contractors, licenses vs unlicensed?

Discussion in 'Nonsense Anything Boards' started by KC Kevin, Dec 5, 2005.

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  1. KC Kevin

    What options does the consumer have if something goes wrong?

    a) with an unlicensed guy

    b) with a licensed contractor.

  2. Lucky Dog

    I was going to respond with some witty, humerous reply, but in reality, why is there even a question? You gets what you pays for. Every night on some consumer report, you see some dummy who has hired an unlicensed guy with a truck, payed him up front and then wants to know whyn the work isn't done or done half-ass. Just my .02 from a licensed contractor.
  3. FishStalker

    Or worse yet, pays the guy 50% up front and never sees the guy again....:(
  4. Swazi

    If you pay anyone up front you deserve what you get, and it doesn't matter weather he's licenced or not.

    One of the reasons Licenced Contractor prices are through the roof is because of the insurance requirements. But as far as quaility of work goes a licence doesn't quarantee Jack! So when someone says "you get what you pay for" well that isn't always true.

    If something goes wrong with a licenced contractor you can deal with him through the State Contractors License Board. Go after his bond and make him correct the problem.

    If a guy isn't licenced and there is a problem don't pay em. Just because someone has a licence doesn't mean they know shit. It just means they passed a test and got bonded. There are tons of licenced contractors that are hacks.

    Your best course of action is to hire someone that has referrals and you've seen their work before you proceed.

    All that being said...there a some very good craftsman out there that aren't licenced.

    If you have a bad feeling and there was material supplied on the job, then make sure you have a material release before you pay for the job. You can also make the check out jointly to the material company/Contractor.

  5. Rob E

    Not sure what your situation is, but the short answer is, it totally depends on the issue at hand.

    The legitimately licensed contractor (in California) carries a license bond in the amount of $10,000. As a fundamental rule, if you can prove that you have been monetarily damaged as a result of your contractual relationship with him, you can make a claim and try to collect against his bond. It's not a slam-dunk, but has potential. This is a bad thing for a contractor and a claim, if legitimate, usually tends to motivate a smart contractor to "make things right". On the other hand, if you are filing a frivolous claim against his bond and it damages him (monetarily), he may have a legitimate cause of action against you.

    Also, a formal complaint to the CSLB is another option and thorn in his side, so to say. The board has a program that will investigate your claim, including encouraging the contractor contact you and try to work out the dispute with you, and will even conduct arbitration/mediation to resolve the dispute, if applicable. But again, it's not something taken lightly and shouldn't be done unless you're certain you are in the right and are willing to go through the process.

    Also, just because the guy says he's licensed and appears to be in good standing online, doesn't mean that he would be able to prove it in court. For example, if a contractor claims to be licensed and has no Workers Compensation, but does have employees (even if they are 1099 or cash), that can be used to controvert his licensure and increases his pucker factor in the face of a potential ruling against him by a trier of fact. Also, there are many other issues that could cause a lapse in licensure, which equates to being unlicensed. There is virtually no grey area.

    The biggest problem is usually for the unlicensed contractor (this includes any contractor who's license lapsed during the contract period-even for one day); it cannot bring suit in court to collect monies, and, any monies previously paid can be disgorged, legally. Meanwhile, the unlicensed contractor can't adequately defend a suit and cannot pursue a counter complaint, regardless of how many dollars the job is worth. It's a big scam used routinely by municipalities and big contractors to avoid paying small contractors and subs, not to mention being able to disgorge monies previously paid.

    Most of this shit only matters if you intend to pursue a matter through to a court trial, but there is something to be said for leverage during settlement negotiations (and the whole threat phase of the dispute), if you have your shit together.

    I have a fairly extensive background and several hundred K worth of education on this specific subject and could go on & on about it,-PM me if you want to speak about it; I'll be happy to help if I can.


    PS If you want to do some research on the what constitutes a duly licensed contractor in California, do some research on section 7031 of the California B & P Code.
  6. KC Kevin

    No Mike, I am not.

    Thanks for the responses guys. Appreciate you taking your time to post on the topic.
  7. Kurt

    Is there a limit of claimant damages? I see that number 10 grandich:confused:
  8. Mot's Sr.

    Tim and Rob pretty much hit the nail on the head, very good guy's.
  9. Rob E

    Not sure I understand the question.

    If you're asking if there is a limit to the amount you can sue anybody for (including contractors), the answer is no. The 10K number is simply the amount of the Bond required by the CSLB, thus the amount that is held in trust for the benefit of a bonafide claimant. Otherwise, assuming you sue and get a judgment (from a contractor, or not), the onus is upon the the entity with the judgment to collect upon it, and without assets on behalf of the debtor, it's not always worth the effort.....even when you're 'right'.

  10. Pickleboy


    FUCK CSLB ( contractor state license board )

    it is yet one more beauracy that I PAY for the rights of the consumer and when something goes wrong who do they come looking for but ME / THE ONE SIGNING THEIR PAYCHECKS

  11. Stringer

    And I say Fuck it, if you can read can do it. :D

  12. ILove2Fish

    Even then protect yourself! I was taken to the cleaners by someone I had known for 16 years! I think the scent of money can change people a lot!
  13. byeye

    :Pillow_Fi :High_Five :_portable :cwmdie: :Fondle:

  14. zigzag

    Well shit here goes I hold A B C10 C20 C31 4 different D specialties and I ALLWAYS Pay my Attorneys Annual Retainer to kick the crap out of who ever I tell him to.I allways turn ever shit head that is contracting with out a liscence in to the board.I dont givea shit if hes the best carpenter tradsman including J.C.My insurance looks like the Iraq war debt and trucks taxes and all the other over head Bullshit that goes with it.I use tryed and true subs that play by the book and I pay my subs in 15 days and suppliers in 25 days and have 22 men on a weekly payroll. I pay abounty to any employee who finds me a unliscence contractor so I can get his balls in a vice.Any fool that gives any body money up front is just plain frigggging STUPID.As for the board they are the rule makers and inforcers such as they are but Godamit you dont like the rules get out of the like being a theif and cheating the next guy by not playing by the rules and fair play in contracting and biding work you deserve to have your balls in a vice. Wow I feel better now all warm and toaste.Have a nice day
  15. KC Kevin

    :lux: :beerbang: :lux: :beerbang: :lux: :beerbang:
  16. Swazi

    :rofl: Next thing you gonna tell us is all the labor on your jobs is legal. Cuz if you do I'm gonna have to say bullshit! I've been working in Downtown Pasadena for the past year. There are at least 10 projects under way right now. Drive by the lunch truck and it looks like a food giveaway in TJ.
    I don't' care who you are if you are a Contractor in So. Calif. your aren't playing by the rules. The trades have all but been taken over by untrained Mexican labor and it's just a fact of doing business in California.

    Stop by any job in Ontario and take a look at who's doing all the building. We just finished a job for a well known Hotel chain...some of the guys there were white from Texas...but all the rest of the labor on the job was untrained Mexican (read illegal) labor.

    Hey I don't like it either...but that just the way it is.
  17. Fishnit

    I agree with Swazi
    Dealing with contractors for years made me get my license. I figued if these idiots can get one. I sure can. I was telling them how to do thier job.
  18. Pickleboy


    fucking my buddies wife while he as @ work paying me 2 do it !!!

    life is good

    i get more ass in the backyard next to the pool than you get in your own bed , or shall i say his bed