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Why are some contractors licensed and others not? Does it matter?

The old saying, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," can be especially true when hiring a contractor. Competition is fierce in the construction business and the consumer is in a good position to demand quality work at a fair price. But skimping on credentials is not the best way to get a job done cheaply. Hiring a contractor that is not licensed and insured places the consumer at significant risk and can cost thousands more in the long run.

Hiring a licensed contractor offers many additional protections to the property owner.  First of all, a contractor cannot obtain a license without possessing a minimum amount of experience and must pass several tests. The applicant also may be subjected to a criminal history background check, and must not have any unresolved contracting complaints outstanding.

If you are considering hiring a contractor, ask few questions like:

•How long have you been in business? Look for a well-established company and check it out with consumer protection officials. They can tell you if there are unresolved consumer complaints on file. •Are you licensed and registered with the state? Many states, but not all, require contractors to be licensed or bonded. Check with your local building department or consumer protection agency to find out the licensing requirements in your area.

•How many projects like mine have you completed in the last year? Ask for a list. This will help you determine how familiar the contractor is with your type of project.

•Will my project require a permit? Most states and localities require permits for building projects, even for simple jobs. A competent contractor will get all the necessary permits before starting work on your project. Be suspicious if the contractor asks you to get the permit(s). It could mean that the contractor is not licensed or registered, as required by your state or locality.

•May I have a list of references?

•Will you be using subcontractors on this project? If yes, ask to meet them, and make sure they have current insurance coverage and licenses, if required. Also ask them if they were paid on time by this contractor. A "mechanic’s lien" could be placed on your property if your contractor fails to pay the subcontractors and suppliers on your project. That means the subcontractors and suppliers could go to court to force you to sell your property to satisfy their unpaid bills from your project. Protect yourself by asking the contractor, and every subcontractor and supplier, for a lien release or lien waiver.

•What types of insurance do you carry? Contractors should have general liability, worker’s compensation, property damage coverage and other depending of the contractor clasification. Ask for copies of insurance certificates, and make sure they’re current. Avoid doing business with contractors who don’t carry the appropriate insurance. Otherwise, you’ll be held liable for any injuries and damages that occur during the project.

 These few tips will give the right tools for your next project.... and remember "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,"

  

 Georgia Board of Low Voltage Contractors

 The Georgia Construction Industry Licensing Board consists of five divisions: the Division of Conditioned Air Contractors, Division of Electrical Contractors, Division of Low Voltage Contractors, Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers, and Division of Utility Contractors. Each Division has five members who are contractors, journeymen, engineers, and inspectors. In addition, the Board has two consumer members who are not connected with the construction industry. The Board members are appointed by the Governor to serve a term of four years.

The Board protects the public against faulty construction installations through the licensing of contractors. The Board establishes and administers standards for the licensing of the contractors in the above professions. These standards maintain the qualifications for entry into the professions, including experience, examination, and training, and the qualifications for continued practice, including work standards and education. Each division evaluates applicants for licensure, conducts examinations, issues and renews licenses, evaluates the practice of licensees, takes disciplinary action against licensees, and enforces the requirements for licensure.

GEORGIA BOARD OF LOW VOLTAGE CONTRACTORS

The Georgia Construction Industry Licensing Board consists of five divisions: the Division of Conditioned Air Contractors, Division of Electrical Contractors, Division of Low Voltage Contractors, Division of Master and Journeyman Plumbers, and Division of Utility Contractors. Each Division has five members who are contractors, journeymen, engineers, and inspectors. In addition, the Board has two consumer members who are not connected with the construction industry. The Board members are appointed by the Governor to serve a term of four years.

The Board protects the public against faulty construction installations through the licensing of contractors. The Board establishes and administers standards for the licensing of the contractors in the above professions. These standards maintain the qualifications for entry into the professions, including experience, examination, and training, and the qualifications for continued practice, including work standards and education. Each division evaluates applicants for licensure, conducts examinations, issues and renews licenses, evaluates the practice of licensees, takes disciplinary action against licensees, and enforces the requirements for licensure.

 

Professional Licensing Boards

 

     

Low Voltage - Number of Active Licensees as of 3/17/2014
 

 

Type

Count

 

 

Low Voltage-General

701

 

 

Low Voltage-Telecommunication

723

 

 

Low Voltage-Alarm

1,330

 

 

Low Voltage-Unrestricted

1,974

 

 

 http://sos.ga.gov/index.php/?section=licensing

 

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