Oklahoma Contractor License Search

What You Should Know about Hiring a Contractor in Oklahoma

Most trades are not regulated at the state level in Oklahoma except for specialty professions like plumbing, roofing, electrical, and mechanical works. However, there are over 81,000 contractors licensed at the local level in the state. Hiring a licensed contractor for any project is vital as this ensures you are covered from any financial liabilities arising from damages, injuries, and uncompleted work. Generally, these technicians are bonded and insured to cover such liabilities. Engaging a licensed contractor also saves you from fraudulent contractors and guarantees the completion of your work in line with local codes and industry standards.

When hiring any contractor in Oklahoma, consider the following issues:

Who Is a Contractor in Oklahoma?

Contractors are individuals and businesses that offer services to interested parties per the terms of a written or oral agreement. These contractors must comply with local regulatory requirements before they can legally provide their services or perform construction and home improvement-related work in Oklahoma. The city or jurisdiction determines these specific requirements the contractor intends to work. For example, contractors who wish to operate in Oklahoma City must be registered with the OKC Development Services Department before bidding for or performing any residential work that requires a building permit. Likewise, specialists who wish to ply their trade in Tulsa and Broken Arrow must first register with the Tulsa Development Services Department and the Broken Arrow Community Permitting and Licensing Division, respectively.

In addition to these local requirements, electricians, plumbers, and HVAC contractors must obtain a state-issued trade license from the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board; roofing contractors must also register with this board.

There are several kinds of contractors in Oklahoma, ranging from electricians, plumbers, and roofers to carpenters, painters, and floorers; these contractors are broadly grouped into two categories:

  • General Contractors: general contractors oversee and manage construction projects, supervise the activities of laborers and subcontractors in these projects, and also handle building and construction tasks that do not require specialized skills or state-mandated trade licensing (unless they hold these licenses). Oklahoma general contractors are further categorized based on their areas of specialization:
    • Residential Contractors: specialize in constructing, remodeling, renovating, and repairing homes and residential properties.
    • Commercial Contractors: these contractors construct, renovate, and repair commercial properties.
    • Industrial Contractors: specialize in building and constructing structures and properties used for industrial purposes, like power plants and factories.
  • Specialty Contractors: specialty contractors are pros who perform building and construction tasks requiring specialized skills and training, like finish carpentry, flooring, roofing, electrical work, masonry, and plumbing. Remember that electricians, plumbers, and HVAC contractors require state-issued trade licenses, which can only be obtained after passing a licensing exam and demonstrating their competence and knowledge in their respective trades.
  • Subcontractors: subcontractors are specialty contractors hired by general contractors to handle specific tasks within a larger project. They work directly with the general contractor and typically have no direct contact with the project owner.

How to Search for a Contractor's License in Oklahoma

Excluding electricians, plumbers, HVAC contractors, and roofers ( regulated by the state's Construction Industries Board), contractor licensing and registration in Oklahoma is handled locally by respective cities and counties. You can use the Uhire Professional License Search tool to check whether your intended contractors have complied with relevant local licensing (or registration) requirements; this tool allows you to run a name, license number, and location-based searches.

Alternatively, you can contact your local building department to check whether your intended contractor has met all regulatory requirements for contracting; you can verify state-issued trade licenses (and roofer registration) online. -.

Penalty for Hiring a Contractor Without a License in Oklahoma

While there are no specific sanctions for hiring unlicensed contractors in Oklahoma, taking this decision or failing to confirm your prospective contractor's license or registration status before committing to them has several drawbacks:

  • You risk putting your project in the hands of an inexperienced and unskilled individual and ultimately receiving subpar services when you hire unlicensed contractors.
  • Unlicensed contractors usually don't have insurance and bond coverage. By employing these contractors, you assume liability for any injuries, property damage, and work-related accidents that may occur during your project.
  • Building departments only authorize appropriately licensed (or registered) contractors. Starting a project without these permits can lead to fines, administrative sanctions, and even a possible decline in the value of your property from code violations.

It should be noted that failure to comply with applicable licensing and registration requirements is unlawful; the penalties for this violation are determined by the nature of the offense or the jurisdiction where it occurs. For example, performing electrical, plumbing, HVAC, or roofing work in any location across Oklahoma without appropriate licensing (or registration for roofing) is punishable by a fine of $500 for the first violation and $1,000 for subsequent offenses. Similarly, performing work that requires building permits in Oklahoma City before registering with the city's Development Services Department and pulling the required permits is punishable by administrative sanctions of up to $1,200, jail time of up to six months, or a combination of both.

How Much Does a Contractor Charge in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma specialty contractors usually charge hourly rates ranging from $40 to $90. It's important to note that the cost of hiring these professionals varies based on factors like the specific type of contractor, the scope and complexity of the services you need, and the project's labor intensity.

The table below outlines the average hourly rates for various Oklahoma specialty contractors. Keep in mind that actual costs may vary based on your specific location and the contractor's local reputation:

$55 - $95
$55 - $95
HVACR Technicians
$50 - $95
$45 - $85
$40 - $80
$50 - $90
Flooring Contractors
$45 - $80
$40 - $90
$40 - $75
$75 - $180
Interior Designers
$65 - $145
Excavation Contractors
$60 - $150
Concrete Contractors
$40 - $90
$40 - $75
Appliance Repair Technicians
$45 - $80
$45 - $95
Cleaning Services
$40 - $70
$50 - $120

New construction and home renovation projects typically require the involvement of more than one specialty contractor, along with several laborers and materials suppliers. Consider hiring a general contractor to save yourself the stress of supervising all these individuals; the general contractor can also help you manage the project and ensure its timely execution. Usually, general contractors in Oklahoma do not charge hourly rates. Instead, they opt for a percentage-based fee structure that usually ranges from 10 - 20 percent of the total project cost; actual costs are calculated via two main pricing methods:

  • Lump Sum Pricing: here, the general contractor submits a fixed bid for the project that includes the cost of labor, materials, overhead, fees, and a markup to account for unplanned incidents. This pricing method is suitable for projects with well-defined scopes and timelines.
  • Cost Plus Pricing: here, the general contractor charges you the actual cost for labor and materials on your project, plus a predetermined fee for their services. This pricing method is suitable for projects with uncertain scopes and timelines. However, it is suggested to set a maximum price cap to prevent your overall costs from ballooning if the project goes on longer than expected.

Construction projects in Oklahoma typically cost an average of $105 - $120 per square foot; however, the overall cost of your specific project will be determined by several factors, including:

  • Your location,
  • The project's scope,
  • The experience and reputation of involved contractors,
  • Contractor fees,
  • Labor and material costs,
  • Site accessibility and conditions,
  • Permits costs.

Tips for Hiring a Contractor in Oklahoma

Hiring competent contractors is mandatory to ensure your project is completed satisfactorily. Billions of dollars are spent on construction and home improvement projects in Oklahoma every year; your choice of contractor will determine whether you will be satisfied by the work done or end up with a poorly executed project and significant financial loss.

To this end, we have compiled a few tips to help you select qualified and reliable contractors in Oklahoma capable of competently providing your required services:

  • Do not rush to start the project. Get a clear idea of its scope and the types of contractors needed to execute it.
  • Get and compare bids from several contractors before making a hiring decision.
  • Ask your preferred contractors for references and check them. You can also call (405) 521-2029 to check the contractor's complaint history.
  • Confirm the contractors' license or registration status
  • Make sure the contractors are adequately insured and bonded.
  • Get a written contract before any work starts. This contract should contain the contractor's contact details, a description of the services they have agreed to render, the project's cost, an estimated timeline, and a payment schedule. Review this contract carefully before signing it.
  • Refrain from making large down payments and avoid cash transactions. We recommend limiting advance payments to 10 - 30 percent of the project's total cost. Also, make sure that subsequent payments match the project's progress.

Is Your Contractor Insured and Bonded as Required by Oklahoma Statutes?

State-licensed electricians, plumbers, and HVAC contractors must carry commercial general liability insurance of at least $50,000 and a corporate surety bond of $5,000 before legally offering their services in Oklahoma. Other contractors must also comply with the insurance and bond requirements stipulated by the municipalities where they wish to ply their trades. For example, contractors who want to do any work on private properties in Oklahoma City that require a building permit must carry general liability insurance of at least $50,000 per occurrence and workers' compensation insurance of at least $100,000 per occurrence.

Verifying prospective contractors' insurance and bond status before committing to them insulates you from financial liabilities in the event of project-related incidents like injuries, property damage, and contractor-caused errors. Insurance and bonds offer different forms of financial protection - insurance covers bodily injuries, property damage, and contractor errors. In contrast, bonds cover losses caused by the contractor's failure to fulfill the terms of the contract.

You can verify your prospective contractor's coverage by requesting copies of their insurance and bond certificates and validating these documents with the appropriate issuing organizations. Additionally, ensure that the coverage limits stated in the certificates are sufficient for your project's scope.

You can get more information on the insurance and bond requirements for contractors operating in your municipality by contacting your local building department; inquiries concerning these requirements for state-licensed contractors can be directed to the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board at (405) 521-6550 or (877) 484-4424.

Top Home Improvement Scams in Oklahoma

Thousands of complaints concerning home improvement, repairs, and other consumer-related matters are filed with the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office every year. It is estimated that 1.6 out of every 10,000 homeowners in Oklahoma have been the victim of a home improvement scam, and approximately half of these scams have resulted in monetary losses. As such, when planning a home improvement or repair project in Oklahoma, it's essential to be cautious and protect yourself from fraudulent contractors and con artists who constantly find new ways to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners. Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • Unsolicited offers of home repair services
  • Insistence on cash payment upfront
  • High-pressure sales or scare tactics
  • Discounts and one-time deals contingent on hiring the contractor immediately
  • Hesitance to provide references, proof of licensing, or a written contract

Taking the following precautions can ensure you choose qualified and reliable contractors in Oklahoma and minimize your chances of falling for a home improvement scam:

  • Be wary of door-to-door contractors
  • Get quotes for your project from multiple contractors and compare them
  • Request and check references
  • Call (405) 521-2029 to find out if any complaints have been filed against the contractor
  • Always confirm that your chosen contractor is appropriately licensed or registered to operate in your municipality.
  • Insist on getting a well-detailed contract from the contractor before any work starts and carefully review this contract before signing it. 
  • Do not pay the total cost of your project upfront. Limit down payments to 10 – 30 percent of the total project cost and avoid making cash payments.
  • Trust your instincts. If you have any doubts or reservations about a contractor, it's better to seek out a different contractor who infuses more confidence and trust.

How to Report Fraudulent Oklahoma Contractors

If you encounter fraudulent contractors in Oklahoma, several agencies and organizations can assist you in resolving the matter and taking appropriate actions to address the activities of these contractors effectively. These agencies include:

The Oklahoma Attorney General's Office

You can report fraudulent contractors and matters involving unsatisfactory service delivery, breach of contract, and unfair business practices by completing and submitting a Consumer Complaint Form to the Consumer Protection Unit of the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office via email or mail-in to:

Oklahoma Attorney General's Office
Consumer Protection Unit
313 NE 21st Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

The subject line for forms submitted via email should read "Complaint". Contact the AG's Office at (405) 521-2029 or toll-free number 1-833-681-1895 for more information or assistance with its complaint submission process.

Small Claims Court

You can take legal action against fraudulent contractors for breach of contract or damages that result from their activities by suing them in your local Small Claims Court. These courts allow Oklahomans to bring claims quickly and fairly inexpensively; however, you cannot sue for more than $10,000. You will be charged a filing fee, which will be based on your filing location and the amount being claimed.

Local Police Departments

Suppose a contractor threatens or steals from you. In that case, it's essential to report the incident promptly to your local police department before pursuing other complaint resolution actions. They can assist in handling the situation and may guide you on further steps.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB)

Your local BBB chapter can assist you in seeking redress from fraudulent contractors. The BBB also tracks and documents scams in the area, and reporting dishonest contractors to this organization helps protect other nearby homeowners from falling victim to their tricks.