The Importance of Licensing, Bonding, and Insurance for Contractors
Contracting without a license may seem harmless, but the countless homeowners who become victims of fraud and shoddy workmanship tell another story. As a result, the State of Florida is spending a lot of resources to catch and prosecute unlicensed contractors.
As Bradenton construction lawyers, we provide counsel to both licensed and unlicensed contractors facing legal charges and fines related to license violations, but would like to highlight why the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB) and Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) consider licensing, surety bonds, and insurance such an integral part of the construction industry as a whole.
Contractor’s licenses are regulated by the CILB and DBPR to ensure that individuals receiving certification meet certain requirements including financial responsibility, a minimum of four years of experience in the category of licensure, a clean criminal record, and a minimum amount of insurance coverage dependent on the type of license. Licensed contractors are also held accountable when work is not completed to code or when complaints are filed against them, so the likelihood of incomplete work is kept to a minimum for fear of permanent revocation of a professional license.
A surety bond protects homeowners should a contractor be unable to complete a project as it is outlined within the construction contract. While maintaining a bonded status is a good form of protection for business owners in the case of unforeseen circumstances, it is not a requirement in the State of Florida unless a contractor’s credit score is lower than 660. A surety bond gives homeowners good faith that work will be completed and if for some reason a contractor defaults, the surety company will find another contractor to complete the job or compensate the owner for any losses incurred as a result.
Accidents can happen and whether it is an employee injury or personal property damage to a third-party, you don’t want to end up footing the bill, and the State of Florida wants to guarantee the protection of the general public and workers. Because of this, in order to receive a contractor’s license, you must maintain liability, property damage, and workers’ compensation insurance. This is where licensed contractors can also find themselves in trouble. If the DBPR conducts a site inspection, big fines can occur without proper coverage.
At Trent Cotney, P.A., our Bradenton construction attorneys have represented unlicensed contractors and licensed contractors throughout Florida at both the local and state level. While acquiring and maintaining a proper contractor’s license is recommended, when violations occur, our team is available to represent you and mitigate potential fines and criminal charges.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.