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Aldridge & Sons Plumbing
5151 Sunbeam Rd, Suite #5
Jacksonville, Florida 32257
(904) 287-3855
CFC# 1426235

 

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Why is it important to hire a Licensed Contractor?

Being a homeowner, at times we face expenses that are necessary to maintain or repair our properties. It is a normal reaction to get several estimates and look for the most affordable contractor to do the work. While searching for a contractor, whether through word of mouth and or friends or relatives, a homeowner may come across an unlicensed person posing as a contractor. This unlicensed person may provide a bid that is appealing to the eye and like most people, the motivation behind hiring an unlicensed person has to do with saving money.

Keep in mind, although an unlicensed person may give you a low bid, the risks you may face for hiring an unlicensed person verses a licensed contractor far outweigh any benefits a lower bid may seem to offer.  It is impossible to list all risks associated with hiring an unlicensed person but here are some of the risk factors - poor craftsmanship, they do not finish the project which leaves you the homeowner on the hook to repair or finish the project, liens against your property for unpaid materials or unpaid workers, not being properly licensed and or insured, and we hear all the time they disappear after taking your money leaving you the homeowner no recourse other than to pay twice to have the work completed.

I am not saying that hiring a licensed contractor will guarantee that the work will be done well, or even properly. Even the licensed contractor has projects where something may go wrong. However hiring a licensed contractor allows the homeowner more recourse if the workmanship is not per code or the quality is not what they expected, as the licensed contractor carries the proper licenses and insurances to cover these mishaps, if any. 

Normal repairs such a toilet flapper replacement, garbage disposal replacement and so forth a quote can be given over the phone. However a major repair such as remodels, repiping, sewer replacement etc would require the need of a contractor to come out to give you an estimate. Here are a few TIPS in helping you select the right contractor for the job

Step 1: Make a list
This should include what you would like to have done.

Step 2: Estimates
Shop around for a contractor before making a decision, and then schedule an appointment from more than one contractor.  Keep in mind when making the appointments, space them out to allow enough time for the contractor to sit with you.  It is hard when a contractor shows up for the scheduled appointment and the previous contractor is still there.

Step 3: Licensing
You should check to make sure the contractor is correct when (s)he says (s)he does not need to be licensed. There are several ways to check if a contractor needs to be or is licensed. One way is you can visit http://www.contractors-license.org/

Step 4: Compare Estimates
Some estimates might be more appealing than others, so be sure you compare what each will be providing as not all are apples for apples. Be suspicious of a contractor who offers the cheapest price or the fastest job or even “you must act now:” basis.

Step 5: Contract
Take your time to make a decision and remember, genuinely good deals will still be there tomorrow.  Make sure that everything you agreed to is in writing and that it is well written and clear

Step 6: Payment.
Yes at times a contractor may require a deposit upfront however NEVER pay a contractor for the entire project in advance or before the work is completed. Also, pay by a personal check instead of cash so you can retain your cashed check as a receipt.

Remember you can do more to protect yourself before hiring a contractor than the Licensing Board can do to help after you have been harmed. Again to see if a contractor is licensed visit http://www.contractors-license.org/