Hazards of hiring an unlicensed contractor

Here in Sacramento, it’s a pretty busy time for contractors. Due to the heavy storms that took place earlier this year, a lot of contractors are backed up with appointments for repairs. Some of which are backed up all the way until Thanksgiving! Though if you have been thinking that time is not on your side and you need a job done as soon as possible, maybe you have considered hiring an unlicensed contractor, but beware.

Not only is this a dangerous mistake, but it can be a costly one too. Here are a few hazards that can come with hiring an unlicensed contractor.

This first thing to realize with an unlicensed contractor is that usually means they aren't insured. If you use a contractor that is uninsured, it means that the contractor has zero way of reimbursing you for the damage that they cause to your home. If the contractor is also careless on the job and get hurts, the problem might fall on your shoulders and can lead to you paying for the medical bills.

Many people think that because of their homeowner’s policy, it’s safe to use an unlicensed contractor for the job. That theory is also proven to be wrong. Because most homeowner policies require that work be completed by a licensed contractor, the coverage usually doesn’t count for the damage that is done by someone who is unlicensed. So make sure to find out what your policy covers.

When it comes to your building projects, most of them usually require a permit from the city for permits and inspections. For unlicensed contractors, most don’t know the building codes and can’t obtain a permit. If the project they work on isn’t permitted or is non-compliant to building and zoning codes, the city may come in and order you to take down the project. Meaning, that could cost you more money to get the right project done. If somehow a building inspector never catches the problem right away, you’ll mostly have to fix it if or when you try to sell your house.

In the process of hiring a contractor, you always expect the job to be done correctly. For unlicensed contractors, this though process may not apply. Since someone who is unlicensed doesn’t have to comply with any basic training or knowledge, they can produce some poor-quality work. If the job is done poorly, not only does it create safety hazards, but you can face serious consequences later on.

When hiring a contractor, be sure to check for several factors including asking for a contracting license, get opinions and bids from at least three separate contractors and make sure the contractor carries general liability insurance in case of accidental damage. You can find a whole construction project check list here.

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