Want to hire an independent contractor in Florida? Always hire licensed Florida Contractors!
Your home is one of the most important investments you make in your entire life. You have to make sure, when renovating your home, to hire a contractor that is licensed by the State of Florida. Before you decide to hire a contractor, follow those tips to avoid unlicensed scams and protect your investment:
Scams in the Construction Industry, especially Home Improvement!
- Ask the contractor for his or her license number; many of them are unlicensed: It is important to always ask for proof of a Florida License and to check that the license is in good standing. Unlicensed contractors typically do not have the education or qualification required of a licensee, and will deliver poor quality work with non-compliance with building codes, leaving the homeowner on the hook to finish the project.
- Ask the contractor for his or her insurance: You may end up being liable for any accident occurring from an unlicensed contractor that results in injuries to others, whether personal or financial injuries. If the contractor has no insurance, the homeowner is responsible for injuries to the workers.
- Get a written contract: You need a true contract reviewed by an attorney–an estimate is just an estimate, not a contract! At a minimum, you need to know the quality of product and material used.
- Actual and enforceable delivery time: Make sure that the terms of the contract include an actual and enforceable delivery time of the project. A penalty for non-compliance should also be applied.
- Do not pay all of the money up front: You should keep at least 10% to make sure everything is completed. If the contractor asks for all the money up front or asks only for cash, then be aware of the scam. Unlicensed contractors often disappear after receiving payment.
- A potential lien on your property: One of the other risks of hiring an unlicensed contractor is the potential lien placed on your property by subcontractors or suppliers.
The best prevention is to be informed! If you have a question about whether a contractor is licensed, call one of our real estate attorneys today and schedule a time to discuss your situation.