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How to Make Sure You Hire a Licensed Florida Contractor

November 14, 2021
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When you’re looking to improve your home, whether it’s for your own use, or to boost your return on investment, you should seek out the most experienced, professional, and legitimate contractor possible. There are many under-experienced, under-equipped, and inadequately licensed contractors out there looking to make a buck. Some unlicensed contractors are decent people just looking to make a little money on the side, while others may attempt to burden you with substandard work and skate away with your money.

Why Hire a Licensed Contractor?

First and foremost, the reason you need to work with a licensed contractor is accountability. A licensed contractor will have more connections in the local construction industry. By obtaining the proper licensing, they have shown that they are willing to be held accountable and that they have something to lose if the job does not go as promised.

Licensed contractors carry insurance. That means if anything goes wrong, accidents, damage, and the like will not take an unexpected bite out of your bank account. A licensed contractor will know and follow the requirements as expressed in local building codes and other relevant building regulations.

A licensed professional will ensure that each step in the renovation process is followed professionally and systematically. Perhaps, most importantly, they will ensure the project is completed to your satisfaction, even when unforeseen obstacles and problems arise.

To make the point clear, consider the following scenario. You hire a local painting contractor to paint the exterior of your home. They sound professional, have a nice-looking truck and trailer, and you even watched them do a good job on your neighbor’s home. By all outward appearances, they are on the up-and-up and know what they are doing. You give them a call and eagerly schedule the work. But, while you are at work, one of the painters falls off of his ladder and breaks his arm on your driveway.

If they are uninsured, you may be held liable for the damages since the accident took place on your property. Even if the owner and crew are decent people, they may have little choice but to sue you for damages, because they are uninsured and simply cannot afford not to.

If this happens to you, you’ll find yourself Googling “how to sue a contractor for damages,” or something similar, and probably have to hire a legal representative just to keep their lawyers out of your savings account. Even an unlicensed contractor has rights, and a judge may rule in their favor if you go this route and accidents happen. Of course, this is a worst-case scenario, and it may be rare- but it does happen. Working with a reputable and licensed contractor is the best way to avoid such a disaster.

A Quick Word About Unlicensed Sarasota Remodeling Contractors

Before we go on, it must be said that not all unlicensed contractors are unworthy of your time and money. It could be a relative, a neighbor, or someone you trust who offers to do some remodeling work at a discount. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But some unlicensed contractors are opportunistic and unprofessional. What’s more, for a major renovation project, only a properly credentialed, experienced, and reputable company is qualified to do the job.

So, how do you find and vet such a company?

How to Hire a Reputable Licensed Contractor

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The good news is that good home remodeling companies in Sarasota will be listed in online search results, ready to be found and contacted. Better still is the fact that all you have to do to ensure they have the proper licensing is to ask to see the paperwork proving it. Any good Sarasota contractor will happily and readily show you their credentials. Always make sure that it is a Florida contractor’s license, it hasn’t expired, and the name on it matches the name on their photo ID. It is important that it be state-specific because other state contractors’ licenses are not valid in Florida for permitting and insurance purposes. License requirements and building codes are different in every state and Florida has one of the most extensive approval processes.

Ask About NARI

NARI stands for National Association of the Remodeling Industry. It’s a good sign they are dedicated to quality but is not an absolute necessity.

Ask Industry Questions

Asking the right questions helps. Ask them if they carry general liability insurance, worker’s comp, and have the necessary permits.

Check Their References

Possibly the most important part of the vetting process, you need to know they have done good work and left previous clients satisfied. 

Get It in Writing

A verbal quote is an unsteady foundation to stand on. Get it in writing and obtain a contract before work begins — that’s kind of why they are called “contractors.”

Got Communication Skills?

It would be preferable that the contractor have a neat, presentable, and professional appearance and demeanor. It doesn’t have to be a coat and tie, but they should appear to care about their appearance, how they present themselves, and communicate clearly.

With Gilbert Design Build, you can rest assured that our team has dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s with experience, credentialing, and results. Get in touch today, and we’ll be happy to help.