• Dwight Van Slyke

Know the Risks of Hiring Unlicensed Contractors

There are significant risks involved when hiring unlicensed contractors, starting with the fact that working on large projects without a license is illegal in many states, including California. However, for the property owner, the financial liability risks are of far greater concern. This is particularly true if a worker is injured on the job, and your unlicensed contractor is without workers’ compensation.


The greatest risk involved in hiring unlicensed contractors is liability. When you hire an unlicensed contractor, he or she is actually not a contractor, but your employee. Therefore, it is your responsibility to provide a safe workplace, and cover him or her if injured.

Unlicensed contractors can sue you for damages, if they sustain an injury, while working on your project. You could be liable for expensive medical bills and legal fees, while also having to pay for their lost wages for as long as their injury prohibits them from working. These financial damages can equate to thousands of dollars.

When you hire a licensed contractor, he or she will have workers’ compensation for themselves, as well as any employees they hire. If your contractor is unlicensed, he or she and anyone else that is brought on to work on your remodel are all considered your employees. This makes them all your responsibility to insure.

You, the homeowner and employer, carry the burden of determining whether a worker is licensed. Many assume their homeowner’s insurance policy will cover them in an instance where an unlicensed contractor is injured on the job; however, this typically isn’t the case. Your homeowner’s insurance will not cover you in these instances.

Contrastingly, if you have a licensed contractor and one of their subcontractors is injured on the job, you will be protected by the contractor’s workers’ compensation insurance, should that worker try to sue for damages.

The smartest thing to do to protect yourself against this potentially financially crippling situation is to hire a contractor that holds the appropriate license to perform the work you need.

Kitchen & Bath Design Group is a licensed contractor specializing in kitchen, bath and whole house remodeling throughout the Coachella Valley. Look for additional posts that inform consumers on tips, trends and more to make your next remodeling project a success.

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