It’s a common dilemma: a customer wants the job done yesterday, but it will take way too long to go through the right channels to obtain the necessary building permits. You have two choices: make the customer happy and do the job now while ignoring the red tape, or wait a little longer and make sure you have all the appropriate permits to start the project. It might be tempting to go with the first option. After all, who wants that extra headache? However, the smart decision is to go get those permits and avoid the dire consequences that come with neglecting to do so.
One of the costliest consequences, in more ways than one, is the imposing of fines. Since many states and cities put the responsibility of obtaining a permit on the builder, you can expect to be responsible to pay any fines that might come as a result of not getting the correct permits. A job that might have yielded a decent paycheck might wind up costing you in the end if the fines are more than the price you were getting paid for the job.
Customers shop around before choosing the perfect contractor for their needs. They will rely on reviews and suggestions from colleagues and friends to make sure that their money is going to quality work. Making it a habit to complete work without obtaining the proper permits is going to give you a bad reputation among potential clients. They will view you as untrustworthy and wonder how you will try to get over on them if you are willing to try and skirt around the local laws. This could not only cost you your reputation in the industry, but it may also cost you money if you are taken to court.
Loss of License
If you are a contractor, chances are you have done the work to become certified or licensed. If you choose to work without obtaining proper permits, your right to continue your contracting business can be put into jeopardy. What licensing agency is going to want to give you the right to work if you are going to ignore the local laws?
What to do Instead
While it may take more time and work to obtain permits, a responsible contractor who cares about clients and reputation will do just that and plan ahead. Putting some good habits into practice will just make the process that much easier.
Be Aware of the Law
Every city and state has its own laws regarding building and permits. Become aware of the laws in the areas you serve, so you do not have to guess at what you need when jobs become available. Make sure you are also aware of who is responsible for obtaining the permits. Some cities and states may put the responsibility on the building owners, while others make contractors responsible. Know what you are responsible for before taking a job.
It might be tempting to propose a shorter timeline to complete the work, delighting clients on how fast their project will be done. However, obtaining appropriate permits takes preparation time, as does the actual work. Let your clients know up front exactly how long the project will take, from obtaining the permits to completing the build. That way, you will not feel pressured or tempted to cut corners. If clients really want the job done right, they will be willing to wait a reasonable amount of time for completion.
Being a contractor is hard work and having to keep track of deadlines and requirements makes the job a challenge. However, a well-organized contractor with an honest and responsible reputation will always find themselves recommended by clients. Contact us to learn more how we can help you organize and manage your bids and projects, including keeping all your permits and documentation in order.