The Wilson Business Network Inc.
   Turning houses into homes since 1996
State Certified Building Contractor
How to help protect yourself from hiring an unlicensed contractor.

Rule number 1)
Always ask for their license number, and then check it   --how to for state certified--

Rule number 2)
An  occupational license is not a contractors license.

Some so called contractors say they they are licensed but only carry a occupational license AKA tax receipt. They are very limited on the work that they can conduct and are not required to pass a back ground check or prove competency. Be very cautious of hiring this type of contractor. They generally work under a licensed contractor as a sub-contractor, as they can't pull any of the permits. Hiring them directly can be very risky to the property owner.

Rule number 3)
If it's a state license, look it up and verify that the number matches a name you recognize.
The license number should have two names attached to it. A Primary Name (The license holders name)and a DBA (the qualified business name) If the “contractor” that you are hiring does not match either of the two names, be very cautious.
Take Maronda Homes for example. If we look them up it comes back with several results. All the Maronda Homes are listed as the DBA and all the individual license holders are the Primary Names. This is how it is suppose to look.
Tricks of the trade.

Trick number 1)
“Yea I'm licensed”  <---- only has an occupational license, never plans (or could)  pull a permit

Trick number 2)
“Yea we're licensed”  <--- I don't have (or can't get) a contractors license but I pay this guy a percentage of the job and he will pull the permits.
That's great, at least some one is licensed! Wrong! Who takes responsibility if something happens on your job? The unlicensed contractor that you hired? The licensed contractor that you never met nor have an agreement with? Good luck with that deal. The way that I understand the law is that the DBA business name listed on the license is the only business that is legal. So if your contractor is not listed under the license number he gives you, you could be hiring an unlicensed contractor. Welcome to the club!
What's with hiring a licensed contractor anyway?

Reason number 1)
State law states that contractors must be licensed.   Click here

Reason number 2)
Licensed contractors must carry public liability insurance.  Click Here

Reason number 3)
Licensed contractors must comply with Florida's workers compensation laws.  Click Here

Reason number 4)
You could be charged and fined $5000 for aiding and assisting unlicensed activity. Yes you! Click Here

Use full information

MSNBC story on Unlicensed Contractors and the recession.

Florida Statutes (Contracting).

Florida Statutes (Business & Professional Regulation).

Florida Statutes (Workers' Compensation)

Florida Department of Professional Regulations.

City of Lakeland guide to protecting yourself
All the information on this page is the opinion of The Wilson Business Network Inc.  The Wilson Business Network Inc. does not warrant the accuracy of the information,  links and other items contained on this web page. Use at your own risk. Please do your own research before hiring a contractor.