You should always first verify the status of a contractor’s license!
Follow these steps:
- For a county-licensed contractor, search online or call 954-765-4400, Option 2.
- For a state-licensed contractor, check with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).
- Check if the contractor is licensed to perform the type of work you need and if the license has been revoked or suspended.
- Check if any complaints have been filed against the contractor.
If the contractor’s license is current and active, you should:
- Get detailed written estimates from contractors that include the work you want done, the quality and type of materials, how long the job will take to finish and the total cost.
- Be suspicious of a contractor who offers the fastest, cheapest job on a "you must act now" basis. This may indicate inferior materials and unfinished jobs or a job that will take too long to complete. Get the proposal, contract or agreement in writing.
- Be wary if you are asked to get the building permit. A licensed contractor who is in good standing will always get the permit.
- Get a current copy of the contractor's insurances, including workers’ compensation, property damage and liability. Read them carefully, including the fine print.
- If you don't understand the contract, seek help from someone you trust.
Your contract should include:
- Contractor's name, address, phone number and the Broward County Certificate of Competency license number or State of Florida Contractor's license number.
- Clearly written details of the quality and types of materials to be used, a description of the work to be done and if the contractor is to remove construction debris.
- The completion date of the work to be performed and a payment schedule.
- A statement that the contractor, subcontractor(s) and supplier(s) of materials will provide the customer with a notarized Release of Lien which states that the contractor has paid all subcontractors and suppliers of materials for their services, up to any payment paid.
- A statement that the contractor will get all necessary building permits and whether the contract amount includes the cost of permit(s) or if it will be charged separately.
- If the contractor is paid more than 10% of the contract price at the time of signing, the contractor must apply for all permits within 30 days of receiving the funds. Work must be started within 90 days after getting all permits.