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Posted on: December 13, 2013

City cautions against use of unlicensed contractors

The City of Garden City is cautioning residents against the use of unlicensed contractors for home or business remodels and repairs.

According to Garden City Chief Building Inspector David McCarter, unlicensed contractors are usually uninsured, meaning homeowners may end up paying for any injuries or damage to property. In addition, unlicensed contractors often lack professional training and certification, are unfamiliar with applicable building codes, and are not regulated by local authorities.

“When you are shopping for contractors, be sure to verify that both the license and insurance information you get is correct,” McCarter said. “You can get information regarding contractors through the Inspections Department or the Better Business Bureau.”

The Garden City Inspections Department has developed the following tips for hiring a contractor:
• Seek referrals
• Solicit bids from at least three contractors
• Be wary of bids that are significantly lower than others
• Insist on a written contract
• Have an attorney review any contracts before signing them
• Make sure all building permits are acquired before the project begins
• Inspect all work before signing a completion certificate
• Withhold final payment until the entire project is completed and inspected
• Report any problems to the City of Garden City Inspections Department at 620-276-1120

The Inspections Department has also offered the following list of “red flags” that may indicate a contractor is not licensed:
• Unsolicited phone calls or visits
• High-pressure sales pitches or scare tactics
• Large down payments
• No verifiable address or phone number
• Unwillingness to give a price
• Unwillingness to sign a written contract
• Insurance or licensing information that you cannot verify

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