Home improvement projects are a great way to keep your home updated and its value and curb appeal high.
However, this is only true if you hire a trustworthy contractor that you can trust to do a good job. Otherwise, you might end up with more frustration and headaches in the long run.
What Happens if You Hire an Unlicensed Contractor?
Hiring an unlicensed contractor not only holds significant risks, but in some states, it is also illegal. Here are some of the dangers you might encounter if you decide to save a quick buck by using an unlicensed contractor – and how it might end up costing you a whole lot more in the long run.
#1: No Option for Legal Recourse
This is an unpredictable business, and in the unfortunate event that something goes wrong, you might find yourself in a bind. Your contract with an unlicensed contractor might not have any legal backing and you’ll find yourself bearing the brunt of the repercussions for whatever happens.
#2: You’ll Assume Financial Responsibility
Let’s say your contractor is responsible for a nail going through your water pipe, resulting in instant flooding. Now, your insulation, sheetrock, hardwood floors, and carpet will need to be replaced. Regardless of how upset you get, your contractor is not obligated to replace those damaged areas – if he’s not licensed, he likely doesn’t have liability insurance, and he’ll have no way to pay for that loss. And if he doesn’t have a contractor’s license, you’ll have a hard time suing them for damages.
#3: You are Responsible for Any Injuries on Your Property
If your contractor is not licensed, then that will leave you legally responsible for any injuries that occur on your property. If an employee falls off a ladder and has several bones broken as a result, and your contractor does not carry worker’s compensation insurance, then guess who will be left to pay for the ambulance ride, emergency room visit, surgery bills, doctor fees, and any other related medical expenses? You.
This is the hidden cost that comes with hiring an unlicensed contractor. Your homeowner’s insurance may kick in to help with some of those costs, after meeting your deductible, but you’ll likely have higher insurance rates in the future as a result. And remember, you won’t be able to seek retribution in the courtroom, as the contract you have is likely not legally enforceable.
#4: You Are Responsible for Ensuring Everything is Up to Code
A lot of codes exist in different areas to ensure that all new buildings and constructions are up to date with the most modern safety standards. Most licensed contractors make themselves aware of these codes and ensure that their work is up to scratch.
However, if your contractor is not licensed, the responsibility to make sure those codes are met is left up to you as the homeowner. Even if you know nothing about construction, if the work doesn’t meet local building codes or your contractor fails to pull the necessary permits, then this falls on you. You’ll then need to pay for the repairs to get your project to meet code – costing you more money in the long run than simply doing things right in the first place.
#5: You are Responsible for Any Future Damage to the Home
Any work done by an unlicensed contractor that causes damage to your home in the future will be something you, as the homeowner, are liable for. In addition, if you allow work to be completed by an unlicensed contractor, this also often will void your homeowner’s insurance policy if a claim arises due to the work that was done on your property.
Countless homeowners are enticed into hiring unlicensed contractors to try and secure cheaper rates. However, what they don’t realize is that this often ends up costing them a lot more money in the long run. It leaves them vulnerable to being liable for any injuries or damages that occur on the property and means that they will have to pay for work to be repaired or redone if it is not done properly – with no opportunity to seek legal retribution.
Having home improvement projects completed on your property is a great way to keep your home updated and keep its value high – if it’s done right! This is why you should always seek contractors that have undergone contractor training for best results!
If you are an aspiring contractor, don’t settle for what work you can get without your license. Contractors Institute can help you study for and secure your contractor’s license, and it will be easier than you think. Contact us today to find out how.