Every year, a large number of homeowners in Baltimore, Maryland indulge in home improvement projects. But, many of them underestimate the importance of hiring a licensed contractor. So, today, we have decided to share some important information about hiring contractors for home improvement projects which every homeowner should be aware of.
LICENSED vs. UNLICENSED CONTRACTORS
Hiring a licensed contractor for home improvement projects is recommended for several reasons such as:
- A licensed contractor is a legitimate professional in the industry.
- A licensed contractor meets defined industry standards to uphold the license.
- Acquiring a license is an expensive endeavor for the contractor and maintaining it shows that the contractor is committed to remaining certified and legal.
- Holding a license reflects that the contractor is serious about his/her business and doesn’t cut corners when it comes to doing work that needs permits.
On the other hand, it is always advised not to hire an unlicensed contractor because:
- An unlicensed contractor is not a professional at all.
- An unlicensed contractor doesn’t bother to meet industry standards and guidelines.
- An unlicensed contractor cannot be trusted to complete the undertaken job and cannot give you the same assurance as a licensed contractor can.
- An unlicensed contractor cut corners to get the job done as he/she is not able to attain any permits required for a given home improvement job.
Besides these, there are three main reasons which show that homeowners are benefited in several ways by hiring a licensed contractor.
(A) For Your Protection and Safety
While hiring a contractor, homeowners think that the contractor will be the one taking on any risk. It is true only when you hire a licensed contractor. In case, you are choosing to hire an unlicensed contractor, you will need to assume some risk as well not only in quality but also for legal and financial consequences.
If the work is not completed according to the local building codes and your unlicensed contractor did not obtain any permits required for the job to be done, the value of your property can be impacted negatively. Moreover, you could even void the home insurance policy if a claim arises due to the work done by the unlicensed contractor. An unlicensed contractor also doesn’t have any insurance.
But, this is not the case when you work with a licensed contractor. Every licensed contractor carries two types of insurance: liability and worker’s compensation. So, if something goes wrong, the licensed contractor’s liability insurance will protect you in the event when some work is done incorrectly. The contractor will be liable to pay and cover the cost of damages and repairs. However, in the same scenario with an unlicensed contractor, it would be you who has to pay to fix the issues.
As for worker’s compensation, this insurance will protect you in case someone gets hurt on the job. In the absence of this insurance, the homeowner can be held responsible for the injury and may be sued by the unlicensed contractor or the injured worker to pay the medical bills.
(B) A Licensed Contractor Knows the Trade and Laws for Codes
Building codes for home improvement projects vary by state and a licensed contractor always stays updated with the latest local building codes and knows this trade very well. So, hiring a licensed contractor in Baltimore, Maryland means that your home improvements will be made in accordance with local laws and codes which save you from indulging in legal matters.
On the contrary, unlicensed contractors don’t feel obliged to follow the codes and most are not even aware of them. This may result in heavy penalties and fines if authorities find out that laws have been violated during your home improvement project.
(C) The Maryland Home Improvement Commission Will Back You Up If Anything Happens
The Maryland Home Improvement Commission is there for your support if anything happens during your home improvement or remodeling project and you file a complaint against your licensed contractor. The Commission investigates complaints, awards for monetary damages against licensed contractors, and prosecutes the violators.
Besides, it also has a Guaranty Fund (The Fund) through which homeowners are compensated for actual monetary losses due to poor workmanship or failure to follow the contract. This fund applies to only work done by licensed contractors. So, when you work with an unlicensed contractor, you cannot recover through The Fund.
By now, you can easily conclude that it is more safe, beneficial, and cost-effective to hire a Licensed contractor in Baltimore, Maryland for your home improvement project when compared to an unlicensed contractor.