Licensed, bonded and insured: You see this on contractors' business cards, websites and print ads all the time. And consumer experts tell you that you should only hire contractors who have these credentials. But what do these words mean and why are they important to you? We'll break them down for you so you understand the meaning of these terms, and why each of them protects both you and the contractor.
All contractors in the State of Washington are required by law to carry a state license. Plumbers are required to carry a specific plumbing certification. Contractors must also post their license number on all their marketing materials -- including their business cards, brochures, website and even their truck. You can easily verify the status of a contractor's license by visiting the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries website at https://secure.lni.wa.gov/verify/
A bond is essentially a prepaid savings account funded by the contractor and underwritten by a "surety" (such as an insurance company) that provides a backup in case something goes wrong with a customer. If the contractor does not perform their work to the specifications of their contract with a customer, the bank assumes the liability and makes sure that the job is completed to the the terms of the contract.
All contractors must all carry current liability insurance. This protects you against damage to your property from the contractor. If damage occurs, you will need to file a claim directly with the contractor's insurance company. Their insurance information is listed with the L&I Department.
A Note About Subcontractors
As a side note, it is important to know if a contractor will be using a subcontractor to do the work, because that subcontractor must also have the appropriate license, bond and insurance. Otherwise, if they do not perform the work properly, damage your property, or become injured while working on your property, you may not be covered. In fact, you could even be liable for their injuries.
Red Flags To Watch for When Hiring a Plumber
If you are planning a major plumbing project and getting multiple bids, you can expect to see some variation in price between companies. However, be leery of unusually low prices. The old adage that "if it too good to be true, it probably is" applies to plumbing work as well. If you receive an unusually low bid, you should not only verify that comparable parts are being used, but also verify that the contractor has all of the proper licensing and insurance, as well as who will actually be doing the work. Pay particular attention that they have a plumbing certification and not just a general contractor license.
At M&M Plumbing, we are are licensed by the state of Washington (#MMPLUMP899P4), bonded and fully insured, so you can rest easy knowing that in the unlikely event that any accidents were to happen while working at your home or business, we've got you covered. (We of course carry state and City of Olympia business licenses as well.) We also do not use subcontractors for plumbing work. If there is work to be done outside of our plumbing expertise -- such as electrical work that requires a certified electrician - we will subcontract that work, but we will let you know that up front.
If you have any questions about our coverage and how it applies to you, don't hesitate to contact our office.
Source: Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (http://www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/Contractors/HireCon/Glossary/default.asp)