What Are Nevada Contractors?
In Nevada, home improvement contractors are professionals who carry out repair, alteration, rebuilding, and refurbishment works on residential properties. These contractors are required to obtain a state contractor license from the Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB), which is the agency that is responsible for evaluating and issuing relevant contractor licenses to professionals who satisfy its laid-down licensing requirements, which include relevant education, work experience, and financial responsibility. As of 2020, the state of Nevada has over 16,800 active contractors licensed by the NSCB.
The state does not only impose occupational licensure on home improvement contractors in Nevada. The Nevada State Board of Nursing(NSBN), the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy (NSBP), the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners, and the Nevada Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors (NBPELS) are some of the other licensing boards that issue professional licenses to qualified professionals in the state. Also, with over 7,500 licensed attorneys, the State of Nevada provides citizens with access to a pool of qualified legal practitioners whose activities are regulated by the State Bar of Nevada.
Tips for Hiring a Contractor
A home improvement project can make or mar the comfort and security that a home offers its occupants. These types of projects are also typically financially demanding. Hence, you must take a great deal of care and tick all the necessary boxes before deciding which home improvement contractor to hire. You will find the following tips helpful in making an informed contractor hiring decision:
- Consult professionals such as architects, interior designers, and building inspectors to figure out the exact type of repair, remolding, or replacement work your home requires, as well as the category of home improvement contractors to hire for the project.
- Seek contractor referrals from family members, neighbors, and trusted associates, preferably those who recently executed a similar project. You may also use the contractor listing provided by the NSCB to find different categories of contractors in each county in the state.
- Request and assess written project quotes from at least three of the contractors referred to you.
- Request proof of licensure, such as a state-issued pocket ID, from each contractor and verify their licenses online via the NSCB’s website. While verifying a license, you should ensure that the name and company information that the contractor has provided matches the information on this website. You should equally confirm the status of the contractor’s license, and make sure that it is active. Contractors with an inactive, suspended, or revoked status are ineligible to bid for your project.
- Ensure that the project’s cost does not exceed the monetary limit the NSCB has imposed on the contractor. This monetary limit, which the NSCB provides when you verify a license, usually indicates the maximum project scale a contractor can comfortably and responsibly handle and is usually determined after careful evaluation. It is therefore not advisable to hire a contractor for a project above their monetary limit.
- Review each contractor’s disciplinary history and contact the NSCB to make further inquiries about a particular contractor at either (702) 486-1100 for Southern Nevada or (775) 688-1141 for Northern Nevada.
- Seek references from each contractor and check out their past works that are similar to yours. You should also contact these contractors’ past clients to ask for an overall review of their professionalism, work ethics, and job satisfaction.
- Ask for a written project contract that contains all the key information of the project such as project description, the identity of the homeowner and the contractor, agreed cost of project, type and amount of materials to be procured, list of subcontractors, and proposed project schedule. Also, make sure any modification to the contract is done in writing.
- Retain an attorney who will review the fine print of the project’s contract and help ensure that it does not contain any potentially compromising clauses. Do not sign any contract if you do not fully understand it.
- Ensure that you only make an advance payment that will just be enough to get your project started. For subsequent payments, pay according to the amount of work already executed. It is also recommended to make payments by check. This way, you can easily activate a payment restriction or void the check if a problem arises. Checks also serve good record purposes.
- Assess the finished work thoroughly before making the final payment. You should also ask for the lien release after you make the final payment if the contractor imposed a lien on your property at the start of the project.
- Maintain a file for all documents, quotes, contracts, and receipts related to the project for record purposes.
As a general rule, you should make sure to carry out all necessary vetting and take all precautions before making the hire. This is because it is safer to avoid making the wrong hire than attempt to rectify one.
Confirming that the contractor you intend to hire has been duly licensed by the Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB) goes a long way in ensuring a successful outcome at the end of your construction or home repair project. The NSCB issues several classifications of licenses, and you can confirm that your contractor possesses a valid license in the right classification by using the board’s License Search portal. Searches can be carried out by any of three criteria, namely license number, company name, or individual name. Contractor information provided by searches on the NSCB’s portal includes the contractor’s legal business name, DBA name, license number, classification, status, and location.
