Why Hire Only Licensed and Bonded Contractors in California
When it comes to getting your home ready, there are many things you need to get right. Whether you’re still building your house or you want to have some sort of a change, there a lot of factors that come to play regarding the electrical work, roofing, painting, paving, and everything else that comes with construction or remodeling. This is when contractors walk into the picture to make sure everything is in place. At least, that’s what they’re supposed to do.
If you happen to hire a contractor that’s not qualified for the job, you’re risking more than just having malfunctioning cables. It’s important to check for the qualifications of the contractor you’re about to entrust your house to, long before any kind of down-payment or work is done.
But what qualifies a contractor for the job?
Licensed Contractors: What Does It Mean?
A licensed contractor is one who holds a certification license to do the job they’ll be hired to do. According to the Contractors State License Board in California (CSLB), for a contractor to get their license, they need to complete the following:
Four years of hands-on experience in the trade.
Pass two kinds of examinations: Trade and License Law, and Business exams.
Post a license bond.
Pass a criminal background check.
Depending on the job, the Californian State might require them to have a general or a specialized license. That makes sense because if you need a contractor who’ll only be doing the plumbing, the requirements are completely different from hiring someone to take charge of the whole construction project.
A general licensed contractor usually oversees the project as a whole, and accordingly hires the most specialized, and licensed, subcontractors to do specific tasks based on their area of expertise. In some cases, the general licensed contractor may hold specialty licenses in some areas, in which case they’ll be eligible to contract for specialty work.
There’s another certification license for general contractors, which is the B General License. A contractor who holds a B General License is certified to work on more than one area of construction in your house under the same contract. For example, they may take on the whole project, even if the work required involves carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work. The B contractor may overtake the whole project on their own, or can hire specialized subcontractors to work in their consequent areas of expertise.
What About Bonded Contractors?
Being a bonded contractor is one of the requirements of getting a license in California, and it means the contractor has purchased a surety bond. Contractors looking for posting their license bond can get a surety bond from www.contractorbond.org related to their area of specialty. Hiring bonded contractors provides insurance policies that will protect you in case the contractor fails to deliver the quality of work they were supposed to do.
This bond license acts as a liability protection, in case any of the contractors were harmed or injured on your premises during their work for you. Their respective company will be the one taking care of their worker’s compensation, not you. It also ensures you can get a compensation if the contractors fail to complete their end of the deal, whether it’s a failure to comply with the full requirements, or falling short of the quality that was promised in the contract.
Why You Need To Hire Only Licensed and Bonded Contractors
According to the Contractors State License Board in California, it’s illegal to hire unlicensed contractors. And if the contractor is going to charge a contract, or even bid on a project, that is valued at $500 or more, they need to be licensed. In case you hire an unlicensed contractor, the consequences fall completely on you. You might find yourself facing a lawsuit, become at risk of losing your house, or even be put in a situation where you need to pay a worker’s compensation settlement. That escalated very quickly, didn’t it?
Here’s why you need to hire only licensed and bonded contractors:
It’s Illegal to Hire Unlicensed Contractors
While an unlicensed contractor can face serious consequences for contracting without having a license, the law will see you as a partner in crime - even if you didn’t know they weren’t licensed.
Most probably, the unlicensed contractor won’t be sticking to permit and inspection requirements either. This means your house won’t be up to code, which puts you, and your house, at a great risk. If your house was put under the inspection and didn’t satisfy the inspection code, you’ll be forced to do more repairs, or worse, the house can be removed entirely. You’ll face the same risks if you’re thinking of putting your house up for sale.
To Ensure the Quality of the Work
Before providing the contractor with a license, the CSLB had made sure of the level of expertise and training that made them qualified to earn the license. This gives you a big source of insurance of the quality of the work that will be delivered to you. In case of failure to meet the promised quality, you can file for warranty claims and the state, and bond-company, will have your back.
On the other hand, unlicensed contractors may very well fail to meet the qualifications or requirements needed for the job they’re hired for. But in this case, you have no right to make any warranty claims, and you’ll have no support from the state either.
To Avoid Any Extra Costs for Repair and Maintenance
Hiring an unlicensed contractor might look tempting when you compare the upfront costs to those you’ll have to pay for licensed contractors. It might be appealing yes, but only if you fail to see the very probable risks that will accompany such a decision.
If the contractor provides you with poor workmanship, you’ll be forced to pay even more on repairs and maintenance, probably opting for licensed contractors this time around. Wouldn’t it be better to cut it short from the start? Moreover, you can never have any sort of insurance when it comes to unlicensed contractors. You can get scammed into delivering a down payment, only for them to never show up again.
To Avoid Being Subjected to Liability
As mentioned above, if an unlicensed contractor gets injured on your premises, you’ll most probably be subjected to liability, which means even more costs.
Ensuring the Final Quality of Your New Home
There is a long checklist of all the things you need to get right when it comes to constructing or remodeling your new home. So when it comes down to it, it’s so much better, and safer, to leave it in the hands of certified professionals to ensure the quality you need. When looking for contractors doing the job, never go to unlicensed or unbounded contractors, even if their prices are much more appealing. You might pay a little more up front to get licensed and bonded contractors to do the job, but you’ll be saving yourself from much more severe consequences - the least of which is some more extra cash.