by Timothy J. Smith, Esq.
Homeowners and homeowners’ associations often face expenses to maintain or repair their property. It makes sense to look for the most affordable contractor available to do the work. Many times, through friends or relatives, a homeowner will come across an unlicensed contractor during their search for a person to do the work. The unlicensed contractor will provide a bid that is much lower than bids from licensed contractors and promises to do the same work. It sounds so appealing to save money but still get great workmanship that many people fall into the trap and hire the unlicensed contractor. However, the cheapest contractor available might be the one that will cost the most in the long run.
It is not surprising that an unlicensed contractor would be less expensive than a licensed contractor. Unlicensed contractors have advantages that enable them to provide the lowest prices. They do not have to pay licensing fees, they do not have to obtain a bond to protect their work, and more often than not they do not purchase liability or workers compensation insurance. Without these added expenses the unlicensed contractor can provide their services at a rate lower than the legitimately licensed professional.
It is true that having a contractor’s license is not a guarantee that the work will be done well, or even properly. Since there is no guarantee that a licensed contractor will do a better job why should a homeowner or association care if the contractor has a license? The answer is simple–to protect the homeowner or association from a myriad of problems that could arise.