Note that doing contracting work without a license is illegal in the State of Nevada. Individuals found guilty of unlicensed contracting can face misdemeanor charges, with the penalties escalating to gross misdemeanor charges and Class E felony charges with every subsequent offense. The statutory punishments for these offenses range from six months imprisonment and a fine of $1,000 to four years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000. In some situations, guilty parties may receive a combined punishment of fine payments and imprisonment.
How Much Does a Contractor Charge in
Fees that home improvement contractors charge homeowners mostly depend on the type of project to be executed and the scale of such a project. However, projects of the same type and of equally similar size may still come at substantially different prices. This variation is usually caused by factors such as the quality of materials to be used, the contractor’s expertise and experience, and the distance of the worksite to the contractor’s permanent business location. Nonetheless, on average, home improvement contractors charge an hourly fee between $30 to $150. For certain types of home improvement projects, the average estimates are given below:
The following are estimates of average hourly fees charged by specialized home improvement contractors in Nevada:
Attorneys will typically come in handy for contract drafting and reviewing when executing large home improvement contracts, as well as for other legal works. The average hourly rate for an attorney in Nevada ranges between $100 to $250. An attorney’s level of expertise, years of experience, and the type of legal work involved influence the exact fee you will have to pay.
What Are Home Improvement
Scams in Nevada?
In Nevada, home improvement scams occur when a contractor deals dishonestly and deceptively with a homeowner concerning a home improvement project. These scams involve the use of con tactics to defraud homeowners by taking payment for a project without completing the project, using inferior materials, or not starting the project at all. The Consumer Federation of America reported that home improvement and construction complaints ranked second among the top ten consumer complaints in 2020. Every year, unscrupulous home improvement contractors scam homeowners of huge sums of money, deliberately use poor supplies and carry out shoddy home improvement work, all of which worsen a home’s problems and compromises its structural integrity. Homeowners must therefore make sure to exercise great caution to avoid falling victim to unscrupulous home improvement contractors. The following are some red flags that may indicate that a contractor is out to commit a scam:
- A home improvement contractor makes door-to-door contract solicitation with homeowners.
- A home improvement contractor promises to use leftover materials for homeowners and at a discounted project cost.
- A home improvement contractor makes repeated efforts to collect large upfront cash payments from homeowners.
- A home improvement contractor is unable to provide valid proof of licensure or asks homeowners to obtain project permits on their own.
- A home improvement contractor is unable to provide a verifiable business name, address, or phone number.
- A home improvement contractor is reluctant to provide homeowners a project contract or written estimate.
Homeowners must also understand that hiring a licensed home improvement contractor offers legal protection for them and their properties which would otherwise not be available if they hire an unlicensed contractor. For instance, a contract entered into with an unlicensed contractor in Nevada is legally considered null and void and may not be enforceable in a court of law. Homeowners also have the opportunity to lodge complaints with the Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB) for up to four years after a project has been executed, as long as the project was executed by a licensed contractor. If the licensed home improvement contractor is unable to properly rectify the damage or defect in their work, then the homeowner may be eligible for the NSCB’s Residential Recovery Fund, which can pay up to $40,000 to each claimant as compensation. In May 2020, the NSCB awarded over $321,000 in claims from the Residential Recovery Fund to 36 homeowners who were affected by the actions of Reno Patio & Fireplaces, a licensed Nevada-based contractor.
Homeowners may file a complaint against mischievous contractors by contacting the NSCB’s hotline phone numbers at (702) 486-1160 for Las Vegas or (775) 850-7838 for Reno. Alternatively, homeowners can complete a Licensed Contractor Complaint Form and mail or submit it in person to the NSCB at:
- 2310 Corporate Circle
- Suite 200
- Henderson, NV 89074
- Phone: (702) 486-1100
- 5390 Kietze Lane
- Suite 102
- Reno, NV 895111
- Phone: (775) 688-1141
Unlicensed contracting activities can also be reported by contacting the above-listed offices via phone call or by completing and submitting an Unlicensed Contractor Criminal Complaint Form in person or via mail to either of these offices.
