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Hiring A Contractor

What You Need To Know About Hiring A Contractor and The Construction Lien Law

License Holders

One of the first questions you should ask before hiring someone to do work for you is "Are you licensed and insured?"

The Building Code recognizes licenses issued by:

  • Miami Dade County Construction Trades Qualifying Board
  • State of Florida

Each license holder must have a specified number of years in the field in order to qualify for the specific trade listed and must pass an exam and carry proof of insurance before a license is issued. Be sure you ask to see the identification before you consider entering into a contract. A number is issued to each individual, and it must be displayed on all advertising and on the contractor's vehicle.

Unlicensed Contractors

There are many con-artists that attempt to qualify themselves as licensed contractors. They usually make promises of quick and inexpensive rpairs and require large up front deposits.

Be wary of the following:


  • >May be soliciting in the neighborhood, "Just finished job in the area..."
  • Drives an unmarked car, van, or truck without listing a Miami Dade County or State of Florida license number on the vehicle.
  • May have receipts, stationery or the other business documents without listing a business location, phone number or license number (may list beeper number or P.O. Box only.)
  • Has wording in contract or may ask owner to "obtain all necessary permits."

What Should I Do Before Signing A Contract?

Talk to your friends, neighbors, or business associates to obtain referrals for good contractors.

Verify qualifications by checking with the Building and Zoning Department to determine if your contractor is registered with the Village. Don't agree to obtain the permit, have the contractor obtain the permit. Then you are assured they are licensed and insured.

Obtain written estimates from at least 3 different companies. Be sure to include all work that you want done (i.e., painting, electrical, plumbing, ceiling and floor finishing) in the contract. Completion dates and payment schedules must be in writing. The lowest bid may not always be the best.

Remember, contractors are specialists and are licensed to perform specific construction work. Examples of these trades are:


  • General contractors (Building)
  • Roofing
  • Electrical
  • Demolition
  • Plumbing
  • Excavation
  • Mechanical (Air Conditioning)
  • Landscaping
  • Pools
  • Painting

I've Chosen A Contractor Now What?


Before allowing any work to proceed, be sure the contractor obtains all necessary permits (building, electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, etc.). Your general contractor or subcontractor will be ordering materials for the project and may be paying other expenses for you.


In order to be advised about liens by contractors or materials suppliers who are not paid, you should file a Notice of Commencement with the Clerk of the Circuit Court prior to the performance of any work over $2500. A recorded copy must be posted at the job site. If the homeowner does not file this notice, they may have to pay twice for improvements. Familiarize yourself with the "Florida Construction Lien Law".


To download a copy of a Notice of Commencement, click Here.

What is the Construction Lien Law?

The Constitution Lien Law (Chapter 713, Florida Statutes) is the current law which addresses construction activity. It allows a contractor, subcontractor, material supplier, or anyone providing construction or material to your home or business, to place a lien against your property if they are not paid for services or supplies. The address and owner's name on the Notice of Commencement is the person notified by these material suppliers if they are not paid. You can protect yourself by asking your contractor for a statement  that all material suppliers and subcontractors have been paid.


Before final payment is made, you should obtain all final inspections and approvals from the Village, in writing, and you should receive a Final Release of Lien (available at Village Hall) from your contractor covering all, contractors, subcontractors, laborers, and suppliers. You may, at any time, call the Building & Zoning Department at (305) 795-2207 to determine what inspections have been approved. Please have your permit number available when calling.


Your selection of a contractor is one of the most important choices you will make regarding your proposed project. The success of your project will depend on your contractor's ability to provide you the best construction at a good price and within a reasonable time frame. By developing  a good contract, planning for all phases of construction, and following the guidelines provided above, your project should be completed to your satisfaction.