Why To Avoid Hiring An Unlicensed HVAC Contractor
When a problem pops up in the home, a common instinct is to contact a technician for help. However, it’s important to consider the qualifications of who you’re calling. While unlicensed contractors may cut corners in cost, they also increase the level of risk to your home and to yourself.
At Specialized Mechanical, we make sure our technicians are licensed and qualified to perform HVAC services across California. Read on to learn the risks that come with choosing an unlicensed HVAC contractor for your project.
Great Work Isn’t Guaranteed
If you’re going to hire someone for home services, you want to make sure they’re right for the job. Luckily, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) of California provides contractor licenses to those who demonstrate a standard level of experience and skill. When you hire a verified technician, you can expect quality service.
However, opting for an unlicensed contractor creates some uncertainty. Even if they’re talented, these technicians haven’t officially verified their skills. Someone may claim to be an expert in heater repair, only for you to discover this isn’t true when your furnace breaks down days later. Investing in a vetted technician gives you a better chance of success!
You May Become Responsible For Workers’ Compensation
While many licensed technicians work for home services companies, unlicensed contractors are often hired directly by the homeowner. Because of this, they become the homeowner’s employees, exposing them to several possible penalties for hiring unlicensed contractors in California.
You may wonder, does homeowners insurance cover workers’ compensation in California? The answer is yes – sometimes. Insurance often compensates occasional residence employees who work more than 10 to 20 hours per week in outdoor and indoor jobs, respectively. If you hire a contractor for a longer project, you may be liable for any issues they encounter.
Injured? You’ve Got Them Covered!
If a licensed contractor you hire burns themself while fixing your heater, their employer will most likely cover any resulting medical fees. However, it gets complicated when an unlicensed technician is involved.
If an unlicensed contractor is injured on your property, there are several consequences, some of which include:
- Medical fees: because you become the employer, workers’ compensation may make you liable to pay the contractor’s medical bills
- Income lost due to injury: If an injury prevents the contractor from doing his job, you may be liable to pay their lost wages yourself
- Out-of-pocket payments: While homeowners insurance covers workers’ compensation, it rarely covers medical bills for unlicensed contractors because of the risk assumed by hiring someone unverified. Therefore, any damages you owe will likely be out-of-pocket payments.
In the case of an injury, the money you could have invested in hiring a qualified expert instead goes toward a new and likely costlier problem.
From Leaky Pipes To Lawsuits
Don’t want to pay the medical bills? An unlicensed contractor can sue you for them. Because unlicensed contractors become your employees, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that you meet its workplace safety regulations. If your hire gets hurt, they can sue you for violating the law. Even worse, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover fees accumulated in the legal process.
You may also face a penalty for hiring an unlicensed contractor in California, even if nothing goes wrong. It is illegal in California to hire an unlicensed contractor for any project that costs more than $500. This amount includes the combined cost of materials and the contractor’s wages, so you may reach this limit without realizing it and break the law as a result.
On the other hand, employees hired by a licensed contractor are covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation, letting you off the hook for injuries that aren’t caused by direct interference or extreme negligence. You can rest easy knowing that in the case of an emergency, you will be safe.
More Damage Than Repairs
We’ve covered personal injury, but you may still wonder what happens if a contractor damages your property. Homeowners insurance rarely covers property damage by an unlicensed individual because of the higher risk of accidents assumed when hiring an unverified contractor.
Furthermore, homeowner liability extends to damages to third-party property. If the technician you hired accidentally damages another person’s belongings, you may be left with fees to pay and some very angry neighbors.
Overall, the risks of hiring an unlicensed contractor are far greater than the benefits of saving some cash. Next time you need an HVAC expert, make sure to contact a home services company with trusted professionals.
Call Specialized Mechanical For Licensed Service!
While you can get in trouble for hiring an unlicensed contractor, Specialized Mechanical will solve your problems instead of starting them. Our licensed experts provide quality HVAC services that you can count on. Call now for dependable care across San Diego County!