The Dangers of Employing Unlicensed Tradesmen

The unlicensed tradesman may be very capable of performing the job he is tasked with, and he may have references from past jobs that are very positive; however this person has not shown a commitment to study or to pay the costs required to be licensed. This may be evidence that their work ethic is not up to scratch. Ask yourself… “Should I entrust large amounts of money to such a person?”

Remember a licence does not guarantee a quality job, or a project finished in a timely manner; however it does give the home owner help and assurance if something goes wrong.

These Licensing and insurance requirements are in place to protect the consumer. It is also evidence that the contractor has passed the state exam to show they know enough about business and building practice.

If a home owner hires an unlicensed tradesman, they become an employer and the tradesman becomes the employee. Basically the homeowner is the contractor and with that comes all the associated legal and insurance ramifications. This implicates issues such as liability and workers compensation.

The home owner won’t be fined for hiring an unlicensed tradesman as they are not breaking any law; however they will become legally responsible, not only for the work the unlicensed person does, but for any damage they may cause to their property or to the property of others. Most dangerously the home owner becomes responsible for any injuries the tradesman or his “family members” might suffer on the job.

Steps to take when gathering quotes:

  1. Contact the tradesman and inquire about their level of experience
  2. Follow this link to check on Trade licensing status within NSW:
  3. If you feel they are appropriately experienced and licensed and will be able to perform a quality service, you should organise a time for them to come out and inspect the site
  4. When they arrive at your house immediately ask them to provide their licence number, ABN and if they are covered with insurance.
  5. If they fail to provide any of those 3 key items do not go further with the quotation, these people are often unskilled, unqualified tradesmen who are trying to make a quick profit at your expense.
  6. Make sure to explain everything you wish to be done in full and keep this same explanation to repeat to each tradesman who is supplying a quote so you can receive quotes that are for the exact same scope of works.
  7.  Make the choice of tradesmen based upon the quotations given and the feelings you have about each tradesmen, make sure you feel comfortable with that person! Remember you are investing a lot of hard earned money into your project and you want to feel safe in handing over money for services

Remember what you’re really gambling with, by employing an unlicensed tradesman… sure you could end up saving a couple of hundred dollars… but it’s just not worth the risk!