Owning a home is one of the biggest investments a person will make in their lifetime. Therefore, it is important to protect your investment. Why is it important to hire a contractor that is licensed and insured? My goal is to simplify this explanation for you. I will list the benefits of a licensed contractor and explain how this affects you as the homeowner.
Firstly, I’d like to point out that each state, county and city do not have the same requirements for the contractors. It is important that the homeowner inquire about your municipality’s requirement. A general contractors license requires contractors to have workman’s compensation and liability insurance. By law the general contractor is required to work within the limits of their contracting license. This information is available on a state, county or city general contracting license page.
A licensed contractor has invested in higher education, licensing fees, insurance and continuing education. In order to become and remain current as a licensed contractor. Therefore, the overhead costs associated with being a licensed contractor is reflected in his bid. He is a licensed contractor to insure that the homeowner is confident in his ability to make improvements to their home. He recognizes the importance of the homeowners trust.
An unlicensed contractor has less overhead cost. Without the required insurance and licensing he is able to underbid a licensed contractor. The homeowner may be getting a better price initially. Ultimately, you usually get what you pay for in a contractor. Often times the unlicensed contractor is not as experienced and his work is less than adequate. CH Construction occasionally will receive a call from a home owner requesting us to repair the work of the unlicensed contractor. The home owner is now paying two contractors to complete the same project. Unfortunately, paying twice as much money on the original project.
How can the homeowner avoid these types of mistakes? I recommend to always check references on the contractor you are hiring. In addition, call the county, state or city in which the contractor is licensed. You can verify his license is valid. Above all, make sure that the contractor you are hiring is not using someone else’s license to pull permits. If your project does not comply with building codes; you will be ordered to either remove the structure or bring it up to code. Not to mention a possible stop work order can be ordered by an associated jurisdictional authority. This will cost you, the homeowner, more money. The contractor pulling the permit is legally responsible for the project. If a contractor is using someone else’s license and there is a problem, he can not make the changes. The contractor whose license was used has to come and make the repairs to bring it up to code. As a result, he may charge you for his time. As a homeowner you need to insure that the contractor you are hiring has your best interest at heart.