With any renovation or remodeling project, you want to make sure the job is done safely and well. You may be tempted to DIY it, and while it’s not a bad idea for small alterations, it’s always best to hire a contractor who specializes in the work you need done. worse than bungling a DIY job may be hiring an unlicensed contractor.
Whenever you are researching contractors to hire, asking for a license should always be a top priority. If you don’t ask, it’s easy to accidentally hire an unlicensed contractor. Their rates are usually much lower than those of licensed parties, making them difficult to turn down if you have a strict budget for your project. There are many risks that outweigh the lower costs of hiring an unlicensed contractor; in the end, you may even end up spending more money than you would have if you’d accepted bids from licensed workers.
Click here to check the license status of your Sarasota County contractor.
- How are they able to charge so much less? To dissuade you from accepting this bid, consider why they are able to offer such a low price. An unlicensed contractor has less overhead if they are not paying for education, licensing and insurance. They may cut corners in the construction process and use lower quality supplies in order to undercut the other bids. They may cover up a significant issue with a “bandage” repair rather than properly addressing the problem. Lower-quality materials become damaged more easily and will need to be replaced sooner than higher-quality ones.
- They typically lack liability insurance. Unlicensed contractors are unlikely to have liability insurance, as they are trying to operate more cheaply and under the radar of the system. This puts you at risk of being financially responsible if they break something in your home, or if one of their crew members is injured while on site. You could be sued for injury, lost wages, and legal fees regardless of whether or not you were aware that they are unlicensed. Few homeowners insurance policies cover injuries sustained by unlicensed contractors, so you would be expected to pay any of these fees out of pocket. With a licensed contractor on the other hand, their workers’ compensation and other liability insurance protects you from being held responsible for worksite accidents.
- Unlicensed contractors often don’t have bonds for their work. A contractor’s bond is a legal document that holds the contractor accountable for their work; if they do damage or if the work is done improperly and causes an issue, the contractor will pay for the repairs. When you hire an unlicensed contractor, they will not be legally obligated to fix shoddy work.
- Unlicensed contractors cannot acquire building permits. Without a building permit, structures may not be built to code. This means that your project may end up decreasing your home’s value instead of increasing it, and potential buyers may negotiate for you to cover the costs of rebuilding the structure to code.
A good practice is to never accept the contractor with the lowest bid for a project, especially if the quote is vastly out of synch with your other quotes. Instead, opt for a contractor with a fair price, an official license, good insurance, and excellent reviews to support them. Consider the higher bid as your own insurance that you won’t be held responsible for issues caused by a licensed contractor and their work.
It is important to point out that if your work was performed by an unlicensed contractor, the city or municipality may be able to come in and stop your project, fine you, or even insist that the work not performed to code is taken down. You don’t want to risk your time, money and convenience – look for a properly licensed and insured Sarasota contractor for your home improvement project.
West Coast Design Build Florida designs and installs kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor kitchens and living spaces in the greater Sarasota area. Call today for a professional and comprehensive quote.