Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Protect Your Investment - Hire a Licensed Contractor

by Guest Contributor Marty Milstead
Executive Vice President Home Builders Association of Mississippi

A home purchase or home renovation is the largest expenditure that most people make in their lifetime. However, too many times that investment goes bad when an unlicensed contractor is hired to perform the work.

There are some steps that anyone hiring a contractor should follow to protect their investment:

Verify a license.  Mississippi law requires any builder that is constructing or overseeing the construction of a home for sale to be licensed by the State.  It also requires any contractor performing a remodeling project over $10,000 to be licensed by the State.  All licensed contractors can be found on the Mississippi State Board of Contractors website at

Verify insurance.  Your contractor should carry general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.  The general liability insurance protects the home owner on construction related issues during and after construction on the home.  Workers’ compensation insurance gives protection to the property owner should someone get injured while working on your home.

Verify in writing.  Always insist on a written contract and written change orders.  Include details regarding the scope of work and terms of payment.  Incorporate warranties, guarantees or other promises in your written contract.

Verify that your contractor is a member of the Home Builders Association.  Most qualified and legitimate contractors choose to be a member of their professional trade organization.  Home builder members are more prone to be up to date on current building codes and trends for quality construction.

Verify references.  Ask your contractor to provide you with references. Make sure the contractor has a permanent business location and a good reputation with local banks and suppliers.

By following these important guidelines you will eliminate a lot of potential problems that occur when homeowners and homebuyers use unlicensed contractors.

Marty Milstead is the Executive Vice President Home Builders Association of Mississippi.  For more information you can check out the National Association of Homes at or contact Milstead at 601-969-3446.

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