Last week we explained the importance of Los Angeles consumers hiring only licensed, bonded, and insured contractors to work on residential and commercial property jobs. In this second blog in our three-part Consumer Affairs Bulletin series, we discuss how consumers can actually find out whether or not their contractor is licensed!
Los Angeles County undercover sting operations always find unlicensed contractors!
On a regular basis, we receive news bulletins from the State of California’s Department of Consumer Affairs about another “undercover sting” where investigators from the Contractor’s State License Board (“CSLB”) catch “in the act” a large number of unlicensed contractors bidding on home improvement jobs.* Contracting without a license is an illegal act in the State of California, and one that carries a first-conviction penalty of up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines!
There are many unlicensed contractors prowling the streets and trying to con unsuspecting homeowners and commercial property owners. Oftentimes, unlicensed contractors simply disappear after they receive a payment, without ever completing a job. And if they do a job, their work is often shoddy and does not pass a city inspection, does not last, and does not carry any warranties at all.
What can you do as a consumer to protect yourself?
Before you hire a contractor, perform an “Instant License Check” on the CSLB website. This feature allows you to search for a contractor by license number, name, or business name, to find whether or not the contractor’s license is active and in good standing. The page will also list bond and worker’s compensation insurance information, which is required if the contractor has any employees. You can find the CSLB’s “Instant License Check” page here:
You should also check to see how long the contractor has held his or her license. We recommend that you only hire contractors who have held their license (and thus have done such work) for longer than 5 years! It goes without saying that the less experienced the contractor, the cheaper he may do the work, but in construction, experience does matter, and it pays to hire an experienced firm to do the work, as they will do it quicker and better! Do all this before you hire a contractor, and then use this information to determine if you are happy to proceed with the contractor in question!
Come back in a few days to read Part Three of our Consumer Affairs Bulletin, where we provide you with additional “tips” on making sure you hire the right construction professional!
At Weinstein Construction Corporation, we are of course licensed, and in fact our family-owned Los Angeles business has been in continuous operation under the same name and license since 1977! During this time, we have provided more than 72,000 free inspections to residential and commercial property owners in the greater Los Angeles region! Call Angela today at (800) 862-6582 for a free inspection and review of all your construction needs!