Is your contractor legit?
A good contracting company is hard to find. Many people struggle to find a legitimate firm with the expertise required to get their job done right. Moreover, a smooth project experience, great service, and good quality work are hard to come by these days. Therefore finding a contractor that is licensed is a must.
Since you work hard, parting with the money you set aside for your home will be difficult. It cannot be taken lightly and protecting your investment is crucial. The best way to do this is to start by hiring a legally licensed, bonded, and insured builder. This will assist you in reducing your risk.
Licensed or no license, does it really matter?
Under the Washington’s Contractor Registration Act all ”contractors” must be fully licensed, insured, and bonded. Hence, you should not place your confidence in anyone who is unregistered as they operate illegally. Unlicensed ”contractors” are not actually contractors. Moreover, they operate below the radar to avoid adherence to the licensing department, building codes, and inspection requirements of the city. In Washington state, would-be contractors are common. The scary part is that they:
- Operate on a fly-by-night mentality
- Deceptively call themselves contractors
- Unethically avoid paying licensing and bond fees
- Cut corners, sacrificing quality to make a profit
- Don’t hold builder’s risk or general liability insurance – you are at risk
- Build projects that are not up to code or industry quality standards
- Dishonestly avoid, sales tax, business, and occupational taxes
- Cause the contractor horror stories we have all been warned about.
Who is required to hold a contractor’s license?
By law, registration is required by anyone:
- Offering advice
- Providing direction
- Presenting proposals and estimates, or
- Performing any type of improvement work.
For the protection of the consumer, this includes minor home repairs (RCW 18.27).
Homeowners need to use caution. There are many ”contractors” working in the neighborhood who operate as unlicensed ‘’contractors.” They misrepresent themselves, place the buyer at risk, and give contractors a bad name. Additionally, fraudulent contractor do not carry workers compensation through Washington Labor and Industries. This will place a significant amount of risk on you personally since the work is being performed on your home. Since workers compensation is required to cover job-site injuries you can be held liable for any on-the-job injuries.
Operating without a license is fraud and should be reported: Report a Fraud Claim to LnI Now
Contractors vs Unlicensed Contractors (***the frauds***)
Since working with an unlicensed ”contractor” can lead to major issues it is best to hire a reputable firm in the area. Doing your homework is a must because if you do not hire right, you are placing yourself in danger. Unlicensed ”contractors” are notorious for leaving customers with:
- Lost (stolen) deposits and progress payments
- A home left in shambles after becoming a hazardous work area
- Cost overruns and unfinished projects.
Many homeowner’s don’t realize that not holding the proper licensing through the state of Washington will place the majority of liability on the homeowner.
Furthermore, consumers are not aware of a pertinent fact. Unless a contractor is only being hired to trim your lawn, clean your gutters, or change a light bulb, they are required by law and Washington Labor and Industries to be fully licensed.
Contractor Review Tool
Homeowners need to HIRE RIGHT and check up on their contractor before that contract is signed or the work begins. Click the link to verify:
- If a builder / carpenter has a license,
- The status of that license (is it active or suspended),
- If any complaints or lawsuits have been filed, and
- Claims against a contractor bond.
Verify your potential contractor now by visiting: Labor and Industries – Contractor Review Tool