September 5, 2008
As many of you already know, I spent a day last week in Tampa meeting with our licensees "On the Road to Better Business." I met with several licensees from the construction industry, and they all expressed a concern with the amount of unlicensed activity occurring in their profession. Many of them even brought me examples of unlicensed contracting going on in the Tampa area.
Unlicensed contracting is not only a threat to the consumer, but also poses a threat to the livelihood of licensed contractors. During the bidding processes, unlicensed contractors are often able to offer a lower price because of lower overhead costs, thus under bidding licensed contractors for the job. Not only are they not paying licensing fees, many unlicensed contractors do not have the required insurance and worker compensation coverage. Simply put, these individuals are not playing by the rules and are causing licensed professionals to lose work.
Some of the contractors I spoke with were also concerned about the damage that unlicensed individuals do to the integrity of their profession. In most cases, unlicensed contractors do not have the required education and experience needed to do a job properly. This lack of education, experience and attention to detail can give the licensed contractor a bad wrap, thus damaging the integrity of the profession as a whole.
I take the threat of consumer harm and the integrity of the professions we license very seriously. I believe that with the help of consumers and licensed contractors we can decrease unlicensed activity. The first step is to report all signs of unlicensed contracting to the Department via our Web site www.MyFloridaLicense.com or our toll-free unlicensed activity hotline 1-866-532-1440.
In response to your concerns regarding unlicensed activity, we are increasing our efforts. We will be conducting random sweeps throughout the state, checking licenses and ensuring compliance. Our unlicensed activity staff will be on the streets responding to your complaints quickly. The unlicensed activity media campaign, designed to inform the public of the dangers of unlicensed activity, is going to more aggressive than ever before. We will be targeting more consumers by using new media, such as Google.
We want you to know that if you do your part to report unlicensed activity, we will do our part to ensure compliance with the law and protect consumers. Working together, we can ensure fair competition among contractors and protect ourselves and our homes from the dangers associated with unlicensed contracting.
Charles W. Drago
Department of Business and
upcoming board meetings
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