Had a bad experience with a handyman or individual? Scared of hiring an unlicensed contractor? Considering a large investment in your home, and want the peace of mind that money spent goes to a quality installation? Worried about liability if an uninsured contractor causes damage or injury?
Home Performance Group LLC is a local, veteran led contracting firm delivering total home solutions. Our team possesses the technical knowledge, and practical experience to maintain multiple professional licenses and advanced certifications. Such demanding credentials offer our clients peace of mind in our expertise to safely design, install, commission, maintain, and repair high-performance building, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and septic systems. If you need a professional contractor to get the project done, contact our solutions advisor or service team today.
Local Stories About Unscrupulous Contractors
We all see, read, and hear stories about dishonest contractors and businesses. Turn on the news and listen to a problem solver story. Understandably, buyers have budgets, however questionable businesses, often low-price contractors, prey on customers looking to save a little money. The outcome is almost always the same, work is shoddy at best, not completed, or worse, is never started, and the homeowner has lost their money. These stories are unfortunate and many times heartbreaking, but not inevitable. Careful selection of licensed, insured, value-based contractors can avoid those outcomes. Click below on recent Kansas City news headlines and read about unlicensed, uninsured, and dishonest contractors taking advantage of homeowners:
- Kansas City Families warn of contractor who takes money, doesn’t complete work
- Missouri con artist back in jail after defrauding customers more than $269,000
- Two woman warning about Kansas City Contractor who allegedly took money, ran
- KC-area woman shares warning so others don’t fall victim to metro home contractor
- KC-area handyman accused of defrauding customers, refuses to talk
- KC-area woman loses nearly $3k, yard torn up after contractor disappears
- Johnson Country DA warns of scams following storm
- KCK man says contractor took his money, destroyed his home
Homeowner Risks when Hiring Unlicensed or Non-Insured Contractors
When operating without required licensing, a business can fly under the radar of government oversight. On the front side, that means no authority having jurisdiction validates if the individual possesses the requisite technical knowledge, relevant work experience, and necessary client liability protections. On the back side, this means no independent third party inspects the completed work, ensuring quality workmanship and compliance with life safety standards.
Obviously, if something goes wrong, the homeowner may be left with no recourse. Often unlicensed handymen or contractors do not maintain insurance protections for clients, or policy limits are so small their insurance will not cover losses incurred. Additionally, many of these same companies simply have no assets, so recovery through civil litigation yields nothing, a concept known as judgment proof. Finally, a homeowners insurance carrier may deny coverage if the cause of loss resulted from unpermitted work being completed by an unqualified individual that does not meet building codes and industry standards. This can be especially distressing in the case of property damage, particularly catastrophic losses, and heartbreaking in the case of personal injury or death.
Other risks with dubious contractors are outright fraud or dishonesty, as demonstrated in some of the news articles above. Without government oversight, there are no checks to ensure a contractor, or handyman, is a legitimate business. Part of the licensing process ensures businesses are properly registered through the state, and in good standing. Additionally, the government administration confirms required liability insurances and bonding are in place to protect homeowners. Although no amount of government oversight can prevent all fraud, the chance of encountering an unsavory contractor that has gone through the licensing process and actively secures permits is drastically smaller.
As if all of that was not bad enough, imagine hiring an unlicensed handyman, or individual. During the job, the contractor or one of their employees gets injured while on your property. If the business does not provide workers compensation insurance to cover employee injuries, the aggrieved party may attempt to sue the homeowner for personal injuries from negligence, or based on the premise liability doctrine.
Contractor Licensing – Did you Know
The majority of Missouri and Kansas counties, or cities, require all companies to acquire a business license, commonly referred to as an occupational license. A business license is an administrative mechanism to ensure each municipality can tax the operations of each business. Acquiring a business license is simple and generally does not require anything except registration, an initial application fee, and ongoing revenue-based taxes. However, for some professions, additional licensure is required beyond a simple business license. The purpose of contractor licensing is to protect homeowners. Trades licensing ensures contractors have proven a minimum level of technical knowledge, possesses suitable real-world experience, and afford client liability protections to safely perform the work. For life safety reasons, contractors must maintain specific licenses for each trade they perform, such as building and construction, electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning, and septic systems.
According to Wolters Kluwer, the differences between handymen and a contractor are technical knowledge and experience culminating in professional licensing and liability insurances. Some states allow individuals to perform small projects without trades licensing or insurance under a minor work exemption. Generally, these exemptions do not require an individual to possess any specific training or experience. However, in exchange, the exemption limits the type of work a handyman can perform, and maximum project cost. Both the state of Missouri, and state of Kansas do not offer minor work exemptions. Therefore, any individual or business performing electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling, or remodeling work must meet minimum experience and education thresholds, maintain liability insurance, and hold the applicable contractor trade licenses.
To acquire a contractor license, several steps must be taken. First, an individual must prove relevant work experience in the respective trade. The minimum threshold varies from each trade, but generally 4,000 to 12,000 hours of applicable work experience is required. Second, the individual must pass a timed technical examination covering numerous aspects of the respective trade including, sizing, and installation practices. Third a sponsoring business must be registered at the state level, generally through the secretary of state. Fourth, the registered business must provide proof of liability insurance and any required bonding. Finally, a governmental board reviews work experience documented through employment history, technical expertise demonstrated through examination, and client protections afforded by insurance bonding, to make a final determination in granting a contractor license. Once a contractor license is granted, many authorities having jurisdiction require on-going continuing education in each trade to maintain licensing renewals.
