Jump to content

Workers compensation


Recommended Posts

I got a call to do an inspection on a new construction home today. My client stated the builder Beazer Homes requires all subcontractors to carry workers compensation. I do not currently carry it because I don’t have any employees. Do any of you carry workers compensation? Ended up giving the client a competitors name that I knew had several inspectors and thought might carry workers compensation.The competitor did have workers comp and I ended up losing the inspection to them. Any need for a single business owner like me to carry workers comp other than losing out on the occasional inspection?

Thanks

Kiel

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not me. Plus I usually end up getting the builder to waive that part of their requirements. I won't say that I've never lost one because of it but hey, I've also lost new construction inspections because I'm not a structural engineer.

I think workmans comp is fairly expensive.

I talked to the builder and he said I couldn’t do the inspection if I didn't have workers comp. I tried to explain that I was a one man show and that’s why I didn’t have it, but he wasn’t having it. Centex requires the same but like you said they end up waiving that part of the requirement or don’t even ask anymore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Worker's comp is different in different states. In most places you are not obliged to have WC on yourself if you're a sole proprietor, or maybe even a corporate officer or LLC member, but I would check with the state authority that deals with this. If you need comp, in some places (like here in WA!) it's affordable and friendly, and in other places there are minimum premiums and other expensive problems. My guess is that you don't have to have it, but that an outfit like Beazer is going to require it anyway to protect themselves. They'll just use someone who can comply with their policy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Several of the national home builders have a standard form that they want sub-contractors to complete before they allow you on their property. It is primarily designed for the trades. Most trades have mulitple employees and must have workers comp. There is no federal requirement for one man shops to have workers comp.

Some builders require General Liability, commerical vehicle insurance, and proof of drivers license. All good things for multiple employee trades people. Most HIs are one man shops.

1 mil of GL is about $200-250 per year. Good thing to have.

Ask the person who fills the chair at the model home to ask their boss to explain to them that you are a 1 man shop and there is not federal requirement for workers comp. Have your insurance guy fax over a copy of the insurance. Once you get past the inital interrogation and their reluctance to understand that you are not a tradesperson, you are good to go with that builder. Some of them want a formal written request at least 48 hrs in advance for the building foreman. This is usually completed by the buyer or buyers agent. I usually call the builder a couple of days in advance to confirm they know I am coming.

Many of the national builders even maintain a list of approved vendors which they often will let buyers pick from. Standard Pacific provides an alphabetical list of approved home inspectors upon request. My company name begins with A and I am listed 2nd on the list. Has got me a couple of jobs.

Stand Pac form is 7 pages. All they really need is GL and your signature that you will not hold them liable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Worker's compensation is fairly cheap here.

Where I live, a compo policy for a modest self-employed HI is under $200/yr. Rates vary with the job description, and HI's are among the lowest of risk classes. Compared to loggers, miners, fishermen, construction workers, etc, yeah, we're pretty low risk, so it's easy money for the insurance company, eh?

You used to have to pay extra as an owner of the company, because originally it was for employees, who were the only ones getting hurt. Nowadays they've found ways to make it more attractive and they'll happily take some cash from small business people.

It is possible to get 75% of your usual income if you injure yourself on the job, so there are some benefits. But there are so many hoops to jump through, you end up cured and back on the job before you see a penny.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've done several homes built by Beezer here in Maryland in the past few weeks, they didn't ask me for anything. Typically here, a builder will ask for a copy of my Maryland Home Inspector license and a copy of my insurance coverage page showing 1 mil of GL. I'm a LLC and Maryland does not require me to have workmens comp because I don't pay myself a salary or wage, just draw the profit out several times a year (between .01 and .99 cents each time!).

I would point out to any contractor that I'm not "his" sub-contractor, I work as a contractor for the client. As long as I have GL to cover, not his issue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would point out to any contractor that I'm not "his" sub-contractor, I work as a contractor for the client. As long as I have GL to cover, not his issue.

That's what I was thinking.

I don't understand this. If you're not working for the contractor, what's his concern, or right to ask for this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's what I was thinking.

I don't understand this. If you're not working for the contractor, what's his concern, or right to ask for this?

Usually, the builder owns the property until construction us complete.

What Chad said.

Builder technically is liable for any/all injuries/damages on that hunk of dirt & structure until "closing" and it is moved off the tax rolls of the builder to the client. Once that happens the builder doesn't care.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would point out to any contractor that I'm not "his" sub-contractor, I work as a contractor for the client. As long as I have GL to cover, not his issue.

That's what I was thinking.

I don't understand this. If you're not working for the contractor, what's his concern, or right to ask for this?

It's a hail Mary tactic to prevent an inspection. The builder knows full well that most inspectors don't have workman's comp and figures that by requiring it the buyer will have a hard time finding an inspector that has it - perhaps hard enough that the buyer will give up the idea of getting a home inspection and then the builder won't have to deal with one of those annoying reports and won't end up fixing or trying to explain away all of those pesky details that the subs routinely miss or omit.

Go to any professional builders' online forum and you'll find plenty of not-so-nice generalizations made about home inspectors.

My father was a custom builder; he hated home inspectors - thought they were the biggest waste of money on the planet and resented the hell out of anything any inspector wrote in a report about one of his homes. He used every trick in the book to try and discourage his buyers from hiring an inspector.

Don't get me wrong, he wasn't building crap, he built great houses; he just resented the hell out of buyers who had the effrontery to hire total strangers, who he felt were unqualified boobs, to poke around his custom built homes. It was only after I'd been at this gig for years and my father finally came for a visit, after I'd taken him out on an inspection and let him see the process unfold, that he finally started to change his tune.

After doing one of a Seattle area builder's custom homes, the builder braced me with much the same attitude as my father had when he'd first heard I was getting into this gig. Two weeks later another buyer hired me to do a second of his homes; so I invited the builder along to watch the process but asked him to hold his comments until after I was done. Then I put him through the same school of the house that I put the client through. Two months later, he hired me to go through the home he was selling and a month after that to go through the home he bought. Now he calls for advice about tricky building details every once in a while.

In some ways, you can't blame builders; they certainly do have to deal with a lot of pressure and the number of folks in this business who shouldn't be in this business, because they really don't know what they are talking about, keeps growing year after year thanks to specious accreditations granted by so-called "professional" associations and a plethora of shake-n-bake inspection schools turning ex-Dairy Queen marketing executives and the like into inspectors overnight.

If the buyer is naïve enough to fall for it, the builder's on-site manager will quietly smile to himself and chalk one up for his side; if the buyer is not naïve enough and threatens to walk, or threatens legal action because they are fabricating reasons to obstruct the inspection process, the builder will most-probably change his tune, sigh and mutter to himself, "Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained; maybe next time."

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...