Our customers have been alerting us of Unlicensed Contractors and Specialty Contractors (Air Duct Cleaning, Pest Control, HVAC) offering attic cleanup, attic decontamination and insulation removal services. In light of that, what I’d like to do is give our readers information so that everyone can make an informed decision. At the end of the day, whomever you hire and let into your home, you want to make sure you check them out thoroughly. So, I’ll provide you with the advice the “authorities” give and add in my two cents along the way.
The Contractors State License Board, CSLB, implores every homeowner to ensure that they use licensed contractors for any work being done on their home. This is what the CSLB has to say in regard to unlicensed contractors:
“Be advised that unlicensed individuals pose a risk to you and your family’s financial security. They expose you to significant financial harm in the event that a worker is injured while on your property, if your property is damaged, if the work is incomplete and/or faulty. Few, if any, unlicensed individual has bonding or workers’ compensation insurance. The quality of their work usually doesn’t compare to that of a licensed contractor. Don’t take the chance in order to save a few dollars. You’ll probably end up paying more in the long run.”
Most of the homeowners we perform attic cleanup, attic decontamination and/or insulation removal services for take good care of their homes. Therefore, most have also dealt with several contractors while living in their home. The worst story I heard of unlicensed activity was with a contractor that disappeared with $10,000 after he performed work that was done poorly and did not pass inspection. The homeowner had to pay another contractor, which was licensed, to tear down the kitchen remodel and start over! More Money! Not only does the CSLB point out the important reasons to hire a licensed contractor, but also wants you to make sure you hire the right contractor for the job:
“Specialty or subcontractors are usually hired to perform a single job. For example, if you want only roofing or plumbing work, you may want to hire a contractor licensed in that particular specialty.”
A General B Contractor is able to perform any two , or more, trades for each project. Whereas, a Specialty Contractor is only able to perform one specific trade. Here are a few examples:
C36 – Plumbing Contractor – A plumbing contractor provides a means for a supply of safe water, ample in volume and of suitable temperature for the purpose intended and the proper disposal of fluid waste from the premises in all structures and fixed works.
C20 – Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Contractor – A warm-air heating, ventilating and air-conditioning contractor fabricates, installs, maintains, services and repairs warm-air heating systems and water heating heat pumps, complete with warm-air appliances; ventilating systems complete with blowers and plenum chambers; air-conditioning systems complete with air-conditioning unit; and the ducts, registers, flues, humidity and thermostatic controls and air filters in connection with any of these systems.
Then we have,
C61 – Limited Specialty Classification – Limited specialty is a specialty contractor classification limited to a field and scope of operations of specialty contracting for which an applicant is qualified other than any of the specialty contractor classifications listed and defined in this article.
Within the Limited Specialty Classification we have,
D62 – Air and Water Balancing Contractor – An air and water balancing contractor installs any device and performs any work related to providing a specified flow of air in all types of existing heating and cooling systems and/or related to providing a specified flow of water in water piping systems.
For us to expect any of these contractors to have the experience and knowledge to perform and stand behind work not in their respective fields is taking a huge risk. You risk damage to your home, harming your family, and losing money. I’m sure there may be great guys who perform unlicensed activity, in my book, they’re not worth the risk. With that said, we see that as a homeowner we would want a Licensed Contractor that either holds a General B license or a license that Specializes in Attic Cleaning, as well as Insulation Removal and Installation.
Homeowners also want to pay close attention to advertisements by Contractors about Associations. Many contractors advertise Associations Logos on their websites and print ads, insinuating they belong to these Associations. In order to become a member of an Industry Association you must first qualify under their respective guidelines. Secondly, in order to belong to an Association a contractor must pledge to uphold the Associations standards. Make sure the contractor is actually a member of the Association they advertise. Call or go to the Associations website for more information. Attic Guys belongs to the Associations and has links to the Associations websites for all the Associations Attic Guys advertises.