Should I Use a Licensed Contractor? To MHIC or not to MHIC?

I have heard of a lot of people in the last couple of years that have been taken advantage of by so called contractors who are not contractors at all. In the state of Maryland you have to have an MHIC license to work on any home or any property adjacent to a home. It is illegal to represent yourself as a contractor if you are not, it is also illegal to do work for a fee or as a contractor if you are not licensed.

While the people who offer their services in this manner may be less expensive, they are working illegally and the customer has no recourse to go to the Home Improvement Commission. Also, the “client” may have no coverage under their own insurance or of the person performing the work, assuming they are even insured, because most insurances exclude acts performed in the commission of a crime. Furthermore, if you as the “client” gets audited by the IRS and you have paid substantial amounts of money to a person(You are acting as their employer, whether you know it or not.) and have not accounted for it as income to them you may be responsible for paying their back taxes along with penalties and interest.

Now, are they really cheaper?  Are you going to get taken advantage of?  Who knows?  Why take a chance?

On the other hand, If you use a licensed contractor the MHIC may assist you with issues that cannot be resolved between the home owner and the contractor.  Basically, Contractors who are licensed through the Maryland Home Improvement Commission are licensed and bonded and their credentials and experience have been verified and they have passed an examination based on the laws of the MHIC and of the state.

Now, we all know that just because you are licensed, it doesn’t mean you are competent.  There are a few that slip through the cracks, either by their craftsmanship, their ability to run a business and handle their financial affairs or their level of integrity.  But, this is what the MHIC is for.  These types of people don’t normally last very long and when they violate the standards of the MHIC they may grant compensation from the Guaranty Fund, not to mention the violator may have their license revoked.  The majority of MHIC licensed contractors are reputable.

All in all, it is best to deal with a Licensed Contractor, that is Bonded and Insured with the local jurisdiction.

You can follow the link below to check any MHIC #.  You should always verify the, Name, Trade Name and address. They should match the contact information the contractor gives you.  You can also ask the contractor for a copy of his license,  which should also match the contact information he gives you.  Licensees are required to notify the MHIC in writing by certified mail within ten (10) days of any change of address or name change.  Some unethical people have used numbers that were not theirs, so verifying all of the above will insure that you have a reputable contractor.

I have over 25 years of experience and my father has over 40 years of experience I worked with him for many years.  Neither one of us have ever had a complaint with the MHIC.

My MHIC# is 89116.  Search for me at the above website to view my license and credentials.