Dangers of Hiring Unlicensed Workers
Most contractors are hardworking, honest, skilled and dependable. The City of St. Cloud Building Department recommends you always hire a licensed contractor BEFORE starting new construction or a remodeling project. Not doing so can put you at risk of the following:
- Unlicensed persons typically do not have the education, insurance or qualification required of a licensee.
Poor Quality work.
- Unlicensed contractors typically do poor quality work or do not finish the project, leaving the homeowner on the hook to repair or finish the project.
Possible criminal background.
- Unlicensed persons often have criminal backgrounds that may include fraud, theft, violent crime, sexual offenses and substance abuse.
Likelihood of being the victim of a scam.
- Unlicensed persons often disappear after taking your money, and the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) cannot discipline an unlicensed person, help get your money back or require the person to finish or improve the work done. Scams in the construction industry, especially home improvement, are sadly widespread. Con artists pose as contractors and often target vulnerable people and take advantage of homeowner’s need for urgent post-hurricane property damage.
Limited resources for broken contracts.
- When you have a dispute with a licensed contractor, you call the DBPR, which has the authority to discipline and even revoke the license. This gives the licensee more incentive to play fair. However, this type of action is not available against unlicensed contractors and homeowners often find the only answer is an expensive, and generally futile, civil suit.
No insurance and liability for injuries to others.
- You may end up being liable for personal or financial injuries to others. An unlicensed contractor typically is uninsured and will have no way to pay you back for any property damage.
No coverage under homeowner's policy.
- Most homeowner policies require that work must be done by a licensed contractor and provide no coverage for work that is not.
Noncompliance with building codes.
- Most projects, even small ones, require permits and inspections that unlicensed contractors ignore or are unfamiliar with. If your project isn’t permitted or doesn’t comply with the building code, you may have to remove or repair the work at your own expense and be subject to fines.
Liens being imposed on your property.
- You may be subject to liens placed on your property by subcontractors or supplies.
To learn more and find additional resources from the DBPR, click here.