Well 12 years ago in Idaho if you wanted to be a Journeyman Electrician, Plumber, or HVAC you just needed $20. There was no apprenticeship, test, or insurance requirement. Now that all that is in place I think consumer confidence has improved.
There is no testing to be a contractor here, not even a GC. If you have $30 and $300,000 inliability insurance that's all you need. My opinion is that's kind of a good thing, actually. I see a lot of young guys that get the registration and start working. They might not be the best, but they either sink or swim real quick. That fear of failure can be a strong motivator to do it right. I think it also keeps wages a little higher than average, knowing your employee can just walk out and be your competetion in a week. The interesting thing is that the journeyman trades (HVAC, electrical, and plumbing) have seperate contractor registrations issued by IBOL. For example you can hold a registration as an electrical contractor without being a licensed electrician.
Personally I like the way things are run here, it's pretty much self regulating. If you suck word gets out quick and you won't have any work. The registration fees are low because there isn't a huge bureaucracy that has to regulate it.
I could see testing being beneficial in a state that has a higher population or many large cities. Word might not get around as fast.
Woo Hoo, I have a piece of paper that says I can pass a test & do things legally. The bad part is that you don't need one here unless the work is over 10K resi or 50k for comm. They do some enforcement but it is still a joke.
Same deal in AZ, there limit though is $750 & they still have big time enforcement problems. It was amazing how many people with hardly any knowledge go to a simple class & had a license shortly thereafter.
Some counties have different requirements and tests and so forth.
All I need to show around here is my gen. liability and usually give the different counties 20-50 bucks to register per year. City of Auburn, I can hardley get the building inspector to either A. issue permit or B. inspect.
He watches alot of guys like a hawk and really comes down on certain guys. I was told several years ago to do what you are supposed to do and he will treat you right. Hell, I go to his house once a month for a bbq now.
Little towns and small counties will blow your mind Rory.
Like I said before, I would kill people if I had to live and work where you do.
Here in WA, at least where I live, getting a license is something of a formality. You prove 3 years of related field experience to your bond and liability insurance provider, take that info down to the department of Labor and Industries and give $75 and they issue you a license. I know of a guy who claimed 12 years of experience... he was 21... he counted helping his dad (who was a painter) as a kid as experience toward a general contracting license. Basically, if you can swing a hammer and pay for insurance you can get a license. I wish they would install a written and a practical skills test to help weed out some of the hacks running around playing contractor.
One county's GC exam is ridiculously hard, and the surrounding counties don't test at all.
Beyond that, each city within those counties has their own laws regarding licensing. Some city licenses or registrations require a fee, proof of insurance and a bond. Some other towns require testing and/or a county license.
Even with all that, the unlicensed illegals still do business here. I see it all the time.
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