CSLB Stings: How Contractors Can Avoid Hefty Penalties

Published: Jun 19, 2018
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Working as an unlicensed contractor is a risk not worth taking. For years, the Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB) has been tightening regulations, conducting sting operations aimed at unlicensed contractors and urging homeowners to “Check the License First”.

CSLB’s Sting Operations

In 2014, six Salinas-based contractors were caught in a sting operation conducted by the CSLB. They were found through online ads in various websites, such as Craigslist. The investigators pretended to be potential customers who requested bids for a landscaping project. Under the current law, unlicensed contractors may not bid on projects larger than $500, whereas the highest bid got as high as $15,000. Bids of that sort can only be executed by CSLB-licensed contractors.

The CSLB conducts such sting operations and construction site sweeps once per week, resulting in hefty fines for contractors. First-time offenders face fines of up to $5,000 or jail time for up to six months. And since their online ads do not specify that they are not licensed contractors, they are usually also cited for illegal advertising.

How to Avoid CSLB’s Penalties

The only way to avoid being cited by the CSLB is by making sure you are licensed before you advertise or perform any sort of contracting services. The services you provide must be consistent with these allowed by your license and you should keep an eye for other offenses that might catch the CSLB’s attention. These include, for example, failing to purchase (or renew) your contractor’s license bond, or required insurance, such as worker’s compensation insurance.

We’ve compiled a licensing guide for California-based contractors which you can use as reference:

Simple guide to getting a California Contractor License

Lance Surety Bonds can help contractors get a contractor license bond, an important part of the licensing process. For any bond-related questions, do not hesitatate to contact us at 877.514.5146!

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Victor Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates, Inc. He began his career as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving two combat tours. As president of Lance Surety, he now focuses on educating and assisting small businesses throughout the country with various license and bond requirements. Victor graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.

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