You’ve decided to get some remodeling done on your house, and you’ve interviewed and gotten estimates from a number of contractors in your local area. You’re sitting there with their estimates in front of you, and they are all over the place. Some are noticeably higher than others, and some are really low figures that have caught your eye. After all, we all want to save money right? Now is the time to look closer at those low figures. Are they from unlicensed, uninsured contractors? Chances are pretty good they are. When you are comparing estimates it can be very appealing to lean towards the lower-cost estimates. But licensed and insured contractors usually charge more than those who haven’t earned the credentials or paid for insurance, because those are costs they themselves must pay. That unlicensed contractor is able to offer the lower rate because they have not had to pay for costly education to attain the license, they don’t have to pay licensing fees, and they often don’t obtain proper permits for the work they are doing.
The fact of the matter is this though, you are putting yourself, your home and your bank account on the line if you hire contractors who are not licensed, and insured. So let’s look at why that is.
What it means to hold a general contractor’s license
Acquiring a general contractor’s license is costly both in time investment and monetary investment. At Mora Contracting, we went through extensive training and a legal process before acquiring our Florida license. It takes several months to go through the training, as well as passing the licensure test. A license for construction work means we’ve made a legitimate career of this profession and met the industry standards required by the state of Florida to both acquire and hold that license. We are held to high standards in the industry. Holding a license means we have promised to obey all construction laws, and not cut corners. It means we are committed to staying up to date on state certifications to stay legal.
What it means to be insured
As licensed contractors we are required to carry two types of insurance to maintain our license. We carry liability insurance and worker’s compensation. To be straight to the point, unlicensed contractors do not carry this kind of protections, because they cannot. Without their contractor’s license they are unable to attain liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance. Why should you care about this? While it sounds like these types of insurance is about the company itself, in reality it’s about protecting you, your family and your home.
Liability insurance provides protection should any bodily injury be incurred during the renovation being done on your property. So if your child wanders into the construction area and steps on a nail, for example, liability insurance will cover medical fees. But if your contractor doesn’t have liability insurance, you will be held liable if an employee or a third party is injured at your house during construction.
Liability insurance also provides compensation should any property damage occur during the remodeling project. Here’s an example of that. Let’s say during a bathroom remodel, your contractor accidentally installs the sink in a way that it causes water damage. You may think your homeowner’s policy will cover it. But chances are good it won’t. You would have to have purchased a specific rider that covers renovations, and if you hire a contractor who carries liability insurance, you won’t have to worry about that. Our contractor’s liability insurance protects you, and your family, and covers the cost of damages and repairs as well.
Worker’s compensation insurance is just as important. Let’s face it, construction work involves lots of dangerous tools and materials, which lend themselves to people getting hurt through no fault of their own. As a licensed contractor we must carry it both for our self, and for our employees. Without it, you, as the homeowner, can be held responsible for any injury a worker incurs during the remodeling project.
Why permitting and inspections matter
As a licensed contractor, Mora Construction has the proper training to understand the requirements that are demanded by our SWFL city councils and by the federal government in order to be permitted to do construction work on your home. We pull the required permits for the project. We schedule the required inspections, and we make sure our work passes the safety requirements. Why is all of that important? First of all, it means the final product was done correctly and safely, and it’s up to code. But just as important, when it comes time to sell your home, potential buyers may ask to see the permits pulled for the project. After all, they want to know the house is safe for their own family. It also affects your property value if your renovations are not compliant with local building codes. Finally, if you use an unlicensed contractor who did not attain building permits for your remodeling project, you run the risk of voiding your homeowner’s insurance policy if a claim arises as a result of the work that was done.
Why licensing ensures a completed project
One of the things we learn as part of the education to attain our general contractor’s license is how to follow a specific systematic approach to construction projects. At Mora Contracting, we carefully plan out the process before starting to work. We make sure there is a signed legal contract between the homeowner and us before even the planning begins. This is a form of security only licensed contractors can offer. We really prioritize being in a lot of communication with you, and even have an online portal to facilitate that. We emphasize completing the project and taking responsibility should anything go wrong. The truth is, we could lose our license if we did not take all these steps, which is why you can place your trust in a licensed contractor in a way you cannot when someone doesn’t hold the license.