When it's time to hire a contractor, one of the biggest fears homeowners have is putting up big bucks only to end up with work that's not performed correctly or is not up to code. That's why the Licensing Board for Florida's Construction Industry has issued some guidelines to help minimize your risk of this happening.
First, they recommend avoiding any contractor that seems to be canvassing a particular area by knocking on virtually every door in the neighborhood. They also note that it's important to avoid any contractor offering to do home improvements right away, but only if you first pay them a cash deposit to do so.
Payments, they note, should never be made in advance of the work being done or be in cash. They also say that you should only pay for building material once receipts have been produced documenting costs.
They also emphasize the importance of not going with the first contractor you meet. Instead, try to solicit three different bids. Each contractor have references from work they've done locally. The board argues that it's in your best interest to contact the references to verify the quality of the work they did.
Once you've narrowed down your selections, they recommend asking to see a certified copy of your contractor's Florida state license. They note that you should take time to verify its validity by calling or visiting the website of the state licensing board.
They also recommend that you ask the prospective contractor for proof that they carry workers' compensation insurance. If they don't have it, then any claims would have to go through your homeowner's policy.
After selecting your preferred contractor, they recommend drafting a written contract that clearly spells out the work the contractor is completing. It should also include and contractor's license number. It's important that you not sign the contract until you've been able to fully review it and understand its terms. Even then, you should never sign it if it has any blank spaces on it.
If you've followed these steps and the contractor still didn't meet your expectations, then an experienced Melbourne construction litigation attorney can advise you of your rights in your particular legal matter.
Source: Builders Association of North Central Florida, "Hiring a Contractor?," accessed Sep. 08, 2017