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There are many different types of contractors out there, which one should you hire? In this post you will learn about the five categories of contractors and which one you should hire for your specific needs.

What are the Different Types of Contractors?

As discussed in our previous post, contractors are regulated professionals that require professional licensing as well as bonding and insurance to operate legally in Alaska; other states may require different licensing designations. When it comes to choosing a contractor for your individual needs, you will be faced with a few options: General Contractor with Residential Endorsement, General Contractor without Residential Endorsement, General Contractor: Handyman, Specialty Contractor, or Mechanical Contractor. The type and scope of work will determine which contractor you will need for your specific job. Let's dive into what each contractor can do for you.

General Contractor with Residential Endorsement

This type of contractor may perform or oversee new home construction, commercial work, and residential remodel work greater than 25% of the value of the structure being altered. In order to obtain a residential contractor endorsement the contractor must take a 16-hour cold climate course and pass the residential contractors endorsement exam.

General Contractor without Residential Endorsement

This type of contractor may perform or oversee commercial work or do residential remodel work less than 25% of the value of the structure being altered. If the contractor meets this criteria, they do not need to acquire a residential endorsement license.

General Contractor: Handyman

Handyman Contractors may perform commercial or residential remodel work of $10,000 or less per project.

Specialty Contractor

A Specialty Contractor may perform work that requires the use of not more than three trades; a list of the recognized trades can be found in municipal code 12 AAC 21.200-.570.

Mechanical Contractor

In order to receive a Mechanical Contractor license the company must have a Mechanical Administrator. Mechanical Contractors may perform any of the mechanical disciplines for which they have an administrator assigned (plumbing, heating, sheet metal, refrigeration); however, mechanical contractors may perform only mechanical work.

4 Questions to Guide Your Decision

Now that you know the different types of contractors available, how can you decide which one is right? Do you try them all like Goldie Locks tries porridge and beds? No! You examine the work that needs to be done and match it with the right contractor for the job.

Here are 4 quick questions to help you decide which contractor to call:

  1. Are you building a new home or office? If Yes, call a General Contractor with a Residential Endorsement.

  2. Does the remodel or renovation you have in mind equal a value of less than 25% of the existing structure? If Yes, call a General Contractor without a Residential Endorsement.

  3. Is the project going to come in at less than $10,000? If Yes, call a General Contractor: Handyman, they provide remodel and renovation work at a fraction of the cost when compared to a Contractor with or without a Residential Endorsement.

  4. Will the project require mechanical or specialty work i.e. septic tank plumbing or HVAC and heating, water and sewer, excavation? If Yes, it would be best for you to hire a Mechanical or Specialty Contractor for the job.

Let us know in the comments about some of the remodel and renovation questions you have! If we feature one of your questions you'll get a shout out!

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Updated: Feb 28, 2019

What does it mean for a contractor to be licensed, bonded, and insured? Why should this matter to you? We'll describe what it means to be bonded and insured, why it's important to always hire licensed contractors and how you can check to see if they are licensed in your state.

What does it Mean to be Licensed, Bonded, & Insured?

Did you know contractors cannot receive their professional license until they are bonded and insured? This means they have to be so serious about their business that they choose to pay for insurance before they are even licensed to do begin working. The bond and insurance serve as a protection for clients when a mistake or problem arises from the project in question. Once a contractor is bonded and insured, they can submit for their professional license. Once the professional license has been accepted contractors can begin doing business.

Why is it Important to Hire Licensed, Bonded, and Insured Contractors?

When you hire a contractor who is licensed, you are protecting your home from damages and can sleep soundly knowing they have the knowledge to get the job done right. Licensed contractors have put in the time and effort to learn their craft well and understand what needs to be done in order to successfully complete a job, this includes acquiring the proper permits through state and local governments.

Let's say you have a guest visiting during your construction project and they get injured on an unfinished floor. Without a licensed contractor, you could be footing the bill for that injured guest. Another possible scenario is if an unlicensed worker causes damage to your home or occupants, you could be held liable. These are some of the main reasons you should always hire a licensed contractor to work on your home or office. Licensed professional contractors will have the tools to do the job right, and liability covered if damages ever occur.

If you are curious about whether your current or future contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured, go over to your state's website and search for the business name under professional licensing; or search for a business license with the company name. If you cannot find their business license or professional license and you have reason to believe they are not licensed, do not do business with them! Licensed contractors will be happy to provide proof of insurance if you ask them,

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