View Single Post
Old 10-29-2009, 10:30 AM
ilbegone's Avatar
ilbegone ilbegone is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 2,068

Why it's wise to hire a licensed contractor
Oct 23 2009

Editor's note: Action Line is a weekly column from the Better Business Bureau answering consumers' questions and concerns about money and business issues.

Dear Action Line:

Our roof needs some repairs before we (hopefully) get winter storms and my husband and I are fighting over who should do the repairs. I found a handyman listed in the classifieds and he said he could do the job for $300 less than the quotes we got from local roofing contractors.

My husband is insisting that we hire a licensed contractor, but we are talking about a roof, not rocket science. Money is tight and I don't see why we should spend more just because someone has an extra piece of paper. Any suggestions?

Dear Reader:

Tempting as it might be at any time to save $300, your husband is right in insisting that you use a licensed contractor to repair your roof. A license means more than that the contractor knows how to work on your roof. It means that he is responsible enough to follow state laws and has the appropriate insurance to protect his workers and your property. In California, any work more than $500 must be performed by a licensed contractor.

Non-licensed contractors do not meet the state requirements. They don't register with the state, making it easier for them to get away with messy jobs or not completing your project. And they are in direct competition with the businesses that act professionally and meet the state's standards.

These companies have no Contractor's Bond. Without a bond, consumers are responsible for supplies the contractor neglects to pay for. Suppliers may even place a lien on the consumer's home until the balance on the supply account has been paid.

The BBB recently was contacted by a man who had paid $80,000 to his unlicensed contractor for supplies that were delivered but never actually paid for and it cost him an additional $80,000 to pay the supplier himself and remove the lien from his property.

Non-licensed contractors do not participate in California's Workers Compensation system. If a worker is injured on the consumer's property, the consumer is responsible for unpaid medical bills. A lien may also be placed on the consumer's home if they refuse to pay the medical expenses.

Remember, contractors are required to collect only 10 percent or $1,000 (whichever is less) of the total contract as a deposit.

You can verify a contractor's license by calling the BBB at 322-2074 or checking online at or Call Diana Ivie at the BBB at 559-222-8408 or 800-675-8118, ext. 320 if you think you are dealing with an unlicensed contractor or contact the Contractors State License Board (800-321-2752) for licensing updates.

There are simply too many negatives to saving a few dollars. Be sure to investigate before you invest. Use a licensed contractor and start with trust.
Reply With Quote