Why You Always Need to Hire Someone With The Right Licenses
You’ve probably been told how important it is to hire someone who has the right licenses required for that specific type of home improvement project, and it couldn’t be more true. It is extremely important. By getting the work done by correctly licensed contractors near you, you’re securing yourself again financial liabilities if anything goes wrong on the job.
Whether or not a contractor needs a license depends on different factors, such as the type of service you’re looking for and which state you’re living in. License requirements for construction and remodeling vary by state, and we’re not surprised if you have trouble finding out what the specific requirements are for your project.
You can find the specific contractor license requirements for your state on our website – simply visit the link. Generally across states, both plumbers and electricians need to be licensed on a state level, versus a city level.
What makes it so confusing is that there are basically not two states in the US with the same requirements when it comes to contractor licenses. Some states, such as California, basically require any type of home improvement pro to be licensed at the state level, while others don’t. Most, however, will at least require a couple of different trades to be licensed at the state level. The confusing thing is also that the requirements in many instances vary by state too.
Obtaining the Right Licenses
How it usually works is that a contractor will be required to register and apply to take the relevant exams, and is then licensed with the board of contractors in that specific state. This includes that the pro is able to show that they have the minimum requirements in terms of experience, bonding and insurance that is required by the level the contractor is licensed on, be it state or municipality. The requirements typically involve the specific amount of experience required. What makes it even more confusing is how licensed general contractors are required in some states, while other states don’t provide licenses for general contractors, which you would assume given their importance.
There are also states where the need for a license is dependent on the size of the project, excluding a license requirement from really small projects. This is at least the case in both New York and California.
Getting a licensed contractor to bid on your project is a way to ensure that the person has at least met the minimum requirements for insurance, which makes it a lot easier to deal with when an accident of any kind happens.
By ensuring that you’re working with someone who is actually allowed to do the job they’re saying they want to do, you are protecting yourself. You may be tempted to choose the contractor who presents himself at your door and offers what seems to be a good deal, however, chances are it isn’t a good one and that you aren’t protected in that case.
Different Licenses for Different Trades
Simply because a contractor has a specific type of license, it doesn’t mean they’re allowed to perform work in a different category. HVAC work is very different from the work done by roofers, and they therefore often require different licenses.
Two different trade licenses will often have completely different minimum requirements and license categories, and you therefore can’t simply assume that the same requirements apply for different trades in the same state. They’ll also generally have different requirements when it comes to exams. It could be that the contractor possesses the necessary knowledge to do the job, but doesn’t have a license, which simply wouldn’t suffice. The right licenses are your insurance that the job will be done, and done well.
Bonding – What Is It And Why Is It Important?
Most states require a large number of their different contractor to carry bonds in order for them to be able to obtain the required licenses. By getting a surety bond, the contractor is basically insured in case the work is not completed, or completed incorrectly to protect you as the homeowner.
Again, it’s the different states that determine the requirements for bonds, and again, it may even vary on city level. When you either have questions about licenses prior to hiring a contractor or later on if something goes wrong, it’s the contractor board in that specific state that are generally the best people to contact. Before engaging in a contract with a home improvement pro, make sure that you know which contractor board you will need to contact if something goes wrong.
Another reason that a bond is so important is that the contractor could be ordering a lot of supplies to your home without having paid for them, and the bond will protect you in that instance. If there are damages to your property as a result of the work with a contractor, either to the work they performed or another part of your property, perhaps because they dropped a lot of heavy materials on your floor, it’s also the bond that you will be filing against.
This works a lot like an insurance in the way that the contractor will have to pay premiums in order for the bond to remain valid, and they will often vary depending on the work that the company has previously done.
If you believe you deserve monetary compensation when work has been unsuccessfully delivered or due to one of the other reasons mentioned above, it’s often a good idea to get in touch with the contractor board and have them help you, but it will also require that you get in touch with the company that issued the surety bond that will then have a process they use in those instances, where you generally have to provide more information on why you are seeking this monetary compensation.
To find out if the contractor you are considering has a bond, you will need to obtain what is called a bond certificate. The issue with both bonds and licenses is that they’re not valid indefinitely, and you will therefore need to make sure they’re not expired. As you can imagine, if the contractor does not keep paying the premium to the surety company, they won’t keep ensuring their work.
By hiring contractors without the necessary licenses, bonds and insurance, you’re opening up yourself to a world of financial risk, and it’s best not to even consider unlicensed contractors. It might seem like a lot of work to make sure that the desired company has all these different things, but it’s insurance for your own sake.
When the time comes to select between different contractors, you will want to make sure that the license, insurance and bond are still valid, which includes contacting the different issuing companies, and these may have different policies or ways to do so.
It’s a big decision to hire a contractor and therefore one where you want them to have the right insurances.
We have made a service where you can easily obtain quotes from different contractors, as all you’ll need to do is fill out the form and we’ll be match you with the most relevant ones. Although they have been screened, it’s always the best idea that you do your due diligence too before hiring anyone.
Our service does not cost you anything, and there’s no obligation to hire any of the contractors, which makes it nice and easy for you to use.