What do I need to look for when hiring a contractor?

Hiring a contractor can be risky. Hiring the wrong contractor can leave the owner with unfinished work, risk from structural failure or fire and substantial financial hardship with little recourse to recover from a bad situation. Licensed contractors have completed requirements for licensure, carry Liability Insurance and Workman’s Compensation insurance to protect the owner from financial harm and liability due to injuries. Protect yourself from liability and financial hardship. Always hire a licensed contractor.


The following is a list of tips to identify an unlicensed contractor:

  • The contractor cannot provide a copy of a license or insurance. Licensed contractors must hold a certificate of competency, carry liability insurance and have workman’s compensation insurance. A licensed contractor will be happy to show their credentials. If they cannot produce these documents, they are likely an unlicensed contractor
  • If the contractor is unwilling to enter into a written contract. All work should be in the form of a written contract and be signed by the owner and the contractor.
  • The contractor asks the owner to obtain the permit instead of them. The owner will assume all liabilities associated with that permit.
  • If the contractor requests a large down payment or payment in full before the work begins or a request for cash only or check made out to cash. This could put the owner at serious financial risk with little recourse to recover their money.
  • If the contractor does not display a license number on advertisements, business cards, vehicles, contracts, etc. The law requires a license number on all forms of advertisement.
  • The contractor can only work nights or weekends. This should be a big red flag.
  • The contractor tells you that this type of work does not require a building permit. Be aware, if the work requires a permit the owner may end up paying twice if they have to find a licensed contractor to obtain a permit or have to uncover work that was not inspected. Always check with the Building Department at 772-589-5537 to see if the work will require a permit.

Reporting Unlicensed Activity

To report suspected unlicensed contractor activity, call the Department of Business and Professional Regulations’ complaint line toll-free at 866-532-1440, or visit My Florida License.

You can also report suspected unlicensed contractor activity by calling the City of Sebastian Building Department and ask to speak to a licensing representative at 772-589-5537.

To find out if a contractor is licensed and insured, contact the City of Sebastian Building Department at 772-589-5537. All contractors that work within city limits are required to be registered with the Building Department, we can check our database to ensure your contractor is up to date.

Show All Answers

1. When do I need a building permit?
2. Do I need a contractor or can I obtain an owner/builder permit?
3. What do I need to look for when hiring a contractor?