It can be tempting to forego the mountains of paperwork and costs associated with getting an electrician, HVAC, plumbing, or major contracting license in New York. While working without a license may be more lucrative in the short term without paying the dues and getting insurance or bonding, the reality is that licensure not only protects homeowners, it protects contractors, too. Here’s why.
All states, including New York, require that individuals or companies that will be performing home improvement services in the state must be licensed by the state board. Licensure is designed to ensure that the individuals who are providing contractor services are in fact qualified to do so and have met other requirements such as criminal background checks.
The state has established certain requirements for contractors to meet to be able to qualify for a license, including being able to pass an exam designed to test the individual’s understanding and knowledge of electrical, HVAC, plumbing, or major contracting. Upon passing the exam and then annually, the contractor must pay a fee to be licensed.
Of course, the underlying purpose of these requirements is to ensure that those who provide these services to residences and businesses in the state are qualified to do so. They are designed to weed out incompetent and dishonest service providers who may swindle or endanger the lives of the residence or business owners. The licensure program also allows those seeking these services to confirm that the individual has met the requirements necessary to be allowed to perform the services.
There are other extremely valid reasons, however, for a contractor to be licensed. First and foremost, it is required by law. Another extremely important reason to be a licensed contractor is that it requires the contractor to have insurance. Insurance does cost money, but the headaches and potential bankruptcy that it can save are priceless. At a bare minimum the insurance carried should include general liability, medical, and worker’s compensation. General liability insurance means that the contractor can handle claims for damages that they or their subcontractors cause. The medical insurance and worker’s compensation is necessary to ensure that if a worker is injured on the job site, they do not have to sue the owner of the property to get their medical bills paid.
Licensing is also a safety issue. Being licensed means that the contractor has the knowledge and competence to do the work up to code and can hold themselves out as such. This allows the homeowner or business owner to have the confidence that their contractor will perform the work properly and correctly, thus probably avoiding unnecessary errors and damages. Licensing also helps to keep the contractor safe from accidents and injuries as they should have the necessary training to perform the work correctly as part of their licensing requirement.
If you are a contractor dealing with licensing issues or cleaning up after another contractor who was not licensed, the attorneys at Rosen Law, LLC can use their experience and knowledge to efficiently help and let you get back to work.