Why hire a licensed and insured contractor? : Why hire a licensed and insured contractor? ::

Did you know that if you hire an unlicensed contractor you are at risk?!The State of Michigan requires all contractors in the building trades to be licensed. In order to get a license the State requires a person to: Take an extensive knowledge test on the trade he wants to do business in. Have his credit and criminal records history checked in order to determine whether or not he pays his bills and how he handles his finances, including any judgments by the IRS etc.

Requires payment into a Lien Recovery Fund, which protects the property owner against contractors who don't pay their sub-contractors or job materials bills. I'm sure that you must have caught a news story from some media source describing an unsuspecting property owner who got ripped off by a contractor who either took a deposit and never showed up or did part of the work and never finished. Unfortunately these kinds of incidents give the legitimate contractors an undeserved black eye. And the way homeowners can protect themselves is to do their homework when selecting a contractor. Did you know that a supplier who sells materials on credit to an unlicensed contractor for your property can lien your property or sue the property owner for the amount of the materials if those bills aren't paid? And, did you know that sub-contractors / workers who work on your property for an unlicensed contractor can lien your property or sue the property owner for wages due them if the contractor does not pay them? You can reduce these risks by doing business with licensed contractors who are working within the licensing and Lien Recovery Fund requirements. Before you hire a contractor ask him to show you his contractor's license, either in the form of a wallet ID card or full size certificate. It will help you feel at peace knowing whom you are dealing with.

A word about insurance: make sure when hiring a contractor you ask to see a certificate of insurance for workman's compensation and liability. Did you know that…If you hire a contractor that has no insurance and one of his workers gets hurt the injured worker could sue the property owner for damages! And if the contractor has no liability insurance: guess who could be stuck with the bill if for example a ladder falls on the house or building next door or something gets damaged by a freak accident. These things of course are not likely to happen to you, but they do happen! Be educated about who you hire to do a job. There are a lot of guys running around unlicensed and uninsured trying to undercut the legitimate contractor's prices. Don't be fooled by cheaper prices, there are risks involved. Hiring a good company will lessen the risks! Here are a few tips for hiring a contractor: Get a detailed written estimate. Don't accept a price written on the back of a business card or something scribbled on a piece of paper. Don't rush the time allowed for an estimate. It is in the best interest of both parties to take the time to go over the details. Make sure the contractor's business address and phone number are on the estimate. If either one is not you should wonder why they don't want you to know! Check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if they have any unresolved disputes. Ask for a couple references. Although they don't usually give you bad ones it will still give you an idea of whether they have any. Alex Boozenny President Action Painting Company