California’s Contractor State License Board shows unlicensed ‘contractors’ that doing remodel work without the appropriate license is not cool. The Board also attempts to fight abuse of the elderly. Finding answers to these problems certainly has Remodel Blog’s support, but what is the right way to go about it?
The videos recently posted to the CSLB web site try to instill fear. Close-up shots of men being handcuffed; their cars being towed; a cop’s gun; and so on. One wonders who the intended audience is. The unlicensed guys? Probably not. Why would they be watching CSI Sacramento? The licensed guys? Maybe, just to show their license fees are being put to constructive use. The general, tax-paying public who may consider having remodeling work done? Perhaps. Then again, members of the public who are smart enough to peruse the CSLB web site already know about license requirements. The mere fact that the video is only in English more or less implies that non-English speakers are not the target, and that rules out a large number of unlicensed people.
It may be time to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch. The CSLB should figure out its priorities and how to go about accomplishing them. Illegal activity is not only about guys without licenses. The problem stretches from unlicensed handymen to licensed builders taking advantage of workers compensation insurance loopholes so gigantic you could drive ten dump trucks through. Insurance companies turn a blind eye, and so does the government. In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of property owners and construction workers are put at tremendous risk. (this will be a topic of a post in the near future) And if law enforcement wants to actually reach unlicensed people, posting a few vids on the internet is not going to cut it. Yes, I applaud the CSLB and various District Attorney’s offices on making arrests and putting scammers behind bars. Nothing is more frustrating for a licensed builder to look on craigslist.org and see the competition advertise without licenses or licenses that expired or are suspended. However, putting a Band Aid on the symptom does not erase the cause.
Before Remodel Blog publishes some ideas, what about you? If you are a contractor, how can these issues be fixed? If you are a home- or commercial property owner, how can the Contractor State License Board best educate you?
To be continued.