Hire a Licensed Security Professional
Every once in a while when I am providing a quote to a homeowner for a home security system, I come across a competitor who is not licensed or insured. There are many dangers associated with hiring someone who is unlicensed. It is essential to hire a licensed and insured contractor for any work you have done in your home, and it is important that you take the time to confirm that they are.
It’s all about safety
Aside from a lack of rigorous training, unlicensed contractors often lack proper general liability, workers compensation, and vehicle insurance, as well as sufficient contracts to protect you, the homeowner, if something goes wrong. Without proper licensing, there is no way for the State to ensure that a business has everything in place to protect a homeowner. If something happened while an unlicensed person was working in your home, you could be liable for their actions, especially if they got hurt while inside your home. Imagine this: an unlicensed contractor is on a ladder outside your home and falls and breaks their back. If they are not insured, and there is not appropriate workers compensation to cover the accident, your homeowner’s insurance policy may be liable for the accident.
At Command Corporation we carry a $3,000,000 liability and E&O insurance policy. Since 1991 we have never had an insurance claim; this is something we are incredibly thankful for. We feel strongly that this is due to hiring licensed and qualified technicians. As a homeowner, taking the time to ensure that the contractors you hire are properly licensed can save you from having to deal with insurance claims against your homeowner's policy and the inevitable rate increases a claim would cause.
Even something as simple as window washing and gutter cleaning can lead to disaster. A few years ago I hired someone to clean out my gutters, which were too high for me to handle myself. Halfway through the job he fell off the ladder! Fortunately, my wife was close by to call for help. The business owner came out to our home and assisted the employee who had fallen. Thankfully I had checked to make sure this company was both licensed and insured in advance. Don’t risk your financial future to save a few dollars by hiring someone who is not licensed.
CT Department of Consumer Protection
Did you know the Department of Consumer Protection maintains a Guaranty Fund? This fund may be used to help satisfy an unpaid judgment to a homeowner for up to $15,000 if he or she hired a licensed contractor. If you do not contract with a licensed professional to work on your home, you are not eligible to receive money from this fund. There’s a great fact sheet about the fund on their website.
Any contractor who is providing any of the following services needs a license: electrical; fire alarm; burglar alarm; glass work; heating, piping and cooling; home inspection; irrigation; plumbing; Sheet metal work; solar energy; spa and pool work, TV, radio and electronics; and even real estate agents. You can find a full list of licenses at the CT Department of Consumer Protectionwebsite. For more information about looking for a licensed contractor, you can visit the eLicense webpage.
Training, Lot’s of Training!
To better understand why it is important to hire someone with a license, let’s take a look at what is required to obtain one. Having a license isn’t as simple as filling out a form and paying a fee; there is a lot more to it than that.
For instance, in the security industry, alarm contractors most often have L and C licenses broken down into two categories, Journeyman License (L-6 and C-6) and Low Voltage Electrical Contractor (L-5 and C-5). Before someone can be licensed as a journeyman, they work as an apprentice under the direct supervision of a journeyman. Likewise, a journeyman must be employed by a contractor while employed by a contractor, through a journeyman does not have to be directly supervised by the contractor. This system of apprentices and journeymen working for a contractor is standard across almost all fields.
For a person to qualify for a Journeyman License, the candidate must have a minimum of 4,000 hours of apprenticeship on the job training and complete 288 hours of classroom instruction. After the apprenticeship and classroom coursework is completed, the candidate may apply to take the exam to obtain a license. In order to pass the exam, they have 90 minutes to obtain a 70% or higher on a 55-question exam covering topics derived from the National Electric Code, National Fire Protection Association, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The exam also includes questions on ire systems, security systems, audio and sound, video systems, access controls, general electronic knowledge, and safety questions. Licenses in other fields have similar exams covering topics directly related to their occupation.
I have personally gone through the apprenticeship program twice, once as a high school student and again after graduating from college. There is so much to learn, even after nearly 15 years working in the security industry, that I am still learning. Electrical codes are always changing, and once you obtain a license, you must complete Continuing Education every year to maintain your license.
Look up your contractor
Here’s a list of some of our licenses at Command Corporation. Feel free to look them up on the eLicense webpage and see if they are still active!
CT State Lic. No. ELC.0105944-L5, ELC.0201093-L5, ELC.0190477-L6, ELC.0203423-L6
MA State Lic. Nos. 367C, 1180D
NY State Lic. №12000041727
NJ State Lic. №34BF00020700
VA State Lic. No.s 2705154362, DCSJ 11–9101
RI State Lic. №9914
When looking up licenses, you can search for the license number, the first and last name of the contractor who is working on the job or the name of the company. Sometimes if you search the name of the company, the license will not be listed, but this may just be an internal problem with the search function. If a company does not appear in the search results, request a copy of their insurance certificate. They should be more than happy to provide it to you. If you have a complaint about a contractor you hired, you can send in this form to the State of Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.
Command Corporation is a Home and Business Security Company located at 59 Rainbow Road, East Granby, CT 06026 our phone number is (860) 653–1717.