Business Law

Keeping Current on Business Licenses and Permits

Many professions need licenses - manicurists, limo drivers, masons and so on. If you're in a profession requiring a license it's important to keep your license current and in good standing. This includes promptly paying any fees, keeping up with any continuing education requirements and filing reports to show that you've attended classes.

Licensing Requirements for Barbers

The sight of a red and white swirling barbershop pole strikes up a nostalgic vision for many people - for men, an old-fashioned shop. Until recently in New Jersey, all barbers had to have a cosmetology license in addition to a barber's license. Complaints that barbers lost employees and business made the group take a stand.

Barbers spent a lot of time and money to become trained and licensed in salon-type work such as manicures, pedicures and facials, and never needed those skills.

When the law was passed in 1984, Garden State barbers believed these regulations kept newcomers away from the profession due to the higher cost and time involved. Now, they'll be able to focus on their classic barbering skills.

Construction Permits and Licenses

Slightly different, but just as important to getting work done are construction permits.

In DC, where politics rules, a Maryland contractor admitted he wasn't licensed to work in the District, but his company built a $12,000 fence around the property of a DC Council Chair. He also admitted he didn't obtain a building permit before doing the work.

The president of the company said under the contract, the customer would get the permit. But he still should have checked and made a copy.

The Council Chair is keeping mum about who installed an electric garage door on his home. The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and the Public Space Committee are investigating both situations.

Permits are needed to make sure work is done up to a particular standard, whether it's electrical code or your town or homeowner's association by-laws. Heavy fines and redoing the work are just a couple of the results of not having one.

Keep Licenses and Permits Current and Accurate

Performing work needing a license or permit without getting it, you're risking trouble with licensing and regulatory authorities, not to mention insurance companies if something goes wrong.

It might also cause problems in the future if you're seeking another license or permit. If your license is for a profession, you might be fined or your license may be suspended or denied. Then you aren't able to work.

And if you're hiring someone to do work for you, be sure they have the appropriate building licenses or permits in place. A nasty fight could result with conflicts over fines, permit fees and finishing the work. And if you're in a visible political or leadership role, you could be criticized or viewed as the recipient of political favors or influence.

Questions for Your Attorney

  • A contractor built a shed for me, but didn't get a permit. Now the township has fined me. Can I get the contractor to pay for it?
  • Is there a database of contractors I can search to ensure they are licensed?
  • Is there a list of required work permits for my township? If so, where can I find it?
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