Article authored by Matt Woodcheke, Consumer Connection staff
Question: I’m having my kitchen redone at home, but I’m not sure what kind of contractor I should hire.
Answer: If your job is valued at $500 or more in both materials and labor, you’ll want to make sure the person you hire is a licensed contractor. Contractors with a Class B general building license usually oversee projects and coordinate the specific licensed subcontractors for a job. Specialty or subcontractors usually are hired to perform a single job. For example, if you need only roofing or plumbing work, you would want to hire a contractor licensed in that specialty—the roofing classification is C-39; plumbing is C-36.
A general building contractor also may contract for some or all of the specialty work, but must hold a specialty license for that work or actually have a specialty contractor do the work. The only exception is if the job requires more than two types of work on a building. Then it is appropriate for a licensed general building contractor to contract for and oversee the entire project. For example, if your kitchen remodeling will involve plumbing, electrical, and carpentry work under one contract, you should hire a licensed “B” general building contractor. Under these circumstances, a “B” contractor may perform all of the work on a building, or subcontract parts of the job to contractors with specialty licenses.
You can build a personalized list of licensed contractors in your area with the “Find My Licensed Contractor” feature on the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) website. That’s where you can also check out the license status of contractors before you hire them.
Got a question about your contractor, dentist, doctor, cosmetologist, or one of the many other professionals licensed and regulated by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)? Maybe you’d like to know more about how DCA helps consumers make wise purchasing decisions by informing them about the laws that protect them? Now is your chance to ask! Submit your question via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it may be answered in a future issue of Consumer Connection. Please note: We are not able to answer questions regarding the status of a license application, complaint, or investigation. Some questions have been edited for clarity or brevity.