Know Your Contractor
A Message Brought to you by the
Florida Keys Contractors Association
|Before hiring a contractor you should ask a few questions:|
How long has the contractor been in the construction business?
Can they provide references from satisfied customers for the type of construction work you are requesting of them?
|Questions Regarding Licensing -
Is the contractor licensed in Monroe County?
If so, what type of license does the contractor hold and what is the license number?
Ask your contractor to provide you with a copy of their license.
You can also check out your contractor online at oss.monroecounty-fl.gov. On the left hand side of the home page click on "Contractor Search".
Ask your contractor for proof of Insurance - You should always ask for a Certificate of Insurance prior to signing a contract or allowing work to be started.
| General Liability Insurance|
In Monroe County, all contractors that pull permits are required to carry General Liability Insurance. A homeowner would be wise to require it of any contractor they use as well. This is to guard against liability in the event a contractor does damage to the homeowner/neighbors property or the contractor injures someone other than their employee.
| Workers Compensation Insurance |
All contractors are required to carry Workers Compensation Insurance with the following exception. "Only corporate officers or members of a limited liability company (LLC) engaged in the construction industry are eligible for an exemption." Ask your contractor to provide you with a copy of their "Certificate of Exemption from Florida Workers' Compensation Law"; if they tell you they are exempt.
The Certificate of Exemption is only for the qualifying individuals noted above. If an exempt contractor also has employees on the jobsite, workers compensation insurance must be provided for them. Under most circumstances, if a contractor does not provide this insurance for his employees and a worker is injured on a job, the homeowner will be responsible for the medical expenses and possibly find himself involved a lawsuit.
|Marine Contractors are required to have USL&H insurance when doing work adjacent to navigable waters. When using a marine contractor ask your contractor to provide you with a Certificate of Insurance stating that USL&H coverage is provided. Jones Act Insurance is required for barge work.|
In summary - Let the Buyer Beware - when getting a bid from a contractor or before using a contractor, make sure they are licensed and insured and are willing to provide a copy of their Contractor's License and a Certificate of Insurance.