BEWARE of Unlicensed Contractors

The City of West Columbia would like to make citizens aware that among the many businesses assisting with cleanup efforts, not all are legitimate, ethical contractors. To ensure you are working with professionals and will not become a victim to a scam, we would like to remind you of the following:

• Legitimate Contractors must be licensed and/or registered by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. They will have a card issued by SCLLR validated with the State Seal along with their specific type of registration (General Contractor, Residential Builder or Specialty Contractor) and their registration number and expiration date.

• Do request a copy of the contractor’s liability insurance.

• DO NOT sign an “estimate” or “authorization” before you have agreed to hire, this can become a binding contract. Contractors will have clear contracts outlining the job, process, cost and remedies, if there are any issues.

• DO NOT pay cash up front. Although deposits are normally required, be sure that both parties (you/contractor) have signed the contract and always pay with check or money order, to provide a paper trail.

• Be wary if a contractor substantially underbid the competition – this could lead to poor quality of materials and workmanship, causing you to have to hire a second company to redo the repair work.

• Emergency Repairs can begin before obtaining a Building Permit, as long as permit application is submitted within the next working business day.

For more information regarding contractor licenses, visit www.llr.state.sc.us and click on Licensee Lookup or contact the City of West Columbia Business License Division at 803.791.1880, Ext 286.