Unlicensed Referrals, Door Knock Contractors, Licensing Rules on Jobs

An angry contractor shows there is a fine line between knowing something and actually proving it. We primarily serve contractor and industry licensing needs, but are also ready, willing and able to help consumers with questions. This also helps licensed contractors by exposing those unlicensed scam artists ‘un-leveling’ the playing field or driveway as the case may be…



Q:  Real Estate offices in our town may knowingly refer out business to unlicensed contractors.  Can they face penalties for doing this if reported?  This is not a fair practice and undercuts the licensed contractor.


A:  Thank you for contacting Capitol Services.  While there is no way to know until the complaint is actually filed, it’s possible that the CSLB might consider that referral “aiding and abetting” and cause for a disciplinary action.  B&P Code Section 7114 states “Aiding or abetting an unlicensed person to evade the provisions of this chapter or combining or conspiring with an unlicensed person, or allowing one’s license to be used by an unlicensed person with the intent to evade the provisions of this chapter constitutes a cause for disciplinary action.”



I agree that the agency is definitely out of line if they are referring work out they know amounts to over $500.00.  You would need to provide the CSLB with some sort of proof that the Real Estate agency is knowingly referring business to unlicensed contractors.



Q: I was given your name by my son, who said he found Capitol Services’ email on the Internet. He said you might be able to answer a question regarding hiring a contractor since this is what you deal with. Here’s my situation: A man came to my door saying he just happened to be in the neighborhood and had some left over materials. He told me he had just repaved a neighbor’s driveway and could also do mine for a “very low price”. After asking him some questions including the neighbor’s name, something sounded fishy so I sent him away.


However, my driveway does need repairs so what would you recommend to find someone to do this work. By the way, do you work for the State?


A: Thank you for the email. Just to be clear, we are not the State Contractors Board but from time to time receive calls and emails from people who think we are. In most cases my staff and I are happy to respond to these type of inquires if we can.


You were probably smart to send him away. Over the years, this type of door-to-door approach has been done by individuals who are unlicensed and do not carry the proper insurance and bonding. The best thing to do is contact at least three contractors who have a valid State contractor’s license. By getting bids from several contractors you’ll be able to compare prices and likely get a better deal. Look for a contractor who holds a “C-12” (Earthwork and Paving) or “A” (General Engineering) classification. Ask neighbors and friends if they’ve needed this type of work or search the Internet for legitimate contractors.


To determine if a contractors license is in good standing, I recommend you visit the CSLB web site (http://www.cslb.ca.gov). For any construction project $500 or more a state license is required to legally do this type of work. Local police might also be interested in these types of ‘door to door’ contractors as previous victims come forward.