There is a wealth of information about home improvement on the internet from renovation advice to repair mistakes. Statistics about DIY and home improvement tell us a lot about the popularity of improving our homes. It is a thriving industry with expected sales of over 400 billion estimated for 2019. Not only this, but a high percentage of American consumers are interested in DIY: over two thirds visit home improvement store websites.
The reason behind the popularity of DIY is because home repairs are a necessary evil. Homeowners should expect to pay between one and two percent of their home value on repairs every year, according to the mortgage provider Wells Fargo. This estimate is just for standard, essential repair jobs: remodeling project or changing something simply because you don’t like it isn’t factored into this equation.
Thus, home improvement is more than just a hobby: it is actually a necessity, and home repairs are a given. It’s fun to do things ourselves, but sometimes the jobs that need doing require more of an expert. This is where contractors come in. As a general rule of thumb, any job that is dangerous, requires advanced expertise, or requires a permit, should be done by a home contractor instead of attempting it yourself.
Therefore, if you have extensive work that needs done, it’s recommended that you hire a professional contractor. It’s tempting to want to save on labor costs, but sometimes DIY is simply not an option, especially when a botched job can actually damage or reduce the value of your home.
When hiring a contractor for jobs that require a professional touch, it’s of utmost importance that they are fully insured and licensed. There are a number of reasons why this is so important:
Why a Licensed Home Contractor is Important
Licensed home contractors only obtain their license through proving their expertise. There are a number of procedures they have to go through in order to be considered ‘worthy’ of a license. This includes training, apprenticeship, test-taking, and legal processes. As a result of this, they have extensive experience and knowledge.
When you hire any contractor, one of the first things you should do is to ask to see their license documents. Before they arrive to start work, if you don’t know anything about what licenses look like or what they should include, conduct some basic online research so that you can be confident their license is authentic, and relevant to the work they’re carrying out.
Hiring an unlicensed contractor is not wise, as you can’t really know how skilled they are in their line of work.
A licensed contractor is accountable for the work they do in numerous ways. For example, the training they got to obtain their license means that they fully comprehend government regulations pertaining to construction work of all kinds. They have the authority to schedule inspections on the work carried out in your home, where two important components of the project are assessed: safety and quality.
A licensed contractor is much more concerned with legal and government compliance than an unlicensed one, simply because it is in their best interest to comply. There are penalties that can occur if they don’t: for example, they are at risk of losing their license. Hence, it is much more likely that the work they do will be of a high quality and will comply with safety regulations.
As well as this, licensed contractors have the authority to get permits for work that requires one. In fact, ensuring they are responsible for any permits required is a sign of a reputable contractor: anyone who asks you to get it yourself is usually shady.
Licensed contractors are more reliable than unlicensed ones because they are held accountable for the work completed. Moreover, licensed contractors often have a strategic approach to construction contracts: their method of completion will generally be more streamlined and seamless than an unlicensed contractor. For example, a licensed general contractor, because of the extensive knowledge and experience they have in carrying out construction projects, will be more likely to have an order to their scheduling. Renovation projects can often be delayed if the delegated tasks are completed in the wrong order: licensed contractors will be more likely to know the correct ordering, resulting in a more timely completion with few or no errors along the way.
Furthermore, only licensed contractors can offer legal contracts that hold any weight. Legal contracts provide peace of mind to the homeowner, who is assured that the work will be done according to the conditions included in the contract. These conditions include the overall budget, an estimated deadline and work schedule, and payment instalments including the initial down-payments.
Why Hiring an Insured Home Contractor is Important
Hiring an insured contractor is absolutely essential for a number of reasons. First, it is recommended that the contractor is bonded. A bond is a type of insurance that protects you, the homeowner, from any unforeseen circumstances that might prevent the work from being completed. It also protects you from liability for any lost or stolen property or materials, or any worker’s disputes.
The other forms of insurance that an insured contractor has are no less important: workers’ compensation and liability insurance. Workers’ compensation means that if they, or any of the subcontractors, injure themselves on the job, you won’t be liable to pay. Liability insurance, then, covers any possible damage to your property that may occur during the construction process. It also means that if you, or any member of your household, injures themselves because of the construction, you won’t be held accountable: the insurance covers any medical costs incurred.
Make the Right Choice for Your Home
It’s important to hire a fully licensed and insured home contractor. There are a number of things that can go wrong during a construction project, and failing to hire someone with the right credentials will mean that you’re sorely out of pocket, so make sure the person you hire meets all of the requirements above before you give them the thumbs up to proceed.