How To Protect Yourself From Unlicensed Contractors

How To Protect Yourself From Unlicensed Contractors

Hire a Licensed and Insured Contractor!

It’s important to make sure you hire a licensed contractor to protect yourself. However, it may not be just that simple. Making sure that the contractor has insurance is also important. Being licensed and insured doesn’t mean what most people may think it means. Licensing is important because the contractor had formal education and training in construction techniques and building codes and was required to pass a state licensing exam. This is for your safety, both physically and financially.

However, Insurance for a contractor may be very different than what you may think. Contractors usually carry liability insurance and possibly workers compensation for their employees in case they get hurt o the job. The liability policy covers incidents that could occur such as a falling ladder or bundle of roofing material falling onto a hose bib and causing water damage to your house or a piece of equipment cutting through a pipe as examples. These policies usually do not cover shoddy work or poor quality materials used for the job. I get calls regularly where a building owner hired a contractor, and they are unhappy with the work that was being done. Routinely one of the first things I hear in those calls is that the contractor is insured, shouldn’t they pay for the bad job? The short answer is no. Unfortunately, the insurer won’t likely cover the quality of the work. Luckily, there are Florida laws that provide a process to notify the contractor of the poor work and give that contractor a chance to remedy the situation. If that process doesn’t work, then it might lead to a lawsuit. Just remember, lawsuits are costly, and the way you save money and protect yourself is by making good choices when you hire the contractor, not by trying to fix work done by the lowest bidder.

The point of my comments is to encourage you to do your due diligence and look for reviews, ask for references, find a trusted contractor that has been in the community and is known for quality work. Simply being licensed and insured doesn’t guarantee you will get a good quality contractor and it may cost you in the long run. Always make sure you get proof of licensing and the contractors insurance but also protect yourself by learning about the company or person you are hiring. Like most things in life you usually get what you pay for. The lowest price doesn’t always mean the best deal if you don’t get quality work from a contractor. Do your homework and protect yourself!

Read more on unlicensed contractor busts in Pinellas County >>