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Tips for Hiring a Contractor:

A contractor is a person or company that offers services like construction, home remodeling, painting, paving, roofing, or electrical work to improve your home or property. The decision to update your home can be a big and expensive one, so take your time before you make a decision about hiring a contractor. Be sure to get multiple bids and check references.

Hire only licensed contractors. Anyone performing home improvement work valued at $500 or more is required to be licensed by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and should be bonded and insured. Hiring an unlicensed contractor is risky: the quality of the work may be poor and you may be exposed to increased costs if your property is damaged, the work is incomplete or faulty, or if a worker is injured while on your property.

To Verify License Status or for Questions:

Verify license status online or by calling 1-800-321-CSLB (2752).

The CSLB also has a helpful summary of what you should know before hiring a contractor: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Resources/GuidesAndPublications/WYSKPamphlet.pdf, and provides other helpful information including what to do when you have a dispute with a contractor: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Consumers/Consumers.aspx.

Some Common Home Improvement Scams (often targeting seniors):

  • A contractor, or person claiming to be a contractor, comes to your door and offers to do roofing, painting, install solar panels, or perform other work at a reduced price. Once payment is made, the project is abandoned.
  • A deceitful contractor offers a free inspection, then lies about faulty wiring, bad plumbing, a leaky roof or other defects that put the homeowner in danger (scare tactics). This can cause a homeowner to panic and agree to unnecessary and over-priced work.
  • A contractor pushes for an immediate decision about work (high-pressure sales), which would make it impossible for the consumer to get competitive bids, check licenses, or review references.
  • A contractor takes more for a down payment than is allowed by law, claiming to need it for supplies and to pay workers. By law, a down payment cannot exceed 10% of the project price or $1,000, whichever is less.

To Report Complaints:

You can file a complaint with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) online at https://www2.cslb.ca.gov/OnlineServices/ConstructionComplaint/ComplaintFormProcess.aspx or by mail using their Construction Complaint form.

State & Federal Laws

You can search California laws on the Internet

California Law

View a checklist of significant California consumer laws

CA Dept of Consumer Affairs

Search U.S. laws on the Internet at U.S. Code

U.S. Code

Megan's Law

California Registered Sex Offender Database

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