Legit Contractor or Fly-By-Night?
You finally decided to start your home renovation or remodeling project and it is time to pick a contractor who will help bring your dream to life. This could be the most crucial part of your entire experience. The five most important things you can do to protect yourself.
- Is your contractor properly licensed by the State, County and City? You can verify a State Contractor’s license by going to the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation to verify a license. Be sure that you are given a copy of their valid Florida Contractor’s license, County and City Business Tax Receipts, BEFORE YOU SIGN THE CONTRACT.
- Is your contractor properly insured? If so, they should be able to provide you with a Certificate of Insurance showing sufficient General Liability and Workers’ Compensation Insurance BEFORE YOU SIGN THE CONTRACT. Your contractor should have their insurance agent send you a certificate of insurance, listing YOU the homeowner, as the Certificate Holder. Why is this so important? If an uninsured company causes damage or a worker is hurt on your property, you may get stuck with liability and potentially sued. You can go directly to the Division of Workers’ Compensation Proof of Coverage website in order to verify Worker’s Compensation insurance on your own.
- Are their subcontractors licensed and insured? Just because you choose a legitimate contractor, doesn’t mean they aren’t cutting corners by working with fly-by-night subcontractors. Every company that steps foot on your property must be able to prove they are licensed and insured, just like your contractor. Demand copies of each subcontractor’s license and insurances with you listed as a Certificate Holder BEFORE they do work at your home.
- Check references and complaints. Ask for a list of references for other similar projects, and call them! Do some online research for reviews, such as Yelp or Google. Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints filed against them.
An informed, knowledgeable homeowners is generally not who the fly-by-nights want to work with. They will use all kinds of tactics to get you to stop asking questions. They will try and make you feel bad for not trusting them. They will try and rush you to move forward. Don’t fall victim. PROTECT YOURSELF!
A legitimate contractor will not only appreciate your taking the time and effort to protect yourself, but will work with you willingly and timely get you all the proof you need.
Don’t fall victim to unscrupulous contractors low pricing. It can cost you way more in the long run.