What are Common Home Improvement Scams in Nevada?
Homeowners who are informed about the various schemes and types of home improvement scams in Nevada are better positioned to identify and stop them before they are perpetrated. This information is essential for older people in Nevada who are most targeted because they are mostly at home and may also be suffering from certain mental or physical conditions which render them vulnerable. Some of the most common scams that home improvement contractors perpetrate include:
- Traveling Contractors Scam: This type of scam involves the door-to-door solicitation of projects by mischievous home improvement contractors. These contractors attempt to force homeowners into making hasty decisions by offering them discounts which they claim are only available for the day. They also offer to execute the project immediately and repeatedly ask homeowners to ignore the project’s work permit requirements in a bid to avoid being apprehended by regulatory authorities.
- Home Improvement Contract Scam: In this type of scam, unscrupulous home improvement contractors deliberately insert clauses that may compromise the homeowners’ property rights into a project’s contract. For instance, the home improvement contract may include a clause that allows subcontractors to file a lien on a homeowner’s property if the home improvement contractor, who is the main contractor, fails to pay. Homeowners who hire qualified attorneys to vet the contracts of their home improvement projects will typically not fall victim to this type of scam.
- Home Improvement Project Cost Scam: The first indicator of this type of scam is a home improvement contractor’s refusal to provide a written estimate for the job. The contractor quotes certain prices for specific parts of a project and then substantially increases these prices once the project is ongoing. For fear of project abandonment, homeowners may be forced to pay this unfair and unjustifiable price increase.
Some other scam tactics involve demanding advance payments in cash and making away with the funds upon receiving the money. Homeowners are advised not to make large financial commitments at the start of the project, except what is necessary to get a project started. Reputable contractors are generally able to foot the cost of kickstarting jobs, even large projects. This is more reason why homeowners must not award to a home improvement contractor a project with a cost outlay higher than the contractor’s monetary limit. For swimming pool projects, state law allows a homeowner to pay a home improvement contractor only 10% of the total project cost or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment for the project. As a measure of caution, homeowners may apply this as a guide for other home improvement projects.
In January 2020, the NSCB revoked the licenses of two home improvement contractors, Reno Patio & Fireplaces and Revolution General Contractors, LLC, for violating the Board's rules. Infractions committed by the contractors in question include illegally abandoning projects, doing work that is less than the amount received, diversion of clients’ money and property, submitting bids for projects above their license monetary limit, and financial irresponsibility. Both contractors also incurred more than $83,000 in fines combined.
Disaster scams are home improvement project scams perpetrated after a disaster or catastrophe. After a property-damaging disaster, it is common to find home improvement contractors moving to the affected neighborhoods and communities in large numbers to solicit for home repair and replacement projects. Even unlicensed contractors seek home improvement and repair jobs after disasters, banking on the fact that affected homeowners are usually too distraught and desperate for help to pay attention to a contractor’s licensing status. Note that contractors from neighboring states that are duly licensed in their respective states but do not have a valid NSCB-issued contractor license are considered unlicensed contractors in Nevada. Nevada Homeowners that wish to avoid falling victim to disaster scams can do so by:
- Seeking tested and trusted contractor references from friends, family, and neighbors.
- Asking for proof of licensure, insurance, and bonding, and verify each from the relevant issuing authority
- Getting a written contract for the project and making sure it is signed by the contractor
- Not making payments ahead of the job schedule. It is also recommended to keep down payments at 10% of the total cost of the project or $1,000, depending on which is less.
- Contacting the NSCB to lodge complaints at (775) 850-7838 if a problem arises
What are Common Legal
Work Scams In Nevada?
In Nevada, legal work scams refer to fraudulent activities of attorneys and non-attorneys, sometimes collaboratively, with the aim of cheating and scamming unsuspecting clients and other consumers. Fraudulent attorneys may perpetuate legal scams in a typical attorney-client relationship, while persons who are not attorneys may connive with attorneys or use fraudulent legal documents to obtain undeserved favor or gain.
