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Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors

 
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Old 01-26-2015, 01:08 PM   #1
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Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


What are your guys thoughts on unlicensed contractors in areas where state licensing is required?
Here in Illinois its been a requirement to be state licensed for 30 years.
There is a pretty decent amount of testing required as well as bonding. Those obeying state laws normally are paying more for insurance as well as many other fields. Many play by the rules but more and more are not.
Around here its fairly rural with little to no permits required. Builders, homeowners and commercial building owners are using guys who are not licensed.

Do you turn them in to the state or look the other way and be thankful you have clients that feel licensing is important? Maybe concentrate your work in other geographical areas that require permits?

There is no one from the state driving around asking if everyone has a license.

what do you guys do and think about this?
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:07 PM   #2
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


Due to all the costs associated with a Licensed & Legal roofing contractor a legit guy will turn in an unlicensed guy in a heartbeat around here.

The legal guys always seem to know who is buying how much of what and where it's going.

Can't think of a roofing hack off the top of my head.

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Old 01-26-2015, 02:22 PM   #3
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

my thought exactly...

only hurts the roof industry,

I hate it, and report when I know for sure,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
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Old 01-26-2015, 07:40 PM   #4
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


Frustrating because they make me look like I'm high on the price, but in reality I might be low. I don't turn them in for a couple of reasons:

-I do a lot of repairs and tearoff a lot of low slope roofs with shingles on them.
-We pretty much stay busy anyways.
-In a small town, I'd rather not be known as the business who is trying knock out all competition and be "high on price"
-If we don't let them bottom-feeders get some work then we will just have to feed them (you, I, and all the other tax payers)

In our history, we have complained twice. Once was about 16 months ago when a non-profit commercial roof was being replaced by a local sub(no license) through
an out of town roofer who had lost his commercial license but got a residential lic. What really made me mad was that this building was about 100' from the inspectors office.

Lot's of non-licensed things going on around here. Five commercial properties in the last two years that I know of, in my town alone. Next town over is bigger and much more regulated, but outside city limits is anything goes.
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Old 01-26-2015, 10:00 PM   #5
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


I'm not a buster. So barring anything glaringly unethical or extra illegal, I mind my own business. I've never turned anyone in.

Who of us didn't get their start that way? Oh, I'm sure there's probably plenty of goody-two-shoes who went straight from legitimate above-the-table employment into completely legal, licensed, bonded entities with comp and payroll set up for all their employees... but the vast majority of roofing contractors I know had at least some kind of gray phase between employee and employer.

I got my jump start when I had to start calling in at work to get my "side jobs" finished. I was making close to twice as much working directly for contractors who'd met me on my employer's jobs. Unethical to essentially steal clients from my boss? You could make that argument. But the way I looked at it, I was really the only roofer worth anything at that company anyway (and I'm not even exaggerating much), and these guys recognized the quality I was giving them was way better than anything they were getting from the other crews they'd had sent out. So they snagged me. It was a rare job that a contractor didn't take me aside and ask for my number.

So I earned it, by maintaining a much higher level of professionalism and quality of work.

Once I did decide to leave my then-current employer, I immediately got licensed. Funny thing is- I didn't even raise my prices, though. I'd already been charging a premium for my side work, and couldn't raise them. Those builders I was working for didn't care if I was licensed or not, so that made no difference to them. Nowadays, everyone's insurance carrier audits for unlicensed subs, so you can't really get away with that. But it was just a big party back then. Nobody even 10/99ed.
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Old 01-27-2015, 07:02 AM   #6
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


I have a good idea of the roofing business in Illinois.

In my opinion, you can call the state everyday. They won't do anything. The most they will do is send out a letter telling them to stop.

What I have seen done, is a call to OSHA. They will be out that day. Where people get around OSHA, in regards to roofs, is by saying they have no employees and they are doing the roof for free. After that OSHA has no recourse.

I'm sure OSHA could have some recourse, but it would require them to invest alot of time going after someone. I have not witnessed it, but I've always heard OSHA will just drive away.

This comes from personal experience. I'm sure it is not like this everywhere.

I have never turned anyone in for anything. Not that I think it is bad, it's just not for me.
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Old 01-29-2015, 09:46 PM   #7
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


I would never turn another person into a government body, no matter how hard they can make things... It just isn't in me.

I was personally furious when GA started requiring license in 06-07. Before that there was only a license for plumbing, electrical and hvac. I see licensing as a sham that drives up prices and offers no real protection to consumers. The system creates artificial barriers to entry, and benefits the more established businesses. Sure it would be great for business if I could snuff out any new guys, but it's unethical.

We follow all licensing requirements, even GA's silly RRP rules in addition to the federal ones. However, im never going to be happy about paying government for the right to do what men have always been free to do, nor will I begrudge anyone else who decides to ignore regulations in this regards.
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:03 AM   #8
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeFowler View Post
I would never turn another person into a government body, no matter how hard they can make things... It just isn't in me.

I was personally furious when GA started requiring license in 06-07. Before that there was only a license for plumbing, electrical and hvac. I see licensing as a sham that drives up prices and offers no real protection to consumers. The system creates artificial barriers to entry, and benefits the more established businesses. Sure it would be great for business if I could snuff out any new guys, but it's unethical.

