Catching Crooked Contractors
Few times in the life of a homeowner can be more challenging than when significant repairs are needed. The number of issues, options and decisions seems endless, the most daunting of which is contractor selection.
When choosing a contractor for a repair or renovation the most fundamental of screening techniques is the assurance that the contractor is properly licensed. The tales of tragedy brought about by the illegal actions of unlicensed contactors are enough to scare us into never making repairs! Thankfully, it is free and easy to eliminate these thieves from our lives if we do some simple research.
The State of Florida requires that all contractors be properly licensed under the auspices of The Construction Industry Licensing Board. Each licensed contractor or company qualified to conduct business in the state has a license number. The license number makes it easy to know what a particular contractor or company is licensed to do, but only if we know the code!
Fortunately the code is easy to break. Nearly every license issued by the State of Florida is a combination of three letters and six numbers. The letters identify the type of work the contractor is licensed to perform and the numbers specify the individual contractor or company. At the top of the list are:
Certified General Contractor
(Builders of big buildings)
Certified Building Contractor
(Builders of small offices and stores)
Certified Residential Contractor
(Builders of homes)
It’s starting to get simple! The licenses begin and end in the letter “C”. A builder can build any building in or below the license level, so a General Contractor could build a home, but a Residential Contractor could not build a bank!
Every system in a home or building is also required to be installed or repaired by properly licensed people. The simple secret code on this is:
CCC Certified Roofing Contractor
CAC Certified Mechanical Contractor (Heating and Air)
CPC Certified Pool Contractor
CFC Certified Plumbing Contractor
EC Electrical Contractor
To help us even more in avoiding unlicensed contractors the state requires that a contractor display their license number on every vehicle, invoice, bid, business card and solicitation. So, you can tell if a person is licensed before you even speak to them!
Most people assume that the risk posed by unlicensed work is limited to poor quality or unfinished work. But it gets much worse! The homeowner who hires unlicensed contractors is responsible for all unpaid bills, fines, and worst of all, payment for any injury to the unlicensed contractor! It is illegal and ill-advised to hire these scoundrels!
A quick link to all this and more, including everything you ever wanted to know about permitting – but were afraid to ask – is at www.gohomepro.com. Forewarned is forearmed, so check it out and keep the risks of unlicensed and illegal work away from your home!