Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Why Should I Hire A Licensed Contractor?

Owning a home is one of the biggest investments a person will make in their lifetime. Therefore, it is important to protect your investment. As a homeowner you may be asking yourself, why is it important that a contractor is licensed? I am hoping to simplify this explanation for our blog readers. I will list the benefits of a licensed contractor and explain how this affects you as the homeowner.

I’d like to first point out that each state, county and city are not the exact same as to what is required to become a licensed contractor. It is important that each homeowner inquire about your municipality’s requirement. CH Construction received their operational license from Johnson County, Kansas. The general contractors license requires contractors to have workman’s compensation and liability insurance. By law they are required to work within the limits of their contracting license. This information is available on state; county and city general contracting license pages.

A licensed contractor has invested higher education, licensing fees, insurance and continuing education to become and remain current as a licensed builder/contractor. He/she does this to insure that the homeowner is confident in the contractor's ability to make improvements to their home. He recognizes the importance of the homeowners trust. The overhead costs associated with being a licensed contractor is reflected in his bid. An unlicensed contractor without required insurance and licensing will most always underbid a licensed contractor. You as the homeowner may be getting a better price initially on the home improvement project, but you usually get what you pay for. Often times the unlicensed contractor is not as experienced and his/her work is less than adequate. CH Construction occasionally will receive calls from people that went with other contractors. They call to have us come and repair the work of the contractor that did not do the work correctly the first time. This costs the homeowner more money. As they are now paying for us to repair the other contractors work/mistakes which they already paid for.

How can the homeowner avoid these types of mistakes? As I mentioned in past blogs, always check references on the people you are hiring to complete your home improvement projects. Call the county, state or city in which the inspector is licensed. Make sure his/her license is valid. Also make sure that the contractor you are hiring is not using someone else’s license to pull permits. If your project is not permitted or does not comply with building code, you will probably be ordered to either remove the structure or bring it up to code. Not to mention a possible stop work order that might be called for by associated jurisdictional authority. Again, costing you the homeowner more money. The contractor pulling the permit is legally responsible for the project. If a contractor is using someone elses license and there is a problem. It will be more difficult for the homeowner to have the original contractor whose license was used to come and make the repairs to bring it up to code. The licensed contractor is playing by the rules and looking out for the homeowner’s best interest. As a homeowner you need to insure that the contractor you are hiring has your best interest at heart.

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