The risks behind unlicensed work

Concord | Governor and Lawrence, Mass., official set aside past criticisms.

Greater Nashua has had three incidents of unlicensed nonspecialists making headlines over the last week.

Police arrested six men on suspected illegal gas work charges Tuesday for allegedly allowing unlicensed persons to work on furnaces in three city properties.

A driving school instructor in Amherst is not allowed to teach her courses after it was discovered her certificate expired in February.

And last Thursday, a 15-month-old child died in the care of an unlicensed day care center on Ash Street. The proprietors of the center are not currently facing any wrongdoing as a result of the infant’s death, but the state confirmed their business was not registered as a licensed facility.

These unconnected incidents certainly are not a coincidence, but they do represent a pattern of nonprofessionals taking advantage of licensing regulations in New Hampshire.

Smaller businesses, such as day care centers or driving schools, can operate under the radar, and do so without any real oversight from local or state governments. And just lacking proper certification does not mean a business cannot run effectively and ethically, but providing proof of licensing gives the consumer piece of mind that a facility is maintaining adequate conditions and holds some type of liability insurance.

According to the Early Learning Policy Group, child care licensing provide minimum health and safety protections. Some states require minimum training for providers and emergency plans.

While eye-rolling burdensome regulations has been a staple to those who truly wish to “live free,” the inherent risks are quite high.

The Better Business Bureau, the nationwide standard bearer in ethical business behavior, admits licensed businesses may not offer a better product or services than an unlicensed one, but acquiring the necessary credentials demonstrates there is a minimal level of competence in a field.

Unlicensed businesses may not obtain the proper paperwork for paid labor or services; they may not have liability insurance, which is a much needed shield from damage to third parties.

Basic protections aside, it is just common sense to patronize well-regulated institutions.

There are not many who would stroll into an unlicensed medical center in the case of an emergency. Dealing with a tree smashing into a residence would certainly result in a phone call to a local arboricultural business specializing in proper removal. Purchasing a pre-owned truck would have more assurances at the neighborhood dealership than from a back-alley sale.

Unlicensed services may be less expensive and offer the same quality as their regulated counterparts, but it is simply not worth rolling the dice.