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Palm Coast Warns of Unlicensed Contractors Soliciting Local Work

| August 7, 2012

Be on the lookout for him in Palm Coast.

The Palm Coast and Flagler County administrations are warning of an increase of unlicensed business activity across the region. Working most trades without a license is against the law. Last month in Citrus County, for example, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the Citrus Code Compliance Division and the State Attorney for the Fifth Judicial Circuit teamed up on a sting operation that netted 16 unlicensed contractors advertising services on the web, through business cards and promotional fliers. The contractors were issued civil citations, and some of them faced $500 fines and court appearances.

Unlicensed contractors also unfairly compete against licensed contractors.

Palm Coast, in a new release today, urged residents to be more aware about contractors anyone may be hiring to work on your home, denoting the following suggestions:

1. Before you hire any contractor, ask to see a copy of their state issued license and call the city’s Building Division (386/986-3780) to verify the license. A business tax receipt alone does not qualify anyone to act as a contractor.

2. Contractors must have a state license and the proper workers compensation and liability insurance to perform any roofing repairs or replacements, additions, heating. ventilation and air conditioning work, plumbing work, electrical work or swimming pool repairs. These jobs typically require a permit.

3. Be sure to sign a contract before any work is performed, and be certain your contract contains the contractor’s name, street address, telephone number and state license number.

Unlicensed individuals often:

  • Target the uninformed, the inexperienced and the elderly.
  • Solicit door-to-door, frequently traveling in unmarked trucks and vans. .
  • Can provide work more cheaply than licensed contractors.
  • Provide a post office box instead of a physical address.
  • Convince you to obtain the building permit.

If you contract with a person who does not have a license, that individual is not likely to honor warranties. In addition, City and State agencies or boards may be unable to assist you with any financial loss should you file a complaint. Your only remedy against an unlicensed contractor may be in civil court. Educate yourself, become an informed consumer and protect yourself from dishonest persons who will use your misfortune to their advantage.

For additional resources for verification of a license check or to lodge a complaint, contact Flagler County Licensing Manager Ramona Zavacky at 386/313-4085, or the Department of Business and Professional Regulations, toll free, at 866-532-1440 or 800-488-6603.

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8 Responses for “Palm Coast Warns of Unlicensed Contractors Soliciting Local Work”

  1. gator fan 4ever says:

    here we go….the palm coast gestapo at it again.

    • JW says:

      People who work hard to keep up with state and city reulations and who take the proper classes to become a contractor deserve to be rewarded with their hard work. The home repair guys that do more then the law allows need to be shut down. If they were smart enough, they too could get a license. Becareful of who you hire. I have seen some bad examples of work here in town that have cost the owners more in the long run. You get what you pay for. Cheaper is not always better. Anyone watch the show Holmes on Homes?

      • FRANK DILIBERTO says:

        This is very important, heres why !!!
        1) No licence usually means the contractor does not have the proper qualifications.
        2) Uninsured or underinsured ( dangerous for a homeowner if the contractor gets injured)
        3) NO INSPECTIONS !!!!!!!!!!!!
        4) Sub standared work.
        5) No warranties or guarantees.

        AND AGAIN I SAY …….gator fan4 ever….RT 95 RUNS BOTH WAYS !!!

    • Linda says:

      While I completely agree with your characterization of Palm Coast, these are laws that are designed to protect the consumer. They are state laws, as I understand it, and not local ordinances.

  2. Gia says:

    It’s a good thing that Palm Coast keep eyes on these crooks & creeps.

  3. Deep South says:

    All I can say is you get what you pay for.

  4. Palm Coast Elder says:

    Good for Palm Coast.

    But, what about the other industries that aren’t required to be licensed through the state? Why don’t they keep track of the businesses within the city and make sure everyone has a Business Tax Receipt? There are plenty of fly by night businesses that aren’t registered with the City.

  5. NortonSmitty says:

    I would beg to differ. The reason there are more unlicensed contractors working is that most of them are laid off from the contractors they used to work for. Instead of letting their families starve, they are forced to go out and hustle work. Although there are scammers and exceptions, the majority of them are the same people that did the same quality work they always did without the boss in the middle.

    And there are many instances of Certified, licensed contractors ripping people off. Many of them you read about here. Unfortunately there aren’t statistics to see which of the two are the greater theives. That’s the nature of anybody making a living outside the law. Most of the people offering the services direct to the customer have been doing the same jobs their whole lives they are offering to perform for you today. Usually at a price lower than the contractors in the phone book that they used to work for.

    The main reason that the state of Florida and it'[s bureaucratic minions periodically crack down like this, usually in an election year, is not to protect the consumer. If it was they would be prosecuting the big banks and mortgage companies illegally foreclosing on thousands of homes in the state without the slightest fear of prosecution. They are insuring that the Florida politicians real concerns are protected way ahead of yours. The companies that write them the big checks every election. And that is as always Big Insurance.

    In order to get a state sanction, first you have to pass a written test. Some are hard, some aren’t. But that is just the beginning. Before you can start working you have to show proof of Liability, unemployment, high amount of Vehicle and other insurance policies. Believe me this is between 1/3 to 1/2 of your entire overhead. Add in state fees, permits, overhead and other bureaucratic mandates and the rule of thumb is you have to charge 2.5 to 3 times as much to do the same work as a licensed company.

    I don’t mean to say that the contractors that go this route aren’t deserving of the extra money, hell they are forced to. But I am saying that the State of Florida and it’s insurance companies aren’t.

    In the end, the best thing to do is check references. A lot of them. There may be good reasons to hire a contractor who is certified by the State of Florida, but the reasons stated here are wildly exaggerated. Quality and value are the most important.

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