JJ Plumbing, LLC

Hiring a Contractor

April 12, 2010

Hiring a Contractor

When hiring a contractor to do any type of work on your house, it is extremely important to verify their license status.  Unfortunately, there are unlicensed contractors out there.  Hiring an unlicensed contractor can result in sub-par work, delays in your project, and possibly a large financial burden.

An unlicensed contractor may often be able to offer a “cheaper” quote, but here are a few things offered by a licensed contractor that you will be sacrificing if you offer an unlicensed contractor the job:

  • Warranty on work completed
  • All workers on the jobsite are licensed.
  • Workers on the jobsite are knowledgeable and educated (many trades require continuing education).
  • Permitting requirements will be covered.
  • Insurance policy will be in effect for work being performed – an unlicensed contractor usually doesn’t have this coverage.  What if something happens after they have been paid and left the job?
  • Follow up service after completion of the job.

These are just a few of the reasons why it is so important to work with a licensed contractor.  Additionally, being unlicensed and performing contracting work is illegal in Washington state.

Things to keep in mind when hiring a general contractor:

  • Check at least three references.
  • Find out what their warranty period is.
  • Check their license status online at
  • Require lien releases from subcontractors and material suppliers if they are being paid by the general contractor.  This will protect you from paying twice.  If your contractor doesn’t pay their subcontractors and/or material suppliers, you may ultimately be responsible for the charges.  As the property owner, you may have a mechanic’s lien filed against your property for the outstanding balance.
  • An additional way to protect yourself from paying twice is to issue dual party checks, made out to both the contractor and subcontractor for subcontractors’ work.
  • Ask for an insurance certificate listing your project as “additional insured”.

A few simple steps can save homeowners a lot of headache and heartache before, during, and after the project is completed.

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