Licensed or Unlicensed contractor?

The benefits of hiring a licensed home contractor definitely out risk the benefits of hiring a unlicensed contractor. Whether a homeowner has plans for kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, or any general home project work, a licensed home contractor should be used no matter the size of the project.

As an NC registered contractor I know that hiring an unlicensed contractor can seem like a good option, but it’s often important that we realize hiring a licensed contractor outweighs hiring an unlicensed contractor.

The Unlicensed Contractor

Remember that Unlicensed contractors might come across as more budget-friendly, but they are often not worth the risk. Unlicensed contractors are not bonded or insured, which means their operating costs are much lower and this means that they are able to quote construction jobs lower than licensed contractors.

You might even find yourself asking, why would you allow someone to work on your home if they’re not able to run their business according to the law? If budget really is your main concern, think about the potential cost you will be responsible for if something goes wrong. Construction is one of the top industries where employees are hurt on the job. Tool malfunctions, inadequate training, falls from ladders or scaffolds, all of these situations injure and kill thousands of workers every year. If an uninsured contractor and their crew are working on your home and someone gets hurt, you may very well be liable for a personal injury claim since the accident occurred on your property and the contractor is not operating with insurance.

The NC Licensed Contractor

Now this is not true of a licensed contractor. When you work with a North Carolina licensed contractor you can check their license history for past complaints. This way you can avoid a builder who has a poor record of business or is known for being involved in, many accidents. Plus, it’s helpful that North Carolina requires a documented level of experience or education in order to issue a license.

Keep in mind that, hiring a licensed contractor doesn’t mean you’ll have perfect work completed on your home. Mistakes happen at every level of experience; however another benefit to contracting with a licensed home builder is that you may be eligible to apply for the residential contractors’ recovery fund if something goes wrong. This fund distributes up to $30,000 to complete a construction project or to fix building issues caused by a negligent contractor.

If you’re in the North Carolina area, finding a general contractor with a valid contractor’s license is very easy to find. The North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors allows consumers to search by individual name, company name or license number on their website. A simple, free search will show you in seconds if the license is active, invalid or archived. Plus you can search for license type and see what kind of projects that they are licensed to work on.

When you start interviewing contactors, ask questions about their experience. In addition to the project’s cost and length of time it will take to complete, ask each contractor: How did they learn the construction trade? How long have they been operating their construction business in the area? Ask for references from past clients as well. A certified contractor should not have any problems coming up with a list of clients and references of past work.