Tips for hiring a licensed contractor

By hiring a licensed contractor, you will have peace of mind knowing that the project will be done by someone who has taken the time to acquire the appropriate education and the proper workers’ compensation and/or liability insurance and who possesses the necessary experience. The following are things to consider while planning your home or business repairs, renovation or new construction project.

    You do not have to tell the contractor how much your budget is or if your insurance company will pay for repairs, but if you do, get the contractor’s estimate first.

    Get a written estimate from several licensed contractors. Make sure the estimate includes precise description of work to be completed, list of materials involved, required documentation for permit application, inspections and certificate of occupancy/completion, the completion date, and total cost. 

    Warranty agreements, including length, terms and recourse.

    Review your contract before you sign it, consider having an attorney review the contract.

    If your contract exceeds $5,000 or $15,000 for air conditioning, a NOC is required, this protects you from having a lien placed on your property and possibly paying twice. Become familiar with the Florida Construction Lien Law, FS 713.135.

    Ensure there are no liens placed on your home. Homeowners may unknowingly have liens placed against their properties by suppliers or subcontractors who have not been paid by the contractor. If the contractor fails to pay them, the liens will remain on the title. Insist on releases of any liens that could be placed on the property from all subcontractors prior to making final payments. Do not sign a certificate of completion or make a final payment until you are satisfied with the work performed.

    Beware of contractors who claim to be the fastest or the cheapest. Hiring them could result in poor workmanship, inferior materials or unfinished jobs. 

    Most jobs require permits. Always check with your local building department regarding permits needed for your project.

    Don’t sign off that work is completed until all work is finished according to your contract, and the contractor has cleared all permits with final inspection approval from the building department.


A contractor must have a license from The Department of Business Professional Regulations (DBPR) to perform: 

    Roofing repairs or replacements    

    Additions

    Interior remodels

    Plumbing work

    Air conditioning repair or replacement

    Electrical and/or alarm work.