We follow all licensing requirements, even GA's silly RRP rules in addition to the federal ones. However, im never going to be happy about paying government for the right to do what men have always been free to do, nor will I begrudge anyone else who decides to ignore regulations in this regards.
I'm not quite so libertarian about it, but well said.

And this is exactly what licensing is- deliberately creating a barrier for less established/less big guys, so the bigger contractors can enjoy a larger piece of the market. When the mafia does it, they call it racketeering. When the government does it, they call it "regulation." But it's all the same thing.

I have no problem with having a market-wide vetting system. But MONEY should never be the barrier. Skill, knowledge, business practices... why aren't these the threshold? No, it's just money. You can be a complete POS roofer, but if you have $10,000 to drop on all of the legislatively required licensing and various insurance policies, they say you're one of the good guys.
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:24 AM   #9
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


Here in Illinois the cost to be licensed including bonding is probably $500.Has nothing to do with big or little or even money.
Has more to do whether you can qualify. Qualifying is taking and passing the test(s) and meet minimal personal requirements, ( Felony, stuff like that )
Being the insurance rate for roofing is one of the highest in the construction industry I think having the qualifications being required by the state is not unreasonable.
Are those that do not have the proper insurances the good guys?
I think perhaps its the guys that do not meet requirements are the reason for the rates being so high.
Given the requirement for licensing has been in place for a number of years, not having ..insurances ( which is pay as you go ) testing, bonding, creates an unfair advantage.

Do I think we need a drivers license to drive...no.. but the state has made it a law to have one....regardless of whether its right or wrong.
If you qualify for a drivers license and do not have one, people would wonder 'well why not' ..same could be said for roofing.

Last edited by red_cedar; 01-30-2015 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 02-14-2015, 02:40 AM   #10
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


I don't think there are many states left that don't require a license anymore. When I started there was a silly license application and now it is one hell of a test most guys around hear take it 2 to 4 times and I know they are decent roofers but if they can not do trigonometry they are not allowed to bang a shingle. lol
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Old 02-14-2015, 11:42 PM   #11
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


I have always said having a lic does NOT make someone a good contractor or person.
In NM there are classes you can take and they teach you to the test. No pass no pay kinda things.. In recent years NM has decided you have to take tax and business law tests as well ( more fees ) and some of the ?s are out dated thanks to ever changing IRS BS.


To top it off its several days in a city 250 miles away

The only time i make a call is if i see something being done WRONG , lic or not.
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Old 02-15-2015, 01:39 AM   #12
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


Yep that's the same hear in WV, you have to pass business law test. As far as calling in I leave that up to someone else. I am glad there are contractors that do call and keep the rif raf down to a minimum I just don't do that. It's a touchy subject. It will be what it will be. Damned jf you do damned if you don't.
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Old 02-17-2015, 01:11 AM   #13
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


There is not a roofing license in Georgia, but would it be efficient if I got one to bid on public projects? Some re roof projects require the bidder to be a licensed General Contractor. Would I still be able to bid the job without the license ? Any roofing contractor from Georgia ? Thanks !
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Old 02-17-2015, 10:38 AM   #14
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


What do you mean by "turn them into the state?" The state can't send them to jail or anything.


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Old 02-18-2015, 08:43 AM   #15
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


Quote:
Originally Posted by mrroofinspector View Post
What do you mean by "turn them into the state?" The state can't send them to jail or anything.


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"The State" is often another way of talking about any government body. Even without that distinction, the state does indeed have the ability to send unlicensed contractors to jail.

Ken, if you are bidding on public jobs it will be a good idea to get a general contractor license. If you are doing any jobs in the cities of Atlanta, Augusta or Savanna and those jobs are over $40,000.00 you will sometimes need to pull permits that require a GC license.
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:39 AM   #16
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


Ya no matter where you are roofing there are going to be other contractors without licenses and they will underbid you every day of the week. It's unfortunate that no one is doing anything about it though. Here in alaska they are always searching for contractors with the proper licensing so it helps a lot and the people usually working without proper licenses do really bad work.

http://stormproofroofing.org
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Old 03-05-2015, 12:55 AM   #17
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


I'm a contractor in the state of Kansas. The state started requiring a license 2yrs ago.
If your caught without lic. in the state they can fine you up to $10,000 and/or take your lic.
They can't or don't police it like it needs to be. If there is a storm the swing in for about a week and then they leave. After there gone here comes the fly by nighters.
No lic. no insurance of any kind.
If your are doing things by the book you cannot compete with these thieves. There breaking the law, cutting our throats, and making it hard to stay in business.
I have no problem bidding against a reputable contractor, who goes by the book. Protects himself, his employees and his clients by doing things right.
To hell with the others and I'll turn in everyone of those SOB who are stealing from GOOD CONTRACTORS.
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Old 03-05-2015, 01:02 AM   #18
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


Stealing from good contractors? This is your issue, you have a weird messed up view of things. How are they stealing from you? You act as though these are somehow your jobs and they are literally taking them from you.

Ugh. Makes me sick.
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Old 03-05-2015, 01:25 AM   #19
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


And all you got out of that was stealing
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Old 03-05-2015, 02:10 AM   #20
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Re: Roofing Industry Thoughts On Unlicensed Contractors


What bugs me more than the thought of losing work to an illegal contractor, is the fact that they are setting an unrealistic precedent on what work costs.

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