Why should I use a licensed contractor?
The cost of buying and owning a home is probably the biggest investment made by most people in their lifetime. Property owners, therefore, often look for the lowest price when looking to build or remodel a home. Most unlicensed contractors are not licensed or insured and are not under any obligation to follow the rules and regulations set forth by the State of Florida or the approved building codes. This bottom line may at first be attractive to the property owner, as a way to lower costs and save money. Most of the time, it is not.
With the unprecedented growth in the country, especially here in the Florida, of “would-be” contractors have appeared. People who may have worked as a laborer or a framer for a short period of time decide that they are ready to start their own business. In spite of the fact that they lack sufficient capital and experience, they print up flyers, distribute business cards, and place an ad in the yellow pages.
In an attempt to get “the best price”, the unsuspecting customer calls the number listed on the flyer or in the ad and asked for a bid. Often, such operations are run out of a mail drop or on an answering machine, but someone usually calls the customer back. When you get the bid, you are really pleased at how much this person / company says they can save you. You may even see “licensed, bonded and insured” on the business card or in the ad. Then the story begins.
At first things may seem fine. In a day or two a worker shows up and starts measuring, or a small load of material is delivered to the job site. Then the excuses begin. After a week has passed, with no work being done, you call your unlicensed contractor. All you get is a recorded message, so you leave a message, politely requesting a return phone call. Several more days passed, with no response, so you call and leave another message, not as polite as the first. When the contractor does call, he is very apologetic and tells you about some catastrophe involving his truck, his family, his help or another job he just had to complete. He promises to get right on your job the next day. A week later he still hasn’t shown up, or he does show up and says he needs more money.
Sound ridiculous? Well, it happens every day, often with the consumer losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars. You, as the property owner have little recourse other than to pursue the matter in court.
Hiring a licensed contractor offers many additional protections to the property owner, especially regarding residential property. First of all, a contractor cannot obtain a license without possessing a minimum amount of experience and must pass a two day test under the direct of the Florida State Department of Professional Business Regulations. The applicant is subjected to a criminal history background check, and must not have any unresolved contracting complaints outstanding.
Should you experience the above problems with licensed contractor, you as a residential property owner have significant protections not available to persons utilizing an unlicensed contractor. Among them is the ability to file a complaint against the contractor’s license with your local building department or the State of Florida. This is your guarantee should the workmanship be below standard or in violation of existing codes.
What should I do in selecting a contractor?
The selection of experienced, competent contractors and other energy professionals is critical to the success of your project(s). Here are some guidelines to aid you in choosing a contractor:
- Ask for multiple current references that you can contact about work the contractor performed.
- Ask the contractor to provide a cost-estimate in writing for any work they will do.
- Make sure they are a Registered or Certified Contractor; licensed and insured in the State and local municipality.
- The contractor should certify that their work conforms to state and local regulations and codes.
- Verify that the contractor carries workers’ compensation insurance.
How soon can you begin my project?
We are ready to work with you now, but in order to start we need the details in your design to arrive at a price for the work as well as the establishment of a schedule. We require a signed contract that spells out the details of the work, the price agreed upon, the payment schedule, and the approximate completion date. This assures you and me that we are committed to this project together. Once we get started, we will keep you abreast of the work and budget through meetings and phone conversations. Remember, it’s a team effort and there’s no “I” in team.
How much will my project cost?
When we meet to discuss your project and understand your details, we will create a project plan that spells out in detail what every aspect of the project will cost. Communication is the real key when it comes to the budget for the project for we need to understand your expectations and your vision for the end result and we will work together to accomplish your dream.
Do you offer financing?
Have you been debating whether or not to replace your roof because of the cost? Not sure if you want to wait for your next tax return or dip into your savings? There are other options.
On many occasions, our customers are in need of a new roof, but just don’t have the available funds to purchase one. We understand that roofing can be costly, so to provide another opportunity, we decided to offer financing options through our home improvement financing partner, GreenSky.
Once you have secured an estimate and you decide you would like to proceed with work, you can contact GreenSky directly to qualify. Picking the plan that’s right for you can be done in a quick, simple application process that can be completed online at: GreenSky.com/Consumer or by phone at 866-936-0602. Make sure you have the Southwynd, Inc. merchant number handy, 81020765, when applying.
How do we pay you?
Payments must be made at various points during the project, called “draws.” These payments are spelled out clearly in the contract, so that there are no surprises. We require a down payment to start the work so we can order the necessary materials and to obtain the building permits. If a lender is involved, we will work with them to create a draw and inspection schedule.
What kind of crews do you use?
Our in-house crews are very good at their jobs, working efficiently, and clean up after each day’s work. Your standards are high – so are mine. In addition, you should know that my crews are fully insured and meet all licensing requirements.
What is the process throughout the project?
Since starting the business in 1979, I have developed a planning and implementation process that has proven successful over and over again. Communications, a detailed contract, and the production schedule are really the keys here.
We listen to you and your concerns and ideas for we need to know what you are thinking. Based on the project details and your input we can create a visual picture. From this input we can develop a professional architectural drawing that brings your dream to life on the page. With your plans in-hand, we can prepare your budget to review in detail with you. Once we agree, then we enter into a contractual agreement.
With permits in-hand, the transformation begins. We get to work, doing what we do best. If there are any questions along the way, you can always reach us and get a straight answer quickly. If there are any changes in the project, we update the contract and schedule and keep moving forward.
Where do we get the products needed for the project?
All projects will require the purchase of products, such as cabinets, flooring, doors, shower tile, fixtures, etc. Through experience, we have put together a list of supplier and vendors that will give you high quality products and will be conscientious of your budget. We have found many customers have already done the homework and have selections in mind. Our staff will take your selections, ideas, colors, and trends in products for your project.
Need More Info?
If you are thinking about a new addition, reroofing, or renovating your home, we know you have many questions. We’re here to help. Please call Southwynd, Inc. at 813-318-2866 or contact us today.