Beware of the Unlicensed Contractor! – Part 2

Like it or not, rules and regulations are here to stay. When it comes to construction, remodeling and equipment installation, some may seem burdensome and unnecessary. But honestly, licensing laws are based on the principle of protection of life and property. In our previous post we discussed the importance of using licensed HVAC technicians to perform work on your home’s central heating and cooling system.

The office and field staff here at GAMA Air are aware that we have competitors in the Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino area, and that’s fine. There’s enough work to go around. Most are professional, legit companies. But there’s always someone to spoil the day. That would be the “unlicensed contractor”. So we want to address some common concerns that you as homeowners may have so that you feel comfortable using us as your service contractor. And like we already said, it would be silly on our part to not acknowledge that every family has to consider the costs of repairing their AC system, or maybe changing out their heating system. But please take into consideration that upfront money is not always all the money involved in a project. Consider the following:

What about warranties?

Unlicensed contractors may do a job cheap, but equipment manufacturers will not authorize warranty work by an unlicensed contractor, unless there is a specific written agreement between the two parties. Now this is where it get’s tricky: Some licensed contractors hire out the grunt work of installing a new system to unlicensed contractors. You would not be out of line to ask to see the company’s the license to make sure that the men or women doing the work are listed. You risk voiding the manufacturer's warranty by using unlicensed workers, and that means more money in the long run for repairs.

What about your safety?

Do the workers have a picture ID badge and a uniform? Does the heating and air company you are thinking of using perform rigorous criminal and drug background checks? This can be a sensitive subject to bring up, but the safety and welfare of you and your family are certainly worth it.

What about the safety of the system?

Is the contractor certified to perform warranty work? The value of a warranty goes beyond what happens if something goes wrong in the future. The value starts immediately because when a licensed contractor offers a warranty, it means they will be paying attention to the details during their work. They don’t want to come back for silly mistakes made during the installation. On the other hand, if a warranty is not offered, you may find that the work overall is below expectations and may even result in a premature equipment malfunction. Worse yet, if electrical or gas hookups that are not done correctly can lead to destructive fires.

What about the safety of the workers?

A licensed contractor is required to have insurance to cover mishaps and accidents that may injure one of their employees. What you may not realize is that by hiring a cheaper, unlicensed contractor, you may be liable if there is an accident resulting in injury to the workers while working on your property. That is not a road you want to go down. Ask if all workers assigned to the job are covered by an insurance policy and workers’ comp.

So to sum it up, if you are willing to gamble with the life and safety of your family, then you might get a good short-term deal by using an unlicensed contractor; one who doesn’t obey the laws, does not have overhead costs that include continuing education and training, don’t pay workers’ comp or offer insurance for their workers, and doesn’t have respect for your safety and well-being. On the other hand, if you want licensed, quality work, that is backed up by the manufacturer of the equipment we will install, then give GAMA Air a call now at (310) 651-6936 to schedule a no-obligation visit, or use our online form to set a convenient time for us to discuss your options with you. We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. And we do that because we work hard so you will be happy with our work.

Curious about something related to your heating or cooling system? Visit our Ask an Expert page and let us know what’s on your mind.

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