Following storms that battered much of California in January and late February, many Californians are finding themselves in need of a contractor.
As we celebrate National Consumer Protection Week, the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is warning consumers not to hire just anyone to make repairs because there are some unscrupulous and unlicensed contractors and scammers eager to capitalize on their misfortunes.
The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and CSLB recommend consumers go online to CSLB’s Find My Licensed Contractor feature to download and/or print a list of qualified licensed contractors. Consumers can check the license number of their contractor using CSLB’s Instant License Check.
Consumers should know in California, a state contractor license is required for any home improvement project valued by more than $500 in labor and/or materials. Those caught contracting without a license can be fined up to $10,000.
The CSLB offers the following tips when hiring a contractor.
- Hire state-licensed contractors. The six-or seven-digit license number should be displayed in all advertisements, including business cards
- Get at least three references from a contractor and review their past work in person if able
- Ensure project expectations are in writing and only sign a contract if the terms are easy to understand
- Confirm the contractor has workers’ compensation insurance for employees
- Avoid paying more that 10 percent down or $1,000, whichever is less and avoid paying in cash
- Don’t let payments get ahead of the work
- Keep a file of all documents relating to the project, including payments
- Avoid making final payment until satisfied with the job
CSLB offers online resources and coordinates and participates in consumer outreach events across the state. For more information, visit CSLB online at www.cslb.ca.gov, or connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.