Licensed, Bonded, and Insured—What Does it Actually Mean?

Licensed, bonded, and insuredYou’ve probably seen the phrase on a dozen contractor websites. “Licensed, bonded, and insured.” These words are usually thrown out there like they are some sort of major selling point. But what does this phrase actually mean?

Hint: none of these things are actually selling points. They are the bare minimum standards that any roofer should meet before they can ethically do business with you, either in the State of Florida or in any other state.

Licensed

The State of Florida requires contractors to sit two exams after documenting four years of experience in their trade before they go out and sell roofing services. A contractor can of course hire employees who are not licensed (that’s how people get the experience in the first place), but the business itself and the person running that business must be licensed.

If a roofing company is not licensed, then that company is a) breaking the law and b) quite possibly doesn’t know what it’s doing.

Want to find out if a contractor’s license is up to date and up to par? You can search for their company on this website.

Bonded

When a contractor becomes bonded he literally takes out a municipal bond that contributes to a fund that is ready to provide financial recourse in certain specific situations.

Bonding protects you if a contractor walks off the job without completing it, steals something from your home, fails to apply for permits or fails to pay his vendors or subcontractors. This gives you a chance to recoup some of your financial losses if any of these problems occur. This is especially important when it comes to subcontractors…you don’t want them putting a lien on your house because the contractor you hired failed to pay them—especially since theoretically, you paid your bills.

Absolutely a great thing to have, but not a selling point. While honest companies will probably never need to involve their bond in any matter, all honest companies have them.

Insured

You absolutely want to know your contractor has the proper insurance. Some of this is covered by Florida’s licensing process, since Florida won’t give a contractor a license if they don’t have sufficient or proper insurance coverage. Specifically, here, we’re talking about a Workman’s Comp policy that specifically covers roofing activities.

If a roofing company is not so insured you could be liable if a worker falls off your house and breaks both his legs, even though you didn’t really have anything to do with it. You simply hired the guys to do a job, thinking they knew their stuff. And hopefully they do…but they’d absolutely better be insured just in case.

Don’t leave this stuff up to chance…

It takes zero effort to put these little words on a website. It takes more effort, as well as an investment of money, to actually be licensed, bonded, and insured. Make sure you ask enough questions. Make sure you look up the business in the system. You do not want to accidentally hire the roofing company that did not have these three items checked off.

But you also don’t want to hire the roofing company that treats them as great, big, amazing selling points. If that’s all they’ve got to offer, they aren’t offering very much. Hire your next roofing company because of skill, superior materials, blow-you-away customer service, and integrity. Saying you’re licensed, bonded, and insured is like saying you’re a chef that owns some knives…it’s not enough to prove that any company can get the job “done right.”