Weekend exercise: Check a contractor’s license number

Licensedetail1I hope I don’t hear this story again — that someone hired a contractor they later found out was unlicensed, or whose license had expired or been suspended.

Instead of that, we should all do a little exercise together: Check on a contractor's license number.

Just for fun. Just for giggles. Just for kicks. (For some reason, I enjoy checking on a company's license status. Don't know what that says about me.) Then, when it comes time to hire a contractor, the process will be familiar.

First, think of the name of a contracting company. Maybe it's one you've used. Or one you've heard of. Or just look in the Yellow Pages and pick one in the "General Contracting" category.

When you've got that name, click here.

That takes us to the page on the California Contractors State License Board website where we can type in the company name and see what comes up. Go ahead. I'll wait.

If you can't find the company, search the person's name by clicking here.

(Click link below to continue exercise)

When you find the company or person on the list that comes up, click on the license number and you’ll get to a page similar to the one I’m showing here. This one is for Oasis Design and Construction in Pomona, which built the house in the next Pardon Our Dust feature you’ll see in the newspaper. (Click on image to see a bigger view.) I wanted to make sure that this was a licensed, legitimate contractor before I included contact information in the article. I’m protecting you the best I can from hiring an unlicensed contractor, and you can protect yourself as well.

This page shows the name of the company and contact information. It shows that the license is active, and is Class B, for general contractor. And it shows the bonding information. Lower on this page (outside our view here) is information for workers compensation insurance, which is needed if the contractor has employees. Otherwise, it is not needed.

In later posts, we can discuss what various elements of this page mean. But for now, it will be good to get familiar with the process. It will serve you well later on when you’re all excited about your project and are tempted to hire the first guy who says he’ll work with you on your dream. Making sure your guy is licensed with the state is not a guarantee you are hiring a good company. But it’s one more indication that the company you are considering is willing to play by the rules.