The Licensing Board has as its primary duty to provide certain protections for the citizens of North Carolina. One of the protections is to ensure that the public is not misled or confused by the manner in which a contractor conducts business. North Carolina General Statute § 87-12 states “The issuance of a certificate of license or limited license by the Board shall be evidence that the person, firm or corporation named therein is entitled to all the rights and privileges of a licensed or limited license general contractor while said license remains un-revoked or unexpired.” With increasing frequency, the Board is seeing licensees operating in a name different from that which it is licensed and thus conducting business as an unlicensed contractor and subjecting the unlicensed entity to allegations of unlicensed practice.
Additionally, the licensee involved in the transaction could be subject to discipline by the Board for the violation. In some cases, the use of a business name that is not licensed can be innocent ignorance to licensing law and General Statutes §87-13 and §87-14. However, in other cases there is an intent to circumvent the law as a licensed entity pulls permits and the unlicensed entity is responsible for contracts, material purchases and managing the jobsite.
As a licensed general contractor, you may be saying to yourself “I am ok even though I use a different name than what’s on my license, I filed the appropriate DBA paperwork with the Register of Deeds in the county in which I work.” You would be correct if you have also notified the Board of your DBA as required by the North Carolina Administrative Code Title 21; Chapter 12; Section .0209: (a) “Any application made pursuant to G.S. 87-10 shall be accompanied by a Certificate of Assumed Name when filing is required with the Register of Deeds office in the county in which the applicant is to conduct business, pursuant to G.S. 66-68. A copy of such certification must be provided with the application to the Board…”. Paragraph (b) of .0209 addresses a change in name after a license has been issued by stating, “All licensees must comply with the requirements of G.S. 66-68 and must notify the Board within 30 days of any change in the name in which the licensee is conducting business in the State of North Carolina.”
When diversifying and incorporating new identities for operational preference or to meet the needs of your customers, you must comply with all applicable laws and regulations. When it comes to a case of Mistaken Licensing Identity, whether a matter of ignorance or intentional, there are potential ramifications. The best way to clear up any confusion is to either notify the Board of a name change or submit a license application in the name which you intend to conduct business.
If you have any questions about how you are conducting business and whether you are in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, give the Board’s staff a call to seek clarification and clear up any confusion.
Call (919) 571-4183 or visit www.nclbgc.org for more information.