Today’s professionally licensed air conditioning and heating contractor is controlled by Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Certification and registration is based on an examination of the Contractor’s level of competency. Financial stability and insurability of applicants is also reviewed by the Department.
Reasons for Avoiding Unlicensed Contractors:
1. Many are totally incompetent and lack the experience and training to do the job right. Their financial stability and longevity are questionable – in other words – will they be around in two months to warranty what they repair today?
2. Many manufacturers will not honor their limited warranties on equipment that is installed by unqualified individuals – especially if it is incorrectly done.
3. Since unlicensed contractors have no legal existence, they are not subject to regulation by the State and therefore are not subject to disciplines that could put them out of business. They are guilty of fraud and will only be prosecuted if the evidence is good enough. Should they damage you, restitution is more difficult when a fine or jail time is the punishment.
4. Unlicensed contractors cannot acquire a permit from the local building department, consequently, your job goes uninspected for code violations that may damage your property or threaten your life.
5. Nearly all homeowner insurance policies exclude coverage for property damage or personal injury liability where the work of a tradesman is invited. Tradesmen are expected to carry Business Liability and Workers’ Compensation insurance. Most unlicensed contractors can’t purchase this protection leaving you exposed. Imagine the unlicensed contractor getting hurt on your property and suing you!
6. According to Florida Statute 455.228 it is unlawful to employ an unlicensed contractor and violations are punishable by up to $5,000.00 and/or a year in jail.
Before employing any contractor to make repairs or perform replacements it is a good idea to check the status of their license with the State of Florida. Beware of companies that are licensed where the license holder is not the owner. In many of these cases owners will pay a stranger to use their license. It’s legal, but what are their qualifications? You can check the license status of any contractor by going to the website www.myfloridalicense.com