It may be tempting to hire an unlicensed contractor who offers a significantly lower quote, but buyer BEWARE.
“You get what you pay” for is no more true and accurate than when hiring a professional contractor. Investing in a contractor for repairs or improvements around your home shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Sometimes, the lowest estimate isn’t always the best. It’s important to consider why one estimate is significantly lower than others. Becoming a licensed contractor usually comes with specific requirements, including:
- carrying the proper insurance coverage
- completion of safety and trade-specific education
- and agreement to participate in mediation and other conflict resolution methods should an issue arise
Lack of Protection
By hiring an unlicensed contractor, and not trusted window replacement pros, you are increasing your potential risks. The issue with hiring an unlicensed contractor isn’t always the level of quality in their workmanship.
The bigger issue is often times the lack of protection for the homeowner. Financial responsibility for injuries become your problem.
If you want to save on your remodeling or home repair project, hiring a cheaper, unlicensed contractor might be the worst thing to do.
The Proper Protection
We all know that accidents can and do happen. You may be in trouble financially if you hired an unlicensed contractor. Many of these contractors don’t carry proper insurance to cover accidents. An unlicensed contractor’s negligence could cost you dearly.
Unlicensed contractors don’t have without worker’s compensation and insurance. This coverage is essential to protect homeowners when a worker is injured on your property. If your contractor or one of his employees gets hurt, like falling from a ladder, you could be held responsible. This may end up in thousands of dollars in medical bills.
It’s also imperative that the contractor you hire carries liability insurance as well. This coverage can protect you in the event your contractor is negligent and causes damages your property, or worse, someone else’s.
Up To Code
Many repair and remodeling projects will require permits. Unlicensed contractors may not always be willing to follow those guidelines. This can cause serious problems for the homeowner in a number of ways.
If unpermitted work is done, the local municipality could impose steep fines and require the work to be redone. This financial responsibility will fall on you since unlicensed contractors rarely have a bond or liability insurance.
If you decide to sell your home, you’re required to disclose specific information to the buyer too. This includes any repairs and remodeling work done.
If this work was done without permits or isn’t up to code, you could face lowered property value.
The Big Picture
When looking at the big picture, the most important thing to remember is to protect yourself and your assets and to ensure you find trusted contractor quotes before agreeing to any contractors to visit your home or property.
It’s never a good idea to hire an unlicensed contractor. Do your research and make sure your contractor is licensed and properly insured.
Licensing qualifications can vary from state to state and city to city. Ensure that you verify the requirements with your local municipality.
Don’t be intimidated to call and verify your potential contractor’s references of past clients either.
Be sure to ask the following questions before you hire:
- How well did the contractor stick to original budget and timeline?
- How satisfied were they the contractor’s workmanship and the final results of their project?
- How well, and how often, did the contractor communicate with clients during the project?
It’s also essential to ask your potential contractor to provide proof of their liability and worker’s compensation coverage. This will ensure that you are completely covered when hiring someone for your next home repair or remodeling project.