While Idaho requires licenses for many occupations, it’s crucial for project-minded homeowners to note that general contractor is not among them. This matters significantly in the off chance that something goes wrong in a home-improvement project, as it determines your options and changes the legal recourse available to you.

If the state doesn’t license contractors, how is the occupation regulated?

Contractors must register with the Bureau of Occupational Licensing, but they have no actual requirements to complete to begin operating as a contractor. They simply add their name to the list.

Why are things done this way? It is meant to increase accessibility; however, there is some disagreement on whether this should be the top priority.

What action can you take if a contractor wrongs you or violates their agreement?

With a licensed contractor, you would have a myriad of options, including filing a complaint with a government agency, tapping their bond, going to arbitration and possibly even pursuing a claim in court. The options in Idaho are similar.

Here are the details:

  • Refuse to finish paying. Usually, a contractor will request partial pay before the job and the rest when they finish. By withholding the rest of the check until they finish the job properly, you may see the result you want.
  • File a complaint with the Bureau of Occupational Licensing against the contractor. Know that the Bureau has a backlog of complaints, but this will at least set in motion a red flag on this contractor. They will review your complaint, but it may take some time.
  • Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to pursue the matter in court. You’ll have to decide if the cost is worth the investment.

Given Idaho’s registration approach to this profession—over licensing—choosing the right contractor from the start is very important. Consider trusted recommendations and do your research before taking on anyone new.