Florida bill would ease licensing rules for contractors

Published: Updated:
Photo by WINK News.

Changes could be coming for how contractors become licensed. Lawmakers in Florida are discussing relaxing licensing rules for them. Supports said it would encourage more competition, which would save money for consumers. But it could also put consumers at risk of getting ripped off.

With the support of the governor, state GOP lawmakers are pushing a bill through the Senate to deregulate contractors. The measure would ease the rules on who can do permitted work on your home.

It is a move Beth Piper strongly opposes.

“For the state of Florida to even think about the regulating any of this is absolutely insane to me,” Piper said.

Piper believes the current regulations are not enough. She recently built a home in Port Charlotte with HD Custom Homes, which is a licensed contractor. Still, she and dozens of others lost thousands when HD Custom Homes suddenly shut down without finishing its work.

“It’s going to be a long time coming too, first of all, recoup the money that he lost and feel comfortable in our home,” Piper said.

Supporters of this bill said it would increase competition and lower prices. Patrick Garner, a licensed plumber with Next Plumbing, said he sees why there is a push for this.

“Becoming licensed is expensive it takes time and it cost money,” Garner said. “Therefore, you have to eventually charge for that once you’re a professional contractor. If you don’t have to spend the money or the time getting your contracting license, you can usually charge a lot less than most companies would.”

In 2017, Florida’s Dept. of Business and Professional regulation investigated more than 200 consumer complaints against licensed and unlicensed contractors. It refereed 447 for criminal prosecution.

The next stop for this bill is the Senate’s Commerce and Tourism Committee.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.