It’s finally time to embark on the journey of renovating your home. You’ve been thinking about it for years, and now you’re about to make it a reality. You want a team that cares as much about your vision as you do. More than that, you want someone who will do a good job, someone who will do it right the first time around.
What you need is a licensed general contractor.
What is a Licensed Contractor?
Not just any handy person can call themselves a contractor. There are very specific criteria you need to meet to become licensed.
A licensed general contractor:
- Will have passed their contractors’ exam
- Has undergone a thorough criminal background check
- Holds adequate insurance
- Is bonded
A licensed GC is a guarantee of certain standards, so hiring one comes at a cost. Since renovations are often pricey, you may be tempted to cut corners here and there, but hiring a licensed contractor is not an area you will want to skimp.
Ultimately, you get what you pay for. Plus, there are excellent reasons why you should hire a contractor who meets all four of the above requirements. Let’s take a deeper dive into each one.
Making the Grade
This one may seem obvious. Of course you want a contractor who has passed their contractors exam. You wouldn’t hire a teacher who hadn’t gone to teacher’s college, right? A home renovation is no small feat. You’ve got to make sure that your contractor is educated, experienced, and just plain old good at what they do. An improper remodeling job can end up being even more costly and can result in irreparable damage to your home. However, a passing grade alone won’t guarantee you a good result. In most places, a pass on the exam is considered 70 percent or above. In the interest of “doing your homework,” ask for your contractor’s HIC number. You can enter it into an online search database to find out more about their certification.
“I Am Not a Crook!”
Understandably, most places that issue contractor licenses will require a criminal record check. However, just because someone has a criminal record doesn’t mean they’ll automatically be disqualified from becoming licensed. Often, these situations are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and decisions depend on the type of crime. Licensers might also look to see if the person in question has shown signs of rehabilitation. This should be something you, as a homeowner, should consider as well.
Aside from a contractor’s technical skill, you also want to make sure that they are financially covered. To perform contract work legally, there are two kinds of insurance that GC’s are required to have:
- General Liability Insurance. Liability insurance will protect both you, the homeowner, and the contractor you hire, and their subcontractors. This insurance will provide financial compensation if a contractor or worker does damage to your home, property, or person while on the job. It’s intended primarily for accidents. For example, let’s say your team is working on the roof, and a stack of shingles slides off. If the shingles land on your car and damage it, the insurance company will compensate you for the repairs. Similarly, if the shingles fall on you and injure you, you will be covered for the medical expenses.
- Workers Compensation Insurance. Workers compensation protects the contractor’s employees while they’re working on or in your home. Imagine, for example, a worker falls off a ladder. This insurance will cover them for any medical costs relating to workplace injuries, and can even extend to wages lost while they’re in recovery. If you hire an unlicensed contractor, you would be on the hook for these expenses.
Your Bond is Your Word
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of bonding, it is similar to insurance in that it provides financial compensation for things other than workplace accidents. It’s meant to cover any issues that stem from the workmanship itself. If a contractor doesn’t finish the job, finishes it badly, damages the home due to negligence, or fails to pay their workers as promised, the bonding company will pay the difference. Contractors are typically bonded and insured for a certain amount of money, which can dictate the size of the jobs they are allowed to work on.
When you work with Foley Companies, you work with the best. Our contractors are licensed, bonded, insured, and have years of experience under their belt. Let us bring your renovation to life; we promise to give you a stellar experience and a quality result that you’ll love. Reach out today, and let’s get started.