The Professional Choice

A companion overview to the popular "Ask Mr. Handyman" radio program airing on Christian Talk Radio, KCRO 660AM Saturdays @ 9:30AM.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Licensed, Bonded, and Insured- What does it mean?

Licensed, bonded, and insured. We see it in advertisements and hear it on Radio and TV spots. Articles urge homeowners to make certain of these items before having work performed. Yet many are unsure exactly what these terms mean or how they can protect us from unscrupulous or incompetent contractors. For a better explanation, read on.

Licensing: The State of Nebraska requires both residential and commercial builders and contractors to be registered with the state as a contractor providing services. There are separate licensing requirements for Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC and the state requires that these licenses be kept current. You can confirm a contractor has the required registration credentials by searching the Nebraska Department of Labor website. Mr. Handyman is a registered contractor in the State of Nebraska.

Bonding: Fidelity bonds protect the homeowner from dishonest acts incurred by a contractor’s employee. Mr. Handyman also performs a thorough background check and subjects employees to drug screening for your safety and security.

Insurance: This is the most familiar of the three requirements, but there are differences from what most of us understand as insurance. Workers’ compensation is vital to protect homeowners from liability for injuries incurred while workers are present in their homes. Commercial General Liability insurance (GCL) protects the homeowner for bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury. In the event there would be damage or loss to a home or structure due to a contractor’s negligence, the homeowners’ property insurance may not be in force. It would be necessary for the contractors General Liability Insurance to offer the coverage. Most insurance companies would highly recommend an “insured contractor” be hired for all work within the home to protect you, your home’s value, the mortgage lender and your homeowner’s insurance policy. Consider the consequences if a large loss were to take place and you can understand the benefit of hiring the right company. Mr. Handyman is fully insured and can produce the insurance certificate if needed.

While the contractor registration and license is issued by the state, the bond and insurance is backed by an insurance carrier. Contact information, for verification purposes, is listed on the insurance certificate; as is the expiration date of the policy.

Ask to see licenses, bonds, and certificates of insurance if you have any doubts about the contractor you’re thinking of doing business with. Reputable companies like Mr. Handyman are happy to provide proof of their adherence to the laws and regulations designed to make certain that contractors, employees, and homeowners are protected during the completion of a project.

In these tough economic times, homeowners need the protection offered by properly credentialed contractors. “Contractors” that cut corners on licensing, bonding and insurance are much more likely to cut corners when working at your home. If that contractor cannot afford the appropriate insurance and other credentials, how will he cover the expenses of any theft, damage or injury should that occur? Be skeptical and do not be fooled by a “cheap” price. The value offered, quality of workmanship and minimum hassles far outweigh a low price any day. A contractor is in your home for a few hours to a few days yet you have to live with the end results for many, many years.

If you know a friend, relative or neighbor with a contractor or project horror story at their home, more often than not it was with an un-credentialed contractor.

Mr. Handyman is Licensed, Bonded and Insured for your protection, as well as ours.