Working in Disaster Areas and Penalties for Unlicensed Activity

To paraphrase Dicken’s famous line, ‘it was the worst of times’ and ‘the best’. 

With an economic boom and disasters in north and south in the last year, the need for licensed contractors has never been greater. This new year begins with hope for a better time for all and your opportunity to grow. 

Tremendous need for commercial and residential building for growth or recovery also invites unscrupulous criminals who can victimize all. In a reminder to consumers and contractors, the CSLB has SWIFT ‘secret agents’ at work! 

In Chico, these SWIFT agents put cuffs on over a dozen suspects in a Butte Co. sting (CSLB News 11/1/18). For those not disaster victims, these same unlicensed individuals wreak havoc when poor quality, failure to meet code or other substandard practices push a project back to square one. As Registrar David Fogt says, “There is no telling if someone who is unlicensed has the skills, insurance, or knows the trade well enough to do the work and to do it right.” 

While we share our expert answers, industry news and other contractor concerns all year, in these first few weeks of 2019 Capitol Connection also serves as a call to action. By working together, we can keep our communities safer by emphasizing the need to be vigilant in choosing who does your work as consumers and reporting unlicensed activity as contractors!  Fogt’s reminder points to the best practice, “By using CSLB’s free online tools like Find My Contractor or Check A License, homeowners can find a licensed contractor in their area and avoid the headaches of hiring someone who could potentially take advantage of them.” 

Posing as homeowners SWIFT agents cited more than a dozen for contracting without a license and proposing prices well outside of legal limits. In CA a contractor license is required for projects valued over $500.00 for labor and materials combined.

Suspects were discovered when advertising for work online, and CSLB agents also found five who had been previously caught for illegal contracting. What’s encouraging is after further investigation all five obtained contractor licenses and resolved their cases with Butte Co. 

Licensed, experienced contractors can add new classes, specialty or other enhancements to meet the tremendous demand. For more than 30 years, Capitol Services has assisted contractors ‘grasp’ opportunity by becoming licensed and many others to ‘reach beyond’ that original application.  I look forward to hearing from you here to help whenever licensing is an issue in CA, NV or AZ. 

As I began this with hope, I know that opportunity can knock for many in this next calendar year. If you don’t have a license,nowis the best time to get one as it’s better to profit from ‘the best of times’ rather than find yourself in handcuffs at ‘the worst’ of times.