December 14, 2010 Leave a comment
From the previous Illegal unlicensed Contractor, I have described some situations that you want to make sure you are using a licensed contractor. In this and the coming post, I will focus on
Best way to Validate a Home Improvement Contractor License
Today, I will talk about what you can do to validate a contractor. Here are my suggestions:
- In your first contact with the contractor, whether it is a phone call, email, or in person, ask the contractor directly whether they are licensed in the county or state of your home.
- If the answer is no, then simply walk and don’t ask further. My experience tells me that some of these unlicensed contractors are quit convincing, they will tell you stories that “they don’t have a license but they can provide the same type of works cheaper”, ” or they are cheated by the license board and lost the license for doing nothing wrong”. Trust me, you don’t want to question that and take that risks.
- If the answer is yes, tell the contractor that you need to verify all the interviewing contractors and keep a record of them. Ask them to bring proofs, or send you the license number, or send you a copy of the license. There are a couple of things you are to ask over the phone or email before seeing the proofs.
- Personnel name – you want to make sure that this person you are talking to is licensed under the business
- Business name – the business name of the contractor you are dealing with
- license # – very important. you want to make sure they are giving you a valid license number to help with the validation
- Classification – The class indicates the type of works a contractor is licensed to do trade in. You don’t want a licensed plumber to do your tiles. An example of classification in California is
C54 – Ceramic and Mosaic Tile Contractor
California Code of Regulations
Title 16, Division 8, Article 3. Classifications
A ceramic and mosaic tile contractor prepares surfaces as necessary and installs glazed wall, ceramic, mosaic, quarry, paver, faience, glass mosaic and stone tiles; thin tile that resembles full brick, natural or simulated stone slabs for bathtubs, showers and horizontal surfaces inside of buildings, or any tile units set in the traditional or innovative tile methods, excluding hollow or structural partition tile.
Authority cited: Sections 7008 and 7059, Reference: Sections 7058 and 7059 (Business and Professions Code)
- Note down all these information and go to the corresponding government contractor license board to verify them. For example, here is the website for California, USA Contractor State license Board. I will list other license boards from other states in USA and web resources for Canada license in upcoming posts. Or you can easily do a Google search to find out the state agency that provides the cross check.
- After you validate the contractor, meet with the contractor and get the paper works copy from them and verify that he/she is the actual person of the license. In some cases if you want to make triple sure, ask for an ID to verify.
However, keep in mind that having a valid license doesn’t guarantee good works but it helps you to understand the qualification of the contractor. In the next post, I will talk about how to cross check the licenses in some states.
Again, feel free to give me some suggestions and any ideas for blogs.