unlicensed contractor

The Legal Woes of Hiring an Uninsured and Unlicensed Contractor

Do you have some work you want to get done around your house? Does your house need painting, or you want a deck built on the back of your house? Maybe your roof has some repairs that need to be done.

How do you proceed? What most people do is go looking for someone skilled to do the job. If you can’t pull off a DIY (and building a deck or fixing a roof isn’t really DIY), then you need to find the right skilled person for the job.

So, you gather bids and want to automatically gravitate towards the cheapest bid. But hold on? What else should you consider about the contractor you are hiring to do the work?

Are they licensed? Are they insured? You might find an unlicensed contractor willing to do the work for you for less. But is it wise to hire someone who is unlicensed? The answer is a resounding no.

Read on to learn the many reasons hiring an unlicensed contractor is a bad idea.

Your Role

When you hire an unlicensed contractor, you by default become the contractor. If something goes wrong, and it could in any number of ways, you become responsible.

As the de facto general contractor you are responsible for:

  • Legal compliance
  • Safety
  • Quality of workmanship

You are responsible for what happens on the job the contractor is doing for you.

What Could Go Wrong?

There are a number of risk factors involved with hiring an unlicensed contractor.

Injury

If you have a worker who is uninsured working at your home and they are injured, you become liable. It doesn’t have to be your fault in any way.

But you agreed to hire them knowing they were uninsured, so you become responsible for the injury, care, rehabilitation because it happened on your property.

Damage and Bad Work

You hire the uninsured roofer to fix the roof leak you have. The person isn’t licensed or insured and in the process of trying to fix your roof rips off all the gutters across the back of your house.

It rains and you have a big leak in your basement because the gutters are missing.

Now, you can try to hold that worker accountable but you’re not likely to have much success. It’s hard to prove the bad work was their fault and because you can’t go to their insurance company you’d have to find a way to get money out of them.

Necessary Insurance

When hiring a contractor, not only do you want them to have some professional licensing. It tells you they have training and experience to complete your work correctly.

You also want them to be insured. A contractor should carry two types of insurance.

Liability insurance covers the quality of work they do and potential damage that might be caused because of their work.

Worker’s compensation insurance covers any potential injuries that happen while on your property.

Unlicensed Contractor: A Bad Idea

There’s a reason the unlicensed contractor is cheaper. He’s not paying to be licensed or to protect himself or his workers. Think long and hard about the many disadvantages of hiring an unlicensed contractor to work on your home.

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