Any time you look for a contractor to do any carpentry work, it is prudent to ensure you use a licensed contractor. In the aftermath of an event like Hurricane Ian, there will be even more confusion and options than on a normal day. Here are some things to know about the importance of licensing.
We explored this question at greater length in a previous article. In short, using unlicensed contractors opens you up to a lot of liability. That liability could be the biggest risk of them all. The unlicensed contractor will not have insurance that covers the loss if they damage your property. They can potentially damage your neighbor’s property as well. That means you and your insurance are going to be liable. There is a good chance that your insurance will not cover claims for damage done by unlicensed companies.
A bigger risk is related to injuries. When an unlicensed contractor or his/her sub-contractors injure themselves on your property, the liability falls on you. Relatively simple injuries can become pricey almost immediately. Serious injuries or worse can easily run into hundreds of thousands or more.
Lack of Warranty
No matter how good the deal seems, if the contractor is not licensed, getting any warranty work done will be difficult at best. In addition, the warranties on some items like water heaters or dishwashers require professional installation to take advantage of the factory warranty. If the manufacturers of appliances see the importance of choosing a professional, how important must that be for something like the structural integrity of your home?
An unlicensed contractor can’t pull permits for work on your home. We may not like the idea of paying money for permits. Saving that money and red tape can sound appealing, but it has significant risks. The permit process can protect you and your investment. Having the work inspected by a knowledgeable third party, such as the county, helps to ensure that you are not only getting what you paid for but that the work is done in accordance with building codes and industry standards. Nobody will be checking to make sure that corners weren’t cut, or safe practices ignored.
The lack of permits can cost you money down the road as well. If you ever decide to sell the property, you have to disclose the work that was done. Even if you don’t do it, the due diligence process will likely uncover it. Work done without permits and by unlicensed contractors can affect your property value.
Insurance and Bonding
A licensed contractor, like Waldron Carpentry, has insurance and may use construction bonds to ensure that the costs of the job are completely covered. An unlicensed contractor likely does not have the means to do this. That means if they disappear mid-job, their suppliers may place a lien on your home. If they hired sub-contractors, they could place liens against your home or business as well. Worst of all, you could find yourself not only paying these liens but searching for someone who can finish the job.
Unlicensed contractors are attracted to areas that have a great immediate demand, such as areas hit by hurricanes or other natural disasters. Some of them may be honest, but many of them are in it for a quick buck. They prey on the feelings and confusion felt after the storm.
Just because a truck has a sign on the side of it doesn’t mean they are a licensed contractor. In 3 months, they will have a new phone number, a new ad on Craigslist, and be in another truck with a magnetic sign and license plates from another state. Waldron Carpentry has been in business in Southwest Florida for over 20 years. You’ll never wonder how to find us.
Easy to Solve
This solution is a simple one. Hire a licensed contractor. Verify their license and insurance with the county or state. Make the contractor get permits when required and have them do it in their name, not yours. Get the contract in writing.
Waldron Carpentry is a licensed carpentry contractor with over 20 years of history in Southwest Florida. Our reputation in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples and Lehigh Acres is one we are proud of. When we say we’ll do something, we’ll do it. It’s as simple as that.
Waldron Carpentry does wood rough carpentry, exterior trim and siding, wood framing, custom roof trusses and finish carpentry. If you need a licensed carpentry contractor you can rely on, we would love to hear about your project. Contact us at our website or call us at (239) 707-1770. We look forward to building a relationship with you.