Beware of Unlicensed Contractors Following Virginia Beach Storms

Beware of Unlicensed Contractors Following Virginia Beach Storms


Media Contact: Kerri O'Brien

Beware of Unlicensed Contractors Following Virginia Beach Storms

(RICHMOND, VA) — The Virginia Board for Contractors urges residents to beware of fake and unlicensed contractors soliciting their services in the aftermath of the storms in Virginia Beach. Scammers frequently attempt to profit from natural disasters by taking advantage of vulnerable homeowners coping with damage.

Be wary of door-to-door solicitations promising repairs at a discounted price. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Consumers can best protect themselves by verifying the contractor has a valid license in Virginia using the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation’s (DPOR) “License Lookup” or by calling (804) 367-8511.

“When severe weather hits, bad actors see an opportunity to prey on those desperate for repairs,” said DPOR spokesperson Kerri O’Brien. “Avoid doing business with someone who requires you pay in cash or use an app to transfer money, refuses to offer you a contract in writing, or will not provide references or proof of their credentials.”

Virginia law requires a state license, not just a local business license, for most contracting work or bids over $1,000. Make sure the contractor is licensed to do the work you’re looking for. Consumers have very little recourse against unlicensed contractors. Please note, a license is generally not required for tree trimming; stump-grinding or other below-grade work, land-disturbing work usually triggers the need for licensure. For more information and additional consumer resources visit the Virginia Board for Contractors.

Tips for Hiring a Contractor:

1.    Check for a valid contractor license.
2.    Verify insurance. Contractors should have disability and workers’ compensation insurance. If they don’t, you may be liable for accidents on your property.
3.    Check references and review past work.
4.    Get at least three estimates whenever possible.
5.    Insist on a written contract.
6.    Never pay for the entire job upfront. Pay 10% down, or $1,000 whichever is less.
7.    Ensure contractors obtain the necessary permits to do the job.
8.    Don’t make your final payment until you’re satisfied with job.
9.    Never pay in cash.
10.  Keep records of all payments and documents related to your project.

DPOR is an executive branch agency that oversees 18 regulatory boards and programs. DPOR issues professional licenses, certificates, or registration in the least intrusive, least burdensome, and most efficient way to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.