Pay a Little More Now, or Pay a Lot More Later
It’ll save us money.
They say they can do it. What’s the difference?
Who’s going to know?
Have those words ever come back to haunt you? They most likely will one day, especially if you’re talking about a home improvement project, whether it’s a roofing, electrical, or plumbing job.
When planning for home maintenance or improvement, most homeowners focus on the immediate outlay of money, with an eye on getting it back one day when they sell the home. And, the most common place most try to save is by hiring a local Jack-of-All-Trades, instead of a licensed and insured contractor. They may not work out of an office or have employees, and their lack of “overhead” means they can promise you the job for less.
But, cutting this corner could end up costing you more in the end.
When hiring someone to work on your home it’s important to ask a few questions:
Are they licensed for the job at hand?
Acquiring a license in Fayetteville, NC means acquiring the knowledge. A licensed contractor is going to know how to fix your problem. And if, by chance, something is done incorrectly they will come back to fix it.
You have no guarantee that the handyman actually knows the correct way to do the job. And, good luck getting him on the phone if you need something corrected. You may end up needing to hire someone else to come fix their damage.
A handyman may know how to stop a drip, but a plumber is going to know how to actually fix the leak. And you aren’t going to have to worry about coming home to a flooded basement because something was done wrong.
Another thing to watch for--Is the person you hire the one with the license?
If your home improvement is a larger job then your General Contractor may hire a Subcontractor to do certain jobs. Depending on the jobs they are doing the subcontractors may be required to have Trade Certifications (plumbing, electrical, etc) but they don’t have to hold a General Contractors license.
The contractor that you enter into the contract with must be the one with the license. In North Carolina it is illegal for someone to use another contractor’s license. It may seem like a good idea to cut out the “middleman” of the general contractor and go right to a subcontractor, but it most likely is not.
Are they insured?
Licensed contractors, like here in Fayetteville, NC, are required to carry liability insurance and workers compensation. If something goes wrong and they are injured or damage your property, you can rest assured that their insurance company will take care of that cost.
But, if a handyman puts their ladder through your window, or floods your basement, or falls off your roof, who is on the hook for that? Are you going to have to file a home insurance claim to fix what he broke? Could he sue you for his own injuries?
The peace of mind that comes with hiring a licensed and insured contractor is totally worth the extra cost.
Do they know the building code requirements/Will they file for permits?
Many people shrug off getting the appropriate permits. “It’s inside my home, it’s no one’s business what I do”. That attitude can definitely bite you when you go to sell your home. If jobs aren’t up to code you will have to fix them in order to pass your home inspection. Or take a hit on your sale price.
And, if you’re concerned with resale, having improvements done correctly and to code, with proof of permits, are positive selling points.
So, to go back to those first questions:
Yes, it could save you a little now, but it could cost you a lot more soon.
They say they can do it, but can they?
The difference can be huge. And costly.
One day, a home inspector may know.
If you still think the risk might be worth it, check out “Water heater explosions” on YouTube.
You definitely don’t want to cut corners on fixing your water heater, for example, just to end up needing to hire a roofer, drywaller, etc, etc...
Here are some great additional tips from the state licensing office
If your work is specific to plumbing and HVAC, give us a call. We’ll walk you through some options and help you get it done the right way- and we’ll be there for you quick as a Haire.