What should I be aware of if I am hiring a contractor?
While the vast majority of contractors are reputable, home improvements and repairs can pose difficulties and potentially lead to complaints and litigation. The general guidelines and cautions contained on this page can assist consumers and should be considered when engaging contractors.
  1. Have several contractors provide you with written estimates specifying the quality, type of materials, time for completion and total job cost. Be very suspicious of a contractor who offers the fastest, cheapest job on a "you must act now" basis. This may be an indication of inferior materials and unfinished jobs or jobs taking too long to complete.
  2. Check to see if your contractor is licensed by calling the Department of Business and Professional Regulation at (954) 917-1330 or checking the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website. Ask if your contractor has any unresolved complaints that have been filed against him/her and if their license has been revoked or suspended.
  3. Conduct a reference check of your contractor. Ask your contractor for three references for whom he/she has previously performed work. Ask how long your contractor has been in business. Check with local suppliers on your contractor’s reputation.
  4. Check the status of the contractor with the Better Business Bureau of Central Florida at (407) 621-3300.
  5. Ensure the contractor is responsible for obtaining a building permit and obtaining all inspections, including the final inspections. Be wary of any contractor if you are asked to obtain the building permit. A licensed contractor who is in good standing, will always obtain the permit. Ask to see the permit prior to authorizing a contractor to commence work.
  6. Obtain a current copy of the contractor's insurances, including workman's compensation, property damage and liability. Read them carefully, including the fine print.
  7. Review the contract. If you don't understand the contract, you may wish to seek guidance from an attorney. The contract should include the following at a minimum: Contractor's name, address, telephone number and the State Contractor's license number; Detail of quality, types of material and a detailed description of the work to be done; The completion date of the work to be performed and a payment schedule. Arrange to pay the contractor after the work is completed and according to a payment schedule. The payments should reflect the work that has been done. (Make all payments by check to the company contracted to do the work, not to "cash" or a person's name.); A requirement that the contractor obtain all necessary permits and government approvals along with all required inspections; A notarized Release of Lien will be provided to the customer by the contractor, subcontractors and suppliers of materials attesting that the contractor has paid all subcontractors and suppliers of materials for their services up to any payment being paid.
  8. If your contract exceeds $2,500 (or $7,500 for dedicated HVAC work) a Notice of Commencement must be filed by the homeowner or contractor. Your failure to record a Notice of Commencement may result in you paying twice for improvements to your property. If you intend to obtain financing, consult with your lender or an attorney before recording your Notice of Commencement. A recorded copy of the Notice of Commencement must be posted at the job site.
  9. Do not sign a completion certificate unless all the work is completed according to contract, your satisfaction and an approved, final inspection has been performed by the Building/Fire Safety Division or your jurisdictional building department.

Show All Answers

1. Do I need a permit for any type of building construction?
2. Do I need a permit to install a new fence?
3. Do I need a permit to replace a fence?
4. Do I need a permit to paint?
5. Can a homeowner/building owner pull their own permit?
6. How long is a permit valid for?
7. How much does a building permit cost?
8. What happens if I don’t get a permit for work requiring a permit?
9. What codes have been adopted by the City?
10. Are the Florida Building Code and Florida Fire Prevention Code online?
11. Has the City of Altamonte Springs adopted any technical amendments to the Florida Building/Fire Prevention Codes?
12. How long does it take for a plan review?
13. Can I start work on a project before my plan is reviewed?
14. Can a homeowner submit their own hand drawn plans for a residential project?
15. Is an architect or engineer required?
16. Do I need to provide a letter of approval from my Homeowner’s or Condominium Association with my building permit application?
17. What is the minimum wind speed design in the City of Altamonte Springs?
18. Are the wind-borne debris provisions of the Florida Building Code applicable in the City of Altamonte Springs?
19. What does a contractor need to do in order to pull a permit in Altamonte Springs?
20. Who do I call to get an inspection?
21. Can I pull a permit online?
22. What should I be aware of if I am hiring a contractor?
23. How do I file a complaint against a contractor?
24. Does the City of Altamonte Springs have a property maintenance code or have a process for handling landlord tenant disputes?