A recent article in The Sun Sentinel, “How to Avoid Hiring Unlicensed Contractors," explained that 6,000 complaints were filed in the state of Florida last year alone regarding unlicensed contractors. That’s a lot of complaints! It’s important to educate yourself on how to properly hire a licensed contractor, what questions to ask, and how to spot a fraud.
The following contractors need a state certificate or need to be registered with the state:
• Alarm system
• Sheet metal
• Air conditioning
Licensed contractors must
• Put their license number in advertisements of all forms
• Carry general liability, property damage, and worker’s compensation insurance
• Your contractor suggests a large down payment before the work begins. Only partial payments should be made.
• If they call themselves a “licensed handyman”- there’s no such thing!
• If you’re asked to pay in cash or make the check payable to cash or an individual instead of a company
• You, as the homeowner, are asked to secure permits
• If you’re told the job doesn’t need a building permit. This is very rare! Check it out with your local building department first
• If the contractor will only work weekends and evenings
• If the contractor only asks for a verbal contract- get it in writing!
• If the contractor does not have proof of insurance
• Get estimates from at least three contractors. They should specify how long it will take them and the type of material they’ll use for the job.
• Don’t choose your contractor just on price. Ask for references, see how long they’ve been working, check out past jobs they’ve done.
• If you’re using an independent contractor, ask to see both a professional and a driver’s license and make sure the names match up
• Check if your contractor has unresolved complaints, or if his or her license has ever been revoked or suspended
• Get everything in writing!
• To check out a license, you can go to www.myfloridalicense.com, Click “Verify a License”. Or call (850) 487-1395
If you hire an unlicensed contractor, even if accidentally, you put yourself at the following risks:
• Losing your deposit
• Having an unfinished job
• Being liable for injured workers on your property
• Having less options if something does go wrong
• Wasted time and money!
Keeping your family and home safe and protected is job one at Florida Peninsula Insurance Company. We are one of Florida’s largest homeowners insurance companies offering multi-peril policies covering homes, condos and contents coverage in the form of renters insurance. The company insures more than 120,000 homes, condo and apartment units located throughout the state. For more information or to GET A QUOTE NOW, please call (866) 846-3060 or visit the GET A QUOTE section on our website.
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