Protect Yourself By Using Licensed Contractors!

By RYN HERRMANN
Chamber Director

It’s that time of year when people are thinking of fixing up their houses or remodeling. Please keep in mind that a bid from an unlicensed contractor may be much lower than those from licensed contractors promising to do the same work. It may sound good to save, but hiring the cheapest contractor may cost you more in the long run!

Many times, unlicensed contractors offer lower quotes because they don’t pay a licensing fee, or obtain a bond to protect their work, and in many cases, don’t purchase liability or workers compensation insurance. Without these expenses, the unlicensed contractor can offer a lower rate.

Making sure you hire an appropriately licensed, insured and bonded contractor may seem like extra work, but it helps ensure that you and your interests are protected, and gives you more assurance that you’re working with reliable, reputable professionals.

Protect Your Property Values 

Many home projects require permits to complete the work, but unlicensed contractors may not always apply and obtain the proper paperwork for projects. This could be a problem for homeowners! When selling a home, specific facts must be disclosed to the buyers. Unpermitted work, especially if it’s not to code, could impact the value of the property and failing to disclose information could lead to liability of the seller. In addition, since an unlicensed contractor rarely has liability insurance or a bond, if any work needs to be re-done, the burden falls on the homeowner. 

Injury Protection 

An unlicensed contractor may not have workers compensation insurance, and if hired by a homeowner, the homeowner then becomes the employer and is responsible for any injuries or accidents that occur on their property. A simple home improvement project could turn into a bill for tens of thousands more, all because the homeowner hired an unlicensed contractor. 

The most important thing for a homeowner to remember is to protect themselves and their assets, which is why it’s so important to hire a licensed professional. To verify the license of a New Mexico contractor, visit rld.state.nm.us/.

For a list of Chamber members who are licensed contractors or to join the Los Alamos Chamber, visit losalamoschamber.com or call 505.661.4807.

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