By Alexander Barthet

We can all see the signs of a healthier construction economy – more concrete trucks on the road, more houses being remodeled, and more customers at neighborhood Home Depots. But with this surge in construction comes the inevitable appearance of unlicensed contractors. These unscrupulous tradesmen pose as licensed contractors, ready to work at reduced prices. Don’t be fooled by their smooth talk. Do your homework and check to see if the contractor you’re prepared to hire is not only insured but actually licensed to work. Verify a construction contractor’s license – look for a license number, license date, name of qualifier, company name, expiration date and a QR code. If all these aren’t on the contractor’s license, you may be dealing with an unlicensed contractor.

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) regulates many construction-related businesses. Do you know which of the following need to be licensed through the DBPR – a carpenter, an A/C contractor, a painter, a mason, a tree trimmer, a carpet cleaner, a floor installer, a plumber, a roofer or an electrician? Just the A/C contractor, the electrician, the plumber and the roofer need a license through the DBPR.

In Florida, unlicensed contracting is a First Degree Misdemeanor, punishable by up to l year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Don’t be taken in.

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