First, some definitions – a licensed contractor is one who has received certification from a state licensing board attesting to the fact that this person is legally authorized to practice a profession or vocation, e.g. plumber, electrician, general contractor, etc., and is bound to comply with established procedures and standards set by the professionals in his or her industry and sanctioned by state law. Contractors who are not licensed, therefore, have not met the legal requirements to practice their trade within a particular jurisdiction.
An insured contractor or company is one that has purchased a general liability policy to cover damage to persons or property due to an accident or contractor negligence, while performing a contracted job. In addition, if a company has employees, it is further required to have workers’ compensation insurance to cover any job-related injury sustained by an employee in the performance of his or her work.
A bond is an escrow account that a contractor or company sets up with a bank or insurance company, setting money aside in the event that a project is not completed according to the contract between the company and a property owner. If the work is not completed as agreed, the bond will cover any expenses, up to the bond amount, required to complete the job satisfactorily. A contractor is normally required to have a general bond for a specified amount (depending upon the prevailing laws), but can also have what is known as a performance bond, which covers the full cost of the project with the added guarantee that a property owner will be compensated for any monetary losses if he or she needs to hire another contractor to finish an incomplete job.
So, what value does a licensed contractor or insured or bonded company bring to the consumer? The answer, in one word is, “protection.” Besides being illegal, unlicensed contractors lack any accountability, which places a consumer at significant risk. An unlicensed contractor may perform work that is substandard and not in compliance with local building codes. This can result in the property owner being fined, in addition to having to have a job re-done at his or her own expense.
Without insurance policies in place, a property owner can be held responsible for damages or injuries sustained on a job site. And without a bond in place, a contractor who goes out of business, or simply vanishes before a job is completed, leaves a property owner without recompense.
If you are contemplating hiring a contractor for any job, make sure that he or she is licensed, insured and bonded. You may think that you can save money by hiring some fly-by-night company that has given you a lower estimate for the work, but you are taking a giant risk that may come back to bite you.
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stair lifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
- 24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
- Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
- Licensed General Contractor since 1998
- Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
- Board Member for Home Access Professionals
- Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)