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Licensed Bonded and Insured

Posted on Monday, April 7th, 2014

In our last blog post “Home Remodeling Services | Best Price,” I mentioned that my wife and were planning our own home remodel project. The main advice everyone gave us was, “Make sure your contractor is licensed bonded and insured .” But what exactly does it mean for a contractor to be licensed bonded and insured and why is it important to know as a homeowner? Let’s break it down.

According to the Official Internet Site of the Florida Legislator, there are several types of contractor licenses depending on the work you need done (general, building, residential, sheet metal, roofing, etc…). Your state may have different categories, but these three main types should be fairly similar.

 3 Main Types of Home Remodel Contractors

  • General contractor – services are unlimited to the scope of work to be done.
  • Building contractor – services are limited to remodeling, repair, or improvement of any size building – if the services do not affect the structural elements of the building.
  • Residential contractor – a contractor whose services are limited to construction, remodeling, repair, or improvement of one-family, two-family, or three-family residences which are not more than two floors high.

 

Residential Contractor

licensed bonded and insuredFor the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on a residential contractor in regards to being licensed bonded and insured. We should also distinguish between a registered license and a certified license. A County “Registered” license is issued by one specific County. It’s like a tax payment and is not really the license you want your contractor to have. A State “Certified” license can be used throughout the state. This is the one you want your contractor to have when you ask if they are licensed bonded and insured.

There’s an extensive exam that covers business and finance, contract administration, and project management. To qualify for the examination an applicant must be at least 18 years old and must also meet certain requirements, according to the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation Construction Industry Licensing Board.

 

Certified Licensed Residential Contractor Examination Qualifications

  • Four year construction-related degree from an accredited college (equivalent to three years experience) and one year proven related experience
  • One year of experience as a foreman and not less than three years of credits for any accredited college-level courses
  • One year experience as a workman, one year proven experience as a foreman, and two years of credits for any accredited college level courses
  • Two years experience as a workman, one year experience as a foreman, and one year of credits for any accredited college level courses
  • Four years experience as a workman or foreman of which at least one year must have been as a foreman
  • Holding an active certified or registered Florida contractor’s license

 

To become a certified licensed contractor, an applicant must pass all parts of the exam, meet education/experience requirements, obtain worker’s compensation coverage, get a fingerprint back ground check, and demonstrate financial responsibility by including a credit report with the application.

In addition to the exam and other previously mentioned requirements, a certified licensed contractor must also be bonded and insured. While the license is issued by the state, the bond and insurance is backed by an insurance carrier. Contact information, for verification purposes, is listed on the insurance certificate; as is the expiration date of the policy.

Ask if your contractor is licensed bonded and insured. Do a search on your state’s website (Department of Business and Professional Regulation – this one is from Florida) to find information about the status of the license. Reputable companies are happy to provide proof of their adherence to the laws and regulations designed to make certain that contractors, employees, and homeowners are protected during the completion of a project.

NOTE: Minimum amounts required for general liability insurance are :

  • General and building contractors – $300,000 bodily injury, 50,000 property damage
  • All other categories – 100,000 bodily injury, 25,000 property damage

 

If you’re still wondering if your residential remodel contractor should be licensed bonded and insured, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” By doing so you greatly reduce the odds of having a bad experience. Most states will likely be similar to Florida, so you should be safe just asking if your contractor is licensed, since being bonded and insured is a requirement of obtaining a certified contractor license.

Is being licensed bonded and insured important to you when you choose a contractor for your home improvement projects? Have you ever had a bad experience with a contractor who was not licensed bonded and insured? Share your stories with us so that others can benefit from your experience.

Summary of Qualifications

Posted on Monday, March 24th, 2014

Summary of Qualifications | Hire a Remodel Contractor

After publishing one of our blog articles titled, “Experienced Remodel Contractor,” it became apparent that homeowners are looking for a summary of qualifications when it comes to hiring a remodel contractor. We spoke with some of our System Remodelers and came up with just that – a summary of qualifications we believe are the most important things to consider when you want to hire a remodel contractor. So we decided to write a series on the subject and share the wisdom of some of the best remodel contractors in the business.

