Contracting without a license in the State of Florida is a crime. It is either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. Since the economic downturn in 2008 the number of unlicensed roofing and other contractors soliciting work in Florida has increased significantly. As a homeowner who hires an unlicensed contractor you are risking serious trouble.
Unlicensed roofing contractors are often former employees of a licensed contractor who solicit work as a way of paying their bills after being laid off. Others are repeat offenders with lengthy criminal records whose sole intent is to relieve you of your money and never complete the job. Telling one from the other does not matter because you, as the homeowner, are responsible for any injuries, property damage, fines for non compliance and additional cost for unfinished or poor quality work if you hire any unlicensed contractor.
Here are some warning signs that a roofing contractor is unlicensed:
- Asks for a deposit in cash only – Never give a deposit in cash. You will have no recourse should the contractor never return. Use a credit card. Almost all contractors take credit cards.
- The roofer solicits you – He shows up at your door and points out the wear and weak spots on your roof and gives you a cheap price to repair it or replace it.
- Cheap price – If you are looking to replace your roof and all bids range from 8 to 12 thousand dollars and one is much less, beware.
- Asks you to acquire the permit – An unlicensed contractor can’t get a permit. If you get the permit yourself all of the responsibilities including code compliance, insurance and many other liabilities are yours.
- Insists on working on the weekend – This is due to one or both of two reasons. The contractor has a full time job during the week and is doing unlicensed work on the side or he is trying to avoid the compliance officer who is less likely to spot him on the weekend.
In a best case scenario hiring an unlicensed roofing contractor will get you a substandard job. What is more likely is that the roofer will disappear with your deposit before starting or start the job and then vanish. Always ask for the State of Florida Certification and check it with the county and state for legitimacy. Do not fall for the line that the contractor works under the license of a general contractor. That may be true but he has no right to solicit work on his own.
At Roofing Buddy we pre-screen all of our roofers for licensing and insurance and also for customer satisfaction. No need to play roofer roulette. Just fill out the form on our site or give us a call. We will find a professional in your area.