Home Performance Group LLC Professional Licenses:
Requires passing a certifying examination with knowledge of gas, oil, and wood-burning heating equipment, chimneys, vents, ducts, plumbing, electrical, and codes applying to these applications. Maintaining the credentials in Johnson County, KS requires the completion of a minimum of 8 hours continuing education in the International Mechanical Code (IMC) and the International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) annually. License permits us to perform Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC), mechanical, and refrigeration services.
Requires passing a certifying examination with knowledge of construction, remodeling, repair, and demolition, framing, roofing, swimming pool construction, non-structural remodeling, or tenant finish, of any structure regardless of occupancy or height. In order to maintain the credentials, Johnson County, KS requires the completion of a minimum of 8 hours continuing education in the International Building Code (IBC), International Residential Code (IRC), and the ICC Concrete Manual annually. License permits us to perform any new construction, existing remodeling, and repairs.
Requires passing a certifying examination with knowledge of drain, waste, and vent plumbing, gas pipe sizing, water supply line sizing, water heaters, ventilation, plan reading, plumbing methods, and plumbing fixtures and fittings. In order to maintain the credentials, Johnson County, KS requires the completion of a minimum of 8 hours continuing education in the International Plumbing Code (IPC) annually. License permits us to perform all plumbing services including gas piping.
Requires passing a certifying examination with knowledge of single phase, three phase systems, services, branch circuits, multi-wire circuits, electrical calculations, plan reading, ampacity, conduit selection, wiring methods. In order to maintain the credentials Johnson County, KS requires the completion of a minimum of 8 hours continuing education in the National Electric Code (NEC) annually. License permits us to perform all electric service.
Requires passing a certifying examination with knowledge of gas heating equipment, vents, ducts, plumbing with an emphasis on piping layout, pipe bending, pipe fabrication, soldering and brazing. License permits us to perform all pipe fitting services including gas piping.
Requires passing two certifying examinations with knowledge of soil morphology, topography, systems layout, plumbing hydraulics and pneumatics, pumps, basic system design, installation and maintenance, and advanced system configurations, applications, and installation. Maintaining the credentials in the state of MO requires the completion of a minimum of 8 hours of continuing education in private sewer and septic systems, components, and controls annually. License permits us to perform design, installation, repair, and maintenance on private on-site waste systems to include septic tanks, lateral fields, lagoons, low pressure and high-pressure drip systems.
Home Performance Group LLC Advanced Certifications:
- Project Management Professional (PMP) – Project Management Institute Global Certification
- Program Management Professional (PgMP) – Project Management Institute Global Certification
- Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP) – Project Management Institute Global Certification
- Solar Associate Certification (PVA) – North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)
- Solar System Inspector Certification (PVSI) – North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)
- 30-hour Construction Card – Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Contractor Considerations – How to Choose a Reliable Contractor:
All clients rightfully expect, and many unfortunately assume, all contractors are professionally licensed, possessing an equivalent body of expert knowledge, quality of workmanship, and client protections. Regrettably, like so many other homeowners, our experience is contrary to that assumption. We recognize the challenges and uncertainty customers face in choosing an honest and reliable contractor. Below are some considerations we recommend weighing when evaluating a potential contractor, even us!
- Maintains valid contractor licenses for proposed work – (building, electrical, plumbing, septic, mechanical)
- Preserves a track record of successful projects and happy clients – (total number and average rating of reviews)
- Accredited through the Better Business Bureau and upholds an A+ rating
- Delivers a written contract with detailed scope of work and fixed price – (what is included and standards)
- Provides a written workmanship guarantee and clear contract terms – (payments, changes, inspections)
- Actively participates in industry improvement by sharing knowledge through publication of articles
- Maintains comprehensive insurances – (shields client from liability of property damage and personal injury)
- Participates in regular continuing education demonstrating commitment to industry best practices
- Offers a concierge buying process handling all aspects of permitting – inspections – rebates – warranties:
-Secures trade permit through contractor’s professional license
-Schedules all inspections through both the authority having jurisdiction and utilities
-Serves as a trade ally with local utility providers submitting all utility rebate forms
-Completes all equipment warranty registrations through manufacturers
Forefront in our minds is creating value for our clients through varied options, expert recommendations, and first-class installations. We receive more than 100 hours per year of voluntary, above-industry-standard training, ensuring we maintain our technical acumen, while continuing to deepen our industry knowledge. Finally, our team maintains numerous Master level licenses, as detailed above, offering our clients confidence in our work and peace of mind in our designs, installations, and repairs.
Often, our firm is asked to complete inspections, assessments, load calculations, and sizing projects. Our team leverages their profound knowledge in building codes and industry best practices to develop plans, specifications, designs, and analysis for decision making. Routinely, our instruments of service become integrated into architectural, structural, and construction documents for high performance building installations.
Taken together, our team delivers to clients, best-in-class system solutions, and installations beating industry quality standards. On multifaceted projects, we strive to assess trade-offs and examine value engineering opportunities, creating options for our customers. With judicious equipment selection our solutions deliver durable, reliable, low energy installations.