Hiring a contractor to do work at your home or for your business is an important decision. Making sure it is a licensed contractor is one of the biggest parts of that process. Let’s look at a few reasons why licensing is so important to protect you.
Nobody likes to pay extra for permits, but that permitting process can protect you. When you have the work inspected by a knowledgeable third party 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. An unlicensed contractor cannot pull those permits and their work will not be inspected. Nobody will be checking to make sure that corners weren’t cut, or safe practices ignored.
In addition, depending on the work, a lack of permits can affect your property value. If you decide to sell the property, you have to disclose the work that was done. Even if you don’t, there is a good chance it will be discovered during their due diligence activities. The lack of permitting and inspections could be costly.
Lack of Warranty
No matter how nice the contractor seems, if s/he is not licensed, it will be difficult to get any sort of warranty work done. In fact, a year later, you may not even be able to find them. They will have a new phone number, a new ad on Craigslist, and be in another unmarked truck with 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.
Using an unlicensed contractor can also affect manufacturer warranties. Read the fine print on things like dishwashers or water heaters. Some of them specify that they must be installed professionally, and the lack of license makes that a problem. Also, the warranty may not cover damage that happens during the installation.
Insurance and Bonding
A licensed contractor has insurance and may use construction bonds to ensure financial coverage of expenses. Hiring one without a license could very well leave you responsible for a lot of debt. If s/he hired sub-contractors and then disappears, they could place liens against your home or business if they don’t get paid correctly. Suppliers may also place liens for materials that the unlicensed contractor bought for your job. Worst of all, if they disappear mid-job, you will be stuck with the expense and search for a contractor to finish the job.
Liability is possibly one of the biggest potential pitfalls of not choosing a licensed contractor. Of course, there is a risk of property loss. If the contractor damages your property or a neighbor’s property during the work, the unlicensed contractor will not have insurance to cover that loss. That means you and your insurance are going to be liable.
Worse is the risk of liability for injuries. If the unlicensed contractor or his/her sub-contractors injure themselves on your property, the liability falls on you. From a legal standpoint, they will be looked at as your employees at that point. Even relatively simple injuries can become expensive very quickly. A serious injury or death could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
The Solution is Easy
As scary as some of those things sound, the solution is easy. Hire a licensed contractor. Verify their license and insurance. Always have a written contract. Make the contractor get permits when required and have them do it in their name, not yours. Here are a few more ways to spot if your contractor is unlicensed.
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.