How to protect yourself when hiring a contractor

This morning I posted an important message on my local community Facebook Page and I thought it would be great information to pass along to my readers too. 

To my Coto De Caza Residents: 

Good morning neighbors. I am a resident and a Contractor here in Coto. I notice lots of homeowners passing out peoples names through Facebook for work around the house. I feel most homeowners are unclear or miss-informed when it comes to hiring someone for home repairs. 
I have been having a conversation with a person on Next Door about this exact issue. I am going to post it here as well, to help inform you as a homeowner make a sound, legal decision. There is a lot of info, but please read.

To The Next Door Post: 

Please understand I am doing this only to inform, not bash or argue your own beliefs. I have listed some links to the CSLB ( contractors state license board ) to help when hiring a contractor and checking a license. There is a lot of info here to help make a sound decision when hiring a contractor.

I tell everyone to always check a contractors license. Many contractors have a license number, but many I have checked, have been expired or put on hold due to complaints or legal action against the license.

I am a general contractor that specializes in Finish Carpentry and Cabinets. As I mention, any job over $500.00 including material needs to be done by a licensed contractor. Every contractor has to have a license for the trade they are doing. A C-6 is for Millwork, which means cabinets and millwork. Electrical would be a C-10. General Contractor would be a B license, etc.

Contractors are not licensed to protect themselves. A license is only to protect the customer. In order to get a contractor license, we must purchase a $12,500.00 bond. This is to protect your money. If a contractor takes a deposit or money from a customer and does not do the work or complete the job, the customer can contact the the Bond company to get there money back. Then the Bond company goes after the contractor, plus it is reported to the CSLB ( contractors state license board)and the license will be put on hold until the matter is rectified.

If you are doing a small job ( under $500.00 ) then you can use a unlicensed person. This is why most Handymen are unlicensed, even though most break the law based on the $500.00.

When hiring a contractor of any kind, the customer should go to The contractors license will show if the license is valid, the bond company, and if they have workers comp insurance.

Another item not required by CSLB but that is VERY IMPORTANT is that the contractors carries Liability Insurance. This is in place to cover any damaged that would occur during or after a job is done on your house. Say, a cabinet guy installed a cabinet and put a screw through a water pipe, it would seal the pipe. As the screw started to rust over the next couple months, it would then start to leak. We carry 2 Million dollar Liability insurance which covers your house as long as you live there for any work we do. So if that were to happen and your house floods, you are covered by our Liability Insurance.

Workers Comp- We carry this VERY expensive insurance to cover our employees and protect the Homeowner. If a employee were to be injured at your house, and the contractor does not carry Workers Comp (Which is the Law), the employee could go after your Home insurance. (Just like if a burglar broke into your house, tripped, broke his leg, he can sue you)

So your "Boutique Carpender" is the problem us legal carpenters are dealing with. It costs us Thousands of dollars to protect you as a customer and these Non-licensed guys ruin our industry. Most guys are not licensed because they are to lazy to do so, have a criminal background, or not enough experience to be qualified for a license. The CSLB does an FBI back ground check on every applicant, and must prove they have Five years of experience in the trade they are trying to get licensed for.

So thanks for allowing me to help inform you and other Homeowners to make a good choice when hiring a Home Improvement Contractor. I will attach a couple links to the CSLB for info backing up my facts.


Qualifications to become a Licensed contractor…/Applicants/Contractors_License/.

To check on a license for a contractor…/CheckLicenseII/CheckLicense.aspx.

Here is the best of all. What to know before hiring a contractor…/GuidesAndPublicat…/WYSKPamphlet.pdf

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