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Question DetailsAsked on 4/15/2014

Should all electricians working for a business have individual licenses?

I recently hired a local electrical business for some residential work. The person who did the work seemed knowledgeable, and he mentioned that he works for both this company and his own company in a nearby city. I was going to recommend him to a friend building a house, but I checked the state website and noticed that he does not have an individual tradesman license. I also did not see a license for his own business.

The business I arranged the work through has a business contractor license, and it appears the owner was licensed as a tradesman but his license recently expired. I am curious, should I be asking an electrical business whether the work will be done by a licensed electrician, or is it customary for them to hire technicians who are versed in the NEC? (But then, isn't a license the official form of proof that they know the NEC?)

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3 Answers


Hi, this is Meranda with Angie's List.

I suspect some of the other contractors on this forum will be able to answer this with their personal experience, but from past reporting, the licensing requirements and exceptions vary from place to place and even city to city within a region. (Here in Indianapolis where Angie's List is based, for example, an electrician working in the city would need a license from the code enforcement department, but in many of the suburbs around the city no electrical license is required.) Sometimes, an apprentice can work with a licensed electrician and be covered under their license, but that doesn't sound like the situation here if he also owned a separate company. I'd recommend you contact the entity that issued the licenses you looked up and just ask them about the rules and your specific situation.

If you found him on the List, we do actually require contractors to attest to holding current and valid trade licenses. So get in touch with our trade licensing team if you find out he isn't working with the proper licenses so we can work to correct that! Contact

Good luck!

Answered 6 years ago by Meranda


With few exceptions, laws require an electrical contractor to be licensed as such, AND all electrical work to be be performed by a licensed electrician or under his direct supervision. Some states also require certain types of work like service installs and some commercial voltage work to be done by a Master Electrician.

The "under the direct supervision" is the bugaboo - that implies that the licensed electrician at least discusses the work with his worker and checks the work before it is closed up (cover plates and such), and implies he will be there to supervise - but in many cases the owner is licensed and has multiple apprentices or journeyman electricians out there working for him, and does not always supervise the apprentices.

If you are having work done you need to specify it be done by a licensed electrician or plumber if that is what you want.

It would be instructive to learn WHY his license is no longer valid - may be because he is working for this other company now so is flying under his license, or may have been revoked because of malpractice or felony criminal conviction or such.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


Thanks to both of you for the info. The company owner's license expired with no open or closed complaints listed, so it doesn't appear there was a problem. I believe he is probably now just operating under his business license. However, the person who did my work doesn't appear to be licensed, and he did both the estimate and the work with no review by the owner as far as I'm aware.

I plan to use Angie's List to find another electrician next time. I see another one in my area who has both his business and individual license numbers listed on his entry, and I see him on the state website as well.


Answered 6 years ago by 1955ranch

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