Escampia County officials are warning residents to be wary of unlicensed contractors.
According to Florida law, contractors are required to obtain a license, workers’ compensation insurance, and follow specific guidelines to protect consumers from personal harm and financial loss.
The county press release offers the following advice for people to choose wisely:
Make sure to request to see the contractor’s license and contact the appropriate licensing agency to verify the status.
Ask for and check references from previous clients.
Be sure to check with your local Better Business Bureau.
Obtain a written estimate from several licensed contractors.
After consumers choose a contractor, the county recommends the following steps:
Keep records of all paperwork, including quotations from the contractor and receipts for completed work.
Schedule payments at various stages, so that consumers don’t pay for work they don’t like or that hasn’t finished.
Make sure your contractor has obtained a permit and posted it on the front of the property.
Once the consumer selects the contractor and is ready to sign the contract, the county recommends:
Keep the contractor’s name, street address, phone number, state or local license number.
Get an accurate description of the work to be completed, a schedule and a list of materials.
Make a note of the date when the work was completed, which should include cleaning.
Officials say consumers need to look out for these red flags when hiring a new contractor:
Beware of anyone who asks you to obtain a building permit as an “owner / builder”.
Beware of anyone asking for money up front. Payment should only be for portions of the work or services rendered.
Contractors licensed by law are required to include their license number on all advertisements.
The county says all contractors can be located by email at email@example.com or by phone at 850-595-3509.
Clients can also use the website and phone number to report any doubts regarding unauthorized contractors.
Business and professionals can check contractor licenses at www.myfloridalicense.com
or call 850-487-1395.