The need for contractors to maintain the proper contracting license may seem like a mundane, clerical detail, and generally is just that. If, however, the contractor ignores or mishandles paperwork and the proper license is not in hand, licensing may go from a mundane, clerical detail to a financial catastrophe. An unlicensed contractor may be barred from asserting claims or collecting payments for work already performed; the contractor may even be required to return payments for unlicensed work performed.
A recent case in Georgia, a state that had no state-wide general contractor’s license requirement in effect until 2008 illustrates the risk of unlicensed work. In Saks Management and Associates, LLC v. Sung General Contracting, Inc., the court ruled that without a license the general contractor did not have the right to enforce a contract. The contractor’s claims for payment failed, and the mundane, clerical error led a major financial loss. This disastrous result for the Georgia contractor is far from an outlier, and is a real risk in many states.