Protecting Your Investment: Why Hiring Licensed & Insured Contractors Matters
October 25, 2023 by Jeff Hadley
When it comes to home repairs, renovations, or other construction projects, hiring licensed and insured contractors should be a top priority for homeowners. Why does this matter so much? Licensing and insurance provide an extra layer of protection and peace of mind for one of your most valuable assets - your home.
The Legal Aspect
Before we delve further into the advantages of hiring licensed and insured contractors, it's essential to highlight a critical legal aspect. It is unlawful for someone to call themselves a contractor and perform work for a homeowner if the project exceeds $500. Anyone undertaking jobs larger than this without a license is breaking the law. It's not merely an optional step; it is quite literally legally required.
When you work with licensed contractors, you are not only safeguarding your investment but also adhering to the law. Licensed contractors are committed to running a legitimate business and have undergone rigorous vetting and testing processes to prove their fundamental knowledge and expertise in their trade.
Access to Permits & Inspections
Many home projects require permits from local municipalities before getting started. Licensed contractors are familiar with permit processes and can obtain them on your behalf. This ensures your project meets requirements for zoning, building standards, utilities, and more. Licensed pros also know how to schedule inspections, so at each phase of the job, things are signed off on and approved by local inspectors. Skipping permits and inspections is never wise.
Higher Quality Workmanship
With licensing comes experience. Contractors are tested on their trade expertise before becoming licensed. This proves their knowledge and capabilities to take on jobs both big and small. Attempting a home project yourself or a handyman without proper experience exposes you to potential safety issues, costly trial and error, performance issues, and subpar results. Leave it to seasoned licensed pros who have years of experience under their belts, along with portfolios that showcase their quality craftsmanship.
Rigorous Vetting of Subcontractors
Working with an established general contractor means you benefit from their experience in vetting and building relationships with subcontractors. We partner with specialists in every trade who meet our high standards for quality workmanship. This reliable network allows us to assemble the right team for each project. You can have confidence that everyone working on your home has been thoroughly evaluated. Our positive partnerships with subs help ensure your project goes smoothly from start to finish.
Insurance Protects Your Investment
Reputable licensed contractors carry insurance such as general liability and workers’ compensation policies. This provides coverage in the event of property damage or job site injuries. If an incident occurs on your project, their insurance handles it rather than leaving you financially responsible. Unlicensed contractors usually do not carry adequate insurance (if any), putting your home at risk. Always verify current insurance certificates before hiring.
Warranties for Peace of Mind
High-quality contractors stand behind their work and will provide warranties on labor and materials. This serves as a guarantee against any defects or issues that arise due to poor workmanship. Typical warranty periods range from 1-2 years following project completion. This gives you assurance that problems will be addressed without additional costs.
Detailed Contracts Outline the Relationship
Professional licensed contractors will draw up a detailed contract outlining the full scope of the project, timeline, payment schedule, and other terms before starting work. This contract legally protects you and the contractor, so there is no confusion. Verbal agreements leave room for misunderstandings and disagreements later. Always get agreements for home projects in writing.
The Bottom Line
Your home is likely your most significant investment as a homeowner. Protecting your property and finances means being diligent about who you hire for construction projects, repairs, and other jobs. Prioritizing licensed contractors with insurance gives you the security you need. Do your research to find well-established companies with excellent references and proven experience. The investment on the front end pays off in the long run.
At Hadley General Contractors, we are fully licensed and insured and have served Bay Area homeowners for over 70 years. We encourage you to schedule a call to discuss your upcoming project goals and see why our thousands of happy customers trust us with their homes.