Many people do not understand the risks and therefore do not do the proper background checks on contractors, and they often end up regretting it. Having a valid contractor license is the first indication that your contractor is qualified to do the job and protects both parties from anything that might go wrong during the process.


Video Transcript: 

In this episode of Permit Pro Tips, we’re going to discuss, ‘why you should hire a licensed contractor?’

Many people do not understand the risks and therefore do not do the proper background checks on contractors and they often end up regretting it. Having a valid contractor license is the first indication that your contractor is qualified to do the job and protects both parties from anything that might go wrong during the process.

You should do your research when hiring a contractor. Avoid door to door solicitors, insist on references, check their work and also look at their online readings and reviews. Check out credentials their license and insurance certificates. Find out how long they’ve been in business and hire a contractor with a real office not just appeal box address.

Unlicensed contractors have advantages that enable them to provide the lowest prices. They do not have to pay licensing fees, do not have to obtain a bond to protect their work and more often than not do not purchase liability or worker’s compensation insurance. If you hire an unlicensed contractor and he or his workers gets injured such as falling off a ladder while doing work at your business or house, you are liable.

An unlicensed contractor will also try to cut corners on the work to save money because they do not have to adhere to building codes in the event of a severe thunderstorm or a hurricane. Your property may not hold up to Florida weather conditions. Thank you for watching. Please subscribe and share for more permanent pro tips.

Some Frequently Asked Questions

Many homeowners aim to save money by hiring an unlicensed contractor. However, in Florida hiring unlicensed contractors is illegal. Contractors doing work requiring a permit need to be licensed. Therefore, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to check the contractor’s license, and to obtain proper building permits, so if you’re looking to hire a Cape Coral roofing contractor, for example, you know exactly what to do.

Traditionally, this means the contractor must purchase a surety bond, which serves as a form of insurance to protect the contractor’s customers if he or she fails to complete the job properly or fails to pay for permits, subcontractors or other financial obligations.

Some types of contractors are licensed locally. Electrical and plumbing contractors, however, are licensed by the state. Contractors are required to get a business license, but not every contractor is required to get a contractor’s license.

Here are some of your options:
  1. Stop paying. Many contractors ask for half of their payment upfront before they begin a job.
  2. Complain. Because you hired a licensed contractor, you can file a complaint with the government agency that licensed them.
  3. Tap their bond. 
  4. Go to arbitration.
  5. Take it to court.
  6. Seek government compensation.

It’s Illegal to Hire an Unlicensed Contractor in the State of Florida. In Florida, if it’s discovered that a contractor knowingly hired an unlicensed contractor to do work for them, they can be subject to fines and, potentially, have their license revoked.

Florida Statutes Section 489. It is against the law to ask someone to use their license to conduct business. … To qualify a business, a contractor must be licensed, directly supervise, and be involved in the daily the activities of the construction project the contractor’s license is attached to.

A general contractor’s license in Florida ALLOWS you to: Build, repair, and remodel any type of building, regardless of size or number of stories. Construct or alter the structural components of a building or structure.

Legally, an unpaid contractor, subcontractor or supplier can file a lien (sometimes called a mechanic’s lien) that could eventually force the sale of your home in place of compensation. Conversely, if the contractor who worked on your project does not pay for materials, a supplier could place a lien on your property.

Most contractors make improvements to a property and, thus, increase the value of a property before obtaining full payment for their labor. If you refuse to pay, can a contractor file a mechanic’s lien on your property and force the sale of your home? The answer is yes, but not without much effort and expense.

Here are seven smart ways to stay on top of the job and maintain strong communications with your contractor and construction team.
  1. Avoid Allowances.
  2. Establish Good Communication.
  3. Keep a Project Journal.
  4. Track All Changes in Writing.
  5. Check the Work.
  6. Pay Only for Completed Work.
  7. Be a Good Customer.

*The information above does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified attorney.

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