Scituate, Ma: Why should you hire a Licensed Contractor???

By: Terrance F. Quinn, CS,CAPS, CGR, VSI

 

The simple reason is Protection!!!!

Protection from all the problems that come with an unlicensed person.  For instance: Non-professional workmen are not licensed because they lack the qualifications to obtain a license and don’t do the work full time.

  1. Unlicensed contractors typically do poor quality work or do not finish the project, they take the majority of the money and leave the majority of the work to be done by the homeowner or forcing him to hire another contractor.
  2. Unlicensed contractors typically do not have the education, insurance or qualifications to do a proper job.
  3. Most homeowner’s insurance policies require that work be done by a licensed contractor and provide no coverage for work that is not.  Most unlicensed contractor have NO insurance.
  4. Most unlicensed contractors do not comply with the building codes, and are not subject to fines and loss of a license they don’t have.  You have no protection from the State Fund if you hire someone who is not licensed and have an issue.

 

RED Flags that you may be dealing with an unlicensed contractor 

  1. Advertisement or invoice lists only a name and phone number. No address or license number is listed. Or they have a P O Box for an address. So you can’t track them down when you have a problem.
  2. They claim to be “licensed and insured” but that is a driver’s license and car insurance. Not business insurance and contractor’s license.(Someone who is truly working legally will have no problem giving you copies of all their current licenses and insurance.)
  3. They want all or most of the money up front or will only accept cash. In Massachusetts a contractor can only require 1/3 of the contract as a deposit unless special order materials are involved.
  4. They want checks written to them personally or to cash. This is so they can hide the money from the government and you can’t prove you paid their company for the work. Always make a check out to a company not a person even if the person’s name is the name of the company, add the words “Construction Co” to the check.
  5. Out-of state license plates and unmarked vehicles…General contractors will usually have their names on their trucks and sometimes will hire workers who used their own trucks that are not marked. Look for job signs with the Contractors name and information on it.
  6. Blank or generic invoices. Unlicensed contractors get their contracts from an office supply store and hand write in the information, which usually had very little specifications detailing the work.
  7. Oral agreements are not legal in Massachusetts for work over a thousand dollars. The best practice is to put everything in writing, including a detailed description of the work to be completed, a total cost and a payment schedule.
  8. YOU ARE ASKED TO PULL THE PERMIT.
    This is the single worst thing you can do. Yu have NO rights against shoddy or incomplete workmanship when you pull the permit.  When you pull the permit YOU are considered the contractor and the workers are now YOUR employees. A licensed contractor is required to pull the permit himself.
  9. High pressure pitches or scare tactics are part of the unlicensed contractor’s way of operating.  You never get what you think you are paying for when you hire this kind of worker. They aren’t really in business and don’t pay for the materials half the time leaving the supply house the right to put a lean on your home.

In over 53 years of serving homeowners on the South Shore Almar Building has found that homeowners should only hire a licensed contractor who has a long track record. They have been in business for a long time because they give you a good job at a fair price.  They use quality products, not the imitation products that is sold at do-it-yourself stores.

Following these tips will help protect you from hiring someone who is not a licensed contractor and help get your project off onthe right foot. For more tips and suggestions on how to have a smooth and successful renovations visit our website http://www.almarbuilding.com