the job as soon as payment is received
  • Requesting for substantial upfront payment
  • Diverting materials that were bought in your name
  • Failing to pay subcontractors or suppliers after receiving construction fund from you

A home improvement scam is the use of the above-mentioned methods to steal from unsuspecting citizens. While it is not possible to eliminate home improvement scams, you can avoid falling into one by taking the following proactive steps. First, ensure that you research the project to find out if you have what it takes to start and properly complete it. Home improvement projects can be expensive so you need to plan for them. Do not be in a hurry to carry out home improvement work. Always ask for referrals from family, friends, and co-workers. Do not hesitate to speak with individuals who have done a similar home improvement project in the past. Also, always request to see a contractor’s license and ensure you verify the information using the CIB find license tool. In Oklahoma, plumbers, electricians, mechanical contractors, and home inspectors are required to obtain a state-issued license from the CIB. If the home improvement involves roof repair, ask the contractor to provide proof of registration with the CIB. You can verify the information from the CIB by calling (405) 521-6550. Contractors may also be required to obtain a locally issued license from their local county office. You can verify locally-issued licenses from appropriate county offices or with the help of trade organizations like the Oklahoma Home Builders Association (OKHBA), which has a locally certified builder's page that allows you to see certified builders in your area. Finally, request proof of insurance coverage. Hiring a contractor who does not have insurance coverage puts you at risk of taking up additional costs if an accident or injury occurs during your home improvement work.

You can report unscrupulous contractors to the Oklahoma consumer protection unit by calling (405)521-2029.

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What are Common Home Improvement Scams in Oklahoma?

Home improvement scammers are always looking for ways to steal money from unsuspecting individuals. In many cases, these scams are targeted at elderly people and single women who may not have the time to do a thorough background check on contractors. Common tactics used by home improvement scammers include:

  • Unsolicited offers: where scammers contact you by phone to hire them for home improvement work. In many cases, these scammers do not know that you need home improvement services, so when you receive such calls, do not assume they know you want to hire a contractor
  • Door-to-door solicitations: home improvement scammers often show up in front of your doorstep offering home improvement services such as painting, carpentering, landscaping, roof repairs, and home installations at a discount. In some cases, scammers may appear in uniforms and name tags to appear legitimate. These scammers also typically exaggerate their skill level to make you hire them.
  • Discount offers: home improvement scammers often promise to offer a discount on your project if you can refer other customers. The plan is to steal your money while also getting the contact information of potential targets from you.
  • Requesting substantial upfront fees: home improvement scammers will always try to convince you to make a substantial down payment for the project. In many cases, scammers will never show up to do the job once the payment is received.
  • Introductory offers: home improvement scammers may claim they just moved to the neighborhood following a disaster and you are the first customer. In many cases, these individuals are not registered in the state and they do not have a local business address.
  • Scare tactics: home improvement scammers generally employ scare tactics to make you fall for their fraudulent schemes.
  • Free home inspection offers: before trying to sell a fake home repair service to you, many home improvement scammers offer to inspect your home or property for free. In many cases, scammers may lie about a fault in your home to convince you about hiring them.
  • Discount on materials: home improvement scammers may say they have leftover materials from a previous job and offer to use them on your project at a discount.
  • Increased construction price: home improvement scammers tell you the construction price has increased due to some unforeseen circumstances. In many cases, they claim that the price increase is a result of a new structural or electrical issue.

Oklahoma does not place any statutory limitations on the amount of money that contractors can request as down payments for home improvement projects. Also, per state law, consumers are required to make monthly progress payments for all construction contracts that are valued at $25,000 and above. A progress payment must be made not later than 30 days after a contractor submits an invoice containing the work performed and materials properly stored for the month. A homeowner may reduce the amount on a monthly progress invoice by sending a detailed notification containing the receipt of the invoice submitted by the contractor and a reason for the reduction within seven days of receiving an invoice from the contractor. Citizens of Oklahoma have the right to negotiate alternative payment plans with contractors. You can speak with an attorney to help provide details of the alternative payment plan in the project’s contract.

In 2020, the Consumer Protection Unit investigated a complaint lodged against a couple for their involvement in home improvement fraud. The couple, who owned ultimate roofing and construction, were alleged to have collected over $330,000 from 10 victims as upfront payment for projects they did not complete. Investigations also revealed that several allegations of fraud as far back as 2017 could be linked to the couple. Residents of Oklahoma can report fraudulent contractor-related services to the Oklahoma consumer protection unit by calling 405-521-2029. Alternatively, interested persons may download and complete a consumer complaint form and mail this completed form to:

  • Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Unit
  • 313 North East 21Street
  • Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Finally, fraudulent contractors in Oklahoma can also be reported to the CIB by calling (405) 521-6550.

What are Disaster Scams in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma disaster scams are scams targeted at residents of the state whose homes and property have been affected by a natural disaster. After a disaster, you may want to repair or rebuild your home as soon as possible. The desire to immediately get things back together is understandable but you also need to take your time in selecting the right contractor for the job. This is because disasters are prime opportunities for scammers to defraud citizens who need home repairs and improvement. Contractor-related disaster scams include diversion of materials, poor services, price gouging, and not showing up to do the job. You can avoid these scams by doing the following:

  • Ask for referrals from people you trust
  • Do not hire out of state contractors
  • Ask for a contractor license. If the project involves roof repair, also request a registration certificate. You can verify the information on a contractor license and a roofing contractor registration certificate by contacting the CIB at (405) 521-6550. Note that contractors may also be required to obtain a locally issued license from county offices. You can verify these locally issued licenses by contacting the relevant local county office
  • Obtain estimates for the project from several contractors
  • Contact the Oklahoma consumer protection unit to see if complaints have been lodged against the contractor in the past. You can contact the office by calling (405) 521-2029
  • Get a written contract containing relevant details including warranties, guarantees, and promises made by the contractor
  • Avoid making full payment until the project is completed

Members of the public can report Oklahoma disaster-related scams to the Consumer Protection Unit by calling (405) 521-2029.

