If you, as a homeowner, are considering commissioning a smaller home remodeling project – something like installing new bathroom or kitchen fixtures, replacing a couple of doors or repainting the living room it can be very tempting to turn to a “handy friend” to help you (because they will do the job for a case of beer or another great trade off perhaps) or even to the teenager from down the street who is looking for odd jobs to make a little extra money on his summer holiday. On the face of things this might be a great idea, but hiring an amateur can cost you far more than you might think it things go wrong!

For instance, what if the nice boy from down the street happens to fall off a ladder while he is painting the trim on your home? Any injuries he sustains, even if he has medical coverage, will almost always become your problem financially speaking. He is not a licensed or insured tradesman who carries his own comprehensive insurance policy designed to cover situations like this. Since neighbor boy got hurt and your property you can expect that Mum and Dad will be coming after you for damages.

And don’t expect your own homeowners insurance policy to pay up either, as in almost all cases work carried out by an unlicensed tradesman is not covered and this is stated in the contract. In fact if the insurance company feels like it they might, just for good measure, cancel your policy as well since you did not abide by the terms it contained! Had you hired a licensed tradesman the accident would have been covered by his insurance and although unfortunate would not potentially bankrupt you!

You could also quite possibly also find yourself in trouble if that great handy friend of yours accidentally damages someone else’s property while he is doing the big favour of helping you out with your home improvement project. The damage does not even have to be that great.

Every year neighbors take each other to court because someone chopped down a tree that did not belong to them, or they built a fence that was 3 inches off their property and on their neighbours. It sounds silly and petty until it happens to you and then it can become a soap opera that goes on for months as well as cost you far more than you had intended to ever spend on your “little job.”

Whatever the home improvement or remodeling job you have in mind think long and hard before you decide to opt for cheap labor over a licensed tradesman. Check your homeowners insurance policy to see what it says about unlicensed tradesmen and you should also check with your local building department if the property you intend to alter is one you rent out, as there are usually quite strict rules in place that call for a lot of the work you might do around a property to be completed by licensed professionals only.

The fact is that yes, hiring a reputable fully licensed and insured tradesman may cost more up front than other options that might be open to you , but at least you will have the peace of mind of knowing that you will not be liable if things do go wrong!