California has a strict code for persons operating as contractors in the state. Though many ‘contractors’ try to skirt the system, operating as a contractor in California without a license has never been a good idea; and with the state’s renewed commitment to protecting homeowners through strict enforcement of state laws, (especially in the fire-stricken areas of Southern California) the importance of getting a California Construction Bond is growing all the time.
Why Is A California Contractor’s License Important?
The intent of the laws of the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is to protect the consumer by ensuring that all contractors in the state meet a minimum set of standards, thereby ensuring the quality and level of service of work performed by those professionals.
For both regulatory reasons and for personal/professional reasons, getting a California license is important for people in the business.Odds are increasing those unlicensed operators will be caught! The CSLB’s Statewide Investigative Fraud Team (SWIFT) performs undercover stings to catch violators in the act; 43 stings were conducted in 2006 (most recent CSLB reporting), during which a total of 311 people were cited for operating as contractors without the appropriate license.
California imposes strict fines for unlicensed contractors; fines can range from a $500 up to $15,000. In addition, fines can carry a six-month jail sentence. The fines for repeat offenders are even more serious ($4500 or 20% of contract price, mandatory 90 days jail time).
Felony charges may apply if it is proven that the unlicensed contractor attempted to commit fraud.Legalities aside, though, there are a great number of benefits to completing contractor education and obtaining the right California license; education through a good school can greatly increase the profitability of a business.Holding a California license gives the licensee the ability to bid on bigger and better jobs, including state jobs and projects endorsed by emergency management agencies (state and federal).
A contractor’s license grants legal protection; consumers do not have to pay unlicensed persons, and without a license a contractor cannot sue clients for non-payment.A license gives the person the ability to work independently and increase rates as he or she sees fit.A licensee gains access to business loans, tax write-offs, and business contacts.
The education programs available online prepare individuals for examination, and some also offer complete licensing packages. (One school, Contractor University, provides a full-service program that helps prospective licensees through every step of the process, including downloadable exam study materials, application filing; bonds and contractors general liability insurance are offered, too.)
Professional Education, Professional Protection
In California, operating as a contractor without a license, whether expressed or implied, is no longer an option. For the protection of the licensee and his or her consumers, it is absolutely imperative that people operating in California obtain the license to back them up, and gain the education needed to get that license with confidence and ease.