What are Common Legal
Work Scams in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma legal work scams are deceptive attorney-related services that aim at stealing money from unsuspecting citizens. These scams may be done by attorneys who have been duly licensed to practice law in the state or individuals who are not licensed to practice as an attorney in Oklahoma. Common legal work scams in Oklahoma include:

  • Home and property purchase scams: this scam involves unscrupulous individuals posing as attorneys, real estate agents, selling properties that have been used as collateral for a loan without informing you. Most times, you are only informed of the loan when you receive a notification from a bank or lending company that the property belongs to them.
  • Living will scams: this scam involves unscrupulous attorneys promising to help you create living wills and power of attorney documents that will ensure adequate medical treatment in case you can no longer communicate your wishes due to a serious medical condition. In many cases, these scammers are only after the fee they expect you to pay as they are not qualified to perform this service. Living wills are generally sold as part of a living trust and citizens of Oklahoma should be cautious of attorneys who point to this as justification for the high cost of a living trust package.

Some ways you can avoid falling victim to legal work scams in Oklahoma are:

  • Do your due diligence when you want to purchase any property that is up for sale If you are looking to buy a property, it is also a good idea to get recommendations on listings and real estate professionals from family and friends
  • Request proof of licensing from the attorney and verify the information using the Oklahoma Bar Association membership search tool. If you can not find the attorney's name, call the OBA at (405) 416-7000
  • Never pay for a property without doing a background check on the owners
  • Always look out for practical considerations such as the attorney's area of expertise, reputation, experience, office location, and charges before hiring an attorney
  • Contact several attorneys to get comparative information
  • Avoid making payment for properties or a living will package in cash

If you suspect a legal work scam, report it by mailing a written and signed complaint to the Oklahoma State Bar at:

  • Office of the General Counsel
  • Oklahoma Bar Association
  • P.O. Box 53036
  • Oklahoma City, OK 73152-30

Once a complaint is received, the Office of the General Counsel shall review the complaint and take any of the following steps:

  • Request for more information from you
  • Ask the attorney to provide a written response
  • Open an investigation
  • Notify you that the office can take no action

Due to the number of complaints received daily, it may take a few weeks before you get a response from the Office of the General Counsel. Note that all Oklahoma State Bar investigations are confidential.

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

The processing time for completing the license application process and obtaining a license in Oklahoma is dependent on factors such as the current workload of the professional board issuing the license and when the application was submitted. Applicants are required to complete certain steps, which include completing the relevant application form their intended field or registration form for roofing contractors, and submitting the form along with any applicable fees and documentation in person at:

  • Construction Industries Board
  • 2401 NorthWest 23 Street
  • Suite 2F
  • Oklahoma City, OK 73107-2431

Finally, while general contractors are not required to obtain a state-issued license in Oklahoma, some counties and municipalities within the state may establish minimum competency requirements for contractors in their locality. Interested parties can visit the relevant county office to find out about the licensing procedure for that county.

How to Maintain a Contractor License in Oklahoma

Oklahoma contractors are allowed to update and maintain the information on their licenses like changing their names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails by downloading and completing the change of address request form. However, an application for a change in license information can only be considered if the requestor had sent a written notification informing the CIB of the change earlier. You can deliver both the notification and a complete application form in person at:

  • Construction Industries Board
  • 2401 NorthWest 23 Street
  • Suite 2F
  • Oklahoma City, OK 73107-2431

Oklahoma contractors can also request a duplicate of their license certificate by downloading and completing the duplicate license request form. Contractors can request duplicates if they have destroyed or lost their licenses. Oklahoma contractors are also required to maintain their license by completing six hours of approved continuing education for each license category within 12 months of the preceding licensing year.

On the other hand, contractors that are licensed at the local level are required to contact their relevant local licensing authorities to find out how to update the information on their license records.

Similarly, attorneys are allowed to update their information by completing and mailing the Oklahoma Bar Association address/name change form to:

  • Oklahoma Bar Association
  • 1901 North Lincoln Boulevard
  • P.O. Box 53036
  • Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3036

Note that a name change request must be accompanied by a divorce decree, a marriage certificate, or any other court document.

Finally, Oklahoma attorneys are required to complete a total of 12 credits of continuing legal education annually. The Oklahoma Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Commission is the agency responsible for administering attorney continuing legal education in the state.

How to Renew a Contractor License in
Oklahoma?

Oklahoma contractor licenses are valid for one year. The forms, processes, and fees for license renewal vary among the different professions. To renew a contractor license, applicants must download, and complete any applicable forms. On the other hand, roofing contractors are to download and complete a registration renewal application form. Both applications may be delivered in-person to:

  • Construction Industries Board
  • 2401 NorthWest 23 Street
  • Suite 2F
  • Oklahoma City, OK 73107-2431

Finally, Oklahoma attorney licenses are valid for one year and attorneys are required to renew their licenses by paying annual membership dues to the Oklahoma State Bar online. Attorneys are required to log into the Oklahoma Bar Association membership portal using their bar number and a password to pay their annual fees. Queries related to attorney license renewal can be directed to (405) 416-7000.