In June 2017 Utah’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing performed a two-week sting operation to track down and fine unlicensed contractors, many of which are being prosecuted. According to a Fox 13 News report Alisha Hadden hired a very charismatic contractor whom she paid $15,000 to perform several upgrades to her home. The man left the job unfinished. She later learned that he was not licensed, left damage to her home and was left having to pay another $15,000 to have the work re-done. “During the sting, a total of 45 contractors were fined in Utah for operating without a license. Half of them then went through the proper channels to get their license, the other half did not.”
With the ease of advertising on social media it is easy to be fooled by an unlicensed contractor or scam artist. If you have any question of whether the contractor or repairman that you are considering is licensed, you can verify the status of their license at the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.
Fox 13 Report on Unlicensed Contractors
There are various levels of electrical licenses from apprentice, journeyman, journeyman residential, master, and master residential. With each level, an exam must be taken and a certain number of years of work at the previous levels is required. To learn more about the specific requirements you can visit https://www.contractors-license.org/ut/Utah.html#ut2, but for quick reference, a Journeyman electrician will have four years of apprentice training and a Master Electrician will have eight years of full-time Division approved work experience.
Plumbers have journeyman licenses and residential journeyman licenses. A journeyman plumber will have at least four years of full-time apprentice training or eight years of full-time Division-approved work experience. A residential journeyman will have “three years of full-time apprentice training or six years of full-time Division-approved work experience.”
Here are the three big reasons you should only hire licensed and insured contractors:
- Work is done according to Utah building codes – Electricians and plumbers have to pass an exam and have received several years of training in order to obtain a license. When a technician is licensed and certified you can have the peace of mind that they have years of experience in their trade and know the applicable code by heart.Shoddy work is not uncommon among unlicensed repairmen. An article on Angie’s List.com referred to a case where shoddy electrical work had been performed. A man “was nearly electrocuted after bumping against an ungrounded fluorescent light fixture while holding a copper pipe.” The work had been done by an unlicensed electrician. When a technician is licensed it proves that they know their trade. Work that is not performed up to code poses deadly risks for your family and will have to be re-repaired to meet safety and code requirements. In the end if you hire an unlicensed repairman, you will likely end up paying more.
- You have recourse if the project goes terribly wrong – Remember the previous story on the unlicensed contractor who abandoned a project midway after he had been paid for the job, the homeowner ended up paying again to get the project finished. In addition, poor workmanship or subpar materials can ruin your home. When you use a licensed contractor and your home project goes south, if the contractor refuses to make amends, you can complain to the Utah Division of Occupational & Professional Licensing to get redress.
- Protection on injuries or property damages – Let’s face it, home repair works are dangerous. A furnace technician might burn down your house or badly injure its occupants. A plumber carrying a long pipe in your house might knock someone out. An electrician might leave a wire hanging loose and cause a fire. When you hire an uninsured repairman, you might not receive any monetary compensation if someone is injured or your home is damaged.Equally important is knowing that the technicians working on your home have insurance covering them. A licensed contractor will have workers compensation insurance to cover its workers. Should an uninsured repairman fall off a ladder at your home, you are now at risk for being sued by the repairman because the accident occurred on your property.
At Black Diamond Experts, our technicians are licensed, certified and insured. When you call us, you can rest assured that any installation or repair will be done right and up to code. On top of that, we guarantee our work and strive for customer satisfaction.
Please don’t risk the safety of your family, or spend more than necessary by hiring an unlicensed repairman. Call an expert technician at Black Diamond Experts and rest assured that we are licensed, trained, and insured.