This week’s informational post focuses on being Licensed, Bonded, and Insured. Those terms are used a lot in our industry – but what do they really mean?
Surprisingly, there are actually three categories to consider – Licensed, Registered, or Certified. And even more surprising, every state is different. Many homeowners don’t know that in the state of Iowa, General Contractors like us are not considered “Licensed” unless they are in a specialized trade such as HVAC, electrical, plumbing, etc. However, we are legally obligated to “Register” to perform work on others’ properties.
Locally, some contractors advertise themselves as Licensed. This means one of two things. One, they have a specialized aforementioned license in addition to serving as a General Contractor. Or two, they have taken an exam provided by an independent organization. In the latter case, they should technically refer to themselves as “Certified.”
When it comes to work requiring the license, we subcontract those with specialized providers to meet the legal requirement.
Bonds are generally only used for commercial or municipality projects where there is a clearly defined schedule by the client/entity, and payments are made in advance of work being performed. They serve as an extra layer of protection where an insurer will step in and pay for the work to be completed if the insured (contractor) defaults and either go bankrupt themselves, is unable to pay the subcontractors, or for some other reason abandons the job and work remains incomplete.
Most contractors (we, included) structure payments such that you are only paying them based upon a schedule determined before the project starts, and when they can show evidence that a work milestone was completed. Essentially, you pay as you go. This keeps us from having to carry bonds and having to pass those costs along to customers.
Being insured is the least complicated of the three. It simply means that a contractor has taken the necessary steps to transfer their risks to an insurer. This generally is not done on a project-by-project basis; these are just policies that a contractor carries. Examples included liability (to protect your property from damages) or workman’s compensation (to protect both you and the contractor should someone be injured). However, homeowners should understand what level of protection their contractor has based on the scope of their project.
Hopefully now when someone says the phrase “Licensed, Bonded, and Insured” you’ll know what questions to ask and be able to find the best provider for your project!
At C.R. Clark & Co., we want to make sure your every need is met – and that includes customized solutions! If you’re looking for something special, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via our Contact Page. We’d love to hear from you!