Advertising guidelines for California contractors

For contractors a customer referral is the best form of ‘advertising’. It costs nothing and is based on work you have accomplished successfully. When a contractor pays for advertising are you aware of the rules that must be followed? Can a cabinetmaker paint and plumb too? Does the Contractors Board have your picture on their wall? If you work on California State funded projects, will you be impacted by the partisan wrangling at the Capitol?..

Q: I have a question about advertising. I am a “C-6 “contractor and sometimes get asked to handle other work while on a job. This might include fixing a plumbing leak or painting a room adjacent to where I am installing cabinets. What would happen if I start running small ads indicating that I can also do these trades?

A: As specified in B&P Section 7027.1, advertising for work outside the scope of your license (even a small ad) could subject you to a fine of between $700 and $1,000. You could also be subject to other punishment as determined by a court or the Registrar.

The CSLB has just updated (05/08) its “Advertising Guidelines for Contractors” brochure. Among other things, this describes: the forms of advertising that are covered under CSLB regulations; what constitutes ‘false advertising’; how to properly display license numbers on commercial vehicles and restrictions on advertising – including that your company is bonded. For a free brochure contact Capitol Services and we will send one immediately.

Q: I noticed on the Nevada Contractors Board web site that they have a Ten Most Wanted page. Why doesn’t CA do the same thing?

A: They do! Modeled after the Nevada web site, California now has a “Most Wanted” page listing — as the CSLB indicates — the “Worst of the Worst”. In the Board’s ongoing efforts to protect California consumers, they have identified the worst unlicensed violators who are known to prey on vulnerable and unsuspecting homeowners. Complaints against these unlicensed individuals have been lodged with the CSLB, law enforcement agencies and District Attorneys around the state.

According to the Board, warrants have been issued for the arrest of all 14 people who currently appear in this section. Visit the CSLB web site for more information.

According to a recent bulletin from the Associated General Contractors (AGC), “contractors currently working on a construction project funded all or in part by a state or local agency, should be aware that progress payments for work may be stopped if a state budget is not enacted by July 1”.

If history is any indication, there is a real possibility that enactment of the state budget could be delayed until late August or even into September if political differences between the Governor, Democratic and Republican Legislators are not resolved. Of course, the proverbial $64 million question is how to “balance” the state budget. A recent statewide poll shows how difficult this may be. While over 60% want budget cuts to be the prime focus, a majority of these same respondents surveyed, did not want cuts to all 13 specific budget areas (education, health and safety, etc.)

One primary issue is what are the responsibilities of the general contractor since under state law prime contractors are obligated to pay their subcontractors and material suppliers regardless of whether they get paid in a timely manner. FYI.