It can be a bit overwhelming to have to decide what to do with your house in terms of repairs, finding a good contractor, and making sure you stay within budget. Unfortunately, most of this stuff wasn't covered in house owning 101. So, it's left up to you to figure out how to hire the right licensed contractors for the job you need done. For that matter, you should also educate yourself on the required certifications and permits your area or community requires. With a little bit of information about the construction and contracting trades, you can better protect yourself and your home.
One of the fastest ways to figure out if the contractors you are thinking about hiring are licensed or not are to go online. Most states have available lists of their registered contractors. You can also call the labor board in your state for further information on those listed. As a rule, if contractors are going to be handling jobs that cost more than a couple of hundred dollars, they are supposed to be licensed. Some state allow for exceptions for specialized laborers that work by the hour instead of for a flat rate. Some of those laborers include plumbers and electricians. In terms of general licensed contractors though, you will have an awfully strong ally in the state licensing board if something goes wrong with your project.
If you are having a licensed contractor take care of your project and he or she has a team of employees, it's imperative that the owner of the company have workman's compensation insurance for the people to be working in or around your home. As a matter of fact, you should feel comfortable asking to see a copy of the contractor's policy certificate. Don't fall for excuses like it's at the office or the agency have a copy. The certificate copies are free and every good contractor should have one on hand for requests.
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