What are the benefits of hiring licensed contractors when doing home improvements?

A licensed pro might be your only option, depending on the scope of work

Let’s say you’re planning a remodel and doing your due diligence. You get three quotes and one comes in much lower than the others, but they are unlicensed.

The contractor tells you it’s not important, don’t worry, they have vast experience and can save you a bundle. But is it important?

“The world of licensing can be complicated. The requirements can vary from state to state or even county to county and the requirements can be based on a contractor taking an exam, or simply paying a fee. The bottom line is, you want to know what’s involved in licensing in your area for your project, so do your research and be informed,” said Co-Founder of Angie’s List, Angie Hicks.

The time and energy you’ll spend researching the requirements is well worth the effort, for several reasons.

“Hiring a licensing contractor should give you more protection. It generally means you’re hiring someone that’s educated in the task that you want to have done, and experienced in what the job is,” Hicks said.

In addition to potentially getting a more experienced pro, hiring a licensed contractor can also help to avoid some costly situations.

“In some states, having a license also requires having workers comp insurance, and that’s protection for you, the homeowner. Because if one of the employees is hurt on your property while one the job, and the company doesn’t have workers comp insurance, that claim could come back on you,” Hicks said. “Hiring an unlicensed contractor can result in your homeowner’s insurance being voided, if there’s a claim filed because of the work.”

Depending on the scope of work, if permits are needed, a licensed pro might be your only option. Most importantly, check everything to make sure you get the specific job done right.

About the Author

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

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