WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Unlicensed contractors are a big problem in the State of Florida. They may be cheaper to hire, but they could damage your home too.
Contractors need a license to perform many home repairs in Florida. They may need a state license and one from the county where you live. It's a way to protect you so you know the company you're hiring has the qualifications to do the job.
Palm Beach County said anyone who does work without a license has an unfair advantage. They may not have insurance or the proper education. Tracking down unlicensed contractors is a daily task in Palm Beach County.
More than 140 fines were issued in the last year.
Before you hire anyone, ask for their license number and a copy of their insurance policy. Then, verify if they are licensed.
Palm Beach County also says the following are red flags:
- newspaper ads that don't list the contractor's certification number
- a large down payment is required (If you are doing a big job, the Consumer Watchdog recommends you pay the supplier. That way you know the building supplies were paid for and nobody can come after you if your contractor doesn't pay the bill.)
- Statements like "it will be cheaper if you obtain your own permit"
- Verbal contracts
- The contractor works on weekends or after hours
- A building permit is obtained by someone other than the contractor