Summary of QualificationsOver the next few months we’ll explore our summary of qualifications to consider when getting ready to hire a remodel contractor and share ideas on how you can do your research to make a well-informed decision. Although we do not claim that our summary of qualifications will eliminate any challenges that may arise from your remodel project, we do hope you‘ll be better prepared and able to avoid many of the pitfalls and stress associated with the process.

Very often, friends and family will tell you “get several estimates, and make sure they are licensed, bonded and insured.” Of course this is excellent advice, and it is on our summary of qualifications. But there are so many more things to consider when preparing to hire a remodel contractor, to ensure a  successful remodeling process. At System Home Improvement Products, we believe that education is the key to creating better relationships and a higher level of satisfaction with our System Remodeler projects.

Some of the topics (not in any order of importance) we’ll cover in our series, “Summary of Qualifications | Hire a Remodel Contractor,” are things like…

 

  • Price
  • Licensed, Bonded and Insured
  • Reputation
  • Thorough estimate
  • Contract
  • Experience
  • References from customers
  • References from professional organizations
  • Training / Certifications
  • Company history
  • Job organization
  • Professional associations
  • Design services – Use of Technology to Visualize
  • Quality subcontractors
  • Job schedule
  • Employees or Subcontractors
  • Communications with Homeowner
  • Source of Business
  • Customer Service
  • Community Involvement
  • Creativity
  • Guarantees & Warranties
  • Craftsmanship
  • Jobsite clean up
  • Product selection
  • Reliable product supplier
  • Financial stability
  • Finance offering

 

If you can think of anything else that should be on our summary of qualifications to consider when you want to hire a remodel contractor, please let us known and state your case for why it should be added. If your idea is selected, we’ll send you a snappy System Home Improvement Products baseball cap that we hope you’ll sport with pride, and we’ll allow you bragging rights on our social networks.

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Experienced Remodel Contractor

Posted on Monday, March 17th, 2014

Experienced Remodel Contractor

Experienced Remodel ContractorWhen planning your home remodel, it’s wise to hire an experienced remodel contractor for getting the job done right. You’ll save time, frustration, and money. Experienced remodelers help homeowners take the worry out of their remodel project and put the focus back on refreshing their home with beauty, comfort and efficiency. Save time and money by hiring an experienced remodel contractor because they have years of training and home remodeling experience.

 

Remodel Budget

Most remodelers enjoy the chance to use new products and proven solutions to help homeowners increase the value of their home and save on utility costs, all while staying on budget. This ability to work within a budget is a specialty of many experienced remodel contractors. They help suggest options that keep your budget in check, such as providing a variety of product choices.

Commitment to Excellence

An experienced remodel contractor has years of business skills and understands that remodeling is about providing superior customer service. They know how to prioritize and take great pride in customer satisfaction. The best of the best will hire 3rd party customer satisfaction survey companies, like Guild Quality to make sure they are on track and help them remain proactive in their efforts. Experienced remodel contractors know what’s important to homeowners because they ask.

Technical Training

Experienced remodel contractors have years of technical training and experience that cannot be matched by DIY videos or “how-to” books. They understand details that most overlook and that must be considered before attempting a home remodel. Inexperience and simply not knowing any better can create expensive mistakes.  Experienced remodel contractors can prevent disasters and solve unexpected problems.

Save Money | Tax Credits

Experienced remodel contractors know how to help you save money on remodeling expenses by installing energy efficient products like new windows, doors, insulated siding, roofing, and more. They will likely refer you to organizations like the Department of Energy or Energy Star for more information on energy efficient products and tax credits. Experienced remodel contractors may also know of additional local or state credits, rebates, and other ways of saving money on your home remodel project.

References

Experienced remodel contractors have been around for a while and are more likely to belong to trade associations like the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, (AAMA), and the Vinyl Siding Institute, (VSI). By belonging to these organizations they benefit from continuing education programs, and obtain knowledge and skills to better run their businesses. An experienced remodel contractor can provide references from past clients, many of whom are repeat customers. They can also show homeowners examples of previous work to give you an idea of their style and attention to detail.

Your home is probably the most significant investment you’ll ever make. You need the very best to plan and implement your remodeling project. Make the smartest investment in your home and peace-of-mind by hiring a experienced remodel contractor. They’ll help you stay on budget, solve remodeling challenges, and provide a higher-quality service.

 

Contact your local System Remodeler to find out how we put our experienced remodel contractors to work for you.