Originally Posted by mr. magillicuddy
Respectfully, I don't know, I just find it to be a money grab. The license doesn't prove the entity is qualified and there is little if any recourse with the county over fraud (see a gazillion contractor horror stories). Licenses should be free (or nominal and I don't call $500 nominal) and the consumer should perform due diligence just as if any shmoe can get a license. Is the $500 supposed to make them more credible?
Here is the law as it stood in Nassau County (changes haven't been made to the fee in this)
Nassau County, Long Island New York
I can appreciate your point that it seems like a money grab, but if licenses were free, how much more would the taxpayers be charged to support the Office of Consumer Affairs which handles licensing, goes after bad businesses, and protects the consumers? Who should the burden be upon: the business owner or should all of the taxpayers in Nassau subsidize business licenses?
The 'schmoe' going for the license has to be insured PRIOR to obtaining the license. That's a lot more than the $500 permit fee. Nassau County, Long Island New York
NYS requires haircutters to be licensed; the carpet installer, who could cause much more expensive damage, shouldn't be? (A few carpet installers have punctured radiant systems -- talk about a mess. At least hair grows back.)
Hiring an unlicensed contractor -- in any of the Home Improvement trades including carpet installers -- gives the consumer little to no recourse should things go wrong. Yes, the homeowner should perform due diligence. Still things can go wrong. Having licensed businesses gives the homeowners more protection as the County can more easily pursue a bad licensee as opposed to a non-licensed one. (And again, the license fee helps offset these costs.)
My licenses require me to maintain a certain level of liability insurance, workers comp, and disability. A homeowner can call Nassau County or look me up on their website to see if I am currently licensed as well as learn if there are any complaints against me -- online you may look back as far as 2007. This would be a part of performing due diligence. If my insurance were to lapse, the insurer would inform NC and I would be suspended until such a time as I could provide updated info.
This is what Nassau can do if unlicensed (or revoked licensed) operators are caught in Nassau:
FWIW Westchester does the same thing, even more strong armed.
One thing which some might not realize -- as most people are honest, law-abiding people -- is that licensing is one way that the State picks up on deadbeat parents via licensing -- saving the taxpayers more money.