Before starting work on a renovation, extension, or building project in Florida, someone with a valid general contractor’s license will need to oversee the project and hiring the right person will be the
first thing that needs to be done. This is one of the most important steps and shouldn’t be rushed. The individual should have the right credentials, they need to have a valid license, and they should also have the right experience to be able to complete the job successfully. Once the general contractor for the project has been hired, they will then be able to hire the relevant sub-contractors, including plumbers, carpenters, and electricians.
There are two main checks that should be done before hiring a general contractor:
1. Check That the General Contractor’s License is Valid
In Florida, the regulation of general contractors is overseen by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), and they have all the licensed contractors listed online on MyFloridaLicense.com. It is possible to search by Licensee Name, Licensee Number, by City or County, or by License Type. Simply navigate to the website, type in the details, and search. For a more general search, the best option is to search by city to receive a list of licensed contractors.
Check the Details of the License
The results will show the type of license, the license number, and the status. Pay particular attention to the status – it should be Current, Active (not Revoked, Null and Void or Suspended). By clicking on any of the results, it is then possible to see the contact details – check those against those that the contractor has provided you with, as well as the license information including the licensure date (when the license was first granted) and the date of when the license expires.
Check That There are No Complaints Against the General Contractor
At the bottom of each listing, there is a link to view any complaints that have been filed against the general contractor. Have a look to check that everything is in order, and there are no outstanding or unresolved issues.
2. Ensure That the Contractor Has a Good Track Record
The best way to ensure that a general contractor with a valid license will be a good fit for your job is, after verifying their credentials, to look at previous work and talk to past employers. People who have worked with the contractor in the past will be able to verify that they:
- Completed the work to specifications and within budget – it is a good sign if the general contractor can complete work as required and that the project isn’t likely to run over budget.
- Conducted themselves professionally and stuck to timelines – having regular feedback and milestone completion can help to keep the project moving along according to schedule.
- Hired sub-contractors who were proficient and licensed – hiring quality subcontractors can make the difference between a project that is a success, and one that doesn’t have a good outcome.
- Have the relevant experience to complete the job – it’s helpful if the general contractor has successfully completed jobs that are similar to the new project as it increases the chances that the new project will go well.
The final check is to ask whether the previous employer would recommend the contractor and why. There may be considerations on the current project that have not yet been envisioned, and a previous employer may bring something to light that will have implications for the new project.
Contractors Reporting Services has been helping contractors with their general licenses in Tampa, Florida for many years and their team has the relevant experience to help you stay up to date with licensing requirements, whether you need help with the application or renewal process