You have received several bids for your wood floor project and you see that some of the prices are higher than the others. When you compare the services specified, an important item that you need to consider is whether or not a company carries both workers' compensation and general liability insurance. Here in Tampa Bay, this insurance can cost as much as 50% of the workers hourly pay because of the possible risks inherent in the performance of the trade. Consequently, a worker who is paid $20 an hour can cost the wood flooring company another $10 every hour for workers’ comp insurance. This "extra" drives up the amount of the bid, but it has real value to you.
IT'S THE LAW
The state of Florida website states, “If you are in the construction industry, and have one (1) or more employees (including yourself), you are required to carry workers' compensation coverage (an exempted corporate officer or member of a limited liability company does not count as an employee)”.
But many construction businesses do not carry workers’ comp insurance. What most homeowners don't realize is that if a worker, or even a non-exempt business owner, is injured on their property, it is you -- the homeowner, now an employer -- who can be held liable for all medical costs as well as a portion of lost wages, unless the injured party is covered by workers' compensation insurance.
HOW YOU CAN BE SAFE
Contractors, such as builders, landscapers, or other tradespeople who work on or around your home, should be covered through their own (mandatory) workers' compensation insurance, and any injury claims would be covered under that policy. If, for some reason, the contractor does not have coverage or has discontinued the policy to save on the premiums, you would be next in line to pay for a worker's injuries and/or disabilities that occurred on your property (although you may be able to file a lawsuit against the contractor).
Often, a company that does not carry workers’ compensation insurance also does not carry liability insurance. General liability insurance is designed to cover you for any damage to that might occur when a contractor is working in your home, other than workman injury accidents which are handled by workers’ compensation insurance. For example, if a plumber were to install some piping incorrectly, causing a leak that damaged your wood floors, the plumber's insurance would cover the repair or replacement of the flooring, a cost which most plumbers could not afford.
If you are hiring a contractor for a job on your property, ask for written proof of the following to cover worker injuries, property damage, and uninstalled materials:
- Workers' compensation insurance including proof of insurance for any subcontractors working on your project
- General liability coverage
IS IT WORTH THE RISK?
Companies which do not have these basic insurance coverages, may also be skimping on other smart business practices which protect you, the customer. Important examples of this are drug testing and background checks on job applicants. We run these checks on every prospective hire and have discovered that a good portion of the people applying have previous felony convictions. We feel that if someone has a background that would make us uncomfortable to have them in our house, we do not choose to hire them to go in yours.
PEACE OF MIND
All these security efforts cost money, and increase the price that you will pay for the work. Only you can decide if these protections are valuable to you and your family.
To request a free estimate, call us at 813.232.3985 or request a free quote here.