Sheriff’s deputies offer reminders before hiring contractors

The Bay County Sheriff's Office wants to remind residents of a few things to remember before...
The Bay County Sheriff's Office wants to remind residents of a few things to remember before hiring a contractor to perform clean-up or repairs to your home.(AP)
Published: Sep. 18, 2020 at 9:50 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (PRESS RELEASE) - As many people in our area experienced home damage due to Hurricane Sally, the Bay County Sheriff’s Office today issued a list of things to remember before hiring a contractor or business to perform clean-up and repairs.

*Vet contractors to make sure they have a license. Use this link to check licensing: Licensed contractors working in Bay County must be either registered or certified with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR). Also check sites like the Better Business Bureau and look at any licensing complaints.

*Always get a copy of the written / signed contract and take the time to read the details. Ask for the person’s business card that you are contracting with. Be sure to clarify that they actually work for that company.

*Never fall for the “it’s cheaper to have the homeowner pull the building permit” excuse. This is a red flag and indicative of an unlicensed contractor.

*Never pay for the total job up front. A 10% down payment and draw system based on actual progress is typical. Also, do not pay large checks for “materials” to a contractor. Instead offer to buy materials yourself from the supplier if the contractor is requiring you to pay up front for the materials.

*Get multiple estimates from qualified contractors to ensure you are not getting ripped off by unscrupulous contractors.

*When in doubt about a contractor call your local building department or the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.

Due to the State of Emergency declared by Gov. DeSantis after Hurricane Sally, contracting without a license is a third degree felony. An unscrupulous licensed contractor can be held criminally accountable in certain instances when work fails to get completed in a timely manner, or if the licensed contractor is enabling unlicensed contractors to work under their license.