How to Check a Builder's License

Many states in the United States require residential contractors of various trades to be licensed. Licensing is handled on a per-state or per-municipality basis, so both the requirements for obtaining a license and the process for checking a license will vary based on your location. Checking a builder's license before allowing them to perform work in your home is an important consideration in making sure you hire competent, reliable, and certified contractors. Follow the guide below to learn how to check a builder's license.


  1. Image titled Check a Builder's License Step 1
    Determine the appropriate state with which to check the license. Most residential builders will only operate in 1 state, so this will not be a concern. However, larger contractors or contractors that live close to a state border may perform work in multiple states. In this case, you must make sure to check the builder's license in the state in which the work is being performed, not the state in which the contractor lives or is incorporated.
  2. Image titled Check a Builder's License Step 2
    Determine whether licensing is handled at the state level or local level in your location. Contractor licenses are often handled by the state governments, but several states handle licensing at the local level.
    • To find out how your state handles contractor licensing, search the Internet or search specifically on your state government's website for licensing requirements. Once you find the relevant information, read it carefully to make sure you know what requirements apply to your job.
    • If licensing is regulated at the local level, it may vary by county or by city. In this case, check your county or city website for information. Many cities and counties with low populations may not have any licensing requirements at all.
    • When searching for this information, you may find that neither your state nor your local jurisdiction maintains any kind of licensing requirements for builders.
  3. Image titled Check a Builder's License Step 3
    Navigate to the website of your jurisdiction's licensing body. In each state, city, or county, builder licensing will be handled by a specific regulatory body. Find the local licensing body's website by searching your state, county, or city website.
    • These licensing bodies have different names from place to place. Some example names are Construction Contractors Board (Oregon), Contractors States License Board (California), and Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (Virginia).
    • In some jurisdictions, contractor licensing will be handled by a larger body, such as the Department of Labor.
  4. Image titled Check a Builder's License Step 4
    Search for the contractor's license using the regulatory body's website. Once you have found the website, you can usually search for a builder's license online. You may be able to search by name, license number, license type, or license location.
    • When searching by name, make sure to use the contractor's full or "company" name. Some contractors may use a "doing business as (DBA)" name, which means their business name differs from their given name.
    • The most straightforward way to find a license is to search by license number. You can ask your contractor for this number; any licensed contractor should be glad to give you the number, with the understanding that checking their license will improve your confidence.


  • In addition to being licensed, the ideal residential contractor should be bonded and insured. These considerations provide extra legal protection for both the homeowner and the builder.
  • For further verification of a contractor's stranding, you can check their business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This organization maintains a log of complaints filed against the business.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Internet access

Article Info

Categories: Accounting and Regulations