Contractor Licensing

I was in a meeting yesterday with a Contractors State Licensing investigator and assistant Attorney General.  They were talking in general about cases and one of the discussions revolved around contractors lending their license.  They shared with me stories of licensed contractors renting out their license number for non-license contractors to use, appearing as if they were licensed.

This is a serious offense in violation of Business and Professional Code section 119(a)(2)(b)(c) which in summary states,

119. Any person who does any of the following is guilty of a misdemeanor:

(a) Displays or causes or permits to be displayed or has in his or her possession either of the following:

2) A fictitious license or any document simulating a license or purporting to be or have been issued as a license.

(b) Lends his or her license to any other person or knowingly permits the use thereof by another.

(c) Displays or represents any license not issued to him or her as being his or her license.

It appears this is a more prevalent problem than I was aware.  As the buying public, how can you protect yourself.  Although the Contractors State Licensing Board doesn’t advertise on prime time, they do have many resources available to you.  Any questions you may have can be answered by going to www.cslb.ca.gov.

As to the issue of checking a contractors license,  go to: Check License.  Anywhere a contractor advertises his name, he must include his contractors license number.  Using the address above, just insert the license number as indicated.CSLB1

As soon as you insert a valid license number this screen will appear.  The most important data here is the name and status of the company.  The name, address and type of company printed on any advertising, including the business card must match the information listed on CSLB site.  If the information printed on the advertising does not match exactly, contact the CSLB and they can help sort out the difference.

Scrolling down the screen you will see more information, including bonding and workers compensation insurance information.  CSLB2All contractors are required to submit proof of workers’ compensation insurance coverage as a condition of licensure to maintain a license, activate an inactive license or renew a license, unless they are exempt from this requirement (See B&P Code 7124.1).  Contractors are exempt if they do not have employees working for them (except C-39 Roofing Licensees) from the requirement for workers’ compensation insurance, but they must file a certification of this exemption with the Registrar.  If your contractor tells you he has employees, you can check the CSLB site and it says he is exempt, contact the CSLB and they can help.  It’s important to know there is the protection you need to insure you are not responsible for any injury’s to employees even if the contractor claims they are not employees.  For further information contact the CSLB.

The next step is to see if the person representing himself as the license holder or a registered salesperson must be listed on CSLB web site.  It’s easy if his name is the same as the licensee such as Peter Baccaro, but what if it’s a partnership, corporation, or other type of entity.  At the bottom of the screen you will see a tab “personnel list”.   CSLB3Click on the tab and you will get a list of names on the license.  This is important in verifying the person representing the licensee is in fact the person the license was issued to.  If the person in your home claims to be a salesperson, he must be registered with the CSLB as a Home Improvement Salesperson (HIS).  This requirement only applies to salespersons selling goods or negotiating home improvements, not doing business in a fixed business establishment where goods or services are exhibited or offered for sale.

The focus in this blog post is, MAKE SURE WHO YOU ARE NEGOTIATING WITH.  Just because a contractor presents a license number is not enough, you need to verify he is entitled to use the license.  If you have any concerns or questions, go to  CSLB Consumers call you local office or (800) 321-CSLB (2752) .