Q: My son's scouting troop was trying to find a way to raise money for their next camping trip. One of the boys came up with the marvelous idea of selling a graffiti removal service to different business and property owners. It would improve the community and give the troop a way to earn money. My brother said this qualifies as contracting and they would need a state license. Tell me this isn't true?A: Anyone, Boy Scout or not, who does contracting work valued at $500 or more needs to be licensed by the CSLB. Painting walls or the sides of buildings is considered contracting work. If the jobs are under $500, they might get by with city or county permits. Check with your planning or community development department to find out about your local regulations. If the troop is trying to generate long-term contracts with clients, it could explore some other options. For instance, you might find a licensed contractor who is willing to oversee their work. However, workers' compensation and liability insurance should be a strong consideration when thinking about any kind of contracting work. Q: The good news is that I love the new spa system we had installed in the backyard. The bad news is the contractor who installed it knocked over our neighbor's fence and poked a hole in the side of our house when he was moving it in. He did a half-baked job of propping the fence back up and slapping some stucco on the house, which remains unpainted to this day. Isn't he legally required to fix the things that he broke? A: The decent thing would have been for the contractor to fix what was damaged in the commission of a contracting job right away. However, getting justice through the legal system may be a little harder. One way to protect yourself in the future is to ask the contractor to carry liability insurance. This will cover damages done during a contracting job. Liability insurance is not mandatory, but you, as a customer, can request it when hiring a contractor. Meanwhile, try contacting your contractor again and ask him for a firm commitment on when he will repair the damage. He may have just gotten busy on other jobs. If that doesn't work, you can download a complaint form at www.cslb.ca.gov. The California Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, licensing and regulating California's 302,000 contractors. The CSLB investigates 20,000 complaints against contractors annually. For more information, or to check out a contractor's license, bond and workers' compensation insurance information, visit the board Web site at www.cslb.ca.gov.
********** Published: April 24, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 1