House renovations or additions are never cheap, for good reason. The materials for many builds are expensive, but more importantly, the labor and expertise needed to ensure the job is done right are also highly valuable. DIY renovations for smaller-scale jobs are recommended for capable individuals, but professionals should handle most larger jobs. One trap you should never fall into is hiring an unlicensed or underqualified contractor. Many unlicensed businesses attract business by offering lower prices, but hiring these contractors to renovate your home can lead to higher future costs and increased risk for you and your family.

Dangers of Hiring An Unlicensed Contractor

Unlicensed contractors prey on low-information consumers by offering lower rates that reputable companies are unable to match. However, these prices make sense when you consider uninsured companies do not have overhead costs associated with said insurance, do not typically have highly skilled workers, and have shoddy business practices. A fully licensed and insured company will proudly display its credentials and licensing or can provide it upon request. Consumers can use a portal such as this, provided by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, to double-check any information provided to them by a company.

Lower Costs Can Be Expensive – The lower quotes these companies provide are generally the first warning sign of shady business practices. If four local companies all give you similar quotes, but a fifth can offer a substantial discount, this is a tempting but obvious red flag. Even if they appear to fix the issue, lower-quality materials used to lower costs will break more easily and require significant repairs in the not-so-distant future. When thinking of major home renovations, cutting corners is not advised.

Insurance and Bond Risks – Uninsured companies working on a project at your residence put you at risk of being financially responsible if they break something in your home or if one of their crew members is injured while on site. You could be sued for injury, lost wages, and legal fees, regardless of whether or not you were aware that they are unlicensed. A licensed company will take care of these issues through their own liability insurance or workers’ compensation insurance packages, taking all the burden away from you.

Contractor bonds act as a legal guarantee that the work a company is hired for will be completed to sufficient industry standards. They also usually cover any damages that the company causes in the process of the contracted work. An uninsured and unlicensed company will not often enter into any binding legal agreement, which could lead to massive financial strain or annoyance if they do damage to your property or abandon the project midway.

Code Violations – Code violations are taken very seriously by local officials and could hamper your ability to sell your home in the future. A renovation you intended to increase your home’s value could instead decrease its value, especially if the cost of fixing the code violations is extensive and burdensome on any future homeowners. A business operating without regard to regulations has no incentive to do work that is up to code and can saddle you with debt.

Luckily, hiring a licensed, insured, and well-recommended contractor is just one internet search away. West Coast Design Build Florida is a fully licensed and insured contractor that designs and installs kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor kitchens and living spaces in the greater Sarasota area. We have a portfolio of past work on our website that provides examples of the fantastic work we do for our clients. Call today for a professional and comprehensive quote.