Top 5 Reasons Your Window Contractor Needs a GC License

Well, it’s that time – after owning your house for a decade and keeping it in top-notch condition, you’re finally starting to notice fading on your furniture, cold drafts that come seemingly out of nowhere, or maybe even a spike in your energy bill caused by heat loss. In other words, you need replacement windows. 

Since you’re likely not a home improvement nerd like us, you’ll need a general contractor for windows to get the job done quickly, efficiently, and (perhaps most importantly) cheaply. As such, you may be tempted to choose a contractor without a general contractor (GC) license for your work. We get the rationale, of course – since unlicensed contractors aren’t required to carry liability or worker’s comp, they often charge slightly less than their licensed counterparts. But, that’s a dangerous game to play; a GC license is the surefire way to tell professionals and pretenders apart, and throwing your lot in with the latter could leave you paying far more than you otherwise would. Here’s how: 

5. Liability and Bonding

As we said, homeowners are often attracted to unlicensed window contractors because of their relatively lower prices. However, that’s only the case because they don’t carry liability or worker’s compensation. Because of that, if one of their workers got hurt on the job because the contractor didn’t take proper safety precautions, the worker could sue you instead of their employer. Imagine having to pay three years’ worth of your salary because of someone else’s mistake! 

Plus, licensed contractors have to sign a contract, or a bond, governing the quality of their work and ensuring that it is done correctly. As a consequence, they’re legally required to complete their work in the way that they promised they would when you hired them. However, no such protections exist with unlicensed contractors – they could royally mess up your entire house and leave you to deal with the fallout, all without any legal liability. With that in mind, hiring a contractor without a GC license is a major gamble; if they do the job well, you may pay slightly less – but, if they mess up, you’ll end up spending your life savings on a single window replacement.  

4. Reliability and Vetting

Beyond that, since GC licensing is an extensive process involving intense vetting, only those contractors that truly know their stuff come out on the other side. For instance, the NC Licensing Board for General Contractors requires that, among other things, license applicants be found to possess “good moral character” and pass an examination based on the work they want to do. Because of that, no contractor that has previously cheated their customers or has an insufficient knowledge of the field can get their license, meaning that when you work with a licensed contractor, you can have peace of mind that your window replacement is in the hands of professionals.  

3. Expensive Projects

In many states, unlicensed contractors can only complete projects under a certain price. For example, in North Carolina, any construction costing over $40,000 must be done by a licensed contractor. Of course, you may think that anyone who spends more than $40,000 on windows must be either super rich or weirdly obsessed with glasswork. However, prices can add up quickly, especially since the average replacement window costs between $925 and $2200 (and that’s not even considering designer windows). So, if your replacement job is on the more expensive side, a licensed contractor is the way to go. 

2. Regulatory Compliance

Remember the licensing exam we talked about earlier? Well, in addition to topics such as window replacement itself, it also covers business law and construction codes. Consequently, licensed contractors will have a much better idea of the regulations around your job, ensuring you aren’t fined, your homeowners’ insurance isn’t voided, and your new windows aren’t removed in the future due to regulatory violations. 

1. Resizing and Other Structural Changes

Finally, any structural changes to your home – most notably, resizing your windows – require all sorts of building permits, and like we said before, licensed contractors are most prepared to obtain these quickly and efficiently. Unlicensed contractors, on the other hand, face an array of legal hurdles to getting these sorts of permits; at best, they’d complete your job on a delayed schedule due to these challenges, and at worst, they’d get you in trouble for the aforementioned regulatory violations. So, if you want to change the size of your windows, it’s crucial that you use a contractor with a GC license.  

In the end, choosing an unlicensed contractor is like gambling – sure, there’s a chance you could come out with more money in your pocket than you otherwise would, but the odds are stacked against you. With a licensed contractor, on the other hand, you’ll get a reliable window replacement that’s sure to keep you out of legal or financial trouble.  

Looking for a licensed contractor that does window replacement near you? For 109 years, Baker Roofing Company has been turning houses into homes through top-notch exterior renovations and unparalleled service that meets your unique needs. Let our family take care of yours – request a quote today!