Why is it important to hire a licensed contractor?

When you make the decision to do work on your home or office you have to go through the difficult process of finding the right Maui contractor for the job. This becomes increasing difficult with so many options out there. Often times homeowners don’t realize that in the State of Hawaii any individual or company is legally required to carry a contractors’ license from the state if the labor and materials for the jobs is more than $1,000. There are multiple reasons that you should choose to work with a licensed contractor. See link for more info: https://cca.hawaii.gov/pvl/files/2018/08/Contractor_FAQ-18.pdf

• Experience- a contractor licensed by the state has a substantial amount of experience that has been verified by the state contractors board.
• Liability- a licensed contractor carries multiple types of insurance including liability and workman’s comp (if they have employees.) If something were to go wrong on your job whether it job failure or someone is injured, if your contractor does not have the correct types of insurance, you as a homeowner are liable.
• Financial stability- the contractors board has verified the financial stability of a contractor before offering them licensing.

Given that it is so difficult and costly to become a licensed contractor, they often charge more than someone that is unlicensed. Along with that price comes assurances that this company or individual is capable and carries with them a greater suitability to do the job. There are multiple times that in the course of our business we have come across work performed by unlicensed contractors for homeowners that is done incorrectly or in such a way that it costs more for the homeowner long term than had they just hired a licensed contractor to start with.

You may get sticker shock when you receive a quote from a contractor, but it is important to realize that their expenses are not just what they pay the guy doing the work. They have licensing fees, insurance fees (which are substantial), vehicle expenses, etc. These are the same costs that any other reputable business in many other industries must pay for and so the expectation should be the same for contractors.

When you set out to do work and solicit quotes from a contractor you will likely get several quotes. In the process of that quoting you should receive the contractors license number which can be verified with the State of Hawaii (https://cca.hawaii.gov/pvl/boards/contractor/). When you do choose the contractor, make sure that you also request a copy of their liability insurance as an additional insured as well as a copy of their workman’s comp insurance. This minimizes any liability to you should anything go wrong throughout the course of the work.

Doing work on your home isn’t always cheap and so it is important to identify what your goals are for the space. Clearly identifying these goals in the beginning and involving a licensed contractor for the job is one way to insure that you get there. In many cases it may appear to be more expensive initially, but long term you are likely to see a better result with minimized risk.