The Department of Business and Professional Regulation Gears up for the 2009 Hurricane Season
May 29, 2009
TALLAHASSEE—The 2009 Hurricane Season begins June 1, and the National Weather Service is predicting a “normal” storm season with four to seven Atlantic hurricanes. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation urges businesses and professionals to create a preparedness plan by visiting FloridaDisaster.org. Florida’s residents and consumers should also be aware that hurricane season can bring increased unlicensed activity in the construction fields. Remember to check your contractor’s license at MyFloridaLicense.com.
“In the event that your property is damaged by a storm, protect your largest asset by hiring only state-licensed contractors to help you recover from the storm,” said Secretary Charles W. Drago.
DBPR would like to remind consumers to report unlicensed activity by calling 1-866-532-1440. Persons engaging in unlicensed activity can be charged with a first degree misdemeanor for a first offense and subsequent violations of the law are third degree felonies. Any person who acts as an unlicensed contractor during a state of emergency declared by executive order of the Governor is committing a third degree felony.
When hiring a contractor, consumers should:
- Always ask to see the contractor’s license.
- Note the license number and verify that the license is current and in good standing. To check a license, call 850-487-1395 or visit MyFloridaLicense.com.
- Get a Release of Lien covering all workers and materials. This removes your property from the threat of lien.
- Ask any potential contractor for references and check each one.
- Beware of scams when contractors ask for all the money up front or will only accept cash.
- Beware of contractors who arrive in unmarked vehicles, possibly from out-of-state.
- Be cautious of writing checks made payable to individuals, especially when dealing with a company.
- Get everything in writing, including a detailed description of the work to be completed, a completion date and the total cost.
- Request from the contractor a list of all subcontractors and suppliers who have a contract with the contractor to provide services or materials.
- Do not sign the certificate of completion until you are satisfied with the work done.
The department’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly. The department licenses more than one million businesses and professionals ranging from real estate agents, veterinarians, and accountants to contractors and cosmetologists. For more information, please visit MyFloridaLicense.com.