What kind of license? How long have you been licensed? Can I get a copy? Any complaints with the Contractors Board?
Having a license means a ton in Florida—it’s not easy to get one because the requirements are pretty rigorous —several years of relevant experience, minimal financial stability, pass a 1-2 day exam, General Liability insurance mandated, and the review by the Contractors Board. Unlicensed contractors usually CANNOT meet these high standards.
You can check a Florida contractor's license and status here.
What remodel work in Florida is required to be performed by a licensed contractor?
In general, the following (but you can also check with the Walton County Building Department
): Structural work, Roofing, Decking, Windows/Doors, Major Plumbing, HVAC, Electrical, and Pools.
What if my project doesn’t require a licensed contractor, am I ok not hiring one?
Legally, with the county building department you will be ok, but you would of course still be taking some extra risk … unless you have good construction knowledge and could manage the project yourself, and the work is fairly simple and you have a great deal of trust in your contractor.
What about insurance? General liability? Workers comp? SHOW ME!!
If the contractor has an active license and can pull a permit, then you know he has at least a minimal GL insurance policy, but you this next part is CRITICAL – you should still ask for a Certificate of Liability Insurance with you named as the Certificate Holder. It looks like this
If the contractor is NOT licensed, then definitely request that a general liability insurance certificate be emailed to you by their insurance company, with you as the certificate holder.
A Worker’s Comp policy or an exemption is even more important.
To minimize your risk against a workers injury on your property, make sure they provide a Worker’s Comp insurance certificate OR a Worker’s Comp exemption from the state of Florida. You can look both of these up HERE
Please NOTE: Very few general contractors have a Worker's Comp policy because most don’t have employees and use only subcontractors, so the insurance companies will not write a policy—but they still should have an exemption. All other contractors should have a Worker's Comp policy or an exemption.
The Worker's Comp policy must cover EVERY employee of that contractor, and an exemption is ONLY good for that ONE individual person listed, and 3 max per company. EVERYONE on your job should be covered by a Worker's Comp policy OR have their own exemption. This is critical because an injury on your property could bring you trouble otherwise.