Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)
There’s a long list of questions to consider when you’re beginning a home improvement project.
One of the biggest questions is licensing. Today’s Angie’s List Report discusses the benefits of hiring licensed contractors.
Let’s say you’re planning a remodel and doing your due diligence. You get 3 quotes and one comes in much lower than the others, but they are unlicensed. The contractor tells you it’s not important, don’t worry, they have vast experience and can save you a bundle. But is it important? Is it really worth it, in the end?
Angie Hicks, Co-Founder of Angie’s List, “The world of licensing can be complicated. The requirements can vary from state to state or even county to county. And the requirements can be based on a contractor taking an exam, or simply paying a fee. The bottom line is, you want to know what’s involved in licensing in your area for your project, so do your research and be informed.”
The time and energy you’ll spend researching the requirements is well worth the effort, for several reasons.
Angie Hicks, Co-Founder of Angie’s List, “Hiring a licensing contractor should give you more protection. It generally means you’re hiring someone that’s educated in the task that you want to have done, and experienced in what the job is.”
In addition to potentially getting a more experienced pro, hiring a licensed contractor can also help to avoid some costly situations.
Angie Hicks, Co-Founder of Angie’s List, “In some states, having a license also requires having workers comp insurance, and that’s protection for you, the homeowner. Because if one of the employees is hurt on your property while one the job, and the company doesn’t have workers comp insurance, that claim could come back on you. Hiring an unlicensed contractor can result in your homeowner’s insurance being voided, if there’s a claim filed because of the work.”
Not only do some insurance companies require proper licensing, some municipalities do, too.
Angie Hicks, Co-Founder of Angie’s List, “In some areas, knowingly hiring an unlicensed contractor to do work at your home could result in a fine for you, the homeowner.”
Depending on the scope of work, if permits are needed, a licensed pro might be your only option.
Angie Hicks, Co-Founder of Angie’s List, “In some areas, a permit might only be able to be pulled by a licensed contractor. So if you’re using an unlicensed contractor, they may not be getting the required permits, which means the work might not be done up to code and you might be paying to have it redone.”
Since projects vary by scope and requirements vary greatly by region and by trade, it’s important for consumers to check with their local licensing agencies and confirm what’s needed to get their specific job done right and avoid those pitfalls.