Some of the common legal work scams that con artists and dubious attorneys perpetrate in Nevada include:
- Consumers receive a call from someone who claims to have called on behalf of a relative who has been arrested. These callers, after creating the false impression that they are attorneys, or that they are providing legal assistance to the affected relative, direct the receivers to send money to a certain account to secure bail for the relative.
- Scammers who are not qualified or authorized to, pretend to be providing immigration assistance services to unsuspecting consumers in a bid to obtain payment from them.
- Fraudulent attorneys convert and use clients’ funds and assets for personal use
- Dishonest attorneys obtain a loan for personal use in clients’ names without their consent
- Attorneys intentionally refuse to update a client and hiding key details of a lawsuit in order to make monetary gains
To avoid falling victim to the legal work scams listed above and more, consumers must take the following precautionary measures:
- Working with only qualified, licensed, and reputable attorneys by hiring based on referrals. It is also recommendable to make use of the Lawyer Referral Service offered by the State Bar of Nevada.
- Investigating an attorney’s disciplinary history at the State Bar of Nevada
- Making sure to understand the responsibilities of an attorney in every given matter
- Frequently seeking case updates from an attorney based on mutually agreed arrangements.
- Consulting with another qualified attorney if you have doubts about a key decision or action your attorney has taken
- Avoiding attorneys who relentlessly attempt to persuade you into transferring all your assets to a single assets managing agency, especially if you have provided clear and convincing reasons why you would not want to make such a move.
The State Bar of Nevada maintains a Clients’ Security Fund to compensate victims of attorneys’ dishonest practices. Consumers are allowed to file complaints with the State Bar of Nevada online about attorneys’ misconduct. Alternatively, consumers can lodge their complaints in writing and mailing these written complaints to:
- State Bar of Nevada Office of Bar Counsel
- 3100 West Charleston Boulevard
- Suite 100
- Las Vegas, NV 89102
Consumers are also allowed to report unlicensed practice cases by mailing a written complaint to the above address or online with the State Bar of Nevada.
How Long Does it Take to Get a License in
Although no specific time frame is given, the time required to apply for and receive a Nevada state contractor license will typically depend on the license classification, the volume of license applications the board is processing at the time, and additional requirements for license approval such as proof of experience and license examination.
How to Maintain your License in Nevada
Contractors in Nevada can make changes to license information and status by downloading, completing, and mailing a completed copy of the relevant form with the supporting documents to the NSCB at:
- 2310 Corporate Circle
- Suite 200
- Henderson, NV 89074
- Phone: (702) 486-1100
- 5390 Kietze Lane
- Suite 102
- Reno, NV 895111
- Phone: (775) 688-1141
Some of the license maintenance actions that a licensee may carry out include change of license status, name change application, and entity conversion.
Active attorneys in the state are required to complete 13 credit hours of continuing legal education annually. Ten of these hours are to be spent on general education, two hours on ethics, and one hour on substance abuse. In addition to this, attorneys are required to keep all contact information on their licenses and their professional liability insurance disclosures current. Members of the state bar are allowed to make changes to their contact information and personal details online on the state bar’s professional dashboard for members. However, attorneys looking to change their licensing status have to do so by submitting a request form along with the required payment before the first day of March of the year in question to avoid paying the yearly active license renewal fee. To reactivate a law practice license, attorneys can use the same form but will need to include a Certificate of Compliance and Consent. Queries concerning this process can be directed to the State Bar of Nevada at (702) 382-2200 or by email.
How to Renew Contractor License in
Contractor licenses in Nevada are valid for two years and must be renewed biennially for a fee. The Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB) notifies license holders of required license renewal in due time by mail, and renewals can be done via the NSCB’s online license renewal portal.
Attorneys in Nevada have to renew their licenses annually on January 1st of every year and this fee is dependent on factors like the attorney’s status and length of practice. Note that attorneys that fail to renew their licenses before the 2nd of March will be required to pay a late renewal fee.