Use of Unlicenced Contractors


Hawaii Revised Statutes §444-9 prohibits any person, corporation or entity from offering or performing construction work without a contractor's license issued by the Contractor's License Board. You can contact the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs at (808) 587-3222 if you have any questions concerning a contractor's license, would like to check on a contractor's complaint history, or if you wish to file a complaint.

It is tempting to use an unlicenced contractor because one perceives the costs will be lower. While there may be some savings in costs, there are additional risks.

The unlicenced contractors generally have not gone through the required training to get licenses. Unlicenced contractors are often judgment proof. Thus, even if you have a valid claim, you may not be able to collect anything from the unlicenced contractor. Further, the Contractor's Licensing Board can do nothing with respect to the unlicenced individual because the Board only has jurisdiction over licensed contractors.

Dealing with an unlicenced contractor could jeopardize your own license status. If you are in any of the professions and occupations licensed under Title 25 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, §439B-19 of the Hawaii Revised Statuses provides the licensing authority may refuse to renew, reinstate or restore, or may deny or revoke or suspend your license if you aid or abet an unlicenced person to directly or indirectly perform activities requiring a license.

A partial list of the diverse professions and occupations covered include attorneys, electricians, dentists, real estate agents, barbers, social workers, travel agencies, accountants, pest control operators and masseurs.

Copyright ©1999 by